But Doesnt Scratching Mean Your German Shepherd Has Fleas
Greencross Vets explains that a flea infestation is only one possible reason why your German Shepherd might be scratching.
It is true that fleas can irritate the skin to the point where other opportunistic bacteria, fungi, or parasites can get in and cause further irritation and itching.
But often a dog that is itching doesnt have fleas at all. The itching is caused by something completely different.
However, if your dog does have even a minor issue with fleas and has an allergy to the bugs, this can cause more intense itching. When this happens, it is called flea allergy dermatitis.
Flea allergy dermatitis is a specific type of allergy to flea bites.
While getting bitten by fleas will cause itching for any pet , in affected dogs the itching becomes severe and is often concentrated around the tail area.
For dogs with severe flea allergy dermatitis, all it can take is a single flea bite to set off the itching.
German Shepherds With Skin Allergies
The versatile German Shepherd is one of the most popular and recognizable dog breeds. Eye-catching and impressive, this breed is smart and capable with an unmatched penchant for courage and loyalty. The German Shepherd has a wide range of capabilities, including military and police service, guide and therapy work, search and rescue, herding, drug detection, and competitive show and obedience. Despite the German Shepherds incredible aptitude and quality companionship, the breed is prone to allergies that often manifest in uncomfortable and painful skin conditions. Genetic, environmental, and food-related allergies can put a damper on your German Shepherds quality of life.
Is Your German Shepherd Itching In Winter Use These Dry Skin Tips
Its not uncommon for a German Shepherd to begin itching in winter, especially with the wind, ice, cold, and snow conditions. Deicing solutions and salt on the walkways increase skin dryness.
Remember, in the winter your German Shepherd needs special attention to their skin:
- Be sure to keep paw cleaning and wiping products by your door.
- Upon returning from every walk use them to remove any debris.
- Brush them thoroughly to help distribute their natural oils after walking outdoors in winter and apply an anti-itch spray and ointments if necessary.
- Bathe them with a medicated shampoo regularly, but dont wash too frequently or youll dry their skin more.
Although this takes time, its also a healthier option than watching your dog scratch like crazy and constantly during the winter!
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How Can I Help My German Shepherds Dry Skin
Dogs with Dry Skin: Treatment
Yeast Overgrowth And Skin Infections
Hot and humid places can encourage yeast growth in GSDs and so does bacterial infections. They are more seen in skin folds. Yeast overgrowth encourages excess oil production. The oil build-up in the skin may result in severe itchiness that will eventually lead to a skin infection.
Untreated open wounds usually result in skin infections that are caused by bacteria. Their skin may appear to be red, moist, and sometimes with pus. Depending on your GSDs immune system, it may worsen over time.
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The Right Omega Makes All The Difference
So do yourself a favorget your dog on an Omega-3 supplement. My dogs seem to love the taste of the Omega-3 Select chews. Plus, when you purchase Omega-3 Select chews, you also be providing up to 21 meals for shelter dogs. So talk to your vet. To friends. Find whats best for your dogs. Just make sure you make an Omega-3 supplement part of your german shepherds daily diet. Theyre lives are short enough, we think they deserve the best we can give!
Why Is Your German Shepherd Scratching So Much
As this thread on a popular German Shepherd owner forum highlights, it can sometimes be hard to tell if your dog is just doing minor self-care or cleaning or if the scratching is caused by something else.
You will probably struggle most to figure out which it is if you are new to owning a German Shepherd.
The longer you and your dog spend together, the more you will get familiar with your dogs regular routines and begin to notice if something in those routines changes.
For example, maybe your dog suddenly starts scratching intensely at a certain area on one paw. This isnt something you normally see your dog do, so it captures your attention.
You examine the paw more closely and see a flea clinging to the skin. This alerts you to the need for flea treatment. Soon your dog stops scratching the paw as the flea treatment begins to work.
In most cases, the reason your dog is scratching more than usual wont resolve itself on its own.
In fact, the more likely outcome is that the issue will get worse and the affected area of skin will become infected, requiring more serious treatment.
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How Do You Treat Itchy Skin In Dogs
When combined with water and blended into a thick paste, baking soda can dry out rashes on the skin, alleviate itching, and reduce redness and inflammation. 6 All you have to do is combine 50 percent baking soda with 50 percent water and apply the paste to your dogs skin. After about 20 minutes, rinse completely.
What Helps A German Shepherd With Dry Skin
How to Treat a German Shepherd With Dry Itchy Skin
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Possible Causes For Dogs Itchy Skin
So, whats behind your dogs itchy skin? It may be caused by a medical condition called allergic dermatitis . This means your dogs body overreacts to an allergen in the environment or food, which makes them feel itchy. There are a number of potential culprits:
- Fleas. Flea bites can create extremely itchy areas on your dog. They can be found anywhere on the body, but are most common at the hind legs, tail base, and rear end. Just because you dont see any fleas on your dog does not mean they arent there keep in mind that a bite from a single flea can cause an allergic itch in your dog.
