The sight of your pet itching is so common it might just be something you associate with owning a pet. But think about it this way, every time you get a mosquito bite doesn’t it drive you crazy? I know I hate it. An itchy pet shouldn’t be something you take for granted because your pet can be in pain and itching can cause permanent damage.

There are many reasons why your pet itches, ranging from dry skin to many more serious causes. One of the most common causes is fleas. Even if you are on a flea control program, it might not be adequate. An easy way to check for fleas is to comb your pet and look for black specks. These specks are flea feces. If your pet is on flea medication and it isn’t working, you need to establish a new approach, one that should be guided by your veterinarian.  When you see your veterinarian, you can get access to a lot of great, new medications available only through your veterinarian.

Food allergies are commonly blamed as a cause for itching. While this can be true, it is an uncommon cause of itchiness. In my experience the most common cause of chronic discomfort is allergies to the environment. Your pet is just as likely as your are to be allergic to grasses or tree pollens! A trip to your veterinarian can help you figure out what your pet is allergic to so you can help control it. Getting your pets’ itchiness under control is the best way to prevent a serious skin infection.

Skin infections often happen as a result of your pet breaking the outer layer of their skin from continuous itching. It may sound gross, the the outermost layer of all mammal skin plays host to an ecosystem of bacteria and yeast. When your pet scratches too hard this breaks the barrier, allowing bacteria and yeast to proliferate inside the wound. Skin infections can be difficult to diagnose and to treat.

With an exam your veterinarian can hopefully find the cause of the itch as well as provide your pet with immediate relief. Sometimes relief can be a simple as a bath with the right shampoo. Your veterinarian can prescribe this medicated shampoo that cures the itch and heals the skin. But if you decide to do it on your own be sure not to use human shampoo on your pet because it can be damaging to their skin. A full groom by a grooming specialist can be helpful for curing mild itches as well.  Often in conjunction with topical treatment, a systemic medication will be used to immediately stop the itch. There are many new, very safe and effective medications available.

The most important thing to remember in solving your pet’s itching problem is that relief is only so good if you don’t treat the cause. Most over the counter products do very little to control the itch, your veterinarian will be invaluable in finding the cause and prescribing the right course of treatment.