From Pet Health Learning Center
The Three Most Common Causes of Dog Itching
Itching, scratching, licking, biting and rubbing up against objects are common issues that dog owners frequently have to deal with. Often, after a closer examination of the animal's fur and skin dog owners may notice scabs, sores, dandruff and other worrisome signs. For some dogs, the itching and scratching can become so bad that thinning hair occurs in some spots and large clumps of shedding hair may be found around the home. Some pets may also lose their usual spunk due to the discomfort they are in.
So what exactly is going on and what can dog owners do to help? There are actually a number of possible causes. Learn some of the common signs of dog itching and what steps can be taken:
Dog Allergies are quite common in dogs and are triggered from contact with a substance that a dog is allergic too. Contact allergies are triggered by direct skin-to-skin contact and one of the most common causes are Dog Fleas and Dog Flea Allergy Dermatitis, or flea bites. Most dogs are allergic to flea bites and this allergy can show up in the form of redness, skin crusts, itching and even trigger unpleasant odors. Fleas are active in warm, humid climates and a thorough examination of a dogs fur and skin is usually the first step done to figure out the cause of skin itching. It only takes one flea, however, to cause damage and by the time the skin is examined, a grooming obsessed cat may already have eliminated the parasite. Instead, look for bite marks, lesions and other signs of irritation on the tail, rump and hind legs. Maggots, Dog Lice, and even Dog Chiggers may also be the culprit.
Have a dog that tends to chew at their feet and scratch a lot around their faces? Then inhalant allergies may be the cause. Inhalant allergies can be caused in dogs by particles in the air that they breathe in. Some of the most common causes are mold, pollen, tobacco smoke and dust. These allergies also tend to be more severe in the summer months but if untreated they can become a year-round problem.
Though Dog Food Allergies are less common than inhalant and contact allergies they still affect a significant portion of dogs. Because of the nature of food allergies, they can affect dogs of any age. These allergies can be caused by natural foods such as beef, fish, soy, wheat and dairy products but preservatives, dyes and other synthetic ingredients found in dog food are often the culprit. To eliminate the problem, dog owners can switch to all natural dog food and slowly introduce new foods to their pet's diet to check for allergies.
A veterinarian can be consulted to determine the exact cause of a dogs allergies and determine the appropriate treatments. Depending on the severity of the allergies, a veterinarian may suggest giving the dog a very low dosage of an over-the-counter antihistamine for relief from the itching.
For at home treatments a cool bath may be suggested to temporarily help soothe inflamed skin in dogs. A veterinarian will typically recommend not rubbing their skin dry with a towel or using a warm blow dryer, as both actions can further irritate the skin. Instead, air dry the animal dry or use a blow dryer on the cool setting. Dog owners can also consider adding in oatmeal or salts to the water for additional relief.
There are also many herbal solutions that can either be taken orally or placed on your dogâ€™s skin to help alleviate itching.