VET’s VIEW: Get help managing your pet’s skin or flea problems

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For some unfortunate pets itching is a year round problem, needing long-term management.

Conditions such as allergies are rarely completely cured, and frequently require on-going treatment.

But there’s no doubt they are often worse in the summer, and the reasons are obvious.

Dry, hot weather can make us all feel a bit itchy, allergy-causing plants are in bloom and of course parasites such as fleas multiply rapidly in the heat.

So if your pet has a sensitive skin, it pays to be proactive.

Always start with an effective parasite treatment.

Some people swear by natural remedies such as garlic, scented oils or cider vinegar.

Our experience is that whilst these measures can act as a deterrent, they are rarely effective in the face on a full-on infestation.

When choosing a flea-control product, remember that like most insects, fleas rapidly develop resistance to the chemicals that are used, so use one that is up to date.

There is a variety available; spot-ons, collars and tablets are usually the best, so ask your local practice what is suitable for your pet.

For itchy pets a natural oil and vitamin supplement can reduce the skin’s sensitivity and is well worth trying.

Try to avoid bathing as it further dries the skin, but if you have to, chose an emollient shampoo to avoid stripping out the skin’s protective oils.

If you’ve taken these basic measures and your pet is still itching, then it’s time to get serious!

Your vet may recommend further investigation, which can range from microscopic examination of the skin and hair to allergy testing, but if long-term medication is required, don’t be disheartened.

Managing skin problems involves teamwork with your vet, and together you can help to keep your pet comfortable all year round.

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