How Fish Oil Helps Relieve Itchy Dog Skin

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Published: 23rd November 2010
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Food allergies can create itchy skin problems for dogs and there can be multiple triggers affecting your pet. Find out how to determine what is causing the allergy and what you need to do to correct it.



=>Food Allergies



One of the main causes of itchy dog skin are allergies which can be triggered by certain food ingredients. Ten percent of allergies in dogs are caused by food. In addition, mold and pollen can cause an allergic reaction. If you suspect that a food allergy is the culprit you will want to methodically change the dog's diet according to your vet's recommendation.



This is done by using an elimination diet where the current food is replaced by one that he has never had. When you notice that the dog has improved you can begin reintroducing foods from the old diet starting with those that may be a problem. Beef and wheat products, for example, can often be troublesome, however, dairy products, eggs, lamb, chicken, rabbit, pork, soy, and fish can be included as well. Most dogs will have more than just one allergy. If there is going to be a reaction it will occur within 2 days to a few weeks.



Some breeds including most retrievers, German shepherds, dachshunds and cocker spaniels are most likely to have food allergies.



=>Dry Skin



Dogs can get dry skin just like humans and it can be caused by allergies, mange or other skin conditions. During the winter when there is low humidity dry skin is more prevalent. A lack of fatty acids, such as omega-3 in the diet, causes itchy dog skin due to dryness. A fish oil supplement will not only help but will add luster and shine to the coat.



=>Fleas



Anyone who has had a dog or a cat knows that fleas can cause itchy dog skin. Although fleas are visible to the naked eye they are not easily seen especially on a dog with a thick coat. What you will see are the droppings or eggs on the surface of the coat. Another indication that your dog has fleas is that he will lick or scratch excessively and will develop scabs or hot spots. Blood loss and anemia can result in extreme cases of flea infestation. If fleas are ingested they can cause tapeworms. The best way to combat fleas is with a topical or oral treatment plus decontamination of the home and yard.



In case you're still not sure if fleas are the problem you can pick off some of the droppings which will look like dirt on the surface of the coat. If it turns red when you add a little water to it the flea diagnosis is confirmed.



=>Hot Spots.



Another problem that can cause itchy dog skin is hot spots. These are small red spots that appear irritated and inflamed. They will be most prominate on the head, chest or hips and will feel hot to the touch. There is a wide range of conditions that cause hot spots including insect bites, infections, allergies or excessive licking or chewing. The first step in treating hot spots is to determine the cause and treat accordingly. Changing the diet and supplementing with fish oil can help relieve hot spots.



Golden retrievers and other long hair dogs are more susceptable to hot spots in warm, humid weather.



=>Hormonal Imbalance



If your dog's thyroid gland is not functioning properly or produces too much cortisol this may cause superficial skin infections. These would be indicated by small, red spots that your dog will scratch as if they were allergies. Your vet can perform a thyroid test to determine if this is the cause.





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