What To Do When Your Dog Won’t Stop Itching

The jingling tags on his collar serve as a constant reminder that your furry friend is uncomfortable. Scratching, biting, licking, and shaking can drive you crazy. But at what point should you feel concerned for your pup?

If you think your pup’s itching is out of hand, just know that he’s not alone. Itching affects dogs for a variety of reasons. Lots of scratching can lead to other problems, such as hair loss, hot spots, and infections.

So, what causes the excess itching? Parasites, especially fleas or ticks, are a common suspect in canine itching. The bites irritate your dog, and he scratches them. Some dogs are hypersensitive to fleas. Meaning one bite could trigger them into an all-day itch-fest.

If you suspect fleas are the root cause for the itching, start by bathing your dog in lukewarm water with a mild (hypoallergenic) flea shampoo to knock off as many of the bugs as is possible. Next, use a flea comb while your dog is in the bath to remove the fleas and their feces. Fleas are the size of a poppy seed or sesame seed and are brown. They like to hide near the tail of your dog, so pay close attention there.

If you see a flea(s) on the comb, dispose of it in a separate container before taking the comb back to your dog’s body. If you discover fleas, make an appointment with your vet. The vet will examine your dog’s skin and assess the next steps. Your vet will prescribe an effective flea treatment that’ll get rid of any remaining bloodsuckers and prevent the pests from returning.

Although parasites are the common cause of excessive itching amongst canines, there are other less obvious factors that could be the source. Just like us, dogs have allergies. The two most prevalent itching related allergies are food and environmental conditions.

Food allergies often cause irritated skin patches around the ears, paws, rear end or stomach. Your dog’s relationship with their food can be tricky. Determining if food allergies are the cause for your pet’s itchiness is very hard to navigate. So, your best bet is to call your vet! They may want to run a few allergy tests or plan an elimination diet with you.

The most common environmental allergies occur in response to things like pollen, mold spores, animal dander, and dust mites. Speak to your vet about treatments, which may include supplements, creams, or antihistamines like Zyrtec, Claritin, Allegra, or other treatments like cortisone.


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