It’s distressing seeing your young puppy scratching and biting at himself. However, the only way to stop him doing so is to work out what is causing him to itch, and to do something about it.
The three most common problems that will make your pup scratch
Fleas are such a common cause of itching in dogs of all ages that, even if you don’t see any of these little biting insects on your pup, it’s important to treat them. Don’t rely on shampoos to keep them at bay, they aren’t effective enough and when you rinse off the lather, the killing effect is washed away.
A better option is to use a monthly spot on liquid such as Frontline Plus or Advantage, or a monthly Comfortis tablet.
Other parasites that may be playing a role in your pup’s scratching are mites such as Sarcoptes and Cheyletiella.
Food allergy has been seen in pups as young as 15 weeks of age. The best way to diagnose this condition is by feeding him a hypoallergenic diet for 12 weeks. Because he is still young, any low allergy kibble has to be suitable for growing puppies. That ensures he still gets all the nutrients he needs in the right proportions.
Atopy, or allergy to environmental dusts and pollens, can also occur in your pup but it isn’t the most common reason for him scratching. This is a diagnosis of exclusion, so you need to rule out the other more likely culprits before he is considered atopic.
Bacterial and Fungal Infections
Infection can certainly be a reason your pup is constantly scratching, but this tends to be a secondary problem. That means that some other condition has caused the initial skin irritation and the skin’s normal bacteria and fungi have multiplied in the inflamed skin.
Staphylococcus bacteria and a fungus known as Malassezia are responsible for these secondary infections. Treating them is an important part of managing your itchy pup, but unless you can identify the underlying problem, then the itching isn’t likely to resolve.
Treatment for an Itchy Pup
If your pup is itching and scratching, it’s a good idea to take him to your vet for a checkup. It’s pointless trying to treat itching without knowing what is causing it. You’re likely to spend money that you don’t need to, and your pup will itch for longer than necessary.
Parasites can be treated with a product that kills fleas and mites. Revolution is one such product. You may need to use it two weekly to get those annoying little creatures under control.
Antihistamines can reduce itching, but not all dogs respond to them. However, they are very safe so they are worth trying. Corticosteroids are very effective but are usually a last resort in young dogs.
Your vet will recommend a feeding trial to rule out food allergies. They may also prescribe antibiotics and an anti-fungal shampoo if a secondary infection is present.
There’s no need for your puppy to put up with itchy skin. Your vet can help you find the underlying cause of his problem and recommend treatment that will make him feel much better.
<p>This article provided by veterinarian and <a href=”http://www.dogfencediy.com”>invisible fence alternatives</a> expert Susan Wright and her staff in effort to educate people on the proper care of their dogs.</p>