Excessive scratching, licking and itching are all signs that your dog may be developing a skin condition called dermatitis. Here, our Apple Valley vets explain what may be causing your dog's skin problems and how you may be able to help them feel better.
Skin Conditions That Cause Dog Itching & Scratching
Most dogs will inevitably encounter excessive itchiness at some point in their lives. In many cases, it will be annoying for your dog but not serious. That being said, some skin conditions will need to be seen by a veterinarian and will require treatment in order to prevent them from growing in severity.
Causes, Symptoms & Treatment
There are a number of different reasons why your dog may begin licking, biting or scratching at their fur. Some of the most common skin problems in dogs include:
Bites received from mites and fleas are one of the most common sources of itching in dogs. Thankfully, they are also some of the easiest to treat. Your vet will be able to prescribe medication to help resolve any issues your pet may be experiencing because of parasites. You will also be able to proactively provide your dog with medication in order to avoid fleas, mites or ticks in the first place.
This is a skin irritation that develops due to contact with certain substances, such as grass, dirt, and plants. Symptoms include itchy/dry or cracked skin, rashes, blisters, redness, or swelling.
Some commonly suggested ways to alleviate this condition include oatmeal baths and antihistamines. Your veterinarian may also recommend alternatives like cortisone cream depending on the severity of your pup's case.
This is a relatively uncommon issue in dogs. However, it is possible that your pup develops an allergic reaction to something that is in their food. Generally speaking, nutritional dermatitis results in skin irritations and scratching, but digestive issues may also occur. This includes diarrhea and vomiting.
If your dog is displaying either type of symptom, it's best to make an appointment with your vet.
Some dogs are prone to allergies, making this a somewhat common reason to visit the vet. Allergens that cause itching can be found in pollen, dander, plants or insects, among other things.
Some of the symptoms of skin allergies in dos aside from itching include excessive grooming and licking as well as sneezing, rashes and inflammation of the skin. Your vet may be able to diagnose what it is that is causing your pet's allergies and will recommend treatment as a way to prevent future allergic reactions.
Another type of allergic reaction is hives. Hives can be a reaction to many things, from bites or medications. Symptoms show as a raised bump that would cause the dog's fur to stick out.
Occasionally, hives will present with swelling near the eyes. Using a hypoallergenic shampoo for dogs will usually alleviate the condition. A hydrating leave-in conditioner may also help. Ask your vet what they recommend for your pet.
If you notice that your dog's abnormal itching persists for longer than a few days, you should make an appointment so that your vet can diagnose the issue and treat it. Prolonged itching can cause excessive scratching and biting at the itch—this can lead to a self-inflicted injury. If not promptly treated, these kinds of symptoms can become quite serious.
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.