SUBMITTED BY ONLY NATURAL PET
Itching, and the scratching, biting and licking that goes with it, is one of the most common health problems in dogs and cats. Frequent head-shaking, scratching, rubbing, chewing, or licking some area of skin (including ears) means there’s a problem with itching, technically called “pruritis.” Left untreated, itchy skin can be damaged by the pet’s scratching, rubbing or licking, which may lead to “hot spots” (areas of oozing, dry or inflamed skin), as well as secondary infections. Finding out what is causing the itch, and resolving that cause, is essential to your pet’s quality of life.
In very general terms, itchy-skin problems in pets fall into just a few, main categories: poor nutrition, infections, parasites and allergies are the major players; but endocrine diseases, primary skin disorders, neoplasia (cancer), autoimmune, psychogenic (mental-neurological) causes, and drug reactions may also occur. Sometimes more than one factor may be contributing to the problem.
The top 10 itch causing factors are nutrition, infection, fleas, other insects and arachnids, airborne allergies, food allergies, genetic factors and breed predisposition, vaccine reactions, glandular/hormonal imbalances, hypothyroidism, Cushing’s disease and detoxification. Let’s just touch on a few! Nutrition does not include food allergies, but diets containing lower-quality nutrients are at the root of many an itchy pet.
We know that good nutrition is the foundation of health, and the corollary is also true: cheap ingredients (such as corn and by-products) make for expensive vet bills. Even vets tend to be poorly educated on nutrition, and often recommend grocery store, or “prescription” type diets. Become a label reader and choose only good quality natural foods for your cat or dog.
Skin infection is common in pets. Major culprits are ringworm (not actually a worm, but a fungus that is highly contagious to pets and humans). One thing that vets don’t talk much about is why infection occurs. In holistic terms, infections are always secondary; the skin is unhealthy for some reason (often nutrition-related), and then invaders like bacteria, yeast and fungus set in. Keeping the skin healthy via good nutrition, with wholesome meat proteins and essential fatty acids is the best prevention.
Flea allergy dermatitis is an intensely itchy allergic reaction to flea saliva triggered by a flea bite. Natural flea and tick control products are safer than using toxic pesticides on your pet.
We carry supplements for parasites and heartworm that are natural. Many animals are allergic to the same things that cause human allergies (dust, grasses, pollen, etc. Hypoallergenic diets, allergy support products and again, essential fatty acid supplements can be helpful. Food allergies are not quite as common as most people think and are actually more common in cats than dogs. Grain-free and novel protein foods, as well as raw food dies can do much to alleviate food-based allergies for many animal companions.
Allergy season is here! The skin is the largest organ of elimination. Many irritants, residues and compounds can be excreted through the skin. This is why pets develop skin symptoms from allergies that in people, cause respiratory discharges.
Come in to Only Natural Pet in Greenwood Village and talk to our nutritional consultants to learn more about what you can do for your pet’s needs during allergy season and the summer months when we all enjoy the outdoors.
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