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Dog Skin Problems - Itching & Scratching

Is your dog itching, scratching or licking relentlessly? It could be dermatitis. Today our Bartlett vets look at the most common causes of itchy, uncomfortable skin in dogs.

Itching & Irritability in Dogs

Most dogs will inevitably encounter itching at some point. In most cases, it will be annoying for your pet but not serious. However, some conditions do need to be seen by a vet and will require treatment to prevent them from becoming worse.

    Causes, Symptoms & Treatment for Itchy Skin

    There are various reasons why your dog might start scratching or biting at their fur. Some of the most common ones are listed below:

    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 veterinarian can prescribe medication to resolve the parasite issue. We believe that prevention is typically better than the cure. Speak to your vet about flea, tick and mite prevention products for your canine companion. 

    Environmental Dermatitis

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

    To help alleviate this condition your vet may prescribe antihistamines, cortisone cream or other alternatives depending on the severity. Oatmeal baths can also be an effective and inexpensive way to relieve your dog's itchy skin.

    Nutritional Dermatitis

    Although it's rare, it is possible for dogs to 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.

    Symptoms of this type of allergy, 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.


    Another type of allergic reaction seen in dogs is hives. Hives can be a reaction to many things, from bites to medications. Symptoms appear as raised bumps that cause the dog's fur to stick out.

    In some cases, 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.

    Dermatology Care for Dogs at Hillcrest Animal Hospital

    Our veterinary dermatological services help treat and prevent diseases of the skin, coat, ears and nails, in Bartlett pets. Our team of professionals can determine the cause of your dog's skin problems and create a treatment plan to help restore your pup's skin to good health. Learn more about our dermatology services HERE.

    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.

    Is your dog itching and scratching? Contact our Bartlett vets today to book an examination for your animal companion. 

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