Itching, scratching, and licking are symptoms of dermatitis, a skin condition. Learn what's causing the skin problems and how you can help treat them.
Skin Conditions That Cause Itching & Irritability
Itching will inevitably occur in most dogs at some point. In most cases, it will be annoying but not harmful to your pet. However, some conditions must be seen by a veterinarian and treated to prevent them from worsening.
Causes, Symptoms & Treatment
There are several reasons your dog may start to scratch, lick or bite at their fur. Some of the more common ones include:
Flea and mite bites are one of the most common causes of itching in dogs, and one of the simplest to treat. Your veterinarian can prescribe medication to treat the parasite problem. You can also give your dog preventative medication to keep fleas, mites, and ticks at bay.
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.
Suggested ways to alleviate this condition include antihistamines or oatmeal baths. Your vet may recommend a cortisone cream or other alternative depending on the severity.
This is a relatively uncommon problem for dogs, but they could have an allergic reaction to something in their food. Nutritional dermatitis typically causes skin irritation and scratching, but it can also cause digestive issues such as diarrhea or vomiting. If your dog exhibits either type of symptom, you should schedule an appointment with your veterinarian.
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.
Aside from itching, other symptoms include excessive grooming or licking, watery eyes and sneezing, rashes, and inflamed skin. Your veterinarian may be able to determine what is causing the allergy and recommend treatment as well as preventative measures.
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.
Hives can occasionally cause swelling around the eyes. Using a hypoallergenic shampoo for dogs will usually help to alleviate the problem. A hydrating leave-in conditioner may also be beneficial. Inquire with your veterinarian about what they recommend for your pet.
If your dog's itching lasts more than a few days, you should schedule an appointment with your veterinarian so that the problem can be diagnosed and treated. Prolonged itching can result in excessive scratching and biting at the itch, resulting in a self-inflicted injury. If left unchecked, this can quickly escalate.