Why is My Dog Scratching?

why is my dog scratchingDoes it drive you just a little insane when you see your dog scratching himself over and over again? We completely understand.  It can be unnerving. Sometimes you just want to scream “Stop it!” Am I right? Dogs scratch just like us humans do and for a variety of reasons.  Unfortunately, it’s not always that easy to figure out exactly why a dog is scratching himself.  There might be something you can do about dog scratching but first, you have to figure out what’s going on.

Why is my dog scratching? 

Many pet parents have one thought when their dog starts scratching and it goes something like this “Oh NO, fleas!  Fleas are a nuisance and aside from being a nuisance, some dogs are allergic to flea bites.   Flea saliva can wreck havoc on your dog’s body if he is in fact allergic.  Redness, itching, biting, scratching, and crusty skin will result if your dog is allergic to flea bites.  Fleas aren’t the only pests that you need to worry about.  Mites are a common allergen too.  You’re getting itchy just reading this, aren’t you?

That’s not all.  There are other allergies that your poor dog has to worry about too!

First there are inhalant allergies.  Eeek.  Grass, pollen, chemicals and basically anything that the little pup can breathe in can cause an allergic reaction.  Then there are contact allergies.  That means things that come into “contact” with your dog’s skin are irritating his skin.  Often times this is shampoo.  Food allergies also exist.  Some dogs’ bodies just don’t agree with the food that you are feeding him.  Sometimes it’s as simple as switching your dog’s food but often times it takes a lot of trial and error to try and figure out which ingredient your dog has the allergy to.

Skin infections may also cause your dog to scratch, scratch, scratch.  Skin infections are often secondary to some other allergy going on.  This is when you will really notice hot spots and other skin irritations rearing their ugly heads.  Often times skin infections occur as a result of your dog scratch, scratch, scratching.

You’re probably thinking to yourself “now what?” Well, it really depends on the situation.  If your dog does in fact have fleas, you can definitely go ahead and treat the fleas along with the guidance of your vet.  However, we urge you to make sure your dog really does have fleas before you douse him in any type of flea shampoos or dips as that can really aggravate your dog’s skin and can be especially harmful if he doesn’t have fleas.  Don’t assume.  If you’re unsure, you will definitely need your vet to examine your dog.  He will work with you to get to the root cause of your pet’s scratching.  Patience will be needed on your part as the diagnosis may require a little trial and error.   In the meantime, just be glad it’s not you that’s scratching and show some empathy to your dog because he really can’t help it.

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