It’s common for dogs to lick and scratch themselves every now and then. But, if yours has been itching and scratching more than usual and seems uncomfortable, there may be something wrong. There can be numerous reasons why your dog is excessively scratching, but the following are some of the most common ones and should be considered first:
Fleas are everyone’s first suspect when they see a dog scratching intensely or biting at its fur, and they are not wrong. This tiny creepy crawlies are indeed the most common culprit behind a dog’s (or even cat for that matter) excessive scratching and itchiness.
Keeping in view the fact that fleas can catapult themselves for 50 to 100 times their body length, it’s not difficult for your dog to get them. They also multiply quickly and if not treated immediately, can cause infestations and make your dog’s as well as your life miserable. These parasites not only cause skin irritation to your pet but also suck their blood.
While dog fleas cannot live on humans, they can feed on them; another reason for you to take immediate action. You can use flea shampoos and combs to clean your pet’s fur. However, if the fleas have already caused infestation, you will need a vet’s help.
2. Food Allergy
Food allergies account for up to 20% of all skin allergies in dogs. Their diagnosis, however, can be a little difficult as there are no diagnostic tests available for food allergies in dogs. You will need a veterinarian’s help to confirm the diagnosis and figure out the allergy source. Even with expert help, it can take several weeks to determine the exact cause of allergy. Some of the most common food allergens for dogs are beef, chicken, lamb, wheat, dairy, eggs, and soy.
Along with itchy skin, food allergies in dogs can also cause skin rashes, scaly or oily skin, pigmentation, itchy paws, digestive issues, hair loss, red eyes, ear infection, and sneezing.
3. Atopic Dermatitis
Another common skin allergy in dogs is atopic dermatitis, caused by a combination of genetics and environmental factors, like pollen, dander, grass, mold, and/or certain cleaning products. Pollen and/or dander, however, are the most common causes of it.
Atopic dermatitis can cause severe itching. Dogs with this type of skin allergy are often seen licking and scratching their paws frequently. They also scratch the face, ears, and eyelids.
When caused by pollen or dander, atopic dermatitis tends to be seasonal. However, it still needs treatment by a veterinarian.
Treatment for atopic dermatitis often includes medications or regulating the dog’s immune response by desensitizing them by injecting small quantities of allergens into their bodies.
The Sum Up
These are some of the most common reasons behind excessive scratching in dogs. However, as mentioned earlier, these are not the only ones. So, if these do not seem to be causing excessive scratching to your Fido, reach out to a veterinarian or a dog expert for help.