Dog Skin Staph Infection Information And Tips

dog skin infections

What is staph? what do you do about it? and better how can you prevent it in the future. See my dog skin staph infection tips in this post

You’ve been to the vet or suspect your dog has a skin infection. Staph infection is likely, but can’t be confirmed without cytology by your vet.

dog skin staph infection

Dog Skin Staph Infection – What Is It?

Staph is short for Staphylococcus a type of bacteria. These bacteria often live on the skin around the mouth, nose, bum, and genitals. Staph can be identified by your vet or pathologist via cytology.

Cytology Is when samples are taken from the skin, often with the use of sellotape. The tape is pressed onto the skin surface and then pulled away, collecting the cells sitting on the skin surface.

Once collected these tapes are then examined by your vet or pathologist under a microscope. It is there that they can be identified as different types of bacteria, yeasts, inflammatory cells, and even cancer cells.

So How Does My Dog Get A Staph Infection?

As staph is living on the skin it is only when the skin surface is broken and a wound is formed that it enters and causes an infection.

It’s not only injuries that can cause these types of wounds/broken skin, the skin surface can be broken via multiple scenarios.

A common one is self-trauma from the dog itself. If a dog is itchy, or suffering from skin problems. Then it is the chewing, licking, and scratching from the dog itself that causes wounds/broken skin. Then allowing the bacteria on the skin surface in and thus causes an infection.

Dog Skin Infections

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Dog Skin Staph Infection Prevention And Tips

So how can I prevent my dog from getting a staff infection?

If your dog injures itself, causing a wound, try and keep the wound clean. Using dog-friendly topicals. Talk to your vet about what’s available. Crating a doggie wound box or first aid kit is recommended.

Also if the wound starts to look infected go to your vet sooner rather than later. Waiting until an infection is deep and festering takes a lot more trouble than getting it sorted earlier.

My Dogs Wounds Are Cause By Self Trauma? What Should I do?

Self-trauma wounds are trickier to prevent. I have written an extensive selection of dog skin problems, conditions, and what to do about them.
You can find them all here: Problem Dog Skin

The use of t-shirts, booties, and e-collars can be helpful short term. However long-term management of your dog’s underlying skin condition is what needs to be addressed. Consider seeing an Animal Dermatologist near you and booking a skin assessment.

If your dog is self traumatizing it is most likely a skin problem that needs addressing. The key is to find the cause of the problem. The infections are only a secondary problem to the main issue which is a skin condition.

Common skin conditions include atopic skin disease, food allergies, and flea or parasites. You can read more about common skin conditions here.

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Dog Skin Lumps 3 Types That Are Benign – Not Cancer.

Lady Kissing dalmation

Following my post on dog skin cancers, I decided it would be nice to link and point out that not all dog skin lumps are cancer.

Some lumps are benign and less harmful than a skin cancer.

Dog Skin Lumps

Different Types Of Benign Lumps


Lipomas are formed from excess fatty tissues. These dog skin lumps form under the skin and are often easily manipulated and moved.

Feeling obviously fat-like, these lumps are generally harmless.

They present as small lumps that can grow quickly. They are non- cancerous and generally don’t need to be removed.

However, surgery is sometimes needed if the lipoma grows too large, or is in an awkward spot on the dog’s body, and therefore is inhibiting movements or irritating the dog.

Sebaceous cyst

A common non-cancerous lump. Sebaceous cysts can be found all over the body. When a sebaceous cyst gets blocked it can become fluid-filled and inflamed.

Often the small dog skin lumps or bumps contain liquid. They are slow-growing and generally harmless. Looking very similar to a pimple.

Sometimes in severe cases, the cysts need to be drained regularly or removed if becoming a constant problem.

Skin Tags

Made from collagen, blood vessels, and surrounded by skin. Skin tags are often small and look like warts.

These harmless dog skin lumps, don’t generally cause the dog any issues.

Owners sometimes prefer to have them removed for cosmetic reasons, or if they are rubbing, ripping, and bleeding regularly.

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In Conclusion

Lipomas, Sebaceous Cysts, and Skin tags are all types of non-cancerous dog skin lumps and bump dogs can get.

All generally don’t need treatment or removal unless rubbing, bleeding or causing the dog discomfort.

If you find a lump on your dog always have it checked by your vet as not all lumps are benign.

See my Skin Cancer in Dogs post here: for more information on potentiality harmful lumps your dog can get.

As Always thanks for reading.

What are the bumps on my dog’s skin?

Bumps are often a sebaceous cyst. A blocked sebaceous cyst is basically like a small pimple.

Are cancer lumps on dogs hard or soft?

Generally hard, However all lumps soft or hard should be checked by your vets.

When should I worry about a lump on my dog?

Any lump on your dog needs to be checked. All lumps have the potential to be something harmful like a skin cancer. Always get them checked to confirm they are harmless.

What does a cancer lump look like on a dog?

Cancer lumps can appear all over a dogs body. Often hard feeling, sometimes with crusts.
Appearing ulcerated and lesion like is particularity common of skin cancers.
All lumps on your dog need to be checked by your vet to rule out potentially harmful skin cancers.

Dog Skin Cancer – The Different Types And How Serious Are They?

