Itching, scratching, and licking are signs your dog could be suffering from a skin condition. Join our McAllen vets to learn what might be causing your dog's skin problems, how you can help treat them, and when your dog's skin issue requires veterinary care.
Itching, Scratching & Irritability
Almost every dog will feel itchy at some point in their lives, but ongoing itchy skin conditions can lead to relentless scratching and make your dog miserable. While these skin conditions can be annoying for your pet they aren't usually serious. However, some conditions do need veterinary care and will require treatment to prevent them from becoming more severe.
Causes, Symptoms & Treatments
There are a multitude of reasons why your dog may start to scratch, lick or bite at their skin or fur, but some of the more common causes of itchy skin include:
Bites From External Parasites
- Bites from fleas and mites are one of the most common sources of itching in dogs, and can be one of the easiest to treat. Your veterinarian can prescribe medication to quickly resolve your dog's parasite issue. You can also proactively give your dog medication to avoid parasites such as fleas, mites, or ticks in the first place.
- When a dog comes into contact with certain substances that cause a negative reaction such as grass, dirt, and plants, they may show signs of itchiness or skin irritation. Symptoms of environmental dermatitis include itchy/dry or cracked skin, rashes, blisters, redness, or swelling. Antihistamines or oatmeal baths are effective ways to alleviate this condition. Your vet may recommend a cortisone cream or other alternative depending on the severity of your dog's skin condition.
- Although this tends to be a relatively uncommon cause for canine dermatitis, it is possible for your pup to be displaying an allergic reaction to something in their food. Typically, nutritional dermatitis results in skin irritations and scratching, but digestive issues can also occur, such as diarrhea or vomiting. If your pup is displaying either type of symptom, it's best to make an appointment with your primary care vet.
- A number of dog breeds are prone to allergies, making this a somewhat common reason to visit the vet. Allergens that cause itchy skin can be found in pollen, dander, plants or insects, among other things. Symptoms that your dog may experience aside from itching 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 recommend treatment, however more severe cases may require specialist care.
- A breakout of hives is another allergic reaction that can be seen in dogs. Hives can be a reaction to many things, from medications to bites and more. Symptoms show as a raised bump that causes the dog's fur to stick out, or swelling near and around the eyes. A hypoallergenic shampoo can be helpful for easing some of your canine companion's discomfort. A dog-specific hydrating leave-in conditioner may also help. Ask your vet what they recommend for your pet.
If your dog's itching persists for more than 48 hours, you should make an appointment so your vet can diagnose the issue and treat your pup's annoying skin condition. Prolonged itching can cause your dog to scratch and lick excessively at the spot, which can result in self-inflicted injuries and in some cases infections. 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.