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Why is my Dog itchy?

An itchy dog can be caused by so many things, it’s tough to get to the bottom of it sometimes and it can be distressing to see your dog so itchy.

To keep it simple, let’s break it down into the main culprit groups:

  • The environment
  • Food
  • Skin Barrier

The Environment
Unfortunately, there are dogs just allergic to the environment. It’s such a shame! They love to rough and tumble in the grass and mud, but their skin doesn’t like it. These environmental allergies can be seasonal – grass allergy is the worst in spring and summer – and so in some respects, we can control for them.We forget other things can make them itchy. Dirty bedding can be a contributor. It gathers dust and mites, and grass and pollen, so be sure to wash their bedding once a week.I am going to group fleas, mites, scabies, and other parasites in the environment since dogs pick it up from the places they cruise through. Don’t forget these. Obviously, fleas are more common than the rest.

Talk to your vet about this. Some dogs are allergic to certain foods, and this might manifest as itching or as other skin rashes. This is something that needs to be worked out under veterinary guidance.

Skin barrier
The skin barrier has long been ignored in dogs. It is estimated that up to 30% of dogs worldwide suffer from skin disorders with the most common being atopic dermatitis (AD). AD is well studied in humans, and it is now established that AD in humans is exactly the same as in dogs : increased transepidermal water loss, decreased lipids and ceramides in the skin layer, abnormally increased reactivity to environmental allergens and a weakened barrier to antigens. In humans, it is well established that moisture and using products high in moisturizing ingredients makes a difference. In dogs, it is just the same. They need moisture to strengthen the skin barrier and make it less reactive and itchy. For dogs who are super reactive to environmental allergens, one could consider frequent washing to rinse irritants from the skin, but use replenishing washes and don’t forget to moisturize after. Your dog will thank you for it. 

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