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Why is my dog scratching so much?

Why is my dog scratching so much?

If your dog is itching, scratching, and licking excessively, these are signs that your animal friend is experiencing a skin condition called dermatitis. Our Newtown vets explain what could be causing your dog's skin problem and how you can help them feel better.

Itching & Scratching Caused By Skin Conditions

Most dogs will experience itchiness at some point in their lives. Although annoying to your pet, it is usually nothing to be concerned about. There are, however, skin conditions that should be examined by a veterinarian and will require treatment to prevent them from worsening.

    Causes, Symptoms & Treatment

    Your dog may start scratching, licking, or nibbling/biting at their fur for a number of reasons. Some of the more common dog skin problems include:

    Bites From External Parasites

    Flea and mite bites are one of the most common sources of itching in dogs, and one of the easiest to treat. You can proactively give your dog medication to void fleas, mites, or ticks. Your vet can also prescribe medication to resolve any ongoing parasite issues.

    Environmental Dermatitis

    Environmental dermatitis is irritation of the skin 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.

    Antihistamines and oatmeal baths are some of the ways that you can help to soothe your animal friend's irritated skin. Depending on the severity of your pet's environmental dermatitis, your vet may recommend a cortisone cream or other alternative depending on the severity.

    Nutritional Dermatitis

    Although this is a relatively uncommon issue for dogs, it is possible that they may have an allergic reaction to something in their food. Typically, nutritional dermatitis results in irritated skin and scratching, but your pet may be experiencing digestive issues such as diarrhea or vomiting. If your dog is displaying either type of symptom, it's best to make an appointment with your vet.

    Skin Allergies

    A common reason for some dogs to visit the vet is a predisposition towards allergies. Allergens that cause itching can be found in pollen, dander, plants, or insects, among other things.

    Aside from itching, signs can include excessive grooming or licking, watery eyes and sneezing, rashes, and inflamed skin. Your vet may be able to diagnose what is causing the allergy and will recommend treatment as well as ways 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. Usually, using a hypoallergenic shampoo for dogs will help alleviate the condition. A hydrating leave-in conditioner may also help. Ask your vet what they recommend for your pet.

    Urgent Cases

    If your dog's itching consists of more than a few days, you should make an appointment so your vet can diagnose the issue and treat it. Prolonged itchiness can cause your dog to scratch and bite at the itch, which can result in a self-inflicted injury. This can become serious if left unchecked. 

    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.

    To learn more about dog skin problems, or to seek treatment options for your pooch, contact our Newtown vets to book an examination for your pet. 

    New Patients Welcome

    Newtown Veterinary Specialists is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Newtown companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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