Pruritus – Scratching and Itching in Dogs

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Pruritus - Scratching and Itching in Dogs

Pruritis, or extreme Scratching and Itching in Dogs, may occur for a variety of causes. Fleas are often responsible for excessive scratching, biting, and licking of the fur. After being bitten by a flea, some dogs may experience redness, swelling, and hair loss. Maintaining your dog’s prophylactic treatments can help you avoid flea infestation.

Pruritis may be caused by food allergies, contact and inhalant allergies, dry skin, insect bites, hormone imbalances, and even boredom and worry.

The location of your dog scratching might reveal what’s causing it. Scratching the ears, for example, might indicate ear mites or an ear infection.

Scratching, licking, and chewing are frequent activities in dogs, and several things may cause them. They have the potential to be dangerous as well. The appearance of a “hot spot” — a red, moist, irritated region caused by frequent gnawing, licking, scratching, or rubbing — might be one of the first symptoms that your dog has a problem. Hot spots, also identified as “acute wet dermatitis,” may appear anywhere on your dog’s body, although they often appear on the head, chest, and hips. Because dogs repeatedly scratch, lick, or bite at inflamed areas, hot spots may rapidly grow in size and become quite painful.

Black Dog Scratches Itself Ear While Sitting White Snow
Black Dog Scratches Itself Ear While Sitting White Snow

Possible Causes for Dog’s Itchy Skin

So, what’s causing your dog’s itchiness? It’s usually caused by allergic dog itch, which is a medical disease. This indicates that your dog’s skin is responding to an allergen in her surroundings. There are some possible suspects:

  • fleas
  • food allergies
  • inhaled spore allergies
  • contact allergies
  • insect stings/bites
  • dry skin issues
  • eczema
  • skin cancer
  • hormonal imbalance
  • boredom
  • anxiety


Flea bites generate incredibly irritating places for your poor dog, just like mosquito bites trigger an allergic response and irritation in people. Flea bites may appear everywhere on the body, but they’re more prevalent on her hind legs, tail base, and back end, which is where fleas like to hide. Even if you don’t see any fleas, it doesn’t mean they aren’t there — and even a single flea bite may cause itchy skin.

Miniature Pinscher Dog Scratches
Miniature Pinscher Dog Scratches


Pollens, mold spores, and dust mites are frequent environmental triggers that cause allergic responses. Allergens in the environment might make you itchy during specific seasons or even all year. An allergy in the surroundings may be causing your dog’s scratching, rubbing, and licking, as well as skin changes like redness and hair loss.


Itching in your dog might indicate that she needs to change her diet. Typical dog food components, including beef, poultry, and dairy, may cause allergic reactions in particular dogs. Itchy skin may be caused by dog food allergies, particularly on the paws, face, armpits, and belly. If your firm believes that the pet has a food allergy, see your veterinarian.

Infections of The Skin

While yeast and bacterial infections are not strictly allergies, they may irritate and be quite painful for dogs. The skin is often red and oily, with a characteristic odor. Yeast usually affects folded skin regions like your dog’s ears, neck, beneath the tail, and around or between his toes. Bacterial infections may be found almost everywhere and are often the consequence of scratched or irritated skin.

Any of these might make your dog feel uneasy. If left addressed, it might lead to additional issues. When a dog licks an area too much, it may cause a hot spot, characterized by red, inflamed, oozing skin that is uncomfortable and unpleasant. The problem will only worsen if you keep licking it, and hot patches will need to be treated by a veterinarian.

Cute siberian husky puppy scratching on green grass
Cute siberian husky puppy scratching on green grass

Parasitic Bites Reaction

The most common causes for irritation in dogs is flea and mite bites, which are also the simplest to cure. Your veterinarian can prescribe medications to treat your dog’s parasite problem quickly. Our veterinarians think prevention is always preferable to treating fleas, mites, ticks, and other parasites. Consult your veterinarian for the best parasite protection for your dog.

Dermatitis Caused by The Environment

Environmental dermatitis in dogs is a frequent skin irritation caused by contact with specific substances such as grass, plants, and dirt. You may notice signs such as itchy/dry/cracked skin, rashes, blisters, redness, or swelling if your dog has environmental dermatitis. Antihistamines or oatmeal baths are helpful treatments for this ailment. Depending on the harshness of your dog’s skin condition, your veterinarian may prescribe a cortisone cream or another alternative.

Dermatitis caused by a lack of nutrients

It is conceivable for your dog to develop an allergic response to anything in their food; however, this is unusual. Skin irritations and itching are the most common symptoms of nutritional dermatitis, although stomach difficulties such as diarrhea or vomiting may also occur. It’s advisable to plan an appointment with your veterinarian if your dog exhibits signs of this ailment. To narrow down the source of your pup’s skin sensitivity, you may need to put him on an elimination diet.

Jack Russell Terrier rolls at green grass
Jack Russell Terrier rolls at green grass


Allergies are frequent in various breeds, making it a typical cause for visits to the veterinarian. Pollen, dander, plants, and insects, among other things, include allergens that cause itching skin. Aside from itching, your dog may exhibit allergy symptoms such as irritated skin, rashes, frequent grooming or licking, watery eyes, and sneezing. Your veterinarian may be able to determine the source of your dog’s allergy and provide therapy, but more severe instances may need professional care.


Another allergic response that may be detected in dogs is hives. Hives may be caused by a variety of factors, including drugs, bites, and more. Hives appear as a swollen hump or swelling around and around the eyes, causing the dog’s hair to jut out. Using a hypoallergenic shampoo explicitly developed for dogs may help to relieve the problem. A leave-in conditioner made specifically for dogs may also assist in calming your dog’s skin. Please inquire with your veterinarian about what they prescribe for your pet.


