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Why Is My Pet Itchy?

by | Nov 1, 2019

7 Common Reasons Your Pet Has Itchy Skin

Itchy skin is the result of the immune system’s reaction to an allergen. The source can be topical or internal. The way the immune system works is a result of both nature (genetics) and nurture (environment).

Pets experiencing itchy skin will lick, bite or scratch their paws, tail, ears, face, stomach or anywhere on the body that is being affected. They may rub along the carpet or furniture for relief. As the itching and scratching cycle repeats, the skin can become inflamed and tender. There might be areas of hair loss, open sores, or scabs. Hot spots – which are inflamed, infected areas resulting from overgrowth of normal bacteria – can also occur.

Environmental and Seasonal Allergies

Just as with people, many pets can be allergic to pollen, grass, mold and ragweed. In addition to general itchy skin, pets with seasonal allergies may also experience itchy and inflamed ear canals. If your pet is scratching their ears or shaking their head, or if there is a bad odor or discharge coming from the ear, it may indicate the presence of a yeast and/or bacterial infection. There are some excellent products that can help manage these infections quite well, including Cloud Nine Herbal Ear Wash by Halo (which can be used anywhere on the body that is itchy) and Zymox Enzymatic Ear Solution.

Parasite Bites

Fleas, mites and other annoying pests can trigger itchy skin. For a dog or cat who is extremely sensitive, flea allergy dermatitis may be the cause. In these cases, just one flea can cause the whole body to experience itching. There are many natural products and protocols to help repel and prevent fleas from feasting on pets (and people) including a wide selection from Wondercide.

Ringworm

Fungus, including yeast, can wreak havoc on a pet’s skin. Ringworm, which is a fungal infection, is the most common contagious skin infection in cats. The infection can be mild or quite severe. Some pets show no symptoms at all, while others may become quite itchy, lose hair or develop crusty skin. There are a number of medicated and enzyme-based shampoos that work well, along with topical treatments. It is important to wash all bedding, floors and furniture to remove the fungus, which lives on skin and hair. It can take weeks for pets to heal, so constant cleaning is important.

Food Allergies and Intolerances

Itchy skin is often a secondary response to dietary allergies and intolerances. These issues generally originally present as digestive upset (diarrhea, gas, vomiting, etc.). True food allergies are most often to protein, with chicken and beef being the two most common. Intolerances can build up over time. Feeding the same food day after day, month after month, year after year is a culprit, as are inflammatory ingredients such as wheat, corn and soy. Diets that are high in carbohydrates can create or worsen inflammation. In addition, subpar ingredients – feed grade fillers, grains, starches, rendered ingredients and the like – have been linked to many digestive disorders. One of the reasons is that these ingredients are simply not bio-appropriate so dogs and cats have difficulty digesting them. Over time, this can slow the digestive tract, cause bacteria and yeast overgrowth and even leaky gut syndrome. Bacteria and yeast can work their way to the body’s biggest organ – the skin. Dogs and cats often suffer with yeast between the toes (if your pet’s feet smell like corn chips, yeast is the reason) and in their ears. Sometimes other areas of the body become equally itchy including the face, arms and legs, stomach and the groin area. It is important to discover which ingredients are causing the issue. Nutriscan is a great tool to determine food intolerances.

Talk with a vet well versed in nutrition to work on changing the diet. To help heal the pet’s skin, use topical products designed to calm the itch and heal wounds and add a high quality omega-3 fatty acid supplement.

Allergy to a Medication

Drug hypersensitivities are difficult to diagnose because most often, the affects are often delayed by days, weeks or even months. If your pet has never experienced rashes or itchy skin and then suddenly exhibits these types of reactions after a new medication has been introduced, talk with your vet about the possibility of an allergy to the drug.

Acne

More prevalent in cats than dogs, acne most often occurs on the chin. Blackheads form and can quickly turn into pimples and eventually, abscesses that can rupture. This can be quite itchy and by scratching, secondary bacterial infections can form. Acne can result from poor grooming habits, plastic water and food bowls that can harbor bacteria, stress and more.

Autoimmune disorder

In cats it is known as Pemphigus foliaceus; in dogs, it is called pododermatitis. Both cause itchy feet with crusty skin, pustules and ulcerated, cracking footpads. Addressing these symptoms internally and externally is key. Topical treatments can help soothe the itch, while a change in diet is essential. An excellent resource for developing a homemade diet to meet a pet’s unique needs is the Recipe Creator and Meal Mix by Dr. Karen Becker.

