Summer Skin Saga Solutions!
Most of us look forward to the Spring and Summer; the warmer weather, our blooming gardens and fun times in the fresh air! However, for some people it means the start of the dreaded hay fever season and did you know, that the same can be said for our dogs?!
For us, the sneezing and streaming tears (fun!) are caused by the pollens getting up our noses and into our eyes. They also cause problems for our pets but for them it is the presence of pollens on their skin that triggers reactions.
General itchiness, sore paws and irritated ears are all symptoms of ‘Atopy’, the technical term for doggy hay fever, especially if more than one occurs at the same time or if they disappear with treatment but then reoccur.
What it is important to realise is that our pets are never allergic to just one thing, it is always a combination of allergens, both environmental (from indoor and outdoor spaces) and dietary.
It is all these irritants adding together that tip our pets over the ‘itching threshold’ and cause their skin to flare.
So, when it comes to soothing them, I find it is helpful to think of the cure reflecting the cause; it’s lots of little things adding together that make them sore, and there are lots of small changes we can make to help them get better!
So, here are my top tips for puritic pooches! (Puritic = posh vetty word for itchy!)
For most atopic dogs, medicines are the mainstay of their treatment. We have several drugs available that are really effective. Some very sensitive individuals need them all year round but others only need them in the summer time when the pollens are at their worst.
Supplements are a brilliant way of strengthening the skin and making it less sensitive to summer pollens. They can soothe the itchiness a dog feels, decrease dryness and flakiness, and support the natural defences. They tend to contain omega oils, vitamins and plant extracts. Lintbells, the makers of YuMEGA Itchy Dog are sponsoring this blog but I do recommend it regularly to my clients and have been impressed with the results it gives.
Bites from parasites of any kind will inflame a sensitive dog’s already fizzing skin and make the overall itchiness even worse. Allergic pets must have regular, effective parasite control, which will make a real difference to their comfort levels. The best products are always sourced from your vet.
Fleas and other parasites are a huge source of irritation, especially in sensitive dogs
Wiping them down
It is the physical presence of the pollens on the skin that cause our pets to react, so wiping down their paws, bellies and necks with a damp flannel after time outside can really help to reduce their exposure.
Even if your dog doesn’t have dietary allergies, putting them on a hypoallergenic food or one designed for sensitive skins can be helpful. They are usually great quality and often contain skin strengthening ingredients.
It is possible, with either blood or skin tests, to identify exactly what your dog is allergic to. Occasionally these can be eliminated from the dogs environment but in most cases a ‘vaccine’ is created containing minute amounts of the allergens. This is then injected into your pet on a regular basis, with the idea being that with constant, low level exposure, eventually their body will stop reacting.
Owning a dog with sensitive skin can be a nightmare, both for them and for you! It is horrible watching them scratch themselves raw or sucking at their feet until they bleed. As I hope this blog shows, relief is available and it can come in many forms, from drugs and diet, to spot-ons and supplements like YuMEGA!
Please don’t let your pets suffer, go and speak to your vet about what you can do!
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