Top 10 Reasons Why Your Dog Itches

So what are the causes of dog itching, scratching, rubbing, or licking? This condition can be a nuisance problem. Skin conditions having different causes somehow look similar. For example, cats or dogs that suffer from environmental, food, or flea allergies may show the same manifestations of skin problems. However, the treatments vary.

Your veterinarian can help identify the root cause of skin infection and find the most applicable treatment. For instance, antifungal ointments won’t be effective in treating ear mites or in treating bacterial infection.

Here Are The Possible Causes Why Your Dog Itches

Bacterial Infections

The number one cause of the infection of the skin is a bacterial infection (pyoderma). Because bacterial infections are similar to other skin conditions, it’s important to go 2-3 days with your veterinarian to check if the cause is indeed a bacterium, and specifically, which one. Not all of the antibiotics are effective in avoiding all bacterial types.

Flea Allergies

This skin condition is also called flea allergy dermatitis, or FAD is considered the most outbreaking allergy that causes itchiness in dogs.

This skin condition is less found in cats, and it commonly occurs in hypersensitive animals or those allergic to the flea saliva that is usually emitted whenever they bite.

This itch response makes a dog scratch or lick and sometimes chews its own skin until it becomes severely infected. Pet owners may not notice a flea allergy because of regular grooming.

Food Allergies

Cats and dogs can also experience food allergies like human beings, but with different responses or reactions. Some animals may get hives, swelling, or skin rashes. Other animals may respond to food allergy by rubbing or scratching. Such conditions may lead to secondary infections that are associated with bacteria, yeast, and fungus.

Your veterinarian can be sought to help manage the immediate discomfort that this condition brings to your pet. It’s important to know and ask about a recommended diet program as a guide to prevent food allergy and prevent it from happening again.

Environmental Allergies

It’s a type of allergy that is  also medically known as atopic dermatitis, which is non-food or allergy not related to fleas. The most common causes include pollen, mold, grass, tobacco, dust, and mildew.

Pets suffering from environmental allergies often manifest excessive scratching, rubbing, licking, or chewing.

Fungal Infections

It usually happens anywhere in the body of an animal, like dogs. It also includes the skin and the dog’s genital area. They look like yeast infections and bacterial; that’s why veterinarian consultation is needed to immediately diagnose and treat the problem.

It is important to identify the fungus early. Antibiotics aren’t suitable for fighting fungal infection. Ringworm and other types of fungi are contagious. They can easily be passed from one person to another and so as a person or one animal to your dog, even by touching.

Yeast Infections

Yeast usually inhabits your dog’s ears and skin. However, if they proliferate and become too many, they may cause a yeast infection, most especially passed on via skin contact, which proliferates in the armpits or skin folds.

Ear Mites

These small and eight-legged parasites consider oils and wax as food. Mites cause itchiness, irritation, and severe inflammation.

checking dog's ear

If left untreated, the ear mites of dogs can affect the ears until the dog’s internal canal. Prompt treatment is crucial to prevent infection, which preserves hearing function.

Scabies or Mange

Sarcoptic mange or scabies causes itchiness in animals, like cats and dogs. Sarcoptic mites tend to invade the skin and harbor to find food.

The common mange signs include intense itching, hair loss, and red spots. These itchy mites can be transferred from one dog to another and so as other animals and to humans. That’s why prompt treatment is necessary.

Lice or Ticks 

Even the ticks don’t usually cause skin itching and irritation, most especially when lice or ticks lodge in or around the ears of dogs. Lice cause irritation and itchiness, like ticks, in dog skin. Grooming your pets every day helps prevent lice and ticks in your pets.

Endocrine Diseases

The endocrine system of dogs, including their hormones distributed in the body via the bloodstream. This system produces hormones that are delivered to different organs throughout the dog’s body. And if the endocrine system of dogs functions imperfectly, hormonal imbalance occurs, and serious conditions may arise, including severe skin problems. Cortisone and thyroid imbalance usually happens to cause itchiness in dogs.

Flea and Tick Preventative

It blows my mind just how many stories of dog rescue I read where proliferation of fleas and ticks have resulted to the poor animal getting so anemic, they are almost at death’s door.

Be reminded that a simple flea and tick collar could be used as protection against these external parasites. We’ve compiled a list of the quality pet collars for flea preventative on the market today.

Now you’re all set to take good care of your dog’s skin. Make sure to attend to your dog’s health promptly and watch out for signs and symptoms, such as skin itching. Talk to a veterinarian to know if your dog needs to undergo some tests to rule out the cause of itching and if antibiotics are needed.

Photo of author

Lovelia Horn

I’m a certified crazy dog mom, a physical therapist (for hoomans), writer, animal rescuer, and foster home provider. Together with my hubby Ryan, I’ve fostered and helped look for forever homes for over a hundred shelter dogs in the Southern Illinois area. I mostly work with Puppy Rescue 911, Inc., a certified animal rescue organization based out of Chester, IL (home of Popeye!)

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