When to let a pet go

Dog skin cancer – First of all, if you are worried your dog might have skin cancer, please make an appointment with your vet to get it checked. Cancer is not something you want to sit around on.

dog skin cancer

Cancer is one of the leading causes of death in dogs over 10 years old. However, dog skin cancer caught early, has a much better prognosis.

There are many types of dog skin cancer, and not all are caused by sun damage.

Golden Retriever

Different Types of Dog Skin Cancer

Malignant Melanoma

Likely to appear in the mouth or mucous membranes Melanoma is a type of cancer that affects pigmented cells.

Malignant Melanomas often present with ulcerations or as pink and grey lumps in the mouth. If growing in the dog’s nail beds they can form inflammation and cause the toes to swell. In extreme cases, loss of the toe-nail and bone can occur.

It is fast-growing and quick to metastasize or spread to other parts of the body.

It is not exactly known how these tumors develop but genetics is suspected to play a role.

Mast Cell Tumours

The most common of dog skin cancers.

It is not yet known why mast cell tumors occur but again genetics is likely to suspect.

Forming in the mast cells of the body’s immune system, it is speculated by veterinarians that hormones, like estrogen, and progesterone also play a role in speed of tumor growth.

dog skin conditions

Squamous Cell Carcinoma – Dog Skin Cancer.

Caused by sun damage, these tumors can be aggressive and spread through lymph nodes in the body.

Often appearing as a whitish raised lump. They can die off in the middle and appear as open sores.

They work quickly also destroying tissue surrounding the tumor. Scientists believe there may also be links between papillomavirus and this type of dog skin cancer.

Papilloma Virus causes wart like lesions often appearing around a dogs mouth. Some say they have a cauliflower like appearance.

How Will You Know Or How Can You Prevent Skin Cancer In Your Dog.

There is no known prevention for all dog skin cancers. However, avoid letting your dog sunbathe excessively, and do regular lump checks over your dog.

How to check your dog for lumps

Use the flats of your fingers to run over the surface of your dog, Searching for lumps small or big.

Check their mouth if they will let you. Dogs gums have many layers so search for changes and if concerned ask your vet at your dog’s next check-up.

Lady hugging her husky

What to do if you find a lump?

If you find a lump, mark the area or make a note of its location on the body.

Make an appointment with your vet to have it checked. They will likely perform an FNA and look at the cells in the lump. From this, they can determine if its potentially a skin cancer or something benign.

Don’t panic lumps don’t always mean skin cancer in your dog. Lumps can also be benign – Non-Cancerous.

See my post on benign lumps your dog can grow on their skin here:

In Conclusion

Malignant melanoma, Mast cell Tumors, and Squamous cell carcinomas are all different types of skin cancers your dog can get.

All are serious and need to be treated by your vet.

There is no known prevention for all dog skin cancers.
However, you can help by, avoid letting your dog excessively sun-bathe and do regular lump checks on your dog.

Most importantly if you find or suspect lumps or see changes to your dog’s skin, contact your vet and get them checked out immediately.

The earlier dog skin cancers are found the better the prognosis.

As always thanks for reading.

What does skin cancer look like on a dog?

Any lump found on a dogs skin/body can be a potential skin cancer. Malignant Melanomas often present with ulcerations or as pink and grey lumps in the mouth.

How Long Can dogs live with skin cancer?

If in later stages and metastasized to other parts of the body the average life expectancy can be anywhere between 4-6 months. All depending on which stage the cancer is when found.

Do dogs die from skin cancer?

Yes, Skin cancers metastasize to other parts of the body. Once spread organ failure and other medical issues can ultimately lead to the dog needing to be euthanized or death.

Can dog skin cancer be cured?

If found early. It is likely the cancer will not have metastasized. Once removed dogs can potentially fully recover from skin cancer.

Dog Skin Conditions – 5 Serious Skin Problems Your Dog Can Have.

dog cuddles with owner

Dog skin conditions, there are so many skin disease’s that this post could cover but it would have been very long. So I decided to pick 5 that I felt where important and also potentially more common than others.

This list is based on my knowledge and experience from working in a special interest small animal skin clinic as a veterinary nurse for the last 3-4 years now.

dog skin conditions

Dog Skin Conditions #1

Environmental Allergies

Environmental skin allergies, more common than most people think but when allergic to it the environment can cause your dog’s skin some serious grief.

You can see more details about this in my Environmental Allergies post here:

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Dog Skin Conditions #2

Fleas, Demodex, and mites.

A lot of owners are under the impression, that because they don’t see fleas on their dogs, they don’t have them or get exposed to them.

However, it’s something we see commonly in the skin clinic.

Its actually likely cheaper to just keep your dog protected rather than deal with a potential infestation, on your dog and in your home.

If your dog has the added fun of an allergy to them then the vet bills for dealing with skin flares will likely cost you more than the prevention treatments as well.

See my post here on Fleas and Why It Is So Important You Prevent Your Pet From Getting Them.

Lady Kissing dalmation

Dog Skin Conditions #3

Food Allergies

Less common than environmental allergies but still we see quite a few cases.

Dogs are more likely to be allergic to animal-based protein sources. So beef, chicken, pork, and dairy are common food allergens we see.

