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Atopic Dermatitis

dog skin problems

Ydog skin problemsour dog can have allergies just like you do. Allergies can cause things like itching, scratching, rashes, sneezing, watery eyes, paw chewing, and inflammation. Some dogs get a condition called atopic dermatitis.


Atopic dermatitis is a chronic skin disease associated with allergies. It is the 2nd most common allergic skin disease in dogs and is typically brought on by environmental allergies.

You can see signs of atopic dermatitis as early as 3 months and up to 6 years. If they haven’t developed it by 6 years old, you are probably in the clear. Cats can get it too, though this is more rare.


Most Affected Areas

  • Ears
  • Wrists
  • Ankles
  • Muzzle
  • Underarms
  • Groin
  • Around the eyes
  • In between the toes

Signs of Atopic Dermatitis

  • Itching
  • Scratching
  • Rubbing
  • Licking


To diagnose atopic dermatitis you will have to bring your dog to your Albuquerque vet clinic for testing. Your vet will perform some tests and likely perform a full allergy test to identify the source of your dog’s allergies.


Once diagnosed your vet may recommend different things depending on what is causing the allergy. Some vets may give you injects to decrease the sensitivity of your pet to their allergen. They may give you corticosteroids and antihistamines to reduce their symptoms.

You can bathe your dog with anti-itching shampoo to help improve their comfort level. Shampoo’s with colloidal oatmeal can help. If the allergens can be identified, you may want to see if you can reduce your dog’s exposure.

Your vet will want to see your dog on a regular basis. Make sure you don’t miss your annual checkup.





How to Crate Train Your Dog

New Mexico Dog

New Mexico DogCrate training is a great tool to have in your tool belt for your dog. Crate training can be a great way to help with anxiety and deal with behavioral issues. Crate training isn’t for everyone. Not everyone like the idea of their dog being locked in a small contained space. But many dogs find comfort in their crates, and so do their human companions.

Crate training is the ideal for house training your puppy. Dogs do not like to use the bathroom where they sleep, so this can help train them to hold it until they can go outside.

Rules for Crate Training

  • Do not use the crate for punishment. The crate is meant as a safe and private space for your dog.
  • Do not use the crate all the time. Full grown dogs can stay the night, or the day, in a crate. But a dog left in a crate all the time will become depressed and can get anxiety. Your dog needs exercise and human interaction.
  • Puppies under 6 months old should not be left in a crate for longer than 2-4 hours. They are not able to hold their bladder longer than that.
  • Crate your dog only until you can trust them not to destroy your house. After that, it should be a place they go to voluntarily.

Crate training can take days or weeks, depending on your dog’s age, temperament, and past experiences. It’s important to keep two things in mind while crate training: The crate should always be associated with something pleasant and training should take place in a series of small steps. Don’t go too fast.

How to Crate Train

1. Introduce the Crate

Put the crate somewhere where the family spends a lot of time, like in the TV room. Put a soft blanket or towel in the crate and take the door off. Give your dog time to explore the crate at their pace. Some dogs will be naturally curious and want to sleep in it right away. If your dog isn’t curious then try bringing them over to the crate and talk to them in a happy tone of voice. You don’t want them to be scared. Make sure the door is open all the way so it doesn’t hit them and accidentally startle them. Try putting some treats near the crate, then just inside, and then all the way in the crate. If they refuse to go in all the way, don’t force them. Keep putting the treats into the care until your dog will walk in on their own. If they do not want treats, try putting their favorite toy in the crate.

2. Meals in the Crate

Once your dog has gone in the crate on their own, start giving them their regular meals near the crate. If your dog is still reluctant to enter the crate, you can use their meals as a way to tempt them inside. After they start eating their meal near the crate, move their meal inside the crate so they are eating in the crate. You can close the door while they are eating but make sure to open it as soon as they are done. You don’t want your dog to feel like you lured them into a trap.

Each day leave the door closed a little bit longer after they finish eating until they are in the crate for 10 minutes after a meal. If your dog starts whining about the door being closed you may be extending their time in there too quickly. Next time try to leave them in for a shorter time and have them get used to that. Do not let them out of the crate when they whine, otherwise, you are teaching them that the way out of the crate is to whine. Even if they are whining, you must wait for them to stop before letting them out.

3. Practice Makes Perfect

Now that your dog is eating regular meals it is tie to put them in the crate for short periods of time when you are home and they are not eating.

