Why Is Your Dog So Itchy, Scratchy?
All dogs (like humans) itch and scratch periodically, it’s a very normal behavior. But when the scratching becomes constant, it’s time to take notice and find out what is going on with Fido. It may take a little detective work, because there are a number of things that may be irritating your dog’s skin…
There is actually a medical term for when your dog is scratching too much, it’s called pruritus and it’s 2nd only to gastrointestinal problems as a reason for vet appointments. You might not think that scratching is a big deal, but it can cause a lot of discomfort and/or bleeding.
There are 2 basic reasons for the excessive itching:
- Skin conditions…
- Too oily
- Too dry (the most prevalent)
- The allergies can make the skin dry, greasy or oily and they can also trigger excessive licking or chewing along with the scratching.
How can you give your dog relief from the itching?
If your dog just can’t stop, a cool bath can be very soothing for immediate relief, especially if you can add one of the following…
- Epsom salts – just be careful not to let Fido drink the water
- Oatmeal is something else you could add to the water for a very soothing effect
Another source of fairly quick relief is to make a mixture of baking soda and water and apply it to the areas that seem to be bothering him.
What conditions could be causing skin irritations?
- Consider his diet – your dog is not different than you are when it comes to diet, he needs a healthy, balanced diet with the essential minerals, vitamins and oils that will make it possible for him to be healthy and and have healthy skin. You might want to check with your veterinarian for a recommendation if you’re not sure what food is best. You can also add supplements to his diet to make sure he is getting all the essentials. Sometimes you can check the smell of your dog’s coat, a poor diet can cause it to smell bad.
- Check the shampoo you use on your dog – some shampoos have chemicals in them that are irritating to your dog’s skin or it could dry his skin out. Try bathing without shampoo for a time or two and see if the itching subsides. If you decide it is the shampoo, you could ask your vet for a product recommendation.
- Parasites, ticks or fleas, are another reason for severe itching – for fleas, you will need a good anti-flea product along with bathing and using a fine comb to go through his fur. Don’t forget to rid your home, and especially your dog’s bedding of fleas and their eggs, or the problem will just begin again. Ticks are another situation altogether, you may want to consider having your vet remove it rather than risk removing it incorrectly and causing an infection.
- Lice are another common problem that cause itching – different from lice that humans get infected with, dog lice only survives on dogs and will not transfer to humans. If you are looking for lice, look for something that looks like dandruff or like a yellow or tan sesame seed.
- Sometimes your dog’s irritation is as simple as your carpet – often times carpet padding contains fiberglass which can irritate your dog’s skin.
What if your efforts don’t stop the itching?
While it would be great if you could find out yourself what is causing your dog’s itching and scratching, if your efforts don’t bring positive results fairly quickly, make an appointment with your vet…Fido could be dealing with allergies which might require medication to get them under control. While allergies are never cured, there are ways to manage them and keep your dog more comfortable.
At BowWow Fun Towne, we are experts in dog day care. We are dedicated to assisting you and providing the best care for your dog while you’re away.