Nearly every new puppy owner says that their puppy scratches a lot. In many cases it is nothing more than a puppy not yet differentiating between a minor itch that will go away of its own accord, or something more that needs a decent scratching! ALL puppies scratch behind their ‘arm-pits’ and the sides of their necks (especially if they have a new collar on!).
If you think about yourself at this very point in time, you probably have a couple of minor itches that you have decided not to scratch. If you were a puppy you would immediately scratch these very itches. As a pup ages, it will learn that not every itch needs a scratch, and adult dogs generally only scratch more major irritations and, like us, not bother with minor itches.
SOME puppies, however, are significantly itchy. Their skin may be quite pink or red, and some may even have a rash or sores on their body. Some puppies may also have noticeable dandruff. Allergies usually don’t develop until at least 6 months of age, but it is worth noting that MANY excessively itchy puppies end up being dogs with allergic skin problems. Therefore it is certainly a good idea to start managing the problem as soon as possible, and reduce the likelihood of chronic skin allergies.
If your puppy is very itchy, it should be seen by a vet. If it has come from the country, there is a higher liklihood that it could have sarcoptes mite. If it has red spots, or crusty sores, scaly skin, balding areas of its coat, red or overly pink skin, moist raw areas, then treatment is advised. Often there is a bacterial infection present.
Always check your puppy for fleas. Ideally it is best to check before you bring your puppy home for the first time as female fleas lay 50 eggs per DAY, and this can lead to a flea population explosion very VERY quickly. If you suspect or see fleas, the current BEST, safest, month-long treatment is called Activyl. Activyl can be purchased in SINGLE treatments, which is great for fast growing puppies as you don't have to buy a full six-pack.
However, if the itching is mild we advise the following to reduce or minimise itching or dandruff in your pup and to hopefully reduce any likely progression to worsening allergies.
ADVANCE GROWTH or PUPPY REHYDRATABLE DIET
- Contains COLOSTRUM that optimises the immune system and thus assists in normalising the skin’s response to an irritant.
- It also contains NUTRIFIBRE that maintains the normal balance of gut bacteria, minimising the overgrowth of bad bacteria. Bacterial overgrowth results in bacterial toxins and by-products that must be detoxified by the liver, excreted by the kidney and dealt with by the immune system. Minimising this stress on the body’s systems allows them to function more normally, keeping the pup healthier – including its immune system which is inappropriately hyperactive in allergic skin problems.
- Contains ANTIOXIDANTS that are important in minimising damage caused by inflammation (allergic or otherwise).
- Contains a single protein source, chicken, therefore not exposing your puppy to a broad range of potential proteins that may, rarely, cause allergy. If a food allergy is then suspected, simply changing the diet to another single source protein diet will eliminate that allergy.
MEGADERM or NUTRICOAT
A dietary supplement (liquid) that is simply added to the pup’s food. It has been formulated specifically for pets that have any kind of skin problem: mild itches, dandruff or severe dermatitis. Megaderm/Nutricoat contains a range of nutrients that are known to result in skin problems if one or more are deficient in the diet (Biotin, Zinc, Pyridoxine). It doesn’t mean your puppy’s diet is not balanced, but that some individuals have a higher requirement for certain nutrients than normal. If this is so, then Megaderm/Nutricoat will minimise any dandruff or itching, and reduce any worsening of the problem. Megaderm/Nutricoat also contains OMEGA-3 OILS that are important for skin cell function, skin oil, and to reduce the series of itchy ‘factors’ that are released when there is any irritation or allergy.
ALOVEEN SHAMPOO AND LEAVE-IN-CONDITIONER or EPI-SOOTHE SHAMPOO
Recommended by dermatologists as is hypoallergenic and soothing. It is pH balanced for puppy and dog skin and contains Aloe vera and Oatmeal, known for their soothing effect on skin. Use weekly as your regular shampoo and massage in Aloveen conditioner for prolonged soothing benefit (and a glossy, lustrous coat). Can be used more frequently, as required, if your puppy is itchy between its regular weekly baths.
You must also restrict contact with obviously potentially itchy areas, prickly lawn or other grasses (just think how itchy you feel rolling on lawn!), rough bedding material, oils and chemicals (in sheds) etc. In Adelaide, our grasses and lawns dry out in late spring/early summer and are extremely prickly to dog's skin - particularly the soft and hairless underbelly, and under the paws, between the pads. It is advisable to rinse the salt off after a swim at the beach also. A dog’s skin is one TENTH the thickness of ours and is thus extremely sensitive to things that might irritate it. Licking an itchy area also transfers many, many bacteria from around the mouth, which often result in infection. Treatment will be required if sores have developed, as secondary bacterial infection is likely to be present. Good luck with your puppy, and hopefully its skin will settle and its coat will be soft and shiny!
We look after the puppies of Adelaide's western suburbs, including Findon, Fulham Gardens, Henley Beach, Grange, Fulham, Lockleys, Seaton. Royal Park, Underdale, Torrensville, Brooklyn Park, Woodville Gardens, Allenby Gardens, Welland, Beverley, Kidman Park, Flinders Park, West Croydon, Woodville, Royal Park, Hendon, Tennyson.