Grain allergies in dogs do exist but are uncommon, unfortunately, the “grain-free” fad has progressed from the human market to the animal one.

Owners are now commonly changing their dog’s diets over to grain-free in the hopes it will solve their dog skin problems. However as I said above they are uncommon, which is leaving owners frustrated.

You can see more details here in my Food Allergy and Food Elimination trial post

a beautiful dog breed with a thick coat 3671235

Dog Skin Conditions #4

Thyroid – Hypothyroidism

An internal medicine condition called “hypothyroidism” can cause serious skin flares and reactions.

The thyroid when under active producing low amounts of “thyroxine”, can cause all sorts of grief.

Its actually more common than you think and not only does it cause weight gain, but skin problems are another common symptom.

Dogs are often not pruritic (itchy) but display hair thinning and loss. Redness and rashes are common also, but again not being itchy can be a telltale sign.

Luckily some simple diagnostic work by your vet can find out if this is the issue and it is very treatable/manageable with medication.

dog hug

Dog Skin Conditions #5

Dry Skin And Skin Infections Caused By Excessive Grooming.

Not a condition as such I know but I couldn’t leave this one out.

It is possible for owners to cause dog skin problems by over-grooming them.

Human products are too strong but commonly used, owners often wash dog far to frequently. washing away precious oils and skin barrier protections, and therefore leaving the skin dry, irritated and vulnerable to infections.

See this post for more detailed Information, Why Owners Should Wash Thir Dogs Less.

That’s it 5 Dog Skin Conditions. do you have a dog with one of these conditions?
Check out my post here on Tips To Manage A Dog Skin Problem.

As always thanks for reading.

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What skin conditions can dogs get?

There are many but for example, Environmental allergies, Food Allergies, Fleas, Demodex, Mites, Hypothyroidism, and over grooming can all cause skin problems.

How can I treat my dogs skin problems?

First find the cause of the skin problem. Then you and you vet can discuss potential treatments and management plans.

What can cause skin irritation on dogs?

Fleas, Mites and Over-grooming. Are common ways to irritate a dogs skin.

What can I put on my dog’s irritated skin?

It is best not to try home remedies. Take your dog to your vet and make a start on finding the cause of the skin irritation. From their potential treatments and managements can be discussed.

Tips To Manage A Dog With Skin Problems.

Boxer dog

So you have a dog with skin problems? whether its chronic, seasonal, or random.
I have 5 tips on how you can better manage your dog with skin problems.

dog with skin problems

Dog with skin problems? 5 tips to manage it long term.

#1 – Wash Them Less.

That’s right washing less is better especially a dog with skin problems?
Why do you ask?

Well, washing with soaps and shampoos actually strips away important oils from the skin, leaving the skin barrier even more vulnerable.

Skin conditions like Atopy (Environmental Allergies) target the skin barrier trying to break it down and cause problems. So for a dog with skin problems, any way you can help their skin barrier function better will go a long way.

See my post on why washing your dog less is better here.

Lady Kissing dalmation

#2 – Feed Them Well.

A dog with skin problems needs a good diet. The skin needs feeding and it needs to be good nutrition.

Certain diets have been designed to feed the skin barrier and help keep it as strong as possible.

Also sticking with diets that have low combinations of protein sources is good.
If a food allergy is a potential issue in your pooch, they will most likely be allergic to a meat protein source. So keeping the number of meat sources low is always a good idea.

My recommendation would be Royal Canin Skin Support, it is designed to feed the skin barrier and the protein sources are lower than most other pet foods.

If you are worried about food allergies in your dogs or want to learn more see my post here.

Also see my post on common misleading information about veterinary recommended dry foods.

Lady holding a dachshund

#3 Find The Cause!

This is almost the most important. FIND THE CAUSE of a dogs skin problems.

Don’t waste time trying this and that remedy. Go and see your vet. Make a start on finding out what is causing your dog’s skin problems.

Is it a food allergy? is it the environment? Is it a medical condition? If you don’t go looking you’ll forever be in the dark and dealing with skin flares and problems.

Clearing up infections and placing them on management medication is great for temporary relief but finding the cause means you can manage or potentially fix their skin issue.

See the first post I wrote about skin problems in dogs and where I started what I now call the problem skin journey.

hands and a paw

#4 Keep Them Protected Against Fleas And Mites.

Regular prevention and keeping your pet parasite-free is cheaper than a vet looking for them and when you have to deal with an infestation.

A dog that has an allergy to fleas doesn’t need much exposure to cause a skin flare.

“So even if your dog has never had fleas” Just because you haven’t seen them on their skin doesn’t mean they haven’t been exposed to them in the environment.

Always use a veterinary recommended product, most OTC products from general stores just don’t cut the mustered unfortunately, especially for a dog with skin problems.

See my more detailed post on why flea prevention is so important especially for a dog with skin problems.

woman in grey jacket sits on bed uses grey laptop 935743 1

#5 Be Wary Of Dr. Google

Last but not least, now I know google is probably how you found me haha so this is strange to write.

Anyway, the reason I started this blog was that so many owners and patients we see have read false and misleading information online, this has then delayed them from going to see there vet.

Always see your vet and trust their advice they trained for 5 years minimum and probably have a huge student loan hanging over their head.