Call them over and give them a treat. Start using a command like “kennel” or “crate” and point to the inside of the crate with the treat in your hand. After they go in, give them the treat and praise, then close the door. Sit near the crate for 5-10 minutes, then go into another room for a few minutes. After a few minutes in another room, return and sit near them for a few more minutes. Then let them out and give them a treat. Repeat this process several times a day, increasing the length each time. Once your dog will sit quietly in the crate for 30 minutes with you mostly out of sight, you can start leaving them crated when you are gone for short periods or let them sleep there at night.

Every dog is different this may only take a few days, or it may take a few weeks.

4. Crating When You Leave

If your dog is able to spend 30 minutes in a crate without getting anxious then you can leave them crated by themselves for short periods.

Put them in the crate with your usual command. Since you will be gone, you may want to leave them with some toys or chews in the crate. Make sure to vary your “getting ready to leave” routine. So sometimes put them in right before you go out the door and other times do it 5 or 10 minutes before you leave. This will help reduce any anxiety surrounding your departure. You can crate them up to 20 minutes before you leave.

When you come home don’t be overly excited to see them. Keeping your arrival low key will decrease their anxiety about you being away. You should also leave them in the crate for a few minutes after your return. This way they do not associate the crate with being left alone. You want the crate to have a positive association.

4. Crating at Night

In the beginning, you may want to put the crate in your bedroom or nearby, especially if you have a puppy since they may need to go outside to go potty. If they are near you they will feel more comfortable sleeping in their crate. Put them in the crate as per usual, shut the door and then go to bed.

After you dog is sleeping through the night you can start moving the crate towards your preferred location. Do this slowly so the move doesn’t cause them any stress.

Once crate training is done, the crate will be a place of safety and security for your dog. After vet trips, he may retreat to his crate. If he is not feeling well, he may want to stay in his crate. His crate will likely be her preferred place if he is having anxiety. Because this is his space, keep kids out of it. When your dog is in there, that is his time and he should not be disturbed.

Dealing with a Dog That Chews Too Much

dog gnawing albuquerque

dog gnawing albuquerqueDoes your dog chew? Does he chew a lot? Are you going insane because of how much he chews? You are not alone, many dog owners complain about this behavior. The hard part is that chewing and gnawing is a natural activity for dogs.

Most of the time dogs gnaw because they are bored. They may also gnaw due to anxiety.

Boredom chewing

If your dog has nothing to do he may chew to occupy his time. Try leaving things that he can chew on around the house such as rawhide flips nylabones, cow hooves, and KONG toys. If you don’t give him things he can chew on, then he will likely find something to chew on, like your couch or dining room table. If you have a teething puppy, they need things to chew on to help the new teeth come in. Plus it feels really good on their sore gums. Give them something they can gnaw on for a good long time.

Anxiety chewing

If your dog is having anxiety because you are gone or because of environmental stimulus, he may start gnawing on everything he can get a hold of. Providing things for him to chew on will help him direct the behavior but it is not fully addressing the issue of the anxiety. Try to find ways to quell his anxiety. A lavender scented collar is a good natural remedy. Lavender is naturally calming. Rescue Remedy is good for situational anxiety like travel, house guests, or parties. Crate training can help dogs deal with their anxiety when you are away.

Clean Up

If your dog is chewing your socks and shoes, you need to make it harder for him to get them. Time to clean up your room, and around the house. Pick up all the things he is likely to chew. If he can’t get to them he is more likely to chew on the things your provide him. If you want to try using a deterrent, try getting Bitter Apple and spraying it on the items you don’t want him to chew. They don’t like the taste so they are likely to keep away. Though some dogs like it.

Behavioral Training

If you see your dog chewing on something he shouldn’t be you need to reprimand him. Make a loud noise to distract him and get him to stop chewing, then tell him “No!” loudly. When he starts chewing something that is acceptible, give him praise. He will start to learn what he can and cannot chew on.

If you find something they have already destroyed, do not reprimand them. It is too late. You have to catch them in the act.




Chewing is not just a bad habit it is potentially dangerous to your dog. A lot of furniture is not made from solid wood. Ingesting particle board pieces is not good for them. These pieces could be toxic or cause tears in their gastrointestinal tract. If your dog chews on an electrical cord he can get electrocuted or start a house fire by exposing wires.

If your dog won’t stop chewing not matter what you do, you may want to bring him into your Albuquerque vet. It could be a sign that his teeth or gums are hurting.




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The information provided on this website is written by Vetco staff. All information is meant to be informational and is not meant as veterinary advice. If you have a health question regarding your pet, their treatment or anything concerning their veterinary care, please call Vetco to consult with a veterinarian.