Dogs like to itch. And some really like to itch. But sometimes regular scratching can be a sign of a more serious medical issue that needs immediate attention.
There are a lot of different reasons your dog could be scratching. If you notice that your dog is itching all of the same, you should consider taking them to the vet to get checked out.
Here are some of the most common causes for itchy skin in dogs.
Just like humans, dogs can be allergic to a wide range of things. Allergies often come from the environment, and are picked up as your dog runs around outside. In some cases, itchy skin can also be caused by food allergies.
Environmental allergens are the most common cause of itchy skin in dogs. In general, the allergic reaction is triggered when your dog runs around outside and rubs their body on plants or grass.
Dogs, like humans, can also react to pollen and dander. If you notice that your dog is also scratching their eyes, this is a good sign that the allergic reaction is being caused by something in the air.
With environmental allergies, the reaction often goes away during the winter, when there are fewer outdoor allergens and your dog spends more time inside.
Dogs can also be allergic to a number of different common foods, causing allergic reactions throughout the body.
Food allergies are much rarer than environmental ones, so they are less likely to be the cause of your dog’s skin scratching.
Try to notice when your dog starts to itch. If they itch constantly throughout the year, this could indicate that the allergic reaction is caused by their food and not the environment.
If you suspect food is at the root of your dog’s allergies, speak to your vet as soon as possible. They can test out your dog for common allergies.
Once they’ve found the culprit, they can switch your dog to a food that is less likely to cause an allergic reaction.
Parasites are another leading cause for dog itching and scratching. There are a lot of different parasites out there that can bother dogs, so you should consult with your vet if you suspect your dog has pests in its fur.
Fleas are a dog’s worst nightmare. They reproduce quickly, and no amount of itching and scratching can get them out of a dog’s fur. If left untreated, your dog may start to scratch and chew themselves until they start to bleed.
Dogs are allergic to the saliva produced by fleas. When fleas bite, the skin gets inflamed and will start to itch.
Not all dogs respond to fleas to the same degree. Some are highly allergic, and will drive themselves crazy trying to stop the itching. For other dogs, fleas are just a mild irritant.
To keep fleas from spreading, give your dog a bath as soon as possible. Use a specialized flea shampoo, and make sure to brush out their hair to get all of the dead fleas out.
You should also wash off all of their bedding, as well as any furniture where your dog regularly sits.
Speak to your vet about flea control. They can recommend products to get rid of fleas, as well as to prevent them in the first place.
Ticks are another common problem for dogs. They stick to your dog’s skin, causing irritation and itchiness. They can also carry dangerous diseases, many of which can spread to humans.
If you notice that your dog is scratching more than usual, you should check their fur for ticks, especially if you just took them on a walk through the woods.
Mites are one of the smallest types of parasite, and can only be detected under a microscope. They can cause skin irritation and scratching, and can be hard to get rid of because of their small size.
If you suspect that your dog has mites, take them to the vet. They can do a check to see if there are mites, and give your dog the appropriate treatment.
Dry, irritated skin is one of the biggest causes of itchiness in dogs. Check to see if your dog’s skin is flaky under their coat.
A dog’s skin tends to dry out more during the winter. If your dog has chronic skin issues, speak to your vet and ask them for products to keep your dog’s skin hydrated.
In some cases, irritated skin is more than just a surface itch. Bacteria can build up under the skin, especially if your dog has small cuts.
Look for any redness or irritation on your dog’s skin. If the area is inflamed or discharging pus, take your dog to the vet right away to prevent the infection from spreading.
Although rare, hormone imbalances can be a cause of itchy skin. They can affect your dog’s body temperature, making them feel warm and itchy .
Changes in hormones can also affect the glands under the skin, leading to itchiness and irritation.
Before you can deal with your dog’s itching, you need to diagnose the underlying problem. Speak to your vet about your dog’s symptoms so that they can figure out what’s causing the scratching.
Products That Can Help With Itching
Since the source of the itching can vary widely, not all products will be effective for your dog. But there are a number of treatments that often reduce itching and scratching.
Omega supplements are an effective way of keeping skin from drying out, which can reduce irritation and prevent itching. These supplements can be given daily as part of your dog’s regular diet.
CBD oil is another great option to help your dog cope with excessively itchy skin. It makes their skin less sensitive, which makes them less likely to scratch. It can also help repair the outer layer of skin, which keeps moisture locked in.
Your dog is going to itch and scratch. That’s just part of their life. But there are some easy steps you can take to reduce the risk of excess scratching and skin damage.
Speak to your dog about pest control options, which can prevent fleas and ticks. Also consider keeping your dog inside or away from plants during allergy season to prevent skin irritation.
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