How to Provide Dog Allergy Relief and Soothe Dry Skin


| 9/29/2016 3:43:00 PM


Tags: Dog Allergy Relief, Dog Scratching, Dog Allergies, Pets,

Ask Our Experts

Recently, my dog’s nighttime scratching has been keeping both of us awake. Her fur seems dry, and she also seems to be shedding more than usual. What can I do to help her?

Dogs itch for many reasons, and sometimes for no reason. But when a dog is incessantly licking, scratching, biting, and chewing to the point of wounding itself, then scratching can be a symptom of an underlying pathology.

Dog Pruritus

The medical term for scratching related to excessive itching is “pruritus.” This is the second most common reason people take their dogs to the vet (gastrointestinal problems, such as diarrhea, top the list). The causes of pruritus can be quite complex, but dogs itch for two main reasons. The first has to do with the condition of the skin itself: Is it infected? Is it too oily? Is it too dry? Of these three, dry skin is a frequent occurrence. The second major cause of pruritus is allergies.

If you live in a region with low humidity, it’s more likely your dog will have dry skin, which is fairly easy to recognize. When you part your dog’s hair, you’ll see flakes of dandruff in the undercoat, and the skin itself may be cracked and tough. The slightest stimulation of the skin — your gentlest touch — can provoke your dog to scratch violently.

Dry skin can be influenced not only by environmental factors, but also by diet. Some commercial pet foods process out the good oils that contribute to healthy skin and a lustrous haircoat. Dry dog foods have an even more dehydrating effect, and they also increase thirst — but increased water intake only partially compensates for the drying nature of these diets. If you must feed dry dog food, consider adding digestive enzymes to your dog’s meals because enzymes improve the release of nutrients. Beneficial probiotic bacteria also assist in the digestive process. A healthy digestive system absorbs fluids more readily from food, thus improving hydration and increasing the moisture levels of the skin and haircoat.




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