Why is my pet still scratching after applying a Flea Treatment?

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Why WHERE your pet’s scratching matters (and what they could be trying to tell you!):

What is atopic dermatitis?

What does it mean if my pet’s scratching their ears?

What does it mean if my pet’s chewing their feet?

How Itch can help your pet

Not all flea treatments are created equal. Itch Flea is a double action spot on treatment that not only contains Fipronil but also (unlike lots of other flea treatments), (S) Methoprene. This means that it not only targets the adult fleas feeding on your pets and kills them dead in 24 hours (and ticks in 48 hours), it also targets flea eggs and larvae, stopping the fast and furious flea life cycle dead in its tracks.

We asked in-house Itch vet, Dr. Zoe Costigan to give us the lowdown on why your cat or dog might still be scratching after applying a flea treatment to your pet. Here's what she had to say:

“It’s fairly normal for there to be a period of hyperactivity amongst the fleas as the active ingredients in a flea treatment take effect and this can cause an increase in your pet scratching. It should settle down after 24 hours. If after 24 hours your pet continues to scratch, there could be other things going on. Your pet could be flea-allergic, it could have a skin infection or a hormone imbalance, or other conditions which can lead to itchiness.”

Why WHERE your pet’s scratching matters (and what they could be trying to tell you!):

 “Not all itching and scratching is caused by fleas. Exactly where your pet is scratching could be an indication of what’s troubling them. Typically, flea-allergic dogs will scratch along the base of their spine and around their tail and areas with less fur as allergies tend to affect their least hairy areas of the body. 

Facial eczema is really common in allergic cats, and they’ll scratch away at their face, making a mess of their features. With other parasites, such as sarcoptes, your pet will be itchier on the tips of their ears and their elbows. After flea allergies, most itchy skin disease is usually due to an underlying allergy of some sort, be it your pet’s food or something in their environment. 

Unfortunately, these animals tend to be chronically itchy, and really make a mess of their skin. That can allow secondary infection with bacteria and yeast to occur. These infections must be appropriately addressed with medical treatment, or you’re never going to get that itching under control.

Once you’ve ruled out parasites and secondary infection, the next thing to consider is could your pet have a food allergy? 

If you think this is the case, you need to speak to your vet about how best to manage it. The most typical allergens for dogs and cats are beef, chicken, dairy and wheat.”

What is atopic dermatitis?

“After ruling out a food allergy, if your pet is still itching, and it’s in the typical locations of the ears, between their toes and their belly, then a diagnosis of atopic dermatitis may be reached. 

These atopic animals often have multiple allergies, and it’s thought to be a genetic problem, linked to a defective skin barrier. 

Sadly, there is no cure for atopic dermatitis, it is a life-long condition. But it is a condition that can be managed, by using specific medical treatment, specialised diets and regular parasite prevention like Itch Flea Treatment for dogs and Itch Flea Treatment for cats."

What does it mean if my pet’s scratching their ears?

“Dogs and cats who shake their head or scratch their ears will typically have an ear disease.

This is one of the most common reasons why pets are taken to see their vets, and it can make your animal’s life a misery. Often, people assume it’s a straight-forward ear infection, but generally there’ll be a reason why. 

Certain breeds are prone to ear disease, such as Spaniels, Cockerpoos and Beagles because of their big, heavy ears. Young pets like puppies and kittens will be more prone to ear mites, which causes intense itchiness of the ears. 

Keeping your pet’s ears clean with a dog or cat ear liquid (like Itch's Ear Cleaner) is all part of prevention to help stop your pet scratching their ears.”

What does it mean if my pet’s chewing their feet?

“Animals who lick their feet - especially after a walk - may be suffering from a contact allergen. For example, if your dog walks through grass and they’re allergic, pollen will irritate them between their toes. As they lick that area, they’re driving the pollen deeper into the hair follicles, which can actually make the problem worse.

It’s a really good idea to get into the habit of washing your pet’s paws after they’ve been outside if you notice them chewing their feet regularly.”

How Itch can help your pet

“Fleas are a nuisance, and they do make our pets itchy. But in addition to this, the worst-case scenario is that your pet may be flea-allergic. These animals are intensely itchy, they will pull out their fur, their skin will look red, they’ll be prone to secondary infections and sores. If this is the case, you must take your pet to the vet for some additional help.”

Here at Itch, we have a range of supplementary treatments which can help with many of the conditions we’ve talked about but the most important thing for your pet is to get in a regular flea treatment routine.

It's our mission to help pets live longer, happier, healthier lives and treating your pet for fleas every month, all year round, is the best way to prevent and protect against a flea infestation, which can be the cause of so much misery for cats and dogs. Your first month of Itch Flea Treatment for dogs and Itch Flea Treatment for cats is free. Just tell us about your pet here and we’ll devise a personalised parasite protection plan. And we'll send it to you exactly when you need it, so you never forget.

New to Itch? Get rid of fleas and stop them coming back!

Flea infestations can be a nightmare, but with the right approach, you can take control and rid your pets and home of these bothersome pests. Remember that fleas can be persistent, so patience and regular treatment will be your best friends! By addressing both your pet and their environment, you can ensure a flea-free and comfortable living space for both your furry companion and your family.

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