There are many reasons that your dog may be itching. Most dogs are itching day and night and not getting adequate sleep and may even be keeping you awake at night. If your dog is itching all the time, a veterinarian can help you figure out the underlying cause and ways to treat their itch.
Let's get into what causes itchy skin in dogs:
A common cause of itchy skin in dogs is allergies. These may be something found in the environment or due to food.
Environmental allergies are the leading cause of itchy skin in dogs. Your dog is most likely allergic to plant pollen or dander that is in the environment. You will usually notice that your eyes are also itching, and you are also suffering from seasonal allergies during this time. Often once colder weather hits your pets’ itchy skin will get much better.
Your pet may also be allergic to a specific type of protein in your pet’s diet. Food allergies in dogs are very rare and only account for less than 5% of the pet allergy population. Usually, your dog’s allergies will be year-round and never get better. If you think that your pet suffers from food allergies, talk to your veterinarian about testing your dog to find out exactly what they are allergic to.
Parasites are another thing that can cause your pet to itch. Some parasites are big enough for you to see them on your dog while others are microscopic and need your veterinarian to help you diagnose the problem.
These can be seen around the base of the tail, on the stomach or around the face. These parasites can cause your pet to be very itchy. Many dogs are highly allergic to the saliva produced by fleas. If you see fleas on your pet, giving them a bath to help them get rid of the fleas and getting them on some flea control.
Fleas can carry dangerous diseases and go unnoticed for quite some time. If you see fleas on your dog take them to your veterinarian so they can help your pet get flea free.
These unwanted parasites can also make your dog itch. These ticks can fall off your dog and infest your entire house and even be transferred to you. Ticks also carry many deadly diseases that both people and dogs can catch. If you see any ticks on your dog quickly removed them and take your pet to your veterinarian for tick treatment and a checkup to make sure they did not catch any disease from the tick.
Mites are microscopic parasites that live in the hair follicles of dogs. These mites can cause your dog to be very itchy. Your veterinarian can do a skin scraping and look under the microscope for these itchy mites. There are even some mites that can be transferred from dogs to people.
If your pet has dry, flaky skin, you will notice that your pet will itch a lot. This dry skin will be seen as dandruff on the undercoat. You will notice that your pet has cracked, tough skin.
Once the skin barrier gets damages from your dog scratching, they are more prone to bacterial infections of the skin. Usually, these infections need antibiotics to help them clear up.
Specific hormonal imbalances can cause your dog to itch more. Glands within the skin itself can malfunction and cause your dog’s skin to start itching. If your dog is itching more and all the other common causes of allergies are ruled out, then make sure your dog has complete workup to check for hormonal imbalances.
If your dog has recently received a vaccine, they may be itching from a reaction to the vaccine. Usually, there are facial swelling and hives that go along with the vaccine reaction, but sometimes it is just the spot that the vaccine was given that is itching. If your pet has a history of a vaccine reaction, there are things that you can do before your pet gets a vaccine to help decrease the reaction.
Some breeds have more sensitive skin than others. White and blue dogs seem to have a worse time with seasonal allergies than other coat colored dogs. Pit bulls also are more prone to mites than other dogs.
There are many over the counter and prescription medications that you can give to your dogs with allergies. Dogs can take the same allergy medications that people can. Ask your veterinarian if this is something that your dog can take.
There are prescription medications that you can give your dog to help with allergies. Apoquel is a daily allergy medication for dogs. This medication can help decrease itching due to seasonal allergies. Your veterinarian can also help diagnose and treat any other cause of itchiness. If your pet is extremely itchy, make an appointment with your regular veterinarian to figure out the cause of the itching.
Omega 3 fatty acids are great at helping repair the skin barrier. These supplements can be given daily to help with itching. These supplements are great to help make the skin and fur healthy and shiny.
CBD or cannabidiol is a great supplement to give to pets with skin problems. This has been shown to help repair the natural skin barrier. If your dog is itching and causing damage to the skin, CBD oil can also help with the pain caused `by your pet itching themselves.
Pet allergies can be very frustrating to figure out. Once you figure out what is causing your pet to itch, keep them on a preventative measure to keep the itching from returning. There are many different medications and supplements you can give your dog to help decrease their itch. Always consult with your veterinarian for advice on what medications you should start your pet on.
Dr. Sara Ochoa DVM
Since she was a little girl, she knew that her dream was to become a veterinarian. With a tremendous passion and love for animals that makes her a great source of knowledge for others. She lives happily with her husband Greg and her babies Ruby the Schnoodle, and Bam-Bam the bunny.