August 10, 2023

Skin and coat irritations in cats and dogs

Is your cat or dog itching and scratching? Yes, it may be that you have a flea issue to deal with (in that case, head to your vet clinic for some treatment) however there are a number of reasons why your pet may have a skin or coat irritation, fleas only being one of them.

Your pet’s skin is his or her largest organ and plays a very important role in their physical well-being. A healthy coat provides protection, sensory data and even manufactures vital nutrients such as Vitamin D. If your pet has a skin or coat problem, don’t let them suffer. There are many treatments and ways in which we can make our furry and fluffy friends feel better!

Signs of irritation:

Watch their behavior and have a good look at their body. Signs to look out for include red, raw, or flaky skin, lumps or bumps on skin, strong odors, a dull or brittle coat and thinning or matted fur/hair. If you are unsure, talk to a vet or vet nurse.

Causes of irritation:

There are a handful of reasons why cats and dogs will itch and scratch and unfortunately some breeds are more susceptible to skin and coat issues than others.

Most skin and coat issues can be defined by one of these categories.

  • Nutritional: Many issues can be avoided if the animal eats an optimum diet; in fact, nothing affects the condition of your pet’s coat more than his or her food! Diets rich in omega-3 fatty acids, protein, vitamins, and minerals are essential in caring for your pet’s skin and coat.
  • Environmental and allergic: Pets can have a reaction to almost anything in their environment such as pollen, grass, cleaning sprays and dust. It can often be very difficult to find the cause of the environmental irritation, and for some animals the cause is never found.
  • Parasitic: Parasites on the skin and coat such as fleas and ticks are a common reason why cats and dogs itch. Treating our pets for parasites is easy and there are many different products available.

Top tips to prevent skin and coat irritation

To help maintain the health of your pet’s skin and coat we recommend the following:

  • Brushing – All pets will benefit from regular grooming sessions, ideally once a week.
  • Bathing – How often your pet will need to be washed will depend on their lifestyle, age and coat. The average dog will only need to be bathed every 4-6 weeks. Cats will only require bathing if their coat is sticky or greasy.
  • Proper nutrition – A balanced diet will help to provide strength to your pet’s coat. Dull, fragile hair which shreds excessively can be an indication that your pet isn’t getting the minerals and vitamins which they require from their diet.
  • Parasite control – Keeping on top of parasite control is vital to your pet’s wellbeing. The presence of parasites can lead to itchiness and discomfort for your pet, allergic reactions, and infections.

If you have any questions or are concerned about the health of your cat or dog’s skin or coat, please call us at Tauranga Te Puna Katikati Papamoa Village Vets. Ph 0800 838 7267.