There are many reasons why dogs itch - some we understand and some we don't. But we can all agree that the scratching and it's its subsequent results can be unpleasant and hard to manage. It often creates the well known 'itch/scratch' cycle, where the itch causes the dog to scratch, the scratching leads to broken skin, free radicals build up in the area making the situation worse, which leads to more itching, and so on. So how can we help our canine friends reduce their need to scratch and avoid the itch/scratch cycle?
Ideally, we need to identify the cause and remove it to avoid this trigger that sets off the itching cycle. However, this is often easier said than done as commonly there can be more than one trigger, coming from multiple sources. As it is not always possible to trace where the itch started from, it can be almost impossible to resolve the issue. At times like this, the best and only option is to manage the condition to keep it under control, and keep the dog as comfortable as possible.
If your dog is sensitive to pollen, wiping him down after a walk can help remove any spores on the surface of the coat that would be ingested when the dog licks himself. If your dog is sensitive to dust, invest in the most powerful hoover you can find to remove as much dust from your home as possible. Antihistamines may help but always check with a vet before you use them.
Daily brushing not only helps remove dead and loose hair, it also helps stimulate blood flow and encourages the distribution of natural oils through the coat, which can help reduce dry skin. Increased blood flow means that the free radicals that may have accumulated (such as histamine) are moved out of the body faster.
Shampoos and ointments are commonly used to remove dirt and dust that can cause itching, and in many cases they work well, however they don't stop particles from getting into and acting within the dog's system. If topical applications don't help, you need to look at tackling the issue from within.
Targeting healthy skin from the inside is becoming a more recognized and popular approach these days. But there are so many products on the market, how do we know which one to choose? Firstly, research the key ingredients required for healthy skin and note their benefits. Below are some of the most effective yet natural nutrients that are known for their skin-friendly attributes.
MSM or methylsulphonylmethane, is an organic form of sulphur which makes up the building blocks of tissue, cartilage, joints, tendons, ligaments and, of course, skin. Not only does it help build good strong skin, it also has great antioxidant properties and it supports the body's own natural anti-inflammatory processes, helping the affected area back to health.
Vitamin E, liquorice and fenugreek are all powerful antioxidants which helps flush out the damaging free radicals that can build up in the system. Free radicals accumulate in the affected area, cause inflammation, and stop the good nutrients doing their job, so it's important to remove them effectively.
Packed full of skin-friendly nutrients, vitamins and minerals, chlorella is a freshwater green algae with powerful antioxidant properties, supporting a balanced immune system, maintaining the body's own anti-inflammatory processes, providing quality Omega 3's, and helping promote detoxification. You can see why they call it a Superfood!
Omega 3 provides 'healthy fats' that are well recognised for their benefits to skin health and condition. As they cannot be produced within the body itself, it's important to supplement this nutrient, especially in dogs with skin problems, as the Omega 3's help bolster the epidermis, improving the quality and health of the skin.
The answer is to feed a specific skin supplement formulated for dogs, which supplies the correct ratio and levels of these active ingredients in one go. The feeding level can be adjusted to suit any size of dog, ensuring that you can supply the optimum amount that their body needs. What's more, the unique balance of ingredients provides a proven synergistic effect, meaning there is more power in the blend than in one ingredient alone! So you can help your itchy dog feel good again.