As the days warm and the bugs begin to swarm, it's time to iron your crocheted shorts and plan for sharper contrasts in the weather. Time to take out enough layers to stave off the evening bite, for draping over chairs, friends or donating to lost property as the sun reignites the fires within on those blue-sky basks.
My motley mutts embrace the change and revel in their shed, replacing their mud trails and full-body stamps on the sheets and pillows with a nice nose tickling of fur, sprinkling it over chairs, friends and anything that qualifies as property. If they’re not shedding, they’re scooting their ass along grass with grins from ear to ear, no it’s not worms, they’re victims of spring, as much as we are.
Some of the irrits provided by Spring can be more than overwhelming for our furry friends, they can scratch themselves raw and lick their tongues off on their paw. A dog with allergies will be scratching and itching a lot. Especially the face, belly, paws, and ears.
(We’re not vets, so this is by no means medical or veterinary advice, we urge you to seek professional advice before beginning any treatment. We can share with you what we know from the research we’ve done on the subject of skin sensitivities and present some of the products we have available that are researched and developed by Vets, Naturopaths and Scientists.)
So, depending on what your vets says, the problem could be fleas, mites, allergies, dermatitis or even a yeast infection. No doubt they’ll recommend a range of treatments and possibly a cortisone shot or steroid tablets such as prednisone for more serious cases. Of the people I know, the results are mixed, but many have some degree of success in reducing the animals itching. However, the problem with these treatments over the long term is that they have negative side effects resulting in many subsequent health problems.
This is where consideration is given to alternative, more natural treatments, as they’re better for the long term health of the animal, don’t have nasty side-effects and they are even capable of treating extreme cases of skin sensitivity in dogs, such as the Shar Pei, which are known for their persistent skin problems.
The Environment Matters:
Environmental factors include the season, their yard and living conditions, kennel, beds, basically where they live. Ultimately, these areas should be clean, where you might use “Yard Clean”, for example, to ensure their bedding and kennel area is clean. This reduces the incidence of mites and other bugs that reside and breed in areas like this. Identify any areas that might be a source of aggravation for their skin and look to minimise the dogs exposure to these areas.
“Allergies are basically an inappropriate or over-zealous immune system reaction. Genetics can pre-dispose an animal to developing allergies, but environmental and nutritional factors will ultimately decide to what degree allergies are expressed.
One unfortunate reality of allergies is, despite all advances in modern medicine, they continue to be a chronic disease. That means the best we can hope to do is control the expression of an allergy, and try to limit our use of drugs in doing so.”
– Dr Bruce Symes
Let’s get topical:
Next, we look at topical treatments, sprays, powders, oils and creams, stuff that you apply to the skin or coat of the animal. The range is broad, but the treatments effective. Ideally with a topical treatment, you’re aiming to soothe and heal any affected areas to reduce or stop the itching.
“Humans can simply treat basic issues with over the counter medications from a local pharmacy, we see this to be the future for pets also. Simple and common treatments should be available to everyone including those who can’t afford veterinary treatment or for those who seek an effective natural alternative.”
– Natural Animal Solutions.
There's sprays by Naturopaths for soothing problem areas, dermal oils and creams for treating breakouts, we even have powders and dry or wet shampoos for controlling bugs with Diatomaceous Earth and serum's with plant derived extracts and oils that will ensure as much healing as they do protection and defence.
The trick is to find what works best with your pooch and your lifestyle and schedule.
Starve it with food:
From foods to supplements, diet can treat the immune system, the digestive system and is the foundation of any successful treatment plan.
Vet's All Natural have a number of options tailored to treating skin issues, including a muesli-style mix that you can combine with fresh meat or a meat roll. In addition to the great food, there's also a great Skin and Coat Formula which you can use in conjunction with the Flax Seed Oil or the Omega Blend Oil.
Meals for Mutts dry food is all Gluten-free as a minimum. Their Kangaroo & Lamb is great for providing the turf, or you can hit the surf and try their Salmon and Sardine which is packed with Omega oils. They even have a Total Care Repair Bucket with a combination of goodies to sort the skin, including an Intestinal Health Plus powder and a Purely Pressed Omega 3, 6, 9 Oil.
Nutro is another excellent Aussie alternative to the international brands, providing a brilliant mix of wet and dry foods. The Fish and Rice is formulated specifically for sensitive skin and can be mixed with their canned food or your own choice of accompaniments.
In terms of other Supplements, Natural Animal Solutions offers the Skin Pack which consists of the Omega 3, 6 & 9 Oil, DigestaVite Plus powder and a High Potency Vitamin C powder. This is a great starting point for many and this is often just what the Dr ordered as they can add it to whatever food they already use.
With so many options, there's no excuse not to try these and get on top of your dogs sensitive skin problems, in the most healthy and sustainable way.
Enjoy the Spring, relish the change.