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Dog Skin Problems: Why is Your Dog Itching?

Itching, scratching, and licking are all signs that your dog has dermatitis, a skin condition. Find out what's causing your skin problems and what you can do to help.

Skin Conditions That Cause Itching & Irritability

You may be wondering, "why is my dog scratching?" 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

    There are several reasons your dog may start to scratch, lick or bite at their fur. Some of the more common ones include:

    Parasitic Bites

    One of the most common causes of itching in dogs is flea and mite bites, which are also one of the easiest to treat. Your veterinarian may be able to prescribe medication to help you get rid of the parasites. You can also give your dog medication to prevent fleas, mites, and ticks from appearing 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

    Although this is a relatively uncommon problem in dogs, they may be allergic to something in their food. Nutritional dermatitis usually causes skin irritation and scratching, but it can also cause digestive problems like diarrhea or vomiting. It's best to schedule an appointment with your veterinarian if your dog is exhibiting either type of symptom.

    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.

    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.


    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.

    Hives can occasionally cause swelling around the eyes. The condition is usually alleviated by using a hypoallergenic shampoo for dogs. Another option is to use a hydrating leave-in conditioner. Inquire with your veterinarian about what they recommend for your pet.

    Emergency Cases

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

    To learn more about skin problems in dogs, or to seek treatment options, contact our Yucaipa vets to book an appointment today.

    New Patients Welcome

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

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