Itchy Dog Skin & Coat Formula
Dogs with skin, coat and allergy issues may have the following problems:
-Crustiness around eyes
-Red, irritated skin
-Chewing on paws
-Scratching their stomach or ears
These are just a few of the symptoms your dog may have, and if just one symptom applies, your dog could be suffering from allergies or skin & coat problems. Sporting and gun dogs are bred to make them really good at what they do. They can work in harsh environments that can be hard on their skin and coats. This same special breeding can also make them more likely to have the problems listed above. According to Dr. Shawn Messionnier, a nationally recognized expert on holistic medicine for animals:
“Although there are many causes of itchiness in dogs, the most common is a genetic inflammatory disease called atopic (allergic) dermatitis, often called skin allergies. If your dog is scratching regularly without signs of skin lesions, chances are he has an allergy.” *
Any dog, no matter the breed or size, can have problems with their skin & coat or allergies. They can happen during different seasons, or year round. Spring allergy season or dry air in the winter from indoor heat are just a few examples of when dogs may have problems with their skin & coat.
Genetic Causes for Skin & Coat Problems
Genetic causes can mean your dog is more prone to skin & coat problems, including itching, inflammation and irritation. You may see things like redness in their ears or on their chins, white dandruff like flakes in their coats, crusty eyes or watery eyes. They may lick themselves until they are raw. This isn’t fun for you or your dog. It can also distract them from their work, breaking their concentration if it gets bad enough.
Treatments for Skin & Coat Problems
There are many ways you can help your dog, with conventional topical treatments, antihistamines and corticosteroids; and with complementary therapies, such as nutritional supplements. It is always a good idea to check with your veterinarian if the problem is serious to make sure you know exactly what is going on with your dog. But, for mild cases of itchiness, a supplement that provides extra nutrients shown to help support healthy skin and coats may be just the thing to help.
Dr. Messionnier supports the use of multiple therapies to help allergic dogs, once an accurate diagnosis has been made. He has many years of experience in treating pets with allergies. Here is what he has to say about just using traditional therapies without considering other options:
“Another thing that is quite troubling to me is that so many pets with chronic allergies are being treated for months or years with potentially harmful medicines, usually steroids and antihistamines, without attempting other safer therapies. The lack of safe, long-term, and effective conventional treatments for allergic pets is the reason I first became interested in complementary therapies. I was frustrated at seeing the same pets in my hospital month after month for their ‘allergy’ shot and a dose of steroid pills. While I could help these pets stop itching for a few weeks, they would always come back for more drugs. I desperately wanted something to decrease their reliance on corticosteroids, which I knew could shorten their lives and was the cause of their side effects of increased appetite, increased intake of food and water, increased urination, and weight gain.*
By getting ‘turned on’ to the many complementary therapies available to pets, I was able to finally offer my patients something other than only conventional medicines that temporarily covered up their symptoms without really addressing the problem and helping the pets heal.” *
* Messionnier,DVM, Shawn, The Allergy Solution for Dogs, Three Rivers Press, 2000
Breeds with Skin & Coat Problems
Three breeds that have been identified as being prone to genetic allergic dermatitis are Golden Retrievers, Laborador Retrievers and English Setters. While these breeds may be more likely to have problems with itchy skin and allergies, any breed can have allergic dermatitis. The usual age that allergies show up is between 1 to 3 years old according to reports in veterinary literature. This means your dog can start to develop allergies at a young age, since the symptoms often show up within 1 to 3 years of exposure to the allergens. But some dogs can show signs at a few months of age, it just depends on the breed and their genetic predisposition to allergies.
Checking the list of symptoms is one way to determine if your dog is having problems. The most common symptom will be itching, even if your dog’s skin looks normal. Your dog probably won’t have severe itching at first, it will be more mild or moderate, as a veterinarian would describe it. Severe itching is a more serious problem like mange, fleas or a food allergy, and you should definitely check with your veterinarian for this problem.
If your dog has mild itching and keeps scratching, it can develop into a more serious problem over time. The constant scratching can lead to skin lesions or infections, so you don’t want to ignore even mild scratching. A gun dog that is out in the field or in the water, needs a healthy skin and coat, so don’t let itching put their long-term, optimal health at risk because it can affect their performance. And open wounds or scratches are not a good idea for a dog working outdoors.
Ear and skin infections in dogs can become a problem that doesn’t go away and may get worse. So doing something earlier rather than later is always a better choice for your gun dog.
There are many things in the environment that can make your dog itchy. Just like us they will have problems with pollens, molds, ragweeds and house dust mites. You may see them reacting during the same seasons that your allergies are giving you problems. And since your gun dog will be out in the field, in many different outdoor environments, the chances of them being exposed to allergens is much higher than the family pet that stays inside or in the backyard.
A dog that trains, works or hunts and often lives outdoors will be exposed to more environmental allergens. Their high activity levels while they are working will also stress their bodies, so extra nutritional support is important.