Occasional scratching is a normal behavior in dogs. It becomes a problem when your dog is constantly scratching. There are many causes of itching, including allergies. Dog's can be allergic to a variety of things:
- External Parasites: fleas, mosquitoes, ticks. The bite alone is itchy for any dog, but some dogs are allergic to parasites saliva and have a strong reaction to it. Small scabs, and/or fur loss are common signs.
- Environmental: grass, pollen, or dust mites. Dogs can be affected by environmental allergens just as people can, but instead of a runny nose or eyes, they will itch! Allergies are challenging to diagnose and can be a lifelong problem requiring topical therapy and medications.
- Food: protein sources are the culprit. Food allergies are less common than environmental allergies but just as frustrating.
Besides excessive scratching, licking or chewing at the body are also signs. Paws, ears, and inside the legs are frequent areas of itching.
Excessive scratching and licking can lead to rashes, hair loss or self-inflicted lesions. This, in turn, can become infected and exacerbate the problem.
It is important to see you veterinarian early. With your veterinarian, you can work together to identify and manage the underlying causes. Your veterinarian will create a plan for your pet to help prevent future flare-ups. Avoiding the trigger is the best treatment, but sometimes that can be impossible. Allergies can be a lifelong problem and getting a proper diagnosis will help determine the best treatment plan for your dog. Dogs with allergies have a defective skin barrier, so it is essential to support and protect the skin by using a dermatopical product.