Dogs scratch. Maybe it’s that annoying spot behind their ear or it could be some nibbling at their flank, but it always seems that dogs have an itch to scratch all the time. So, what causes itchy dogs? While fleas are perhaps the most prominent source of annoyance, there are also a few other situations to consider when you spot your dog’s paws reaching up to satisfy an icky itch.
Parasites, such as fleas, ticks, and mites are the leading and most renowned cause of itchy dogs. These bugs love to feed off your dog and are very difficult to get rid of. Just be sure that when you get the parasites off your dog, and out of their ears, that you also treat your home and yard. Fleas have a nasty habit of residing in a dog’s bedding and their environment, which can make it difficult to completely eliminate the problem.
Have you ever considered if your dog is allergic to something? Dogs can develop allergies just like people, though it is harder to spot because fur covers most of their body. What about skin allergies? It could be a shampoo they are using. It could even be something they ate, even fresh fruits like tomatoes and melons. Allergies come in a variety of forms and from a number of different causes and may even be seasonal due to environment and flora blooming. This particular situation should be discussed with your vet who can determine the causes and prescribe the proper solution.
As far as reactions go, it is also wise to keep in mind the effects of parasite repellent chemicals and collars. Some of these can affect a dog’s skin, causing irritation. Many of today’s flea and tick repellents are usually quite toxic, even to dogs and humans. These can lead to skin reactions and assorted irritations. Only use quality repellants that your vet approves.
Skin conditions also exist in dogs. If your dog’s skin is flaky, much like dandruff, they could have some sort of skin problem and scratching will only make it worse. For the most part, a dog’s dry skin conditions normally result from poor diet. Consult with your veterinarian about dietary supplements such as omega 3 fatty acids and Brewer’s Yeast which improve skin and coat health.
Behavioral or emotional problems can also exist. Much like a person chewing on their pen or fingernails, dogs can develop anxiety related habits as well. Make sure that you provide plenty of exercise and social opportunities to keep your dog active and less anxious. In some situations, behavioral training may be necessary to break them of the habit.
Also consider one of the simplest solutions- your dog’s collar. Is it too tight? You should be able to squeeze your fingers between their skin and the collar. If it’s too tight or if there could be a sticker burr stuck under it, your dog will scratch to relieve the irritation.
Dogs can be itchy for a number of reasons, and as a responsible owner, it is your duty to keep them comfortable, healthy, and clean. Pay attention when your dog scratches so that you can get rid of whatever seems to be bothering them.
Brandon Kennington is the inventor and owner of the Porch Potty – the world’s first automatic grass dog litter box. As dog owner and a busy business owner, Brandon invented the Porch Potty when he didn’t want his dog to have to wait all day to go. Porch Potty admires dog owners and also provides great tips for dog lovers on the Porch Potty Blog.