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What you can do about your dog’s itchy skin

[Sponsored post] Second only to gastrointestinal problems, itchy skin is one of the main reasons why pet owners take their dogs to the vet. Every dog will scratch at some point in her life, but when your dog scratches, chews and licks her skin incessantly, it’s an indication that there’s a much more serious underlying problem. We take a look at the causes of itchy skin and what you can do to bring some much-needed relief to your dog.

Why is my dog so itchy?

There are a few possible causes for a dog’s itchy skin: there could be environmental triggers like pollen, feathers, dry air, grass, etc. There could also be parasitic triggers like allergies to flea saliva (which is very common) or skin mites, lice, and the parasites that cause mange. Dogs’ skin is also very prone to bacterial and fungal infections, which are potentially very serious, as some of these infections can be transmitted to human skin. Some breeds are more likely to suffer from skin problems than others, and some dogs have metabolic diseases (like Cushing’s disease or hypothyroidism) of which dry skin is only one symptom.

The best person to answer the question ‘why is my dog so itchy?’ is the vet. After performing specific tests (like blood tests and skin scrapes) the vet will be able to narrow down the causes of why your dog is an itchy-and-scratchy creature. Your vet might also refer you to a veterinary dermatologist if they need a second opinion or more specialised tests to find the cause of your dog’s dry, itchy skin.

How can I help my itchy dog?

Sometimes a dog’s dry skin is the result of using the wrong shampoo or feeding her a low-quality diet. These are the most easily rectifiable causes and the first port of call if your dog isn’t showing any other symptoms. A high quality dog food that specifically targets an itchy skin and using a gentle, skin-conditioning shampoo should never be sacrificed for cheaper alternatives. NEVER use human shampoo on your dog, as the pH is inappropriate for dogs’ skin.

Skin disorders are very difficult to diagnose because dry, itchy skin is a common symptom of many diseases. If your vet suspects it’s a food allergy, you may go through a lengthy process of elimination, first cutting out a big culprit and – if your dog shows not improvement – moving onto the next one. Common food allergens include wheat, dairy, chicken or eggs, soy, beef and corn.

Treating your dog from the inside out

Prevention is better than cure, so it’s best to treat your dog’s health as a life-long endeavour. Feed her only the highest quality food you can afford, prevent ticks and fleas from ‘nesting’ in/on her skin, and groom her regularly – both to stimulate skin health and to check up on her skin condition. Get her checked out regularly by the vet so he can monitor her health and advise where you need to make any changes, and ask your vet about supplements.

Skin supplements are a great way to not only manage your dog’s dry or itchy skin, but to ensure she has optimal skin condition all year ‘round. Efazo and Efazol Plus are specially formulated nutritional supplements for dogs with itchy skin. They contain zinc, biotin and vitamin A to reduce inflammation and to treat dry and damaged skin, and omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids to moisturise and nourish your dog’s skin from the inside out. Efazol is highly palatable, so your pup will think she’s getting a super treat, when in fact she’s getting love and care.

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