The most common causes of itchy skin in dogs

dark colored dog

There can be a number of possible causes of itchy skin in dogs. Incessant itching could turn that sore spot into a wound, which could easily become infected. Let’s see what could be causing your barking buddy to go crazy with the itching and how best to get them to stop.

1. Dry Skin

Turns out that dry skin isn’t only a human terror, but it’s also a cause of itchy skin in dogs. It can be caused by low humidity or some poor-quality pet foods where the precious oils in the food are compromised during the manufacturing process. Either way it leads to cracked and flaky skin that causes a hyper prickly sensation, sending your mutt wild with scratch fever. Try adding a high quality, natural supplement to your dog’s diet to put those natural, soothing oils back in their skin. Your vet will be able to point you in the right direction.

2. Allergies

Dark colored dog

Just as some humans have allergic reactions to factors in their environment, so can your pets. Certain substances could cause your doggy to scratch, sniff and sneeze like they’re competing in Crufts for the title of Planet’s Most Peppered Pup. Frustratingly, dogs can also be allergic to components of their diet and this can be ruled out using a diet trial. Identifying a doggy allergy is notoriously difficult (the power of speech is a skill that canines have yet to master). You should speak to your vet to find out what is going on.

3. Infections

Dogs can suffer from skin infections like humans can. Often, the infection will either be a bacterial one or a yeast one, or a combination of both. However, they can be easily treated, and if this is the underlying cause, it should help prevent your dog’s itching. Bacterial infections can be more evident in dogs that spend a lot of time wet, and treatments may come in one of two common forms: a topical medication or in occasional severe circumstances antibiotics. However, there can be other causes. Fungal infections can be treated effectively with topical medications in the majority of cases. All remedies for skin infections in dogs can be picked up from your vet.

4. Shampooing

What are you putting on your dog’s skin? If your poochy products promise flowing fur but are delivering a mutt with an itch, then there’s a chance your favourite brand is doing more harm than good. The ingredients in some shampoos may dry and irritate your dog’s skin. Pick a skin-sensitive, all-natural brand that will moisturise rather than showering them in itchylicious chemicals. Your vet should have a reputable range available. Also, are you washing them too often? Expert opinions vary, but unless your chow is getting down and dirty in a field of cowpats every day, you can leave weeks between washes, rather than days.

5. Fleas

Ah, the dreaded F word. The perennial pooch pest that keeps on leaping is the source of many a scratch in the canine world. Flea treatment and prevention is a big issue, but first you need to find them! To discover whether your four-legged pal has fleas, check their fur with a flea comb – and search for the brown oval jumping critters or their faeces (black dots). Identification should lead to a trip to your vet. However, it is important to note, it is not always easy or even possible to find fleas on your dog, so even if you do not find any, it might still be possible that your dog has them. Ask for the most effective product for you (usually either a spot-on pipette or tablet) and enquire about the different options from your vet. Did you know these pesky pests also live in your home? So, while you are out shopping for your dog, you’d better buy a spray for your house as well or the blighters will just keep coming back.

6. Lice

Lice on a dog can often be mistaken for fleas – however, the one big difference is that lice are almost motionless. Lice on dogs are also species specific, therefore can’t be transferred to humans or cats. Out of all the parasites dogs can suffer from, lice can be easy to treat-your vet will advise you on appropriate and effective medication. 

There we have it – 6 common causes of itching in dogs. Now you know what could be causing the irritation, you can look to prevent it by changing your dog’s shampoo or diet for example. However, it is always best to consult your vet first to ensure you are following the right cause of treatment.