It’s also possible that your dog’s nutrition is causing their itchy skin. Wheat, beef, and soy allergies in dogs are responsible for many skin allergies in dogs. Dogs are often fed an artificial diet that is too rich in Omega-6 fatty acids, obtained from high quantities of grains and vegetable proteins. To counterbalance the Omega-6 imbalance, certain Omega-3 fatty acids, notably EPA and DHA from refined fish oil, are critical.

Itching in Dogs Skin Relief – What Can You do?

You may do a few things to relieve the itching and make your dog feel more at ease. These are some of them:

Grooming regularly

It will assist in eliminating loose hairs, keeping your dog’s coat clean, and distributing natural skin oils that make their coat shine. Avoid grooming them more than once a week since this might cause skin irritation.

  • Don’t give your dog too many baths.
  • Dry and sensitive skin might result as a result of this. Use animal-specific shampoos exclusively since human shampoo may irritate their skin.
  • Protect your dog from the itchiness of the sun.
  • Overexposure to the sun is hazardous for your pet’s skin, just as it is for people. Dogs with pale skin and short or thin hair are more prone to sunburned skin. Limit your dog’s exposure to the sun and keep an eye out for indications of sunburn.


Make sure your doggy is eating a high-quality diet. Healthy skin may be aided by foods high in omega-3 fatty acids, oils, and vitamins.

Control of the Parasite

Parasites and fleas are some of the most prevalent causes of skin problems. When it comes to flea management, prevention is always the best option. Make careful to treat your dog, and contact your veterinarian for the best product to use.

Scratching Dog , Human Hand Holding Magnifying Glass Allowing to See Parasite
Scratching Dog , Human Hand Holding Magnifying Glass Allowing to See Parasite


Your dog, like us, needs a steady supply of water to stay calm and hydrated. Water is also necessary for maintaining good skin.

Reduce your stress levels

Overgrooming in dogs and cats is a common symptom of stress. Recognize what is causing your pet to get upset and, if feasible, attempt to decrease it.

Maintain a clean environment in your house and your bed

Clean your house regularly, use new bedding, and keep dust to a minimum. Regular vacuuming, at least twice a week, will aid in the removal of any extra dust.

Supplements may help itching in dogs

Your itching dog’s delicate skin will be soothed by using a natural supplement. Nutramega comprises high-quality Omega-3 fatty acids, biotin, and Vitamin E, which help soothe sensitive skin, heal dry, flaky skin, and decrease itching and scratching.

Shot of a young woman relaxing with her dog at home
Shot of a young woman relaxing with her dog at home


Shampoos and oils are available over the counter. The majority of topical therapies merely give brief comfort and do not address the underlying issue. Every dog’s skin is unique, and if your dog suffers from skin allergies, common chemicals in over-the-counter medications may aggravate the problem.


 According to studies, antihistamines are typically ineffective in controlling skin allergies because they don’t treat the underlying cause. They may also make your dog feel uneasy, resulting in sleepiness, panting, and shaking.

Steroids on prescription

Steroids recommended by a veterinarian may help with allergic dog itching, but they can have their own set of adverse side effects. Increased urination, thirst, and weight gain are common side effects of prescription steroids in dogs. They may also exhibit changes in behavior, such as an increase in hostility.

Because dogs chew or scratch for various causes, see your veterinarian as soon as you discover a problem. The veterinarian will assist in determining the reason for the behavior and the best course of action. It might involve the following, depending on the source of your dog’s obsessive behavior:

They are getting rid of parasites. Your veterinarian may prescribe several different flea and tick treatments. If fleas cause your dog’s biting or chewing issues, be sure to wash his bed and vacuum your carpets and upholstered furniture regularly to avoid reinfestation. It would be best if you also treated any other animals in your home.

You are changing your diet

If your furry friend is itching due to food allergies, removing probable trigger foods (such as beef or wheat) might help a lot. If this seems to be the case, your veterinarian may suggest a specific diet. Fatty acid supplements added to your dog’s regular diet may also assist with dry skin problems and keep his coat healthy.

Russian Toy Terrier Dog Scratches
Russian Toy Terrier Dog Scratches

Medication is being used

Your veterinarian may recommend drugs to address underlying issues that are causing your dog to scratch incessantly. Your veterinarian may prescribe topical or systemic antibiotics, steroids, or anti-itch medications to treat existing hot spots or skin infections.

It is preventing the activity from occurring

Because obsessive habits may cause significant harm and harm your dog’s quality of life, it’s critical to do all you can to maintain your dog from chewing, licking, or scratching excessively. Bitter sprays to discourage licking, a specific collar to block access to hot regions, and keeping your dog close by your side while you’re home are just a few possibilities.

Anxiety or boredom may be addressed

Fear, stress, or insufficient stimulation may trigger obsessive biting, chewing, or licking in certain people. To minimize the possibility of this event, make sure your dog gets adequate activity, attention, and affection. Training your dog to chew on toys or bones to reduce tension as a substitute for unwanted chewing or licking activities may also be beneficial.

When to call a vet

Don’t be concerned if there’s a slight scratching here and there. Something may be wrong if your dog scratches, chews, or licks their fur excessively — all over their body or in one location.

If you can’t figure out what’s causing your dog to scratch, their symptoms are growing worse, or you’re not sure how to treat their itchy skin, contact your veterinarian.

How to get my pet to stop chewing themselves

Your dog’s teeth may find it simpler to reach their paws, legs, and back than their nails.

Chewing should be treated similarly to itching. Take a good look, attempt to cool the area, and if you have one, apply a vet-approved treatment. If your dog continues to chew or the chewing becomes more severe, then contact your daily veterinarian.

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