Having been treated to soaring temperatures and bright sunshine over recent weeks, most of us will be rejoicing in the fact that the long, cold winter finally appears to be at an end. However, while summer may signify lazy days on the beach and barbeques in the garden for us, for your canine companion the change of seasons can bring some rather uncomfortable skin conditions.

Many dog owners will notice that their pet begins to scratch more or seems itchier over the summer months even if they've been quite comfortable all winter. There are a number of reasons for this and the cause is usually quite difficult to diagnose since it's often a combination of factors that is make your dog start to itch.

In the warmer seasons most dogs will spend more time outdoors, where they are susceptible to bites from fleas, ticks and other insects which can irritate their skin and make them uncomfortable.

A number of dogs will also become more sensitive to allergies over the summer months, making them itchy and irritable resulting in frequent trips to the vet. But even if your pup is scratching more than usual, don't limit their time outdoors as, especially during warm days, your four-legged friend will appreciate all the time they can get out in the fresh air.

Instead, there are a number of alternative remedies to help reduce any discomfort itchy skin may be causing your pet. The first step in many cases is to revise your dog's diet.

Dr Katy Nelson, an associate emergency vet, points out that, although only around ten per cent of domestic animals actually have a food allergy, "even if the allergen is not an ingested one, sensitive-skin formula foods may still help".

There are a number of brands including Arden Grange and Hills that sell products designed to be hypoallergenic, so find a diet that is suitable for your pooch's breed and lifestyle and before long, itchy/scratchy skin could be a thing of the past! If you have any questions, comments, or need any advice on looking after your dog's skin this summer, post them below or email [email protected]

Written by: Hannah