- Environmental. Your dog may be allergic to environmental triggers, like pollen, mold spores, or dust mites. Environmental allergens can cause allergic itch during certain seasons, or even year-round. Dogs with environmental allergies will often show signs of allergic itch around their face, belly, and paws. If your dog gets itchy outdoors, invest in an outdoor dog bed to keep them off the ground.
- Food. Your dogs itching might be caused by a food allergy. Some dogs are allergic to common dog food ingredients such as beef, chicken, and dairy products. Food allergies in dogs can lead to signs of allergic itch around the paws, face, armpits, and belly.
German Shepherd Allergy Treatment And Management
Unfortunately, German shepherds are one of the breeds more susceptible to many allergens. Though all allergies can be treated, not all can be cured .
Like everything else medical, allergy treatment depends on the type of allergy.
Two general methods exist: medicinal treatment and environmental control. Sometimes a nice balance can be found managing between the two!
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Develop A Regular Brushing Routine
Regular brushing distributes the oils on your dogs skin and helps to remove dead hairs that may cause itching.
Use soft strokes and a brush with rounded tips.
Specifically, try a rake brush that removes the dead undercoat. My GSD loves the rake brush, and this helps her to have the excess dead hair removed so that her skin can breathe more.
The rake brush I use has rounded tips so they dont irritate her sensitive skin or aggravate her itching. Plus, you want a double row brush to ensure youre getting the most hair off with the least amount of time and effort.
See the best brush to remove dander and itchy hair here: The Double Row Undercoat Rake
If you arent brushing your GSD, they can develop a thick blanket of hair that forms over their skin which prevents air from reaching the skin. This reduces the efficiency of the oil glands and causes your GSD to itch constantly and like crazy.
Learn a complete brushing routine that keeps your dog healthy and happy using this guide here: How to Brush a German Shepherd Like a Boss.
Do Not Use Fragrance Sprays
The respiratory and olfactory systems of dogs are far superior to that of humans.
Their sense of smell is more than 400 times stronger than a human, meaning that they are incredibly sensitive to odors.
There are many smells, such as ylang-ylang, which can actually irritate and cause harm to your dog.
If your German Shepherd is already itching, their symptoms may be worsened by the use of room fragrances or perfume sprays.
We do not recommend burning scented candles or incense in the vicinity of your dog. In extreme cases, you may wish to consider stopping using aerosol deodorant and perfume sprays.
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What Can I Put On My Dog To Relieve Itching
Oatmeal is an age-old remedy for our dry, itchy skin that happens to be safe for use on our canine friends, too! In fact, most doggie hypoallergenic shampoos include oatmeal as an active ingredient to soothe and fight irritation. Start by grinding plain oatmeal into a powder to sprinkle in your dogs warm bath.
What Are The Best Ways To Minimize Shedding
For those wanting German Shepherds that donât shed, youâll need to redirect your sights to another breed if you donât think you can handle the shedding! If you want to know how to stop German shepherd shedding, you once again may want to consider a different breed, however, there are certain things you can do to decrease shedding. Here are the best things you can do to try to reduce shedding in German shepherds:
Change Your Dogs Diet
One of the main reasons for heavy shedding is feeding your dog cheap dog food thats not nutritionally balanced. Such dog foods usually contain large amounts of grain and corn, which are not digested well by canines. These types of foods also dont reflect well through the skin. In fact, it can be a cause of your dogs itchy skin.
If you suspect your dog food is cheap and not well-balanced, try a new brand but be sure to buy one that has real meat as the first ingredient. Another wonderful choice is beginning your dog on a raw food diet. Youll just have to research and learn how to give your dog the right amounts of food to ensure they get the vitamins and minerals necessary for their health needs.
Healthy diets not only reduce shedding, but also help with dry skin and improves the immune system. This is probably the most effective way to cut down on your German shepherds shedding, but be sure to change the diet gradually. Changing your dogs diet too quickly can lead to stomach upset and other issues.
Add Oils to Your Dogs Food
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Food Allergies Can Cause Skin Itching In German Shepherd Dogs
As WebMD for Pets highlights, food allergies in canines are becoming an increasingly common issue for dog owners today.
In fact, current estimates indicate as many as 10 percent of all dogs alive today may be suffering from some degree of food allergies.
Interestingly, food allergies in people are also on the rise.
While researchers are not completely sure what is causing this uptick in interspecies food allergies, there are several suspects, from GMOs to global toxins.
Certain foods are known to be more prone to causing food allergies in German Shepherds and other dog breeds.