You can always use Google to find your local small animal skin clinic, there are vets that solely train and deal with skin all day every day. Find them and get working on what the cause! of your dog’s skin problems are!

Take My Itchy Dog Skin Quiz
9 Questions To Help You Find The Cause Of Your Dogs Skin Problem.

In Conclusion

#1 Wash your dog less,
#2 Feed them good nutrition,
#3 Find the cause of your dogs skin problem,
#4 keep them protected against fleas and parasites.
#5 Please be wary of Dr.Google and see your vet first!

I hope you have found this helpful and it has inspired you to start finding the cause of your dog’s skin problem.

As always thanks for reading.

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How do you treat a dog with skin problems?

First finding the cause of the issue is key. Skin is diverse and many skin conditions exist.
Finding which condition your dog has is important. Then treatments and management can be discussed.

What does dog dermatitis look like?

It presents as redness, rash, and scabs across the dogs body. It is often very itchy.

What is the best treatment for a dog with skin allergies?

Depending on which allergies it is. Food allergies once confirmed through a true food elimination trial can then be avoided.
Skin allergies to the environment – there is only one treatment immunotherapy. However there are many management medications available from your vet also.

Why My Dog Gets Itchy In Winter?? 5 Real Reason Why

dog winter

If you’ve read my Itchy skin posts or my environmental allergies post and your dog gets itchy in winter you might be wondering why?

Some “Winter Itch” posts you’ll read online will steer you away from environmental allergies.
However, this is misleading as yes it can indeed still be environmental even in the middle of winter.

It can also be a lot of things that have nothing to do with the environment. Which is also why finding the Cause of the itch is so important.

Take a look at my 5 “Real” reasons why your dog gets itchy in winter

My Dog Gets Itchy In Winter!

dog gets itchy in winter

Why am I writing this post?

So why have I decided to write this post, again I’ve read too many “Winter Itch” posts and how “dry skin is the problem” and then coconut oil will fix your dog’s skin problems.

Now I’m not coconut oil hater, I use it for myself and my children all the time, but I think we have to be realistic about its abilities to solve complex skin issues.

I think both veterinary workers, and owners wish it was that easy. Maybe for a select few, it will be but the majority are going to have something more complex than just ‘Dry Skin” going on.

dog laying down looking

5 Real Reasons Your Dog Gets Itchy In Winter

#1 Dust Mite Allergy

Your dog gets itchy in winter because they could have an environmental “Dust Mite” allergy.

Dust mites are microscopic and no matter how clean your home is you have them, yep literally everywhere. Carpets, mattresses, blankets, dog bedding, clothing, and more.

If your dog is allergic to dust mites, your dog gets itchier in winter and most likely has been itchy all year round.
However, winter is commonly worse for Dust mite allergy because everybody’s inside more.

# 2 Your Washing Your Dog Too Much

There inside more, getting muddy outside in the rain. Keeping your dog clean feels never ending in the winter.

However how much is too much? see how over-washing your dog can cause skin issues here

# 3 Fleas – Flea Allergy

Fleas can still cause issues in the winter.

Many owners are under the impression fleas go away completely during the winter and forget their pet’s regular preventative treatments. However, this isn’t true fleas can still infest your dog and home during the cooler temperatures.

Always keep your dog protected.

Flea allergy exists too, meaning your dog can also be allergic to fleas causing more drama. See my Flea Allergy Post Here

# 4 Your Dog Has A Food Allergy

Food allergies are always present, but with everyone inside more during winter snacking and cooking delicious meals. Its easy for the dog to get slipped something they wouldn’t normally have.

Food allergies are less common in dogs than environmental ones but when present and flaring they can be a real itchy issue.

If you suspect food allergy see my food allergy trial post here

# 5 Your Dog Is Allergic To You Or The Cat!

That’s right both you and the cat are also potential “environmental allergies”.
If your dog is atopic then these are not out of the question and in fact common.

Again during winter, the dog is inside more and in close proximity to the family more often, therefore if they have an allergy it can flare up or become worse in the winter.

Want more information on environmental allergies find it here in this post.

There we have it 5 real reasons your dog gets itchy in winter. I hope it’s given you some ideas or got you thinking about what the real problem might be.

There really are so many reasons why your dog can be itchy at any time of the year.

I hope this post inspires you to go looking for the Cause! of your dogs skin issues.

Why does my dog get itchy in the winter?

There are many possibilities, finding the cause of your dogs skin issue will not only help you manage it, but potentially prevent it all-together. Talk with your Vet about finding the cause.

How can I relieve my dogs itching?

Take your dog to the vet, they have many medications, and topical treatments to help your dogs itchy skin. Itchy skin can be managed while you look for whats causing it.

What is my dog allergic to in the winter?

Dust mite, Human Dander and Cats are common environmental allergies that cause winter flares. This is because pets are inside more and around these allergens more.

Fleas and Why It Is So Important You Prevent Your Pet From Getting Them.

Cat Fleas
Fleas on humans

Fleas, why do you need to prevent your pet from getting them? Also fleas on humans? Is it possible?
Well, let’s go over why it is! So important to prevent fleas.

