Most people do not even think twice when they’ve got an itch, but when your dog is scratching there could be a number of reasons why.
Pruritus is the medical term veterinarians use when a dog is itching, and it is one of the top reasons why owners bring their pup in for an exam. During the appointment, your dog’s veterinarian will conduct a comprehensive physical exam to determine the cause.
During the exam, the doctor will perform a quick check for fleas, which can be a common cause of itching. Fleas like to live in warm areas on your dog, including their armpits and groin. Fleas also tend to gather by your dog’s ears and by the base of their tail. One easy way to protect your dog against fleas is to give them a monthly flea preventive. Our recommendation at Blum is Simparica, a liver-flavor tablet that is given once a month and also protects against 5 different types of ticks.
Another cause of pruritus can be atopic dermatitis, which is a chronic skin infection that is brought on by allergic reactions. These reactions can be caused by typically harmless things such as grass, dust mites and other environmental allergens. Scratching, chewing, licking are the main symptoms of atopic dermatitis, but in severe cases it can cause fur loss, hot spots or recurrent ear or skin infections.
Two products we offer at Blum can help provide your pup with itch relief – one is a monthly injection called Cytopoint and the other is a daily tablet called Apoquel. Cytopoint begins to help relieve your dog within 24 hours and lasts between 4-8 weeks before needing to be administered again. Apoquel starts to work within 4 hours after being given and is specifically designed to treat skin inflammation.
For some dogs, the remedy to their itching may be as easy as switching their food. Depending on their symptoms, your veterinarian may recommend doing a food trial for at least 8 weeks with your dog only eating the prescribed food. If there is no improvement on the food, other options such as medication can be discussed.
If you have any further questions or are concerned about your dog’s itching, please call us at: (773) 327-4446.
Written for Blum Animal Hospital by Jackie Sheppard.