dog itching and scratching

Itching and Scratching

The Six main Causes of Itching and Scratching on Dogs and Cats

One of the most common ailments that can affect cats and dogs (and of course, their owners for that matter) is a persistent itching sensation. Usually, when this condition gets serious, most owners will bring their mascots to the veterinarian claiming that it has fleas. However, there are other causes that can be the origin of this behaviour and it is our duty as responsible owners to learn about them in order to avoid future breakouts.

1. Environmental: This cause can only be detected by a veterinary after he/she rules out all other possible causes. Skin irritation caused by the environment results most commonly when the dog or cat is extremely active in nature and likes to explore places outside of their homes. These can range all the way from swimming in lakes to running through paddocks, where they can come in contact with substances that irritates their skin.

2. Nutritional: Put shortly, many pets become far more vulnerable to any kind of skin irritants just because the food they eat is not balanced. The tricky part here is that even dog/cat food that labels itself as "balanced and nutritious" can be anything but that. When possible, avoid these "supermarket foods" unless it is clear that its main ingredient is meat. Furthermore, owners can dramatically increase their dogs’ or cats’ nutritional intake by providing them with the appropriate vitamin supplements.

3. Parasites: Parasites like fleas and ticks can not only cause itching to any cat or dog out there but, if these bugs happen to carry infectious organisms within them, then the situation for our four-legged friends can become really serious.

4. Allergies: As with people, cats and dogs can also prove to be more sensitive to certain elements. The variety can be simply staggering, ranging all the way from simple plastic toys and carpets up to the very water they drink. In order to pinpoint the real cause of their allergies, owners must take their pets to the veterinarian immediately after detecting any increased scratching, sneezing or other irregular behaviors.

5. Neurogenic: Surely the trickiest of the bunch, neurogenic dermatitis is a condition where cats and dogs (but mostly dogs) obsessively lick a certain part of their skin. There doesn't seem to be an organic cause for this other than the pet’s anxiety and state of frustration, confinement and boredom. It sounds convenient, but it is a proven fact that animals do get stressed and bored and this can be the cause of many other ailments besides just skin conditions.

6. Infectious: Very tightly related to the environment and the parasites to which the cat or dog is exposed. Both of these are sources of bacteria, fungus, dust and other elements that can seriously compromise a pet's skin.

It is also worth considering that no matter the specific cause of a dog's or cat's itching and scratching, it is always a sound practice to provide them with the most balanced diet possible, which can be further enhanced by a good vitamin supplement choice so that their defenses are up to the challenge whenever they face any kind of threat.