The weather will soon be warming up and the increased humidity can cause minor skin irritations, commonly experienced by our dogs, to escalate into a major problem. It’s essential to monitor your pet closely and take action if he is itching or biting his skin more than usual.
The more dogs itch, the more they irritate their skin, and the worse the problem becomes. Fleas multiply, or in some cases a yeast or bacterial infection can take hold and spread. This cycle needs to be broken, or better, prevented from starting.
Signs that your dog’s skin irritation is getting out of control include hair loss and flaky or greasy skin. Pay particular attention to the skin between the toes, in the elbow folds, around the ears and under the neck. Grey, wrinkled, thickened skin – ‘elephant skin’ – is usually a sign of a yeast infection. Watch out too for an increased ‘doggie’ smell that lingers even after a bath.
Things to action:
• Follow a regular flea-control regime
• Condition your dog after every shampoo to keep his skin moist
• Have your dog’s ear fur removed
• Find the trigger. If the itching comes on suddenly, think about what may have caused it. Did you give your dog a new treat or food in the last 12 to 24 hours? Did you go on a new walk, giving him access to any new plants?
If despite all your best efforts, your dog is itchy, smelly and miserable, take him to the vet. Before treatment starts, your vet will likely take a sample of ear material or skin to identify if the infection is yeast or bacterial in origin. Once the infection is under control, with your vet’s help, you can start to work out what caused the allergy. Note that in some cases, where a definite diagnosis can’t be found, your dog will need to stay on long-term, anti-itch medication.
To contact Anita, or book an appointment at Tung Chung Vet Centre, call 2328 7282.
Image: Anita Tomasov