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How to Stop Dermatitis Before It Spreads

If your puppy is scratching all over, it may be that he has Dermatitis, an inflammatory itching of the skin. It has many causes including parasites, food allergies, plant allergies, or chemicals such as cleaning products. Dermatitis can be chronic or temporary and if it shows up because of one thing, it can come back because of another.

As well as scratching, you may notice patches of fur missing and raw spots on your pet's skin. It's possible for a dog to have dermatitis and not scratch that much but if you notice a small amount of scratching accompanied by your puppy rolling around on the floor or behavior changes such as irritability, it could very well be Dermatitis. Fortunately, there are ways to stop Dermatitis - your first step is to determine what is causing it.

How to Determine the Cause of Dermatitis

  1. Look at Your Products - Does your puppy scratch more when he's on his bed or yours or buried in a blanket you've just washed? Does he scratch more right after you've cleaned the house? Then it could be your cleaning products.

  2. Observe the Seasons - Does your puppy seem to get dermatitis every spring or is it worse after he comes in from outdoors? Then it's likely an outdoor allergy.

  3. Look for Parasites - Check for fleas or mites. Do you see small black dots on your puppy's skin? Then it could be these. Or, if he started the scratching after you applied a topical flea solution, it's possible he has an allergy to that.

Treating Dermatitis

  1. Change Your Products - Switch to natural cleaning products, including laundry detergent. If you've tried changing cleaning products and your puppy is still scratching it could be a more subtle culprit. Some dogs are allergic to perfumes or air fresheners or refreshers like Febreze. Think about anything you spray around your puppy or his bed and eliminate the possibilities.

  2. Outdoor Allergies - If you've determined that your puppy scratches more after being outside, help him out by mowing the grass frequently and eliminating any possible guilty plants such as poison oak or nettles.

  3. Try a Different Dog Food - Try a different type of dog food, one with fish oil and more protein.

  4. Soothing Baths - Switch to an oatmeal shampoo first, then try a shampoo specifically for Dermatitis which is medicated.

Dermatitis can be a simple problem or it can be more serious. Look for signs such as a poor appetite in your puppy. If you see this or you've eliminated the possible culprits in your house, can tell it isn't fleas or mites and bathed your puppy with no improvement, it's time to take your pup to the vet. Your puppy could have a bacterial or viral infection which needs to be treated with antibiotics. Your vet might also want to do allergy tests.

If it becomes chronic Dermatitis and your pup's been checked by the vet and you can't determine the cause, consider a homeopathic remedy and be sure to add olive oil to his diet. The seven-year-itch can be scratched away with a few simple actions.

Advice from Other Dog Owners 

How to Keep Your Puppy Off the Christmas Tree

Puppies should be supervised at all times. She or he should be crated while alone, leashed while you are around. Time to teach the "leave it" command. You will really mean it when you fear for the dogs safety! Baby gates might deter him - unless he's that curious kind that looks to defeat all confinement. If he's leashed it's easy to give a sharp leash correction if he goes near the tree. Put the tree up for a few days without trimming to get the dog used to it without risking fragile ornaments.

~Liz H., owner of German Shepherd mix

When Puppies Lose Their Teeth

Puppies have a full set of 28 milk teeth - 4 canines, 12 incisors and 12 molars. The incisors and canines grow in first, the molars last. At around three to four months of age, your dog is going to start losing milk teeth and growing in her adult set of teeth, which consists of a total of 42 teeth - a lot more than the puppy teeth she has. The first to fall out are going to be her incisors, her front teeth. She will start growing her adult incisors first. Around four to five months of age you will see her adult molars and canines to grow in. By about six months, she should have her full set of adult teeth.

~Chris & Brian C., owner of German Shepherd

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