Did you know that dogs can be allergic to fleas, and have summer allergies just like people do? Light-skinned dogs (namely, dogs with white fur an pink skin) typically have sensitive skin and actual allergies that should be addressed quickly…as soon as you realize your pet has one.
My dog is an Aussie cross who is white all over except for a portion of her pace which is black and blue. I shave her every summer and her bald butt is as pink as a piggy. Since she has pink skin on over 80 % of her body, she is genetically more susceptible to skin and plant allergies which I had no knowledge of. That is, until she got her first flea infestation.
When my dog got fleas, it was like her body had caught fire. It was perhaps a few hours before I had noticed upon coming home from work that she had literally chewed her fur off the base of her tail, and when I ran to inspect what she had done, her skin was beet red as a sunburn and hot like she had been sitting in front of a fire all day. Not knowing she had been infested with fleas, I rushed her to the vet as I thought she was sick and fevered.
Her diagnosis? A flea infestation, and an allergy on top of it. She had to be dosed up on steroids to keep from chewing and itching and of course got her flea meds. But upon learning that my dog had a genuine allergy to fleas and likely other allergens because she has white fur and pink skin, I became concerned.
Just last week I shaved her yet again (she gets shaved twice a year as she is one hairy friggin beast, lemme tell ya) and her fur was matted at the skin and tight like sheep’s wool. Upon closer inspection, I noticed it was her own dry skin matting in her fur and her bum and armpits were covered with tiny sores. She’d gotten another allergic reaction to SOMETHING (I still don’t know what) and off to the vet again to see what in tarnation I can do about it.
Turns out, you have to take a lot of preventative measures to protect a natural allergic dog from its daily surroundings. Bathing is a huge start, particularly for outdoor dogs or dogs who swim a lot in lakes and canals. My dog loves swimming in the canal and I never knew it could exacerbate her skin allergies; rather I thought so long as I dried her off afterward and brushed her out we were A- OK. Boy, was I wrong!
Bathing your dog with Dawn lemon dish soap kills any fleas or bugs that might be causing your dog to itch. After shampooing, apply cooked and cooled oatmeal to your dog’s coat, rubbing liberally into the coat. This relieves your dog’s burning and soothes the insane itching.
Ask your vet about a prescription or Benadryl. Benadryl is safe for dogs with veterinarian permission at 25 mg per 50 lbs of dog and can be taken daily to combat allergies. Always talk to your vet before giving people medications to your dog.
IN my condition, I found that simply shaving my dog more often and rubbing baby butt cream and Aloe on her patchy skin works wonders. I can keep her in check so long as I bathe her more often (and stop relying on the canal to do the job) and have even noticed she scratches and chews far less if I rub her down with Dawn dish soap (I use baby shampoo too, the lavender scented kind) prior to swimming in the canal the water does not effect her and she smells great when we get home. Simple coat maintenance on your dog’s coat and incorporating fish oils in their food and diet improves their skin allergies as well, and my dog absolutely loves the “treat”.
You’ll know your dog has a skin irritation or allergy. They’ll start chewing at their feet or tail, or scratch same areas all day long even after you’ve done flea maintenance. Typically you’ll notice bald or hot spots in the skin like under the armpits, the base of the tail, or the neck. If you notice your dog scratching and chewing, inspect their skin for heat, redness, rashes and scabs. Get your dog in the tub and dry them thoroughly and call your vet to see if you need to take them in for diagnosis. Don’t wait until your poor dog chews and scratches themselves bald.
With proper coat maintenance you should be able to keep your dog’s skin allergies at bay. Get your dog in for a checkup to diagnose the condition and take measures for the healthiest coat your dog can have.