How to Identify Common Pet Problems ?
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If your dogs paw pads just seem a little bit irritated, you may want to try something like “Musher’s Secret” on them. This is an ointment that you rub on your dogs paw pads to keep them healthy, and smooth. I use this in the winter when there is rock salt all over the ground.. it keeps her paw pads from getting irritated and tearing open. It’s like lotioning your skin to keep it from getting dry and cracked. If you think your dog is dealing with something that is a little more extreme than just some dry irritated paw pads, then see your vet immediately instead of purchasing the Musher’s Secret.
The first thing to do is to rule out parasites. Even if you don’t see fleas, treat her for fleas. Use a good product like Frontline – it’s easy to apply (avoid the hairless areas, it should be placed between the shoulderblades. You should also consider that your dog might be getting bitten by mosquitos – a common problem in thin-skinned dogs, and depending on where you live they can still be a problem this time of year.
Your vet also needs to perform a scraping of the skin to rule out mites. And again…even if no mites are found, I would recommend treating for them. They are almost as common as fleas in puppies, and depending on her recent situation (rescued from a shelter?) stress can depress the immune system and cause a mite infestation to take hold.
And finally, ringworm, which is actually a fungal disease, should be ruled out. It’s also almost universally related to conditions, like overcrowded shelters, but it does happen and puppies are more susceptible.
One more note: allergies are possible, but other things are probably more likely at this point. If your vet doesn’t know what to do, I would recommend looking for someone who does.
Another thing you can do is have a toy that YOU OWN. This can be a soft braided rope toy or something of the like. Dot not allow your dog to have this toy whenever he wants. This toy disappears when you are done playing with him with it, and reappears when you want to play. Never allow him to “win” games with this toy. Eventually, the toy will hold so much meaning, when he sees it, he will be instantly interested in the toy instead of your hands.
It also helps to have two bags of toys. Bag#1 is full of chew toys/rope toys/soft toys/etc. It comes out for one week, and then disappears and out comes Bag#2. Bag#2 has the same types of toys in it. This will keep the toys feeling like “new” to your pup and make him less likely to chew on you during play!
Remember to never scold your puppy for grabbing these things. They are just curious little cuties, and they don’t chew things up to bother us.. Dogs do not have intentional thought, so they aren’t ever doing anything ON PURPOSE to us.. The most important thing you can do when your puppy is chewing something you don’t want her to be chewing is TRADE her the inappropriate item with a toy of hers, so she understands “no honey, that isn’t what puppies chew on… THIS is what puppies chew on!” and then begin playing with her using her toy to show her that TOYS ARE FUN.. Way more fun than a boring ol’ coat hanger.
Another helpful thing you can do is have two bags of toys. In each bag is many different kinds of toys. Lots of chew toys, lots of soft squeaky toys, lots of rope-type toys, a bunch of balls.. All kinds of things! For one week you have bag#1’s toys out for your puppy to play with.. At the end of the one week, you collect those toys, and you bring out bag#2! The toys will be more interesting/feel like new to your puppy, which will in-turn, make her chew less inappropriate things. Her toys are too fun to care about that dumb Wii-mote that you left laying around.
Hope this helps!
You need to treat your home environment. If you use a pest control service, tell them you are having a flea problem and they can adjust their treatment. Use a premise spray that also contains an IGR, insect growth regulator. This keeps eggs and larvae from maturing into adults and helps break the life cycle. Also, vacuum EVERY DAY, throwing out the bag or emptying the canister every time into an outside receptacle and spraying the contents with insecticide to kill the fleas youâ€™ve vacuumed up.
Treat your yard too, since fleas are opportunistic and will hop a ride into your home on your pant leg without you knowing it. Concentrate on areas under bushes, in the shade. Fleas are less likely to be located in open sunny areas where it gets hot.
If chemicals are a problem, you can use borax. Sprinkle it into rugs, into corners and under furniture, use a broom to work it into the fibers and let it sit for hours, days even. It won’t hurt you or your pet to have it present. Then vacuum it up, reapply as needed. Food grade diatomaceous earth can be gotten from a health food store and worked into the rugs and corners in the same way as borax. These treatments aren’t as fast and effective as chemical insecticides but they can help.
You might want to consider boarding your pet for the day at your vet, to give you the opportunity to flea bomb your house without having to worry about your pet being exposed. They can bathe your pet and give a dose of Capstar while you treat your home.
Be patient, you may have to repeat these steps multiple times 10-14 days apart to help break the flea life cycle.
Skin problems can have a variety of causes, sometimes more than one. It is important to have the problem checked by your vet to determine if there is a medical cause for your petâ€™s skin issues and treat accordingly.
In pets of all ages, fleas, food allergies and exposure to chemical irritants such as cleaners and soaps can be a cause. Any one of these may not be enough to trigger the breakouts, depending on how sensitive your pet is, but a combination can be enough to start the itch-scratch cycle. Finding out the cause and eliminating it is the best course of action. With flea allergies, if your pet is sensitive enough, a single bite can cause them to break out scratch enough to tear their skin.
Check for fleas with a flea comb. Look for fleas and/or tiny black granules, like coarse black pepper. This is flea feces, consisting of digested, dried blood. You may find tiny white particles, like salt, which are the flea eggs. Applying a good topical monthly flea treatment and aggressively treating your house and yard will help break the flea life cycle.
If you use plastic bowls, this is a possible cause for hair loss, though this tends to be on the chin, where their skin touches the bowl while they eat. If you suspect this to be the culprit, try changing the bowls to glass, metal or ceramic.
Food allergies are often caused by sensitivity to a protein in the food. Hill’s Science Diet offers some non-prescription options for sensitive skin as well as prescription hypoallergenic foods for more severe cases. Royal Canin carries limited protein diets that may also offer some relief. Your vet can recommend a specific diet that will help.
If there is no relief or not enough, consider getting your pet checked by a veterinary dermatologist and having allergy testing done.
If it’s not fleas, and steroids didn’t help AT ALL (and I put that in caps because sometimes there are allergies that don’t completely resolve with steroids alone) then I’d consider a biopsy of the site to see if she has something unusual like cyclic flank alopecia, which responds to melatonin treatment.