Why is my dog scratching?

If you notice your dog is constantly itching, licking and scratching at their fur they could be showing symptoms of a skin problem. We can help you learn what is triggering your pup's skin condition and let you know what you can do to help relieve their symptoms. 

Scratching, Itching & Skin Irritability

At some time in their lives, the majority of dogs will experience a form of skin irritation. When your dog has itchy skin it causes them to scratch and bite at their fur making them feel very uncomfortable. Though these skin problems can be annoying they usually aren't serious conditions. But, several skin ailments need veterinary treatment to stop them from getting worse.

    Triggers, Symptoms & Treatments

    There are many explanations for your dog's itching, licking and biting. The most common reasons of itchy skin in dogs include:

    Parasite Bites
    • Flea and mite bites are among the most common explanations for dog itching. Luckily it is one of the easiest conditions to treat. Your vet may give medications to resolve your pup's parasitic skin problem. This condition is also easy to avoid by giving your dog preventative flea, mite and tick treatment.
    Environmental Dermatitis
    • This is another common skin problem your dog can develop. This can occur due to exposure to a certain substance like plants, dirt or grass. This may cause their skin to become dry, itchy or cracked. Other symptoms may also include redness, swelling blisters and rashes. You can treat this condition with oatmeal baths or Antihistamines. Your vet might suggest cortisone cream or other alternatives based on the severity of your pet's skin condition.
    Nutritional Dermatitis
    • This is an uncommon issue in dogs, yet your furry friend might have an allergy to an ingredient in their food. Nutritional dermatitis can cause scratching and skin irritations. Digestive issues such as vomiting or diarrhea can also occur. If your dog is showing any of these symptoms, it's recommended to book an appointment with your vet.
    Skin Allergies
    • Many dog breeds can develop allergies, which is why this is a common reason for veterinary visits. Dogs can have allergies to dander, plants, pollen, or insects, among other allergens that can cause itchy or irritated skin. Symptoms other then itching that your dog might display include watery eyes, sneezing, over-grooming or licking, inflamed skin and rashes. Your vet might be able to diagnose the allergy but more severe cases need specialist care.
    Hives
    • Hives are a type of allergic reaction vets sometimes see in dogs. These can develop for many reasons such as bites, medications and more. Symptoms include a raised bump on the dog's skin making its fur stick out and swelling in the eye area. Your vet can recommend a hypoallergenic dog shampoo and leave-in conditioner to help ease this condition.

    Emergency Cases

    If your dog's itching lasts longer than 48 hours make an appointment with your vet to diagnose the issue and treat your dog's skin problem. Prolonged periods of scratching and biting can cause self-inflicted injuries and an infection that can become serious if left untreated.

    Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

    At St. Francis Veterinary Hospital in Lafayette our vets provide the highest quality of treatment for pets in need. If your pet needs immediate veterinary care contact us or visit our animal hospital.