This post is part of my ‘Itchy Skin’ series so I will also explain how fleas can cause severe skin issues in some animals.

If you haven’t seen my ‘Itchy Skin’ posts you can find them here:

The start of the “Itchy Dog” Journey

Environmental allergies in pets

Food allergy and elimination trials in dogs

How over- washing your dog can cause skin issues.

So fleas what are they?

Small flightless insects that survive as external parasites on your pet.

Fleas live by consuming blood, from their hosts.

Cute Rabbit

Fleas On Humans

Fleas on humans? is it possible? Well yes, it is.

However “fleas on humans” doesn’t mean they are living on humans

The type of fleas your pet gets can indeed land and bite humans, but humans can not host them.
This is due to our lack of hair.

Different types of fleas exist and I can’t cover them all in one post If you are concerned about Human Fleas check out this post here

How Does My Pet Get Fleas

The most common way is the environment. More likely from another animal they meet or have played with.

Fleas can jump from one host to another so it is easy for them to pick them up from somewhere like the dog park.

Dog feet

Why Is It Better To Prevent Fleas?

Prevention is best when it comes to fleas. Yet it is a struggle to get owners to comply with regular prevention treatments.

Flea treatments can be costly but nowhere near as costly as an infestation in your home.

Once a flea has landed on an animal it takes mere hours, for them to establish themselves (Lay eggs), feed, and start to breed.

Within 24 hours, your pet has established them into their and your environment.

So, the couch they lie on, the bed they sleep in, carpets they walk over and any other pets they come into contact with. Are now infested also.

Eggs and larvae will settle themselves into your household. Furnishings and carpets are infested as they begin to breed and feed on any available host.

Other pets in the household, will now also be hosting and contributing to the infestation around the home.

This is why simple prevention is better than the risk of an established infestation in your home.

Women massaging dogs skin

How does this relate to my dog’s itchy skin?

So how does all this tie into my “Itchy Skin” Journey? If your not familiar with the multiple skin-related posts I have been releasing you can find them here:

The start of the “Itchy Dog” Journey

Environmental allergies in pets

Food allergy and elimination trials in dogs

How over- washing your dog can cause skin issues.

Flea Allergy’s

Flea allergy or Flea allergy dermatitis is the added fun when your animal is also allergic to fleas. Their saliva to be exact.

An allergy to fleas causes a more extreme reaction to them.

Extreme itchiness, rash, hair loss, skin infections, and more.

If your dog has been continuously itchy and suffering from skin issues. Fleas allergy should be investigated.

Even if you can’t find any fleas on your pet. It doesn’t take a lot for them to get exposed and a reaction to start.

Again your vet needs to be involved in figuring out if this is the cause of your dog’s skin issue.

However, simply preventing the fleas from your pet is often a way to figure out if its the cause of there itchy skin.

You keep them protected against fleas and the skin issues go away. Boom! diagnosis and treatment all in one!

How Can You Prevent A Flea Infestation?

So, how do you stop this from happening or stop your dog from having allergic reactions to them?

You can’t stop fleas or allergic reactions but you can stop them from living on your dog!

Veterinary recommended flea treatments are the best. Often over the counter options available at your general store are not strong enough and often don’t last as long as they claim.

In my experience, Bravecto is number 1. It covers not only fleas but all common external parasites that can lead to skin issues in your pet.

It is also one of the most cost-effective for what you get.
It is available in both a 3-month tablet and a 6-month spot-on treatment.

I recommended the 3-month tablet option as it has a proven (Studied/science-based evidence) claim for mites. The spot-on as far as I know does not have this yet.

At least for the first few treatments, the chew is what I would recommend, then you could move to the spot-on for convenience after you have ruled out other parasites like mites as well.

In Conclusion

Fleas on humans – Fleas can bite humans and breed in their environment. It is uncommon for humans to host fleas due to our lack of hair.

It is best to prevent and avoid a flea infestation in your home.

Prevention against fleas is a common way to treat and diagnose if your pet is allergic to fleas.

My number 1 recommendation is bravecto for flea prevention.

But please always consider Veterinary recommended flea treatments. General flea treatments available at general stores just don’t cut the mustard, in my opinion.

As always, thanks for reading.

What does a flea bite on a human look like?

Very similar to a mosquito bite.

Can fleas live in your bed?

Fleas themselves don’t live in your bed no. However there eggs and larvae do. They then hatch, grow, and find a host.

What do fleas hate?

Bravecto and other products designed to kill fleas.

Environmental Allergies In Dogs. How They Cause Itchy Skin and what you should be doing.

Environmental allergies in dogs/pets. Another big one for me to cover in this skin journey we are all on. Thank you for joining the ride and I hope you’re finding all this useful!

The world of skin is so diverse, there truly are so many reasons your dog can be itchy and this is just another one.

So let us go over the What, How and Then what to do about your dog’s potential environmental allergies.

Environmental allergies in dogs

The What!

What are environmental allergies in dogs? Well they are just that an allergy to ones environment.

Humans get them too and we often refer to them as hayfever.

Dogs generally develop allergies in their first year of life. However, it is important to note they can develop an environmental allergy at any time.

I know how annoying!! I’m there with you and I wish it was different but life is life. You and your dog have my empathy.

