Springtime is the season of itching for many dogs. Between atopic and contact allergies, fleas and ticks, and a whole slew of other irritants, many dogs spend the spring months scratching vigorously to quell persistent itching. Skin allergies can get the best of your dog, making it hard for them to enjoy the fresh weather and the enjoyable outdoor activities that come with it.
If you notice your dog has dry and flaky skin or always seems to be scratching beyond just a passing itch, consider how springtime seasonal allergies may be affecting them. Even if they’re not sneezing, coughing or lethargic, histamines could be doing a number on their skin. And, what’s worse, persistent itching and scratching could lead to further irritation, rawness, sores and general suffering for your furry friend.
Bathing can help
If you suffer from dry or irritated skin in the summer months due to allergies, you know exactly how good a bath can make you feel. Lathering up—especially with nourishing and hydrating natural soaps—can reinvigorate your skin and soothe cracking or itching pains. The same is true for your pup.
Giving your dog a nice bath with natural, nourishing shampoo is a great way to alleviate persistent itching caused by allergies. A bath will wash away allergens trapped in their fur or present on their skin, removing the catalyst for itching. Better still, it’s a great way to prevent snarls and mats in long-haired breeds like collies and terriers, which can actively trap irritants and press them to the skin.
A haircut goes a long way
Much like a bath is able to wash away some of the allergens trapped in your dog’s fur, giving them a regular haircut can also make their coat more manageable and less susceptible to trapping irritants. Shorter hair is less likely to snarl and mat, which means allergens are more easily brushed away or shed. This prevents buildups from being pushed against the skin, which can cause contact allergies that are widespread and persistent.
Regardless of the type of dog you have, it’s a smart idea to schedule an appointment with a professional groomer when it’s time to give your pup a trim. Long-haired breeds require special styling to prevent overgrowth, while shaving for short-haired breeds requires a delicate, sure hand.
Brushing is a simple solution
Even a simple brush-out can go a long way towards making your dog feel a little better during allergy season. Helping them shed hair will reduce “hotspots” on their body where allergen buildups can incite vigorous itching. Regular brushing will also help to comb out pollens, dirt and other debris that can become trapped after spending time outdoors.
Brush your dog depending on its coat, being careful not to over-brush to the point of skin irritation. For example, pin brushes are great for extremely long coats, while bristle brushes are great for shorter, more wiry coats. For the thickest coats, a shedding blade or undercoat rake are optimal for ensuring everything is brushed out evenly.
Don’t forget to clip nails
While major emphasis is going to be on managing your dog’s coat to help relieve its constant skin irritation, you also need to pay some mind to its paws—specifically its nails. Long nails are more prone to trapping irritants and when your dog goes in for a long, deep scratch, these nails are going to transfer allergens right to the source of irritation. It’s only going to make your dog itchier and cause them to scratch harder, making skin irritation worse.
Clip your dog’s nails to a short, manageable level during the spring and summer season. Again, this might be a job best left to a professional who has the right tools and know-how to keep your dog calm during the process. A groomer can also buff your dog’s nails to improve their health and prevent cracking or chipping.
Grooming makes your pet feel great!
Persistent allergies and the skin itching and irritation that come with them don’t have to be a bane for your pet in the springtime. By keeping up on hygienic practices, you can minimize the irritation your pet suffers at the hands of atopic and contact allergies, as well as fleas and ticks. Through regular bathing, haircuts, brushing and nail trimming, you can soothe your dog’s skin and help them enjoy the outdoors in a stress-free way. Plus, you’ll also get the benefit of knowing your pet looks and feels their best!