Pesky Pests and Itching Season
Allergies are all too common and the same pollens and house dust that cause allergic reactions in people often cause allergic dermatitis in dogs. Allergic dermatitis is an inflammation of the skin. It can be caused by many things, but regardless of the source, the end result can be licking, scratching, maybe even hair loss, but definitely discomfort for your dog.
What can you do?
Your veterinarian may try to help manage your dog's allergy by numerous methods including injections, oral medications, nutritional management, topical shampoos, dips, ointments and environmental treatments.
At home, you can provide plenty of clean water (your veterinarian may even recommend distilled water). If your vet has performed a biopsy or prescribed a medicine, be certain to closely follow instructions for care and activity restrictions. Use environmental sprays and foggers only as directed. And watch your dog closely for signs that the condition is recurring. Do not hesitate to call the clinic if questions or problems arise.
Nutrition can impact dogs with food allergies and dietary fatty acid therapy has been used in dogs with allergic skin disease or dogs with pruritis or dermatitis.
Heartworms can be prevented. Because this disease is frequently fatal, you should take the steps your veterinarian recommends to keep your dog from catching heartworms. Heartworms are spread by mosquitoes. Your veterinarian can prescribe a heartworm preventive and recommend the appropriate testing and preventative schedule for your dog. Consult your veterinarian immediately if you suspect that your dog has heartworms.
If your dog is allowed outdoors, complete elimination of fleas is often impossible. A more realistic goal is flea control, especially in warmer parts of the country. Flea control requires controlling the life cycle of the flea. There are many new, highly effective topical or oral products available today and your veterinarian can recommend which is most appropriate for your dog and household. Environmental treatment can shorten the time for complete flea control. Frequent vacuuming removes flea eggs in rugs and carpeting (promptly dispose of the vacuum bag). Laundering your dog's bedding is also advised. Premise sprays or foggers may also be recommended by your veterinarian. Preventative measures taken before you see fleas can save you and your dog a lot of discomfort.
Ticks spread diseases such as Lyme Disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Ehrlichiosis, etc. People and pets can contract these diseases, so ticks are a serious concern. During tick season, check your dog daily for ticks. Prompt removal can help prevent the spread of tick-borne illness (wear gloves when removing ticks). Keep your dog from roaming through tall grasses and woods. Keep the grass around your home cut short, and spray the yard with pesticides for tick removal. If your veterinarian feels your dog is at risk, he or she can vaccinate against Lyme Disease and recommend effective tick control products.