5 Ways to Stop Your Doggie From Scratching and Itching – And Driving You Both Crazy!
One of the ironic things about bichon frises, is that while a Bichon is hypoallergenic to humans, they suffer their own skin allergies tremendously.
Wrigley can scratch and bite himself until we stop him. Almost every night, he wears an air collar when he goes to bed, so he doesn’t scratch himself all night. The healing collar relaxes him and he goes to sleep almost instantly. We have tried lots of remedies to help Wrigley stop itching.
However, we recommend that you take your dog to your veterinarian before trying any treatments. Itching and scratching is the number two reason pets visit the veterinarian (stomach problems are #1).
There are three main reasons why dogs scratch and itch – fleas and ticks (discussed in April), skin allergies from pollen, grass or dust, or food allergies. While you and I might have symptoms such as a runny nose or sneezing from allergies, pets unfortunately exhibit symptoms such as scratching and itching. Here are a few solutions to stop common itching problems:
- Change your doggie’s diet. Sometimes, your dog is itching and scratching because they are allergic to something you are feeding them. This is not usually the reason. According to WebMD, food allergies only account for 10 percent of these cases. Fleas and ticks are number one, and other allergies are number two. The bad news is it’s difficult to determine what your dog is allergic to. The simplest way to isolate the allergy is to eliminate everything you are feeding your dog, and then introduce something completely different and see if it solves the problem. We recommend buying foods that are as simple and natural as possible. Avoid foods with lots of additives or fillers.
- Consider using drugs. We give Wrigley prednisone from time to time. We’re not crazy about it, but it works. Prednisone is a steroid that is very effective in treating itching and scratching. It has many possible side effects, so use it carefully, and always under your veterinarian’s supervision. Atopica is another drug that has been shown to be effective in treating allergies. Atopica, also known as cyclosporine, also has possible side effects, but not as many as prednisone. Only use it under your veterinarian’s guidance. If you want to use a drug with few possible side effects, consider an antihistamine, such as Benadryl. While not nearly as potent as the other options, antihistamines provide some relief to your doggie.
- Oatmeal. Many skin allergies can be alleviated by using oatmeal shampoo on your doggie. Baking soda is also known to be effective.
- Use boots. To keep allergens off your pet, consider using dog boots, such as our cool boots. This protects your doggie’s feet from contacting allergens in grass or on plants. Doggie coats are also effective, particularly in the rain or cold weather.
- Wipe doggie down. Lots of yucky stuff gets on your doggie when you take him or her for a walk. Consider giving your doggie a quick "bath" using products like doggie wipes, baby wipes which are a great way to get allergens off your dog after a walk. We use all of the above options to help Wrigley stop itching. We’re not 100% effective, but we continually make progress. Be persistent and vigilant and help your doggie feel better. And if your doggie feels better, so will you.