Why your pet’s scratching may not just be fleas

Scratching!

Scooting!

Licking!

Oh My!

Does your dog seem uncomfortable due to extra itching, or does their scratching keep you up at night? If your pet isn’t on flea prevention then your pet’s itching could be solved by simply getting them started on medication. However, if you’ve already taken that step and the symptoms persist, then it’s possible your pet’s itching is a sign of a medical condition or an allergy. Similar to human allergies, pet allergies are caused by the environment (pollen, mold, dust mites), by the food they are eating, by contact with certain chemicals (shampoo, carpet), or by flea allergy dermatitis.

Symptoms of a skin allergy:

  • Excessive licking, chewing, biting or scratching
  • Excessive rolling, rubbing or scooting
  • Foot chewing
  • Hair loss
  • Recurrent ear problems
  • Changes in skin, like sores or darkened color
  • Redness of the skin
  • Body odor
  • It can be difficult to distinguish which of the aforementioned situations could be the cause of your pet’s skin issues, and as pet owner we don’t expect you to be able to self diagnose. If your pet has any of the symptoms above we recommend seeking out medical treatment from your veterinarian.

    What is flea allergy dermatitis?

    If you are unfamiliar with flea allergy dermatitis, Zoetis defines it as “an inflammatory skin disease associated with allergies to pollens, molds, and dust mites,” and is a common source of itching. Oatmeal baths, topical treatments or lotions are commonly used to provide temporary to your pet’s symptoms, but to get to the root of the problem, further medication and treatment is needed. If your dog’s symptoms seem to fit this definition check out this chart that helps you identify and record the severity of your dog’s itching and provide these details to your veterinarian.

    Source: https://goo.gl/XZqCTB

    Get Your Pet Tested for Allergies

    After determining that your pet may have a skin allergy, bring them to your veterinarian for further testing and discussion. A sample of your pet’s blood will be taken and the veterinarian will work with you to determine which factors may be contributing to the allergy by process of elimination. The elimination process can take a bit of time so temporary relief can be provided for your pet with a steroid or flea medication while the allergy is being diagnosed.

    VIP Petcare care Can Help!

    To recap, it’s easy to get symptoms of a skin condition mixed up with symptoms of a flea infestation. If you have your dog on flea prevention, either oral or topical, the problem may be that the medication is not working or a more serious flea treatment is needed. VIP Petcare Wellness Center veterinarians are available to diagnose skin conditions in your pet and give you treatment options to help get your pet healthy again. A skin scraping, which consists of collecting a small sample of your dog skin cells, can reveal the presence of abnormal cells in layers of the skin and is also offered at all Wellness Center locations. We’re here to help get your pet back on a healthy track!

    Click here to find a VIP Petcare location near you.