We’ve all been there; one minute it is quiet, the next your dog is scratching…and scratching…and scratching some more. And it isn’t the run of the mill random itch, rather, they seem to be scratching morning, noon, and night. Yikes!
Common Causes of Dog Itchiness
According to the Merck Veterinary Manual, “The most common causes of itching are parasites, infections, and allergies.”
If you have an appointment with your veterinarian that is days or weeks away, try this medicated itch spray to hold you over. *
1. To Flea or Not to Flea
The majority of pet owners, me included, will check for fleas first. You’re probably not reading this because you suspect fleas and have likely checked this off the list. According to Flea Science, “using a flea comb is the best way to check for fleas.” Once finished, place any black specs on a wet paper towel. Flea residue or feces will turn red once placed on a wet paper towel. Here is a link to an image from Flea Science to give you a visual: https://fleascience.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/flea-dirt-on-wet-paper-towel.png
If you’ve noticed hair loss, discharge, or foul odors, a bacterial or fungal infection could be the culprit. Your veterinarian will prescribe antibiotics in the event of such infections.
Seasonal, environmental, and food allergies can all cause itching in dogs. This tends to be a process of elimination.
4. Unknown Causes
Per Merck, “Successful treatment depends on identification of the underlying cause. Dogs whose cause of itching cannot be identified, or those in which treatment of the underlying disease does not eliminate the itching, will require medical management for pruritus. Commonly prescribed anti-itching medications include glucocorticoids, and essential fatty acids, cyclosporine, and oclacitinib.”
Ultimately, finding the source of your dog’s itching will require some detective work. Fortunately, if your veterinarian is unable to determine a cause, there are options for relief.
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