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Why Does My Dog Itch?

Dogs itch due to a reaction inside their bodies to an allergen. What are the different types of allergens?  One of the most common is environmental allergies that cross the skin’s protective barriers. These can be trees, grasses, pollen, molds, weeds, and even dust mites in the house. Another common allergen is parasitic allergies like fleas or mites while even internal parasites can cause skin irritation.  The final, and probably biggest, the category is food allergies.  Animals can become allergic to proteins in their food such as chicken, beef, fish, and more. See below for the Top 24 most common food allergens as reported by a food allergy test called NutriScan. An elimination diet is the best way to determine what your dog can and cannot eat but it is helpful to know which foods could be triggering the itch.

How to Stop the Vicious Cycle of Itching​

When dogs begin to itch and scratch, they damage the skin. The allergy may start as a mild irritation to the skin and then it builds on itself as the inflammation starts to worsen. The redness can then lead to a decrease in the protective layer of skin allowing bacteria to enter and cause a skin infection.  This can also occur in the dog’s ears as well, leading to an outer ear infection.  Once an infection has taken hold, the itch is magnified in intensity and can interfere with the dog’s daily activity and sleep.  Bacterial infections, if left untreated, can then lead to yeast or debilitating skin and ear conditions that can become painful, life-long, and very expensive for the owner to treat.  Deep bacterial or yeast skin and ear infections can also lead to an unpleasant odor.

Symptoms that Indicate an Allergy Related Issue​

  • Chewing, biting, scratching
  • Redness to skin
  • Greasy coat
  • Unusual odor
  • Rubbing or scooting
  • Hair loss
  • Shaking head, scratching at ears
  • Rashes or scabs

Ways to Prevent Allergies and Skin Conditions​

Unfortunately, there is no surefire way to prevent allergies. However, when you know what to look for, you can determine which type of allergy test to perform with the help of a holistic veterinarian. Diet should always be a consideration for controlling allergies. NatrixOne or NatrixOne Puppy is an all-natural plant-based omega fatty acid supplement.  It is an oil that can be placed on your dog’s food daily and will provide the nutrients to keep your dog’s coat full and shiny.  This product adds to the protective layer that stops the allergens from crossing the skin barrier and causing the itch.  Moreover, it is an excellent source of Omega 3 oils, and more, for dogs who have fish and protein allergies. As the old saying goes, “One ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

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About the Author

Rich Coleman
Dr. Rich Coleman grew up in Fairfield, Ohio and began his journey into veterinary medicine as a kennel attendant at the age of 15. He completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Cincinnati before graduating from The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine in 2002. Dr. Rich took over Plum Veterinary Clinic in December 2006, changed the name to Four Paws Animal Hospital in 2007, built a new facility in 2012 and began a remodel in March 2019 to allow for more growth and opportunities for our community. Dr. Rich Coleman is the Chief Veterinary Officer for NatrixOne™ and completed our 100 dog study in 2018. After seeing results firsthand, he joined the NatrixOne team!