The site was last updated on

24 Aug 2000

Tip of The Week

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Scratching Tips

I have a flea collar on my dog, but he still lifts his hind legs and scratches his sides. Why?

If your pet is experiencing one or more of the following symptoms he/she could have a skin condition:

1. hair loss
2. bald patches
3. redness of skin
4. itching
5. excessively oily or dry skin

There are many potential causes for skin problems. The most common are fleas, mites, fungal infections, bacterial infections, and allergies. Please have your pet seen by your veterinarian so that he/she can determine the exact cause of your pet's problem and get your pet some much needed relief.

If you need a veterinarian, please contact me and let me know your address and I will try to locate a vet near you, or just go to www.vetsmart.com and look for your self. 

What can I do to stop the extreme scratching and dry flaky skin around my dogs lower back and tail?

In 80% of dogs and cats who scratch excessively around the lower back and tail are related to flea allergies. It only takes one flea to bite an allergic pet to set off the allergic reaction. I recommend putting your dog on a premium dog food such as Science Diet, Waltham, Iams, Eukanuba, or Purina proPlan. Also consider a fatty acid supplement like derm caps to help replace the oils and control itching.

Antihistamines such as Benadryl or Hydroxyzine can be helpful (talk with your veterinarian about a dose for your dog), and they can work synergistically (1 + 1 = 4) with fatty acids to help stop itching. Hypoallergenic conditioning shampoos and conditioners with oatmeal (Allegroom or Hylyte shampoo, and something like Resi-Prox leave on conditioner) can also be very beneficial. Most importantly, though, is a good flea control program. Generally the monthly leave on products like Advantage work best on the pet because the flea does not have to bite the dog before it dies. Treating the house and yard are also very important since 95% of the flea population is actually developing in the environment and only 5% are adults living on the pet.



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