My Black Lab “Lady” suffered with dog skin allergies since we brought her home as a rescued puppy in 1997.
She would lick her paws for hours and make them raw. Over the years, I have learned that allergies in dogs can be just as difficult to pinpoint in dogs as they are in humans.
Allergies occur when the body's immune system is weakened, which can be caused by improper or insufficient nutrition.
Feeding food for dogs with allergies, is the simplest way to determine if the allergies are caused by the present foods your dog is eating.
Giving a higher nutritional Homemade dog food diet is what stopped my Lady's allergies altogether. Her immune system was fortified, and in turn the allergies completely disappeared, along with the continuous licking.
Lady has now been eating a varied, enjoyable, natural, homemade organic dog food diet for years. She gets to enjoy a wide variety of foods. So it wasn't that she had dog food allergies, but she was suffering from allergies caused by a lower immunity due to poor nutrition derived from the cheaper chemical filled kibble she was started on as a puppy.
Fleas and mites are the most common cause of dog skin problems, and easily treatable.
Since one female flea can consume fifteen times her body weight in blood over her adult life, that one single flea can cause tremendous misery for a dog.
If untreated, fleas can also cause anemia and tapeworms.
Today there are many different choices to protect our pets from fleas and ticks, yet veterinarians still see many dogs with flea problems on a daily basis.
Spot treatments are the most common and seem to be the most effective way to control fleas, ticks and mites.
Avoid dog skin problems from fleas and ticks by using spot treatments regularly or as directed by the manufacturer or your vet.
If you notice your dog chewing and scratching more in the mornings after he/she comes in from outside, then it's possible he's/she's sensitive to pollen, mold, ragweed or other environmental factors.
Also, allergies can include a sensitivity to dust. So, if dusting the house is considered low on your priority list, yet you notice that your dog is fine until he/she comes into the house, then it's possible that he is sensitive to dust-mites.
Environmental allergens are usually treated with anti-inflammatories and shampoos, ointments, sprays and supplements.
If this is the case, then your vet needs to help with recommendations, especially if your dog needs a prescription.
Chewing the feet can be an indicator of food allergies.
Although food allergies are less common in dogs, they can become more severe. Your dog is allergic to a specific food. ( Just as some of us have extreme allergic reactions to peanut butter or strawberries, so does your dog to something in the food your are presently feeding him).
Sometimes your canine might be allergic beef, and tolerate lamb and chicken just fine. This is a trial and error process. It is a know fact that a lot of dogs are allergic to corn or grain added a fillers used in cheap dog food. SEE EXAMPLE HERE.
Most of the time the allergy will also disappear soon after eliminating unnecessary and harmful corn and wheat fillers.
Don't give a large variety to start with, and slowly introduce any new foods over a period of several weeks to see if the chewing increases or decreases.
Keeping a careful watch of what your pet eats makes all the difference in catching an unknown food allergy.
The first priority for owners tackling dog skin problems or dog allergies should be to immediately switch to a natural or organic based diet or special allergy formula dog food, or as I did, try a homemade dog food diet.
This is something that definitely will not harm your pet, and is the easiest and least expensive way to start figuring out what is causing the licking and allergies.
The allergen free speciality foods contain less ingredients, which will help eliminate many problems with food allergies.
Remember, just because your dog doesn't do well on lamb doesn't mean that he won't do well on a chicken based food.
Lady's paw licking had been ongoing for years, with medical treatments of prednisone, antihistamines, and costly vet bills for expensive allergy testing and after all that the diagnosis was inconclusive.
When I switched her to grain free, natural HOMEMADE DOG FOOD DIET, her allergies and paw licking stopped within a week.
The real key is to observe your dog's patterns.
Don't try several things at once such as new food, along with an anti inflammatory and a new specialized shampoo for itching.
Do one thing at a time and wait a few weeks to see if there is a change.
Try upgrading to a better food first, rather than medications, but that is totally up to you. I would have saved a lot of money and vet bills doing that.
This can be difficult and obviously uncomfortable for your pet, so have patience, compassion and understanding while trying to sort everything out.