What is Itching?
An itch is the sensation felt under the skin that causes a reflex of scratching to relieve the sensation. Many animals scratch to relieve a superficial skin itch, however, if the skin is bitten (usually by fleas), stung or irritated by a rash, the scratching an itching may cause a cycle of skin irritation that is hard to break.
What Causes Itching?
Itching may result from dry skin, eczema, dandruff, dermatitis, food allergies and other skin disorders. Itching will most likely cause your pet to scratch incessantly (often until the skin is raw, weeping and even bleeding). This also causes hot spots of skin that may loose hair and become bald from constant scratching or licking at the itchy area.
Diagnosis is determined by a physical check up at your vet, where an inspection of your animal’s skin will be undertaken. Your vet may also perform specific tests if an underlying disorder is suspected. Depending on the cause, treatment may involve topical creams and may include antihistamines; however these may also have the potential for side effects.
Help for Itching
There are many herbal and homeopathic remedies that use proven ingredients shown to have a soothing effect on irritated skin. Matricaria recutita is used as a gentle cleansing and soothing herb for skin discomfort, helping to soothe inflamed itchy skin. Calendula officinalis can also be used to help restore skin health and lessen rashes.
Galium aperine is an herb that has been used for many centuries as a cleansing tonic and lymphatic cleanser – helping to support skin health and comfort. Hamamelis virginianum has long been used to help soothe superficial wounds, and calm hot, irritated and broken skin.
More Information on Itching
Tips related to itching:
- Do not change diet suddenly as this may cause intolerance to certain foods and a skin allergy.
- A tablespoon or two of olive oil added to the food a few times a week can help improve skin and coat health.
- If you suspect that a dietary intolerance may be the underlying cause of your pet’s itching, start by providing your pet with a natural, unprocessed diet.
- Dry your pet thoroughly after washing, as shampoo residue can dry on the skin and cause itching and rashes.
- Vitamin A helps to maintain healthy skin. Sources include carrots, squash and sweet potatoes that can be added to your pet’s diet.
- Watch out for infection – if your pet has been scratching with dirty nails, and breaks the skin, a bacterial infection may arise. If your animal’s rash develops pustules consult your vet.