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5 TOP possible reasons your dog is itchy.

December 15th, 2019

Is your dog’s skin itchy and you just can’t figure out why?

Here are 5 TOP possible reasons!

1. External parasites

When our dog starts scratching the first thing we’re advised to do is to check for external parasites…. especially fleas. 
Flea bites can make a dog uncomfortable and itchy and they can also bring about other problems.

  • Dogs can be hypersensitive to flea saliva causing an allergic reaction.
  • Flea larvae can be infected with tapeworm eggs and if your dog eats an infected flea he can become a host to this parasite. As a result, if your pet has fleas you should treat him for worms.
  • Fleas only suck blood from their hosts as adults. A flea can live from between 14 days to one year and a female can lay up to 50 eggs in one day – that’s 1,500 in a lifetime!
  • It’s estimated that 95 percent of flea eggs, larvae and pupae live in the environment (dog beds, carpet, the gaps in flooring) and not actually on your dog.

Regular use of Vita Canis Insect Repelling Citrus Spray repels fleas and stops them from becoming a problem! 

Environmental allergies could one of the reason why your dog is itchy.

2. Environmental allergies

An allergy is an abnormal response to something in the environment and this substance is called an allergen. It’s very common in people and it’s no different for dogs. People, dogs and other animals that are allergic need only come into contact with very small amounts of the allergen to cause the reaction and the symptoms.

Skin problems in dogs are commonly caused by allergic inhalant dermatitis (hay fever, atopy). While humans have mast cells in the respiratory passages that become inflamed and cause sneezing, dogs inhale the pollen but develop atopy in the skin. Dogs don’t usually sneeze with atopy, most just become itchy which causes them to lick, chew and scratch.

When your dog suffers with inhalant allergies it’s impossible to avoid the allergens as the pollen is pretty much everywhere, even though surprisingly, only about 1% of the total weight of a pollen contains the allergic portion! This doesn’t sound too bad, however when you consider that the ragweed plant can produce 1 billion pollen grains and most pollens and moulds can travel 30 miles in the wind that makes it pretty impossible to avoid them.*

I created Vita Canis Skin Relief to help dogs suffering from environmental allergies and to help them deal with the symptoms. Give it a try!

Skin Relief is a 100% natural treatment for dogs suffering from the discomfort of itchy skin. It provides fast relief for allergic reactions, combats itching, and helps break the frustrating cycle of itching and scratching. A synergetic blend of essential oils, hydrosols and soothing calendula oil, supports the skin’s healing process too.

3. Anal glands

Anal glands are small glands on either side a of dog’s anal opening. They produce a particularly thick, smelly, oily liquid secreted by glandular tissue for identification and territory marking. This is the reason dogs smell each others bottoms when they meet and greet. Did you know that?

Domestic dogs and cats have mostly lost their ability to empty these glands voluntarily.  Passing normal firm stools puts a pressure on the rectum walls to empty the glands and to some degree, help to lubricate the anal opening in the process, making it easier for a dog to poo. Dog’s anal glands may spontaneously empty just by walking around, especially under stress, creating a very sudden and very unpleasant change in his odour 🙈.

Anal glands fill for a few reasons but most commonly when the dog’s stools are soft (after a few days of diarrhoea), so there is not enough pressure to empty the glands. Whenever they fail to empty properly there’s a chance of becoming impacted (firmly pressed) or even worse, infected, which is then a very painful condition and requires urgent veterinary treatment. This results in pain, increased swelling and, sometimes, even abscesses and fever.

If the anal glands don’t empty, they become swollen, but it’s not painful.  It does, however, cause discomfort for the dog so he will try to lick his back end, nibble the base of his tail or scratch. 

Years ago, one of my dogs, Blondie, would scratch her ears when her anal glands where full. I have no idea why, but I believe everything is connected.

If you see your dog nibbling his back end or tail or dragging his bottom on a floor… have his anal glands checked by a veterinarian. You can also ask your dog groomer to check the glands on your regular visits. Have a look at my blog about this here.

4. Ear problems

If there is no foreign body present in the ear and you wish to use a totally natural treatment, time to try Vita Canis Ear Cleaner! Have you tried it yet?

Problems with ears can cause a lot of discomfort to our dogs and once they start scratching it causes a vicious cycle of scratching, skin irritation and then scratching even more. Ear infections in dogs are most commonly caused by a range of factors, including bacteria, yeast, ear mites, excessive hair, moisture or wax, foreign bodies and allergies. Because the ear canal in dogs is mostly vertical (unlike the human ear canal, which is horizontal), it’s easy for debris and moisture to be retained in the canal itself leading to problems.

If your dog shows sudden signs of:

Ear pain, inflammation of the ear flap (redness), ear odour, discharge, continual head shaking or drooping of the ear, please have your veterinarian check it out. There may be an infection or it could even be that a foreign body is present causing the infection.

Methods of transmission of infection include direct penetration from the external environment, overgrowth of microflora in the ear itself, perhaps due to stress, hot weather or other factors such as immunosuppression or injury, for example.

If there is no foreign body present in the ear and you wish to use a totally natural treatment, time to try Vita Canis Ear Cleaner! Have you tried it yet?

5. Tight muscles

This is one I’ve observed in my dogs as well as other dogs in the salon. I’ve witnessed dogs scratching for no particular or visible reason but when I’ve touched the area the muscles underneath felt tight and the area warm. But why does this make them scratch? I think the reason is that the muscle tightness causes discomfort and it’s the dogs way of trying to soothe himself, much like we touch our shoulder, or elbow, or other area when it hurts…  a dog is trying to do the same.

In cases like this I would gently massage this spot, using a technique called effleurage.

Effleurage is a massage technique that involves a series of long, smooth, rhythmic strokes over the skin, using either the fingertips or the palms. This movement is usually repeated a few times over the area. It stimulates the blood flow, relaxes muscle fibres, reduces muscle tension and stimulate nerves in the tissues. I would then apply Skin Relief, because it not only provides relief from allergic reactions and combats itching. The peppermint in the Skin Relief also has analgesic properties thereby relieving muscle pain and joint pain.

So there you have it! My TOP 5 reasons as to why your dog could have itchy skin!

I hope it’s been of some help ❤︎

Jitka xx

* Ackerman, L., D.V.M. ; Skin and haircoat problems in dogs ; Alpine Publications, 1994


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