Dog’s display different symptoms of environmental allergies compared with humans. Often becoming itchy, rashy, suffering ear infections and even scratching themselves raw!

Don’t worry there is hope, if you’re suspecting environmental allergies in your dog. We can get to the bottom of this and either manage or fix it!!

Golden Retriever

So What Are The Types Of Environmental Allergies My Dog Can Get?

So what are the different types of environmental allergens?

Well, there are a lot!
I will give you some examples of environmental allergies:

Trees – Yep all the individual types too.
Grasses – there are many varieties of grasses too.
Weeds – all of them too
Dust Mites – The microscopic mite that lives in your house no matter how clean you are.
Yeast – Grows on a dogs skin.
Human Dander – Yep your dog can be allergic to you!
Cats – and the cat too!
Fleas – The best way to avoid this, is to prevent it by using good flea protection!

Need I go on, please also bear in mind your dog can have multiple allergies. More often than not, they are allergic to many environmental allergens.

Dalmatian hug

The How

How does my dog develop an environmental allergy?

Well Environmental allergies in dogs are basically an allergic reaction or hypersensitivity.

Often developed in the first year of a dog’s life as they go through all four seasons for the first time.

An allergic reaction occurs when the immune system overreacts to a harmless substance known as an allergen. The immune system protects the body from infections, viruses and diseases.

An allergic reaction occurs when cells in the immune system interpret a foreign substance or allergen as harmful. The immune system overreacts to these allergens and produces histamine, which is a chemical that causes allergy symptoms.

And that is how an allergy is formed!


What to do about it.

Surprise! again! Talk to your vet!

There are many options for environmental allergies ranging from steroid treatment to the gold standard methods. All of these can be discussed with your vet.

What is considered gold standard treatment for environmental allergies in dogs?

Intradermal skin testing followed by Immunotherapy.
This is also used in human medicine.

This is also the only known treatment for environmental allergies.

All other methods are just suppressing/masking the symptoms of the allergies. Not fixing the cause.

What is intradermal skin testing?

Intradermal skin testing is a method to help determine whether an individual is allergic to a specific allergen. The test involves injections of small amounts of a range of suspected allergens.

The injections are placed under the surface of the skin. While the animal is sedated.

What is Immunotherapy?

Immunotherapy is also known as desensitization or an allergy vaccination.

It works by gradually exposing the bodies immune system to different levels of the confirmed allergen. This is done through a series of injections given to the dog subcutaneously.

This is all done in the hope to permanently reduce or stop the immune systems response to the allergen/s.

Results vary sometimes animals are cured completely, and other times it only reduces the severity of the allergic reactions. A small percentage of animal won’t respond at all to immunotherapy.

But as I said earlier it is the only chance at a cure we currently have available for environmental allergies. So it is defiantly worth a go. In my experience results are often good.

If immunotherapy is not an option as I said earlier there are many drug options for suppressing the symptoms of environmental allergies in dogs. So don’t panic talk with your vet about all the options.

In Conclusion.

Environmental allergies in dogs are basically an allergic reaction or hypersensitivity.

Often developed in the first year of life, but can happen later in a dog’s life stage too.

An allergic reaction occurs when cells in the immune system interpret a foreign substance or allergen as harmful. The immune system overreacts to these allergens and produces histamine.

Intradermal skin testing followed by Immunotherapy is considered the only and gold standard treatment for environmental allergies in dogs.

If you suspect environmental allergies in your dog talk to you vet asap about your options.

As always thanks for reading.

Make sure to check out my other skin related posts :

My Pets Itchy skin:

Food Allergies in dogs:

How do you treat environmental allergies in dogs?

Intradermal skin testing followed by Immunotherapy is considered the only and gold standard treatment for environmental allergies in dogs.

How can I help my dog with allergies?

If you suspect environmental allergies in your dog talk to you vet asap about your options.

What are the environmental allergies?

Trees – Yep all the individual types too.
Grasses – there are many varieties of grasses too.
Weeds – all of them too
Dust Mites – The microscopic mite that lives in your house no matter how clean you are.
Yeast – Grows on a dogs skin.
Human Dander – Yep your dog can be allergic to you!
Cats – and the cat too!
Fleas – The best way to avoid this, is to prevent it by using good flea protection!

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I try to do a skin post once a week until I feel I have fully covered skin issues in dogs the way I would like.

Food Allergy In Dogs – How To Perform A Food Elimination Trial On Your Pet.

dog food trial

Food allergy In Dogs and Performing Elimination trials.
This is a big one and something I am incredibly passionate about getting right the first time!

So, let us talk about why and how to perform a food elimination trial. Plus let’s bust a few myths along the way.

Well, What Is A Food Elimination Trial?

A food trial involves, placing your dog on a novel protein diet, for a minimum of 6-8 weeks.

A food elimination trial is considered the gold standard method, for diagnosing food allergies, in a dog globally.

Other methods are available, but less reliable and if it were my dog, I would only use the gold standard method.

Any other method used, will be less accurate than performing a food elimination trial. So Let’s do this right the first time.

food allergy in dogs

Why Would You Perform A Food Trial On Your Dog?

Food elimination diet trials are used to determine if a dog has a food allergy.

So what does a food allergy look like in a dog?
Food allergies can present themselves in several different ways. Common symptoms include anal gland problems, gastro issues and regular upset tummy episodes from a young age.

Also common is skin issue like ear infections, itchy irritated feet, skin rashes, and irritated skin around the bum and mouth.

Common Myths About Food Allergies

!Myth Busted!

Food allergies in dogs are less common than environmental allergies.
A dog is more likely to be allergic to something in its environment like pollen or dust mites than it is its food.

!Myth Busted!

Food allergies in dogs are most commonly caused by a meat protein source! Currently Beef is the number 1 food allergen globally.
Grain allergies in dogs are uncommon.
Unfortunately, the human fad of ‘grain-free eating’ means a lot of owners waste time and money trying grain-free dog diets before performing a proper food trial.

Cats are the best pets

How To perform A Food Elimination Trial.

To perform an elimination diet trial on a dog they need to be placed onto a novel protein diet for at least 8 weeks. This needs to be strictly monitored and controlled. It’s best to talk to your vet before starting and keep good communication with them throughout the trial.

What Is A Novel Protein Diet?

A “novel” protein just means a “new” protein a dog hasn’t eaten before.
Normal doggy diets often contain multiple protein sources. Also cross contamination between different foods is common in manufacturing processes. Therefore it is impossible to use these diets for an elimination trial.

It needs to be known that the diet is a novel protein for the dog. Otherwise, time can be wasted or false results determined.
Worse case is that a food allergy goes undiagnosed because it is assumed the diet did not make a difference to the symptoms.

It is considered we have no novel protein sources. With multiple protein sources being mixed in diets, dogs being exposed to wild meats and roadkill commonly. Placing them on a single ‘uncommon’ protein. Is not 100% guaranteed. This can lead to the mentioned above comments about wasted time and failed results.

So What Diet Is Recommended To Perform A Food Trial With?

Talking to a vet about the right diet in a country or area is advised before starting or attempting a food elimination diet trial.

In my experience, we successfully use what’s known as hydrolyzed diets. Royal Canin has done amazing work creating Annallergenic and Hypoallergenic therapeutic diets.
Annallergenic is considered the gold standard globally for a food elimination trial.

I have included a link to a more detailed video on the diet.

Anallergenic – How it’s made! Video:

tricolored long coated dog 4277238 1

Keep your pet strictly on the diet chosen.

This can’t be emphasized more! It is very easy to fail a trial. The owner must be 100% committed to the diet trial and understand fully what they are trying to achieve. Owner compliance is of the utmost importance.

Why? because if exposed to a protein source before the 8 weeks is up, it is impossible to determine if the dog is reacting to that protein source or others still left in the dog’s system. Or none at all. Meaning the trial needs to be re-started from the beginning. This can be incredibly frustrating for everyone involved.

Before starting a food trial make sure the dog owners are aware and committed. It only takes a very small amount of bread, cheese, meat, milk, and other dog treats or foods to ruin the trial.

A food trial is temporary, Once an allergy or non-allergy is confirmed then the dog’s diet can vary again. Either back to previous if no food allergy was found or if an allergy was confirmed a less restricted version only avoiding that protein source.

What Happens When The 6-8 Weeks Of Novel Protein Diet Is Completed

My favorite part the challenge!!

It is time to find out if the dog has a food allergy.

There are typically two ways to do this that I know of but again check with you’re vet and what they recommend.

1. A food holiday – this means giving your pet everything they haven’t had during the food trial and seeing if they have a reaction. It’s a very quick way to determine if food is their issue.

The downside of a food holiday challenge is if the dog has a reaction, it is not known exactly which protein source caused it. The reaction then needs to be re-controlled with the novel protein diet and individual testing will be required.

2. Trial individual food allergens/Protein gradually. To then determine what exactly caused the flare.

In this method, one by one different protein sources/types is trialed over 2 week periods. If the dog has a reaction then an allergy is confirmed to that protein source.

If no allergen is found, then food allergy has been ruled.

Fun Fact
Ear disease/flares are considered skin disease they are under the ‘Skin Umbrella’ and are a common flare from food allergies

In Conclusion

If your pet has suffered from ongoing skin/gastro issues, talk to your vet about performing a food elimination trial.

Food elimination trials are used for diagnosing food allergies in pets.

They require a novel protein diet for 6-8 weeks

You Must then challenge the diet to confirm food allergy in your pet.

Remember to always involve your vet when considering a food elimination trial.

As always thanks for reading = )

Check out my other content while you’re here

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What is the most common food allergy in dogs?

Meat protein sources are considered the highest food allergens. The most common are Beef, Chicken, Pork, Dairy.

How can you tell if your dog is allergic to food?

There are many food allergy symptoms ranging from gastro flares, to skin rashes and even ear infections.
Performing a true food elimination trial is the gold standard way to tell if your dog has a food allergy.

What do you feed a dog with food allergies?

During a food trial you feed a “novel protien diet” like Royal Canines Anallergenic.
Once you know what your dog is allergic to you then just avoid those protein sources your dog is allergic to.

How long does it take for food allergies to go away in dogs?

Food allergies never really go away, they can however be managed.
It can take 3 weeks for a flare to settle and sometimes up to 8-12 weeks for symptoms to clear completely.