Why Is My Pet Itchy?

by | Nov 1, 2019

7 Common Reasons Your Pet Has Itchy Skin

Itchy skin is the result of the immune system’s reaction to an allergen. The source can be topical or internal. The way the immune system works is a result of both nature (genetics) and nurture (environment).

Pets experiencing itchy skin will lick, bite or scratch their paws, tail, ears, face, stomach or anywhere on the body that is being affected. They may rub along the carpet or furniture for relief. As the itching and scratching cycle repeats, the skin can become inflamed and tender. There might be areas of hair loss, open sores, or scabs. Hot spots – which are inflamed, infected areas resulting from overgrowth of normal bacteria – can also occur.

Environmental and Seasonal Allergies

Just as with people, many pets can be allergic to pollen, grass, mold and ragweed. In addition to general itchy skin, pets with seasonal allergies may also experience itchy and inflamed ear canals. If your pet is scratching their ears or shaking their head, or if there is a bad odor or discharge coming from the ear, it may indicate the presence of a yeast and/or bacterial infection. There are some excellent products that can help manage these infections quite well, including Cloud Nine Herbal Ear Wash by Halo (which can be used anywhere on the body that is itchy) and Zymox Enzymatic Ear Solution.

Parasite Bites

Fleas, mites and other annoying pests can trigger itchy skin. For a dog or cat who is extremely sensitive, flea allergy dermatitis may be the cause. In these cases, just one flea can cause the whole body to experience itching. There are many natural products and protocols to help repel and prevent fleas from feasting on pets (and people) including a wide selection from Wondercide.

Ringworm

Fungus, including yeast, can wreak havoc on a pet’s skin. Ringworm, which is a fungal infection, is the most common contagious skin infection in cats. The infection can be mild or quite severe. Some pets show no symptoms at all, while others may become quite itchy, lose hair or develop crusty skin. There are a number of medicated and enzyme-based shampoos that work well, along with topical treatments. It is important to wash all bedding, floors and furniture to remove the fungus, which lives on skin and hair. It can take weeks for pets to heal, so constant cleaning is important.

Food Allergies and Intolerances

Itchy skin is often a secondary response to dietary allergies and intolerances. These issues generally originally present as digestive upset (diarrhea, gas, vomiting, etc.). True food allergies are most often to protein, with chicken and beef being the two most common. Intolerances can build up over time. Feeding the same food day after day, month after month, year after year is a culprit, as are inflammatory ingredients such as wheat, corn and soy. Diets that are high in carbohydrates can create or worsen inflammation. In addition, subpar ingredients – feed grade fillers, grains, starches, rendered ingredients and the like – have been linked to many digestive disorders. One of the reasons is that these ingredients are simply not bio-appropriate so dogs and cats have difficulty digesting them. Over time, this can slow the digestive tract, cause bacteria and yeast overgrowth and even leaky gut syndrome. Bacteria and yeast can work their way to the body’s biggest organ – the skin. Dogs and cats often suffer with yeast between the toes (if your pet’s feet smell like corn chips, yeast is the reason) and in their ears. Sometimes other areas of the body become equally itchy including the face, arms and legs, stomach and the groin area. It is important to discover which ingredients are causing the issue. Nutriscan is a great tool to determine food intolerances.

Talk with a vet well versed in nutrition to work on changing the diet. To help heal the pet’s skin, use topical products designed to calm the itch and heal wounds and add a high quality omega-3 fatty acid supplement.

Allergy to a Medication

Drug hypersensitivities are difficult to diagnose because most often, the affects are often delayed by days, weeks or even months. If your pet has never experienced rashes or itchy skin and then suddenly exhibits these types of reactions after a new medication has been introduced, talk with your vet about the possibility of an allergy to the drug.

Acne

More prevalent in cats than dogs, acne most often occurs on the chin. Blackheads form and can quickly turn into pimples and eventually, abscesses that can rupture. This can be quite itchy and by scratching, secondary bacterial infections can form. Acne can result from poor grooming habits, plastic water and food bowls that can harbor bacteria, stress and more.

Autoimmune disorder

In cats it is known as Pemphigus foliaceus; in dogs, it is called pododermatitis. Both cause itchy feet with crusty skin, pustules and ulcerated, cracking footpads. Addressing these symptoms internally and externally is key. Topical treatments can help soothe the itch, while a change in diet is essential. An excellent resource for developing a homemade diet to meet a pet’s unique needs is the Recipe Creator and Meal Mix by Dr. Karen Becker.

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