Does Your Dog Have Itchy Skin?
Chase Correll | June 25 2018
We all know the wrath of the flea. That darn, six-legged pest will haunt our dogs to eternity. Every month or so, I go through the hardship of feeding my pup his flea pill; I have to grind it up and put it in peanut butter, or else he’ll spit it out. It’s a taxing but necessary evil for dog owners. However, sometimes your pup’s itch can’t be attributed to fleas. That’s because there’s another common cause for your dog’s itchy skin that you’re going to want to know about.
Watch Out For This Common Skin Fungus
Although Malassezia dermatitis may be one of the most common causes for your pup’s itchiness, that doesn’t mean it’s easy to pronounce. Malassezia dermatitis is an itchy skin reaction which can occur in all breeds of dogs: any age and any sex. Malassezia dermatitis develops when your pup has a reaction to the Malassezia yeast (a yeast is a type of fungus), which naturally occurs on the skin of all dogs. Your pup may have a reaction to the yeast if it overpopulates your dog’s skin, or if your pup develops an immune system reaction to the yeast.
Common Signs Of A Reaction
So how will you know if your itchy little friend is having a reaction to the Malassezia yeast? First, the most common sign of this itchy disease is moderate to intense pruritus, which is science speak for itchy and inflamed skin. That itchy, inflamed skin is also very likely to give off an unpleasant odor; commonly described as “yeasty” or “rancid.” What exactly does “yeasty” smell like? Well, it smells like a very stinky dog smell.
It’s important to note that the dermatitis can occur on large areas of your pup’s skin, or be limited to smaller areas. However, Malassezia dermatitis most commonly occurs on the ears, in between the toes, in the nails, on the neck, on the outer thigh and the regions of the legs joining your pup’s body, on and around your pup’s tushy, and in skin folds where your pup’s skin rubs together. That’s a lot of places that Malassezia dermatitis can occur, but that makes sense, right? Because, remember, Malassezia is a yeast that naturally occurs all over your pup’s skin. Don’t let that freak you out though; just be glad that the next time your pup starts to itch, you’ll be an expert about what this common disease looks like and where it occurs. But what about when it occurs
Watch Out For Summer
Although Malassezia dermatitis can occur during any season, you should be extra vigilant during the summer months (especially if you live in a warmer climate). Why summer? Two reasons: the allergy season ramps up a notch and the air becomes more humid. The higher prevalence of allergies during the summer means your pup’s immune system will be more active, which increases the chance of an immune system reaction to the yeast. The warmer, humid climate is an issue because the Malassezia yeast are more receptive to warm, humid climates and become more populous. One of the biggest issues with Malassezia dermatitis is it isn’t completely receptive to corticosteroid and antibiotic medications that are commonly used as treatment. This means that after a round of one of these medications, the dermatitis often returns. So what can you do? Well...
Thank The Research
A published article in the Journal of Medical Mycology demonstrates the benefits of a more natural treatment for Malassezia dermatitis. By using an essential oil blend derived from coconut oil, like Sleepy Cotton’s melting balms, researchers were able to effectively treat Malassezia dermatitis in 20 dogs. That means that the pups were no longer itchy, and that the dermatitis didn’t return after at least 180 days. Keep your dog’s health and wellness in mind, and consider using essential oils and melting balms whenever your beloved pup starts to get a nasty itch.