Incessant Pet Scratching: Serious Health Issue or Easy Fix?

     No doubt that if your pet has itchy skin and is constantly scratching himself, you have quickly taken notice of it. If we can become easily annoyed at our pets persistent scratching, imagine how they must feel. The general term for all pet scratching is pruritus. Though a first thought may be that your pet has fleas, there are couple of causative factors that make pruritus a common occurance during the cold winter months.

One of those factors is air dryness. In the weather months (or throughout the year as in dry climates) dry skin is prevalent among pets because of forced heat in the home causing a lack of moisture. Running a humidifier and applying a moisturizing agent like olive, coconut, or calandula oil to dry spots is helpful as well as taking care not to dry out the skin even more. Keep baths to a minimum, with no more than one per month if needed. Use an oatmeal shampoo or some conditioning oils such as olive on your pet’s coat during bath time. Avoid using shampoos that contain chemicals as these will dry out the skin more. Be sure to rinse all soap off completely. If you must use a hairdryer on your pet, keep it at a low heat setting.

A second possible cause is a nutritional deficiency. During the cold winter months a lack of sunlight, due to staying indoors for long periods, can create a deficiency in vitamin D further upsetting the skin’s condition. Another common deficiency is omega 3 and 6 essential fatty acids. You can easily supplement these two vital nutrients with one simple product. Salmon or other fish oils which contain EPA and DHA are one of the richest source of these essential omegas as well as vitamin D. You can pick some up at your local pet or health food store or order online. Just follow the recommended daily dosage based on your pet’s weight. You may notice a difference within a couple of weeks of less scratching and a more lustrous coat.

If your pet’s scratching does not improve after making these changes, consider some other causes such as allergies, parasites, or other health conditions and take your pet to the vet for assistance. Finding the root cause of the scratching is essential to administering proper treatment. Once your pet finds relief of his irritating itch, chances are, you will be much relieved as well.

 

 

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