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Why is My Dog Scratching? Dog Skin Problems Explained

Why is My Dog Scratching? Dog Skin Problems Explained

Itching, scratching, and licking are all symptoms of dermatitis, a skin condition. Our Brighton veterinarians discuss the possible causes of your puppy's skin problem and how you can help your pet feel better.

Skin Conditions That Cause Dog Itching & Scratching

Most dogs will get itchy at some point. In most cases, your dog will be annoyed but not hurt. However, some skin conditions require a veterinarian's attention and treatment to prevent further deterioration.

    Causes, Symptoms & Treatment

    Scratching, licking, or biting at your dog's fur can occur for a variety of reasons. The following are some of the more common dog skin issues:

    Parasitic Bites

    Flea and mite bites are one of the most common causes of itching in dogs, and one of the simplest to treat. Your veterinarian can prescribe medication to treat the parasite problem. You can also give your dog preventative medication to keep fleas, mites, and ticks at bay.

    Environmental Dermatitis

    This is a type of skin irritation that occurs when certain substances, such as grass, dirt, and plants, come into contact with the skin. Itchy/dry/cracked skin, rashes, blisters, redness, or swelling are all symptoms.

    Antihistamines or oatmeal baths have been suggested as ways to alleviate this condition. Depending on the severity, your veterinarian may recommend cortisone cream or another alternative.

    Nutritional Dermatitis

    It's rare for dogs to have allergies, but it's possible. Nutritional dermatitis causes skin irritation and scratching, but it can also cause digestive issues like diarrhea or vomiting. If your dog exhibits either symptom, make an appointment with your vet.

    Skin Allergies

    Allergies are a common reason for visits to the veterinarian for some dogs. Pollen, dander, plants, and insects, among other things, contain allergens that cause itching.

    Excessive grooming or licking, watery eyes and sneezing, rashes, and inflamed skin are some of the other symptoms. Your veterinarian may be able to determine what is causing the allergy and will prescribe treatment as well as preventative measures.


    Hives are another type of allergic reaction. Hives can be caused by a variety of factors, such as insect bites or medications. Symptoms include a raised bump that causes the dog's fur to protrude.

    Hives can occasionally cause swelling around the eyes. Using a hypoallergenic shampoo for dogs will usually help to alleviate the problem. A hydrating leave-in conditioner may also be beneficial. Inquire with your veterinarian about what they recommend for your pet.

    Urgent Cases

    If your dog's itching persists for more than a few days, you should schedule an appointment with your veterinarian so that he or she can diagnose and treat the problem. Prolonged scratching and biting at the itch can result in self-inflicted injury. If left unchecked, this can develop into a serious problem.

    Veterinary Dermatology for Dog Scratching

    Allergies, recurrent skin infections, and ear infections are extremely irritating to pets and frustrating for pet parents.

    We use a variety of tests to diagnose your pet's skin condition and create a personalized treatment plan to help them heal.

    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.

    Contact our Brighton veterinarians to schedule an examination for your dog to learn more about dog skin problems and treatment options.

    New Patients Welcome

    Horizon Veterinary Clinic is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Brighton companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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