Itchy Scratchy Dogs
Veterinarian Reviewed on October 6, 2011 by Dr. Janice Huntingford
Dog owners are commonly frustrated by the itchy scratchy dog. The number one reason most owners seek veterinary attention is skin problems and most of theses kin problems are dogs which are continuously scratching.
Fleas are by far the greatest cause of itchy dogs. If you have a dog that is scratching you need to check for fleas. A flea comb can be your best tool for diagnosis of a flea problem. You should comb your dog thoroughly and shake out the dirt over a white surface. A white tissue or paper towel works well for this. Then spritz the dirt with water. If it melts and turns red, it is flea dirt or the bowel movements of fleas. Where there is flea dirt there are fleas–so what do you do about that.
There are many choices when it comes to flea control for your pet. It is important to remember that you have to also treat the environment. Most of us know that conventional treatment for fleas involves chemicals, pesticides and drugs. These things do work and some work well but at what cost ? It is true that you do need to treat the environment and the pet, but here is an interesting fact. Some animals attract fleas more than others.
So what do you do? The principles are to reduce inflammation and eliminate fleas.
A basic homemade diet that includes some garlic can help your pet to resist fleas. If your dog’s immune system is strong he can resist fleas. Other useful things can include dilute essential oils and herbal infusions or powders to use on the pet. Beware as some of these oils can be toxic–not so much for dogs as cats.
Environmental treatments can include sodium polyborate powder ( or Borax) for indoors and Diatomacious earth for outdoors. The indoor product requires vacuuming after it has been spread and you want to avoid having your pet walk on it.
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Janice Huntingford, DVM, has been in veterinary practice for over 30 years and has founded two veterinary clinics since receiving her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine at the Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph. She has studied extensively in both conventional and holistic modalities. Ask Dr. Jan