Chicken, fish, beef, eggs, dairy, soy, wheat , rabbit, pig , and lamb are some of the most frequently cited food-based allergens.
However, a German Shepherd may also have sensitivities to additional foods. For example, peanuts are known to be more prone to fungus, which can cause intense allergies in some dogs.
It is important to identify which foods are triggering the scratching because you will need to make sure to eliminate these foods from your GSDs diet.
Veterinarians who specialize in allergies and immunology are not sure exactly why dogs have sensitivities to foods that might ordinarily be a big part of their diets such as chicken and lamb.
Even if your dog previously was able to eat the food item, over time sensitivity can develop and it may be necessary to remove that food from the diet going forward.
How To Treat Severe Pet Skin Allergies
For more severe pet skin allergies that do not respond to regular treatment, other anti-inflammatory medications may be required. This may involve Ciclosporin to reduce the immune systems response to allergens.
Other long-term treatments may include Immunotherapy, where a specific allergen has been identified. A vaccine can be produced to contain allergens, and desensitise the immune system.
However, this treatment will not work for all pet allergies, but often forms part of a treatment regime. Treatment of allergies requires multiple approaches in combination to tackle different aspects of the disease.
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How Do Dogs Develop Allergies
Any dog can develop an allergy if exposed to an allergen, especially on multiple occasions over time. This isnt purely restricted to German Shepherds, though they are more prone to develop allergies .
- GSDs with shorter hair may be more likely to suffer reactions due to dry skin.
Although sometimes the symptoms of allergies include allergic rhinitis or bronchitis, in most dogs, inhalant allergy manifests with itchy skin .
Can Dogs Develop Skin Allergies Over Time
Yes, its very common for dogs to develop an allergy or insensitivity as they get older. This often makes determining the cause all the more complicated. For example, your dog could have spent years eating the same dog food without any issues. But over time, she may develop an insensitivity to one or more of the ingredients.
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Change Your Household Cleaning Products
Commercially available cleaning products can cause your dog to itch. Many chemicals can trigger allergic reactions or respiratory issues in your dog.
There are lots of naturally formulated cleaning products available that will reduce the reactions in your dog.
Look for products that are fragrance-free and hypoallergenic. Allow all surfaces that have had chemicals applied to them to dry completely before you let your dog near them.
Best Diet For An Allergic German Shepherd
Your veterinarian will recommend a limited ingredient dog food as weve mentioned above. You can also find foods labeled allergenic or hypoallergenic.
Try this! Is your GSD allergic to your chicken or beef diet? Give tuna, venison, or turkey a try!
Protein antiallergenic food is treated and hydrolyzed, which means your dog does not see it as foreign, and therefore does not react to it.
What is the best supplement for itchy skin?
Omega-3 fatty acids are the best supplement to help itchy skin.
There are anti-inflammatory properties in these fatty acids, and they have been particularly good at decreasing skin irritations. They also have other health benefits!
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Why Do German Shepherds Shed
We canât help but laugh when folks ask âDo German Shepherds shed a lotâ? The simple fact is, this breed sheds heavily. While a certain amount of shedding is natural, there are other factors such as stress, poor diet, skin allergies, and dehydration that can make it even worse. There are several reasons this breed sheds so heavily, and those reasons are:
Why Is My German Shepherd Scratching His Face
A cutaneous adverse food reaction can be responsible for a multitude of skin issues. If those skin disorders are also accompanied by excessive scratching, itching, or biting, or if your dog rubs his face frequently, a food allergy may be the reason why.
German Shepherd dogs, affectionately known as German Shedders, tend to shed a lot. They also battle bouts of dry, itchy skin. Shepherds have a double coat: the outer coat is a rather coarse, straight hair and the undercoat is soft and fluffy.
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Diagnosis Of Allergies In German Shepherds
If you suspect that your German Shepherd may have an allergy you must seek veterinary advice promptly. The severity of symptoms of an K9 allergic response may only be mild at first but they can become more severe over time. The symptoms displayed during an allergic response can also be very uncomfortable for your German Shepherd and may lead to long term problems such as weight loss, hair thinning or skin thickening.
Your veterinarian may advise diagnostic tests such as blood tests, saliva tests or skin allergen testing. They may also recommend elimination trials, particularly when a food allergy is suspected.
Elimination trials involve feeding your German Shepherd a single type of food for 8 to 12 weeks, such as a hypoallergenic dog food like Jiminys Good Grub or Cricket Crave.
If your dogs symptoms resolve after this time then you may wish to continue feeding just this diet, or you could start to reintroduce different food types to identify which one triggers an allergic response.
Sometimes it can be very difficult or even impossible to pinpoint the exact cause of the allergic response, even with extensive testing in these cases the allergic response will need to be treated symptomatically.