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Ways To Soothe Itching In Pets

March 1, 2024

Have you noticed your furry pal seems a bit itchy lately? If Fluffy or Fido only occasionally scratches themselves, it’s probably nothing to worry about. We all get the occasional itch! However, persistent or frantic itching is a sign that something more is going on. In this article, a local Peterborough, ON vet discusses itching in pets and offers some suggestions on how to help your fuzzy buddy feel better.

Schedule Regular Appointments With Your Peterborough, ON Veterinary Clinic

First and foremost, keep up with your pet’s veterinary care needs. When it comes to pet care, an ounce of prevention can be worth several pounds of cure. Make sure your furry pal sees their doctor regularly!

Figure Out Why Your Pet Is Itching

Before you can help Fido or Fluffy, you’ll need to sort out exactly why they’re itching. There are several possibilities.

These include

  • Allergies
  • Dry Skin
  • Fleas
  • Mites
  • Fungal Infections
  • Bacterial Infections
  • Harsh Shampoos
  • Skin Problems

Your best bet is to make an appointment with your vet. While some issues, such as using the wrong shampoo, are easily remedied, others, such as bacterial infections, require proper veterinary care. Treatments may include various medications, such as steroids or antihistamines. However, it’s crucial to pinpoint what the issue is, so you can ensure that it is being treated properly.

Shampoo Could Make Your Pet Itch

Some of our furry friends have very sensitive skin. Just using a shampoo that is too harsh is enough to cause the itchies in some pets. Your Peterborough, ON vet may recommend something gentler, such as an oatmeal shampoo. It’s also important to make sure that you are rinsing thoroughly.

Vacuum Regularly

Vacuuming isn’t a cure-all, and it definitely isn’t going to take the place of medication. That said, it can definitely help. If you have a flea infestation, that vacuum cleaner can be extremely crucial, as it will help pull fleas and unhatched eggs out of the carpet.

Vacuuming can also help pets with allergies, by removing dust, pollen, and dander from your carpets.

Keep Up With Your Pet’s Parasite Control

If your pet is itching because of a flea or mite infestation, then you have your work cut out for you. Your first move should be contacting your vet, and getting your pet caught up on their preventative care. However, if you are dealing with an infestation, you’ll also need to break the life cycle.

Vacuuming comes in handy here. Get into the habit of vacuuming daily for a while. As soon as you’re done, empty the canister into a plastic bag, then seal the bag and take it outside to dispose of it.

Vacuuming regularly is a good idea even if you aren’t dealing with fleas. Once the crisis has passed, just do high-traffic areas quickly each day. You can follow up with more thorough vacuuming about once a week or so.

Wipe Your Pet Down

Does your canine buddy have allergies? Fido will pick up dust and pollen outside, particularly on his paws and belly. Keep pet wipes near the door, and give your pup a quick wipe down before bringing him in. You can also use clean rags and a spray bottle filled with water.

Of course, this will go a bit easier if you’re consistent with it. You may also need to sweeten the deal. Teach Fido that he’ll get a yummy snack for letting you help him out.

Monitor Pollen Counts

This one is also most helpful for pets with allergies. Consider downloading a pollen tracker app. Keep an eye on the levels, particularly during peak pollen times, such as spring and fall. When counts are high, limit your dog’s outdoor time.

Get A Humidifier

Dry air can suck the moisture out of pets’ skin, just as it can with ours. If your vet has examined your pet and determined that dry skin is to blame, you may need to get a humidifier.

Proper hydration is also crucial here. You may want to set out extra water stations, or perhaps get a smart waterer. That said, hydration is crucial for all pets, even the ones that aren’t itchy!

Keep Fluffy Indoors

This one would likely fall more under prevention, but it’s still valid. Kitties that go outside are at much higher risk of picking up fleas, ticks, or mites. They’re also more vulnerable to insect bites. Plus, Fluffy will be much safer as an indoor cat!

Revisit Your Pet’s Products (Especially New Ones) 

As mentioned above, if you aren’t sure why your pet is itching, make an appointment with your vet. However, if you’ve recently changed your pet’s food, litter, or shampoo, or perhaps picked up a new bed, by all means mention it.  You may be advised to try going back to the old brand, or switching to something hypoallergenic.

Pay Attention To How Your Pet Is Itching

Sometimes just observing your pet can be very telling. For instance, if your furry friend is pawing their ears or rubbing their head against something, an ear infection could be to blame. This is definitely important information to tell your vet.

Keep Up With Grooming

Our animal companions all have their own specific grooming needs. It’s important to remove dead fur and dander. Otherwise, your pet may not only get itchy, they also won’t be as protected from hot or cold weather.

Offer A Good Diet

Nutrition affects every aspect of your pet’s health, including their skin and fur care. While every pet has unique needs, it is important to make sure they are eating a proper diet. Dogs and cats may benefit from foods that contain fatty acids, Omegas 3 and 6 oils, which help keep their coats and skin nourished. Ask your vet for specific recommendations.

Keep Up With Housecleaning

Wash your pet’s bedding regularly, using a non-scented detergent. You’ll want to check the bedding label for specific care instructions. However, if possible, wash with hot water, then dry thoroughly. Regularly keeping up with dusting and vacuuming will also help, as may changing your air filters. 

What Should I Not Do If My Pet Is Itching?

The big one here would be to offer your pet any medication without your Peterborough, ON veterinarian specifically instructing you to do so. While some medications are safe for our furry friends, others can be very dangerous to them. We can’t overstate how important this is.

Property Maintenance

Even if you are keeping your pet on preventative care, fleas, ticks, and mites might still find a window of opportunity, particularly as the time nears for your furry buddy’s next dose.  You may also need to address your property, especially if you have fleas or ticks outdoors.

Here are a few tips on that:

  • Keep your lawn mowed. Many insects lurk in tall grasses
  • Remove debris, such as fallen branches and leaf piles
  • Don’t let standing water sit. Buckets full of rainwater quickly become mosquito nurseries!
  • Trim back hedges so they don’t touch your house
  • Trim overhead branches to allow sunlight into your yard
  • Consider incorporating beneficial insects, such as ladybugs

Keep Them Happy

Did you know that boredom and anxiety can also cause pets to be itchy? For instance, cats that are stressed tend to overgroom or undergroom themselves, resulting in messy, unkempt fur. Provide plenty of toys, as well as comfy beds, and spend quality time with your pet every day.

Has your pet been itching lately? Please feel free to contact us at your local Peterborough, ON animal clinic, anytime!