Have you noticed your best mate itching more frequently or scratching non-stop at their skin, ears, paws or bum? Here’s our
Vets’ take on the most common causes for scratchy, irritable skin.
Why is my dