Jane Dinunzio
Sept. 2008
Fleas and mites are the most common cause of dog skin problems, and easily treatable. Fleas can cause unnecessary discomfort for a dog as it a simple treatment to prevent them. If untreated, fleas can also cause anemia and tapeworms.

With so many different choices to protect our pets from fleas and ticks, 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 caused by fleas and ticks by using spot treatments regularly, or as directed by the manufacturer or your vet.

Canine Allergies
My Black Lab “Lady” suffered with dog skin allergies since we brought her home as a rescued puppy over 11 years ago. Over the years, I have learned that allergies 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 home made organic dog food with added nutritional supplements or the top of the line organic dog food is the simplest way to determine if the allergies are caused immune defeciency. Giving a higher nutritional organic 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. There was also a drastic improvement is her overall health, well being and activity level.

Seasonal Allergies
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, just as we are. 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 or other presciption medication from you vet.

Food Allergies

Chewing the feet can be an indicator of food allergies. Although food allergies are less common in dogs, they can become more severe. I believe either feeding an all natural organic premium dog food or using recipes and making your dog’s meals will help eliminate food allergies. 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, and noting any changes in behaviour shortly after the change, makes all the difference in catching an unknown food allergy.

So What Really is The Cause?
The first priority for owners tackling dog skin problems or dog allergies should be to immediately to switch to an organic based diet, whether home made or a premium brand name. When buying organic dog food look for a certification of over 70% organic, and of course the first ingredient is always meat. 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. 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. I found that the premium organic foods for dog skin allergies eliminated completely my Lady’s incessant paw licking problem. This 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. The real key is to observe your dog’s patterns.

Jane Dinunzio is an animal lover and advocate of raising healthy, happy pets, as part of the family.