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Why is my dog scratching?

Itching, scratching, and licking are signs that your pooch has a skin condition known as dermatitis. Our Bartlett vets explain what could be causing your pup's skin problem and how you can help your pet to feel better.

Skin Conditions That Cause Dog Itching & Scratching

Most dogs will inevitably encounter itching at some point. In most cases, it will be annoying for your pooch but not serious. That said, some skin conditions do need to be seen by a veterinarian and will require treatment to prevent them from becoming more severe.

    Causes, Symptoms & Treatment

    There are a number of reasons why your dog may start scratching, licking or biting at their fur. Some of the more common dog skin problems include:

    Parasitic Bites

    Bites from fleas and mites are one of the most common sources of itching in dogs, and one of the easiest to treat. Your vet can prescribe medication to resolve the parasite issue. You can also proactively give your dog medication to avoid fleas, mites, or ticks in the first place.

    Environmental Dermatitis

    This is a skin irritation that develops due to contact with certain substances, such as grass, dirt, and plants. Symptoms include itchy/dry or cracked skin, rashes, blisters, redness, or swelling.

    Suggested ways to alleviate this condition include antihistamines or oatmeal baths. Your vet may recommend a cortisone cream or other alternative depending on the severity.

    Nutritional Dermatitis

    This is a relatively uncommon issue for dogs, however, it is possible that they may have an allergic reaction to something in their food. Typically, nutritional dermatitis results in skin irritations and scratching, but digestive issues may happen as well, such as diarrhea or vomiting. If your dog is displaying either type of symptom, it's best to make an appointment with your vet.

    Skin Allergies

    Some dogs are prone to allergies, making this a somewhat common reason to visit the vet. Allergens that cause itching can be found in pollen, dander, plants or insects, among other things.

    Some of the symptoms 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 will recommend treatment as well as ways to prevent future allergic reactions.

    Hives

    Another type of allergic reaction is hives. Hives can be a reaction to many things, from bites or medications. Symptoms show as a raised bump that would cause the dog's fur to stick out.

    Occasionally, hives will present with swelling near the eyes. Using a hypoallergenic shampoo for dogs will usually alleviate the condition. A hydrating leave-in conditioner may also help. Ask your vet what they recommend for your pet.

    Urgent Cases

    If your dog's itching persists for more than a few days, you should make an appointment so your vet can diagnose the issue and treat it. Prolonged itching can cause excessive scratching and biting at the itch which can create a self-inflicted injury. This can become serious if left unchecked. 

    Veterinary Dermatology in Memphis

    Our veterinary professionals, know that chronic recurrent skin problems, ear infections and allergies can be extremely irritating to your pet, and frustrating for pet parents.

    With a range of tests available to us in-house, we look for the root cause of your pet’s skin disorder and offer a customized treatment plan to start the healing process.

    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.

    To learn more about dog skin problems, or to seek treatment options for your pooch, contact our Bartlett vets to book an examination for your pet. 

    Dog Scratching & Itching - Veterinary Dermatology in Bartlett Memphis

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