IT’S ITCHY AND SCRATCHY SEASON….3 REASONS YOUR PET MIGHT BE UNCOMFORTABLE THIS SUMMER
We may be pleased to welcome the warmer weather after winter, but it unfortunately brings with it a number of factors which can cause your pet to feel itchy and miserable.
Parasite-control should be a year-round regime, but the summer months take tick, flea, fly and mosquito infestations to another level entirely. Ensure that you’re using a veterinary-endorsed anti-parasite product (either an oral preparation, or a spot-on application) and be sure to follow the package instructions or your vet’s advice religiously – these preparations must be used correctly and regularly to be effective. Remember to check what age they can be used from, the weight recommendation (giant breeds, for example, may require additional doses), as well as the species they’re meant for – some products contain ingredients that are lethal to cats, or may be problematic for aquatic life if your dog likes to take a dip in the local dam.
SHEDDING AND SHAMPOOING
This is the time of the year when your pet sheds his winter coat. If you’re not brushing the dead hair away regularly using the correct tools for the job (on a daily basis for double-coated breeds like Chows, Labs and Huskies, and long-haired cats), you’ll end up with a pet who resembles a Rastafarian. Unfortunately the unkempt appearance isn’t the worst of it – your furkid runs the risk of the dead hair forming uncomfortable, itchy mats that clog up with dirt and parasites and, in extreme cases, form a “straitjacket”, limiting movement and ripping at the underlying skin. Twisted Whiskers staff will happily advise on the grooming requirements for any type of pet for this season, as well as the proper tools and methods for managing shedding at home.
Over-zealous bathing, or using the incorrect type of shampoo can also dry out your pet’s skin and cause itching and discomfort. NEVER use a human shampoo on your pet – their skin pH is completely different to ours and even mild baby shampoos are not suitable for use on animals. Twisted Whiskers is a specialised grooming Spa and can give you advice on which skin- and coat-care products are best suited to your pet’s particular needs, and how often they should be bathed. Alternatively, book Max or Bella in for a pampering Spa Day (including aromatherapy massage, hydro-bath and styling), or even a quick “wash-n-go”. We use the best coat-care products in the biz and, regardless of the treatment you opt for, your pet will leave us looking glossy and gorgeous!
Skin allergies are common these days and may be the result of nutritional or environmental factors, or a combination of both. While skin irritations are serious, and a veterinary check-up is always advised to diagnose the cause, there are a few things you can try first, to see if the symptoms improve:
Dietary change – the easiest thing to do is to eliminate some of the biggest allergy culprits from your pet’s diet. Many people are convinced that grains are problematic for pets but this isn’t necessarily the case. Unlike humans, very few dogs and cats are allergic to grains. Dogs are much more likely to be sensitive to proteins like chicken, beef and lamb. And cats? Shock-horror, the Number One feline allergen is fish!! If you suspect one of these proteins is causing a “break out” of itchiness, scratching, licking at paws or excessive hair-loss, try eliminating it from your pet’s diet altogether for 8-12 weeks and see if there’s an improvement. Remember to exclude any treats or chews your pet enjoys that may contain this protein (even bones and hooves….). The Twisted Whiskers Team regularly advises pet-parents on dietary changes for their furries, and can recommend food products that are formulated to be used in an Exclusion Diet to eliminate possible food allergies. And if you’d really prefer not to feed grains to your pets, we stock Grain Free ranges too.
Environmental factors – not quite so easy to pin-point, environmental factors that contribute to itchiness are pretty much limitless. They may include anything from grasses and pollens in the garden, to household products, or even cigarette smoke and deodorant. Rather than trying to find the proverbial needle in a haystack, a dietary change may, again, prove helpful in this case. If limiting potentially problematic proteins is unsuccessful, consider a diet which contains natural antihistamines and works on strengthening the skin barrier to protect against environmental allergens. Diets like these have proven exceptionally useful to those who have literally been tearing their hair out over their pet’s allergy issues, and Twisted Whiskers has stacks on shelf, ready for summer.
Interestingly, skin allergies are often accompanied by repeated ear infections and/or tummy upsets. The ear canals and the digestive tract, if you think about it, are the animal’s “inner skin”. If you notice these symptoms as well, your pet is very likely to be allergic, and a veterinary visit and diet change are imperative.
A final word on nutrition – protein allergies aren’t the only dietary cause of skin issues. In many cases, simply changing to a quality veterinary-endorsed food containing high levels of animal proteins and the correct ratio of Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids can make all the difference to your pet’s skin and coat condition. A poor diet can result in flaky skin or a dull, greasy coat.
Summer need not be an unhappy time for your pet – visit Twisted Whiskers for advice on nipping itchy and scratchy problems in the bud and ensuring that the season is filled with nothing but fun, games and adventures with the family.
© Written By Twisted Whiskers