Itching in dogs can be a nuisance and, in some cases, a severe problem. This article explains what causes it and when it is wise to see a veterinarian. Itching in dogs is very common. Therefore, it is not something to run to the doctor right away. However, it is wise to check what is causing it.
Symptoms of Itchiness in Dogs
Itching is the skin’s response to an external or internal “disturbance” and is not a disease per se but a symptom. When a dog suffers from itching or skin problems, it is often noticed immediately. The most common symptoms are:
- Chewing, licking, scratching
- Shakes head and rubs the ground
- Thick oily skin and open pockmarks
- Smelly skin and coat
- Red skin
- Cracked skin
- Pressure ulcers
Why Is My Dog Itchy?
All of these symptoms are very annoying and frustrating. But why do dogs itch? Often, it is caused by something harmless, such as fleas or ticks. However, it could also be a more severe condition. Either way, you need to look at what is going on. You may find it out quickly on your own, but sometimes veterinary help is needed.
Here are some of the most common causes:
Fleas can cause itching in dogs. It is relatively easy to determine that these are the culprits of itching, especially if they are numerous. However, there are also known parasites that are less visible and cause considerable itching in dogs. Diseases caused by parasites include a variety of species such as demodex, sarcoptes (scabies), and chyletiella. Your veterinarian will determine if parasites are present by scraping the affected skin, biopsy, blood tests, and microscopic examination.
2) Allergic Causes
Like humans, dogs can be allergic to a variety of factors.
They may show allergic reactions to pollen, dust mites, or animal dander. This is called atopy or inhalant allergy and is often a hereditary condition. Dogs may also react to shampoo, cleaning products, wool blankets, flea collars, etc. This is called a contact allergy.
Another troublesome canine allergy is flea allergy. Flea allergies can be so severe that an accidental flea bite can cause an itch attack. Finally, dogs can have allergic reactions to foods such as gluten, dairy, beef, lamb, and chicken. Many common dog foods contain all kinds of resources that are incompatible with a dog’s constitution. They include color, aroma, taste, and grains and sugars.
Fungal (e.g., ringworm) and yeast infections can cause bothersome skin diseases and baldness, especially itching, in dogs. When these symptoms develop, there is often an underlying problem, such as a compromised immune system.
4) Hot Spots
A hot spot is a localized inflammation of the skin that occurs suddenly. It often begins with an itching sensation that does not show anything on the skin at first glance. It does not take long afterward until a moist damaged area that feels warm is formed. So often, the hot spot itself becomes inflamed when the dog licks or chews on it. Anything that irritates the skin and causes the dog to chew or scratch can create a hot spot. Hot spots are usually on the back, hind legs, or near the ears, but they can appear anywhere on the dog.
5) Environmental Factors
Dogs may experience itching and skin irritation in response to everyday objects. For example, skin irritation from swimming or plants. This can cause itchy or irritated skin. Does your dog get itchy in the fall and winter? Then, these examples could be the reasons.
Be Careful. Don’t take your dog’s itching lightly. In many cases, dogs are euthanized because the itching is so severe and untreatable!