Your pup is constantly scratching and may have lost some hair. He or she may have sore red areas on several parts of the body, and you are at a total loss as to what to do. Here at Barkin Bistro, we see this problem so often, and this article is here to help you solve the problem.
Skin is one of the first places your pup may show signs of disease, so it is really important to pay attention to it. Skin is the body’s biggest organ, and what it comes into contact with is imperative. Symptoms of skin problems include:
- A dull coat with no shine
- Dry, itchy skin
- Hair loss
- Thickening of skin which may be black
- Hot spots
- Yeast infections
- Ear infections
- Weepy eyes
- Feet licking and chewing
What is causing my pup to itch?
The first thing to look at is food. What is your pup eating? Food can often be the culprit here, and if fed a diet high in grain and carbohydrates, this can often lead to painful itching and scratching, amongst other problems. We find that a fresh raw diet can significantly transform these problems as it is not only “species appropriate” but what your pup would choose to eat! Most dry foods are high in grain; therefore, the chance of harvest mites being present is high, and although the food is heated to very high temperatures, it does not kill these hideous mites. Fresh raw food is essential for the skin and general health, and we have a great selection to choose from. Find out how to transition your dog to a raw food diet here.
Conventional flea and worm treatments
As we know fleas can cause a great deal of itching in your pup and need to be dealt with. Worms are the same and can cause “bum-sliding”, a charming habit some of our pups have if worms are present. Not great for pale coloured carpets! Check the ingredients if you use these regularly – some say “Do not come into contact with skin” which is quite a scary thought when the directions are clear to put straight on your pups neck. We only believe in natural flea and worm treatment here at Barkin Bistro and only treat when necessary. There are lots of natural alternatives that work really well on our website.
As crazy as this may sound, over vaccinating can cause a great deal of skin issues in some dogs. Try asking your vet for a “titre test” that measures the dogs immunity. Most vaccinations last for several years and are not necessary each year.
Check your pup’s water bowl. Is it slimy? Water can often be high in fluoride, which is a skin irritant. Changing to filtered water may help. Your pup may choose to drink from a puddle which is another indication of him or her being sensitive to tap water – remember here, folks, that a dog’s sense of smell is approximately 10,000 – 100,000 times more sensitive than ours as humans!
Most household chemicals contain bleach which is another skin irritant. Think of your floor being cleaned and then your pup pads across it – they are more than likely to lick their paws at some stage, and changing to a more natural product without harmful chemicals can be a game changer.
Most laundry detergents and softeners are full of dyes, perfumes and chemicals known to cause itchy skin – check the labels here, and you may be surprised how harmful some can be. Your pup has a lovely clean smelling bed, but it could be doing a lot of harm too.
Plug-ins and fragrant candles (other than beeswax and some natural essential oils) can cause itching in dogs as they can be toxic and are definitely worth avoiding.
Shampoo, conditioner and dog spray
Most shampoo and conditioners contain SLS (Sodium Lauryl Sulphate), parabens and chemicals harmful to the skin, as do dog sprays. Make sure you use a shampoo for your pup, such as our Dorwest Herb Range, link here that is completely safe. They are also silicone, mineral oil, petroleum and PEG (Polyethylene Glycol) free.
Garden and lawn products
Your pup probably spends quite a bit of time lying in the garden in the summer. Fertilizers, pesticides and weed killers all irritate the skin, paws and noses, and simple changes can make big differences. They are also harmful to bees, so keep an eye on what you use and check the ingredients are safe.
Changing to a fresh raw diet is essential here folks, whilst checking all the other simple changes above. Sometimes this problem can take a long time to clear up, and you may need the help of a holistic vet and canine nutritionist too.