August is Itchy Pet Awareness Month! Many people automatically conflate itchiness in pets with fleas, but there are many other possible reasons for Fido and Fluffy to be scratching. And while the occasional itch isn’t uncommon, ongoing itchiness can be a sign of a more serious issue, such as skin infections or even disease. In this article, a New Albany, IN vet discusses itching in pets.
Fleas and other parasites are of course one reason Fido and Fluffy can be itchy. Don’t assume that you have to see the fleas for this to be an issue: you may not actually spot any live fleas until an infestation has gotten quite severe. Plus, with some pets, even a few bites can make them itchy. Allergies are another potential cause. Fido and Fluffy can react to a wide variety of substances, which range from pollen, mold, dust, and leaves to things like shampoos or carpet fibers. Your furry pal’s diet may also be an issue. Not only is there a chance that your pet could be allergic to something in their dinners, it’s also possible that dry foods could be contributing to dry skin, another potential cause.
Scratching is the clearest indication that Fido and Fluffy are itching, but it isn’t the only sign. Your pet may also rub against things—including you—to soothe themselves. Or, they may lick or bite themselves obsessively. You may also notice hair loss and/or unusual odors. Skin problems are also often connected. That includes things like redness, flaking, scaling, or sweating. Stubborn ear infections can also go hand in hand, or hand in paw, with itching.
If your pet seems unusually itchy, make an appointment ASAP. You’ll need to find out what your four-legged buddy is reacting to before you can properly treat the issue. For mild cases, you may only need to adjust your furry friend’s care regimen, perhaps by changing their food or shampoo. However, that isn’t always the case. Some itchy pets require medication. Keep in mind that any medicines are toxic to our animal companions. Never give your furry buddy medicine unless specifically instructed to by your vet. You may also need to put an Elizabethan collar on your pet to keep him from making a raw spot worse.
Do you have an itchy pet? Contact us, your New Albany, IN veterinary clinic, today!