Is your dog excessively itching, scratching or licking their skin? They may be suffering from one or more common skin conditions. Here, our Gilbert vets explain what may be causing your dog's skin issues and how you can help alleviate their discomfort.
Skin Conditions That Cause Itching & Irritability
Generally speaking, your dog's itching is nothing to be concerned about. However, if you notice that your dog is excessively scratching hard enough to cause irritation to their skin it is likely time to bring them to your vet. A veterinarian will be able to determine the underlying cause of the itching and suggest treatments to help your dog feel better.
Causes, Symptoms & Treatment
There are several dog skin problems that can cause your dog to scratch, lick or bite at their fur. Some of the more common ones include:
Bits from mites and fleas are one of the most common sources of itching in our canine companions. And thankfully, they are also one of the easiest to treat. Your vet will be able to prescribe medication to help resolve the parasite issue and you will need to conduct a thorough cleaning of your living space, especially the areas that your dog frequents.
There are also preventive medications you can give your dog to prevent fleas, mites, or ticks in the first place.
This kind of skin irritation develops in dogs from contact with certain substances like dirt, grass or plants. Symptoms of this kind of skin irritation includes dry and cracked skin, blisters, rashes, swelling and redness.
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.
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 occur 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.
If your dog has been diagnosed with nutritional dermatitis, your vet will be sure to recommend changing your dog's diet in order to remove allergens.
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 common symptoms of skin allergies besides itching can include excessive grooming, licking, watery eyes, rashes, sneezing, and inflamed skin. A veterinarian will be able to diagnose what is causing the allergy and will be sure to recommend appropriate treatment as well as ways of preventing future allergic reactions.
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.
If you notice that your dog's itching persists for longer than a few days without relief, you should make an appointment with your veterinarian to have their health problem diagnosed and treated as soon as possible. Prolonged itching and scratching may even grow so bad as to cause a self-inflicted injury.
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.