Around springtime, we often see an increase in itchy skin (dermatitis) and ear infections in dogs and cats.

How to spot itchy skin

You should know almost right away if your cat or dog has dermatitis. Here are a few of the common signs:

  • Constant scratching, licking, or chewing at the skin
  • Flaky, scaly, or greasy skin
  • Unusual and excessive hair loss in isolated or large areas
  • Inflamed, swollen, broken, or bleeding areas of skin (usually caused by scratching, chewing, licking)
  • Hives or red bumps or rashes
  • Unpleasant smelling skin (especially in dogs)

Areas most commonly affected in both cats and dogs include the ears, ankles, underarms, groin and lower abdomen, around the eyes, and the muzzle region of their face.

What causes itchy skin?

There can be many causes of dermatitis in dogs and cats. Some of the more common causes include:

  • Allergies (caused by dust mites, mould spores, pollen, grasses, plant sap, household chemicals, etc.)
  • Parasites like fleas, ticks, and mites
  • Generally dry skin
  • Skin infections (like eczema, ringworm fungus, yeast, and other bacterial infections)
  • Foreign objects (i.e., a grass seed, thorn, splinter, or other foreign matter stuck in your pet’s skin)
  • Boredom or anxiety (chewing and licking the skin due to boredom can upset the skin’s natural balance and lead to greater irritations)
  • Wet or damp fur for prolonged periods of time
  • Poor nutrition
  • Hormonal imbalances

Most of these conditions have very simple, effective treatments, including dietary changes, parasite control treatments (topical and ingested), pet-safe moisturisers, and grooming.

Does your cat or dog have an ear infection?

Look out for these common ear infection symptoms:

  • Constant or unusual shaking or tilting of the head
  • Constant or unusual scratching or pawing of the ears
  • Swelling or red skin around or inside the ears
  • Unpleasant smelling ears
  • Brown, yellow, black, or green discharge in or around the ears

There are many different causes of ear infections in pets:

  • Heat
  • Foreign objects (dirt, grass seeds, etc.)
  • Trapped fluid (water from swimming or playing)
  • Ear mites
  • Excessive wear wax
  • Allergies

Some breeds of dogs with floppy ears are also very prone to ear infections. We recommend regular ear cleaning to prevent infections; speak to us and learn how to do this safely and comfortably for your pet.

If you are worried your pet has an ear infection or dermatitis, please book an appointment online, or give us a call on (03) 9873 1544 so we can diagnose the problem and recommend a quick and efficient treatment.