Does grain free dog food help with allergies?

Not unless your dog has a grain allergy, which is rare!
Your dog is more likely to be allergic to a meat protein source or even the environment than grains.
A novel protein diet must be used to determine if a dog has a food allergy.

My Dog Is Itchy. Why? And What Can I Do?

Dalmatian hug

So your dog is itchy all the time? Persistent redness or rash? Constant ear infections? Even if it’s just occasional, or only seasonal, you’ve come to the right place.

I am a veterinary nurse, working in a small animal skin clinic, and so I’d like to think I know a thing or two about skin by now.

I truly want to help you get to the bottom of your dog’s itchy skin issue if I can.

Why I’ve Decided To Write This Post

I’ve read too many articles like, ‘My dog is itchy all the time’ and ‘How coconut oil will solve your dog’s itchy skin issue’.

I’m sorry but, no coconut oil likely won’t fix a dog’s skin issue, and neither will Tumeric! It might help but it is not going to fix the cause.

dog skin conditions

My Dog Is Itchy All The Time Help! Right enough chit chat lets get to it!

Why is my dog itchy? Well, this post isn’t going to solve that question straight away, and neither will searching Dr. Google.

However, I hope that this post will encourage you to start the process, In finding the CAUSE of your fur babies itchy skin and then ultimately solving the issues.

Lets Answer Some Common Questions:

How can I get my dog to stop scratching?

Find the cause of there itchy skin. Take your dog to the vet and start a plan on finding out what is causing your dog to itch.

Your vet will have many medical options to help give your dog relief immediately. However, finding the cause of the itch is key.

What causes severe itching in dogs?

Skin is very diverse there are so many reasons why.
Some examples of severe itching are food, environmental, and flea allergies.

However, many other medical conditions can cause itchy skin, please always take your animal to a vet and find the cause of their itchy skin.

What can I give my dog for itchy skin?

Your Vet has many medications and topical treatments for various skin conditions. Itchy Skin management is very possible, curing chronic skin conditions completely can be tricky.

Please always take your pet and their itchy skin to your vet.

Dog Breed Selector

Sometimes There Is No Cure, skin Can Be Tricky, But It Can Be Managed Well.

Take My Itchy Dog Skin Quiz
9 Questions To Help You Find The Cause Of Your Dogs Skin Problem.

Skin disease in dogs is so diverse and there truly are many reasons why your dog could be itchy!
Yes, some are easyish and others are not.

I’m talking about the not so easy cases in this post.
Eg: they have had more than one flare, and have already tried a few different options only to have the issues return.

I’m sorry, this isn’t likely going to be solved overnight, or by one Vet clinic visit. I wish it could.

Problem skin can be stressful, owners feel like they have already spent a small fortune, and watching their itchy fur baby tear themselves apart again! Is not fun!

We are empathetic this is happening.
It sucks! We understand and truly want to help you.

Women massaging dogs skin

How can I start finding the cause to my dogs itchy skin then?

Go to see a vet! Be ready to ask some questions.

Tell them you want to go further into this and find the cause.
Be aware skin cases take time. So prepare to be patient.

Remember, time-wise your vet is like your GP, they typically get 15mins with you and your dog. Before the next client and patient are waiting to see them.

Most Owners are expecting a vet to solve the dog’s skin issue in that 15mins. Unfortunately, this is not always realistic, especially with more complicated skin diseases.

Cute Husky with owners hands

Ask Them For A Referal To A Skin Clinic.

If it’s needed, a vet will offer you a referral to an animal dermatology clinic, like the one where I work.

But You can always ask for one or jump on the internet to see if there is one in your area.

I can not recommend a Derm Clinic more,
We are focused solely on that niche so it is a great option

However, not everyone’s budget can afford referral to a derm clinic.

In conculusion

When you started reading this, you were probably hoping for some magical fix and I’m so sorry I can’t give you that.

I would love nothing more than for coconut oil or turmeric to be the answer but unfortunately, it’s not!

You should check out these posts as they are all things that work towards finding the CAUSE of the itch!

How overwashing your dog can cause skin issues:

Food Allergies in Dogs and What to do:

Environmental Allergies In Dogs – How they make them itchy.

Fleas And Why Owners Need To Prevent Them:

Why My Dog Gets Itchy In Winter?

As Always thanks for reading xx

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What can I give my dog for itchy skin?

Your Vet has many medications and topical treatments for various skin conditions. Please always take your pet and their itchy skin to your vet.

How can I get my dog to stop scratching?

Find the cause of there itchy skin. Take your dog to the vet and start a plan on finding out what is causing your dog to itch.
Your vet will have many medical options to help give your dog relief immediately. However, finding the cause of the itch is key.

Why is my dog so itchy but has no fleas?

Not all skin itch or conditions are caused by fleas. Your dog for example can also be allergic to its environment or food sources.
The could have an underlying medical condition.
Take your dog to see your vet asap.

What causes severe itching in dogs?

Skin is very diverse there are so many reasons why. Some examples of severe itching are food, environmental, and flea allergies.
Also, many other medical conditions can cause itchy skin, please always take your animal to a vet and find the cause of their itchy skin.