Top 10 Tips for Itchy Dogs Before You Call the Vet Part Part 3/10: Parasites can Leave Your Dog Scratching
If you are the owner of a dog scratching himself raw, you have likely already addressed this point but just to reiterate, critters like fleas, mites, sand flies can be really itchy…
We do not recommend nasty chemical preventatives for fleas, ticks or worms, for all the reasons in these articles and, unless you walk your dog in an area very prone to ticks, we don’t recommend chemical preventatives for ticks either, and yes I am acutely aware of the threat of Lyme disease, I assure you. The reason for this is that dogs rarely get these parasites. Like head lice in kids, you should treat these critters only when they are found. More to the point here, blindly using unnecessary chemical parasite control can actually make their itch worse by exasperating an already beleaguered immune system which will actually accentuate your dog scratching himself. Save these products for when you detect an issue and even then there are natural solutions I would try first before going nuclear.
These companies make you think these parasites are everywhere, that you and your dog are in grave danger. For a taster of the rubbish they put out, check out this article on the Big Tick Project, a “study” sponsored by the makers of the world leading tick preventative Bravecto, note how they had a university gather the data and then admit the figures were…questionable. So when the manufacturers tell you these treatments have a 1% chance of causing hyperactivity in your pet (Google your brand of choice) you need to seriously take their in-house produced figures with a hefty pinch of salt.
There is no doubt these chemicals hammer immune systems. In fact, of all flea chemicals, Bravecto has the worst track record, going by the volume of Facebook pages set up in protest against it. Absolutely no doubt in response to public pressure, the FDA finally issues a warning about the chemical parasite controls Bravecto, Nexgard and Simparica. These all contain a pesticide called isoxazoline which can cause neurological problems in your pet including seizures. The FDA state;
Although most dogs and cats haven’t had neurologic adverse reactions, seizures may occur in animals without a prior history
I believe this occurred thanks to the constant pressure from such thriving FB groups as “Does Bravecto Kill Dogs?” (50k members), to name but one. There were other big groups in existence but over time they have been targetted and removed, likely under the charge of slander.
Imagine putting drops on your child’s neck that are absorbed into the dermal layers and spread around the body so that should a nasty bug try to bite them anywhere a few weeks later they would drop down dead, chemicals that list “mild skin irritation, seizures and in some cases, death” on their labels, chemicals that we are told to either wear gloves or wash our hands thoroughly after usage.
Each of the linked articles above will explain how to identify these baddies, should they have them, and how to treat them naturally and effectively, often with bits you have in the home. If you want to protect from fleas, the most likely to leave your dog scratching, I would use a natural flea preventative, something like Dermadog, formulated by Dr Nick Thompson.
For now, know that if you have a dog scratching himself silly, these have to go, if just for now while we try to find out what’s going on. When we get your dog better you can come back these at a later stage, for whatever reason.
More from the Itchy Dog series…
Itchy dogs part 10: Is your dog stressed?!