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Help! My dog won't stop itching and scratching!

Skin irritations could cause your dog to itch, scratch or lick continuously. Today our Cordova vets share some of the most common skin conditions in dogs and how you can help your dog to feel better. 

Why is my dog itching and scratching? 

Your dog is likely to suffer from itchiness at some point. While it may be irritating for both you and your dog, the cause won't typically be anything serious. That said, some conditions do need to be seen by a vet and will require treatment to prevent them from becoming more serious.

    Causes, Symptoms & Treatment

    There are a number of reasons why your dog may become itchy and begin licking, scratching or biting at their fur. Some of the more common skin conditions include:

    Parasitic Bites

    One of the most common sources of itching in dogs are bites from parasites such as fleas and mites. Bites are one of the easiest causes of skin irritation to treat. Your Cordova vet can prescribe medication to help resolve the parasite issue and give your dog relief from the itchy bites. A more proactive approach is to keep your dog on parasite prevention medication in order to avoid fleas, mites, or ticks in the first place.

    Environmental Dermatitis

    Symptoms of environmental dermatitis include itchy, dry or cracked skin, rashes, blisters, redness, or swelling. This common skin irritation develops due to contact with substances, such as grass, dirt, and plants. Antihistamines or oatmeal baths may help to alleviate your dog's symptoms or, in more severe cases your vet may recommend a cortisone cream or other alternative.

    Nutritional Dermatitis

    While an uncommon issue for dogs, food allergies can cause your pet's skin to become irritated and itchy. Other symptoms of nutritional dermatitis include diarrhea or vomiting. If your dog is displaying any of these symptoms, it's best to make an appointment with your vet.

    Skin Allergies

    Allergies are a common reason for many dogs to visit the vet. Pollen, dander, plants and insects, are just a few of the things that could cause your dog's skin to react. Allergy symptoms aside from itching include excessive grooming or licking, watery eyes and sneezing, rashes, and inflamed skin. Your vet can run a series of skin tests to determine the cause of your dog's reaction, then recommend treatment and ways to prevent future allergic reactions.

    Hives

    Hives can be the result of an allergic reaction to many things, from insect bites to medications. Symptoms may show as raised bumps that cause your dog's fur to stick out. On occasion hives will cause swelling near the dog's eyes. Using a hypoallergenic shampoo for dogs often helps to alleviate the condition. A hydrating leave-in conditioner may also help. Speak to your vet to find out how best to treat your dog's skin.

    Emergency Cases

    If your dog's itchiness and discomfort last for more than a couple of days it's a good idea to see your vet for a diagnosis and appropriate treatment. Excessive scratching and biting can lead to self-inflected injuries and may become serious if left untreated. 

    Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

    To find out more about skin problems in dogs, or to seek treatment options, contact our Cordova vets to book an appointment today.

    Itching and scratching due to skin conditions in dogs, Cordova Animal Hospital

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