Your animal scratches ? What are the causes ?
Have you noticed that your dog is often scratching and licking ? Your cat is rolling around on the carpet? You may be feeling the itch yourself, just by observing all this activity.
Your pet scratches for many reasons. Veterinarians believe it’s best to find the cause as soon as possible. While occasional scratching is normal, frequent scratching could indicate a medical problem that could worsen over time.
According to a survey conducted in the United States, for the tenth year in a row, allergic dermatitis is the number one reason dogs are brought to the veterinarian. This condition can cause your dog to experience allergic itching, frequent scratching, recurrent ear infections and skin changes.
Itchy skin, parasite or food?
So what’s behind your pet’s itchy skin? It may be caused by a medical condition called allergic dermatitis (skin allergy). This means that your pet’s body is overreacting to an allergen in the environment or in food, causing itching. There are a number of potential culprits:
Flea and insect bites can create extreme itchy areas. They are most common on the back legs, the base of the tail and the hindquarters. Just because you don’t see fleas doesn’t mean they aren’t there – one flea bite can cause your dog to have an allergic itch.
Your pet may be allergic to environmental triggers, such as pollen, mold spores or dust mites. These allergens can cause allergic itching during certain seasons, or even year-round. Dogs with environmental allergies often show signs of allergic itching around their face, belly and paws.
Your animal’s itching may be caused by a food allergy. Some pets are allergic to common ingredients in pet food, such as meat, vegetables or dairy products. Food allergies can lead to signs of itching around the paws, head, armpits and belly.
Dermatitis: what are the signs?
Allergic dermatitis can be very unpleasant. It can also lead to secondary health problems if treatment is not started in time. When a pet licks or scratches an area excessively, it can damage the skin and lead to skin infections and sores. These can lead to changes such as coat loss, body odor and inflammation. The resulting wounds can even be painful.
You may notice dermatitis in your pet’s behavior:
How to soothe the itch?
There are many treatments available to help pets with itching. Massages, baths, skin care products and various more or less natural products are suggested. But if, as is often the case, the problem is related to a food allergy, it is better to treat the problem at the source, by adapting the diet with a hypoallergenic kibble.
Why your pet's diet is so important.
Food allergy is one of the most common allergies or hypersensitivities. In an allergic animal, the immune system overreacts and produces antibodies to substances that it normally tolerates. In an allergic reaction, antibodies are produced against a part of the food, usually a protein. Food allergies usually occur after prolonged exposure to the food. Allergy can develop spontaneously and at any age. An ingredient in the diet, often meat but sometimes vegetables, can suddenly trigger it.
The most common food allergens are proteins, especially those from dairy products, meat (beef or chicken), eggs, soy or wheat gluten. Whenever an animal consumes a food containing these substances, antibodies react and symptoms appear. However, virtually any food ingredient can cause an allergy. Proteins are the most common culprit, but other substances and additives can also be responsible.
Hypoallergenic kibbles to the rescue of itchy pets
In order to detect a food allergy, the animal should ONLY be given hypoallergenic kibble and fresh water. This is called an exclusion diet. Everything else is excluded from the diet: cookies, table scraps, vitamins, toothpaste or flavored medications. Be careful: during the food allergy test period, if your pet manages to steal even a small crust of bread, you may mistakenly believe that your pet’s allergies are not related to its food.
If the test with the hypoallergenic petfood is done properly and the problems disappear after two months at the latest, then your pet has a food allergy. If not, you should seek advice from your veterinarian.
An animal protein-based diet with no known allergies, such as insects, and no wheat gluten is a simple, effective and inexpensive way to confirm an allergy.
More and more veterinarians are using Bazoef’s hypoallergenic petfood to detect possible food allergies, but also because it is of high nutritional quality.