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Horse & Rider
  • Competition Safe Remedies for you and your Horse

  • Rider Hope Beerling with her healthy horse
  • Itchy Dog? Tips for identifying and managing skin conditions

    by Fiona Lane November 02, 2022

    Itchy dog? Tips for identifying and managing skin conditions

    It’s heart breaking to have an itchy dog that just can’t stop scratching, and it can be frustrating – and expensive – to identify and manage any of the many skin conditions that could be causing the problem.

    Using the right treatment is important, but that means knowing exactly what it is that needs to be treated! So here’s a few tips for identifying some of the most common skin ailments, along with suggestions on how to manage them using our range of 100% natural remedies.

    Of course, if your dog’s condition is serious or persistent, we recommend a trip to the vet for diagnosis and treatment.

    Itchy belly and all four paws

    If these are the only areas that are itchy, it’s likely your dog has a Contact Allergy. Bellies and paws don’t have a lot of fur coverage, which makes them susceptible to irritation from grasses or a reaction to weed sprays. Sometimes their chins and bottoms can also be affected, particularly if they are a breed that has a thin coat. Contact allergies are usually seasonal and so often flare up in spring and summer when certain grasses are around.

    Keeping dogs away from grass isn’t easy, but dosing them with our BioPet Grasses remedy is! Just a couple of pumps in the water bowl each day is all it takes to support a healthy immune response to grass allergies in dogs.

    Itchy front paws only

    If it’s just the front paws that are affected, it’s unlikely to be a Contact Allergy given dogs walk on all four paws! It’s more likely to be caused by a Psychogenic Itch, triggered anxiety or grief associated with situations like moving house, being rehomed, or being separated from their pack (including their favourite humans!). It can also come from more generalised anxiety – this constant licking of paws can be likened to people chewing their nails – so it can also be a habit or compulsive behaviour that started many years ago.

    Our Chewing Paws remedy supports dogs who intensely lick or constantly chew their front paws. For more generalised anxiety or compulsive behaviours, try our BioPet Relax remedy.

    Dogs that constantly lick all four paws may be producing an acrid sweat in response to dietary issues. Dogs only have sweat glands between their toes, so if they are obsessed with cleaning and licking between their toes on all four feet, it could be that a change of diet is needed.  

    Itchy all over and a bit smelly

    Dogs that are itchy all over are usually affected by Generalised Itching which tends to comes from the inside out – the gut.

    The itching is caused by the production of seborrhea (grease) that covers the surface of the skin. The natural bacteria on the dog’s skin love to feed on the seborrhea and this ready supply of food makes them multiply rapidly. It’s the waste these bacteria secrete that causes the relentless itchiness for the dog.
    The incessant scratching can break the skin which opens the door to bacteria getting into the wounds and causing infection.

    What causes an increase in seborrhea?

    Often it’s because the dog isn’t coping with the amount of salt or sulphur dioxide (SO2) in their diet. Sulphur dioxide is present in quite a lot of fresh dog food, and frustratingly this additive doesn’t have to be declared on the packaging. In addition, dog rolls and biscuits can sometimes be very high in salt. Some dogs eat these foods without any problem at all, while others end up with problem skin.

    Our BioPet Skin remedy targets the seborrhea cycle which can help to relieve symptoms, however to treat the cause it’s worthwhile talking to a raw feeding expert like www.rawessentials.co.nz to discuss how diet can help with chronic skin conditions.

    Itchy at the Base of the Tail

    Fleas love to set up shop at the base of the tail because it’s difficult for dogs – and cats – to reach around and bite them! If your pet has scurfy or gritty skin in that area or is constantly chewing or scratching there, fleas are your prime suspect.

    To check for fleas, comb the area then tap the comb onto a wet paper towel and leave it for 10 minutes. Flea poop contains blood, so if there are red blotches on the paper towel, this means the water has dissolved the poop leaving blood as a tell-tale sign that fleas are present.

    Flea Allergy Dermatitis

    Some dogs – and cats – have an immune system which over-reacts to flea saliva causing an inflammatory response that includes severe itching, scabbing and even hair loss. While this can be distressing for the dog, the good news is that if you get rid of the fleas with a product like our Flea Allergy – Pets remedy, you’ll also get rid of the dermatitis.
     

    Itchy all over with a healthy clean coat, but some pale pink blotching

    Dogs that have lovely coats but still itch all year round without any signs of fleas or other ailments may be allergic to carpet our house dust. Even the cleanest house with nothing but wooden floors can still cause problems for animals with an immune system that over-reacts to the slightest irritation from the dust in things like upholstery or bedding. 

    Often the only sign is pale pink, round blotches on their skin which you’ll see when you part their fur. Some treatments focus on the prolonged use of steroids to suppress the immune system, however our Dust Allergy Remedy for pets helps to manage the immune response to these allergens.

     

    Itchy, Red Chin

    It took us a while to work this one out, but it seems dogs with an itchy, inflamed chin and lips are usually drinking from a stainless steel water bowl. Water sits in these bowls for hours allowing off-gassing from the bowl to taint the water, causing irritation. Interestingly, using a stainless steel bowl for food doesn’t cause irritation as the food doesn’t sit in there for long enough.

    When selecting a water bowl for your dog, we recommend a bowl from your kitchen (food grade) e.g. a casserole dish or ice-cream container. If you have your heart set on a stainless steel bowl, choose one that is made in America where they add Boron to the steel. You will feel the difference in weight and usually price, as the American stainless steel bowls are much heavier.

    If you suspect this is the issue for your dog, try our Detox Plus - Pets remedy

    Other skin conditions

    We have a whole range of remedies for a whole range of skin conditions, including our ground breaking Sol Plus – Pets remedy for dogs (and cats) with white or pink skin.

     

    General Disclaimer

     

     

    Always follow dosing instructions. Our remedies are formulated to support the natural immune system of horses, pets, and livestock. We do not claim to treat, medicate or cure any health conditions. If you are worried an animal may be in pain or suffering please contact your veterinarian.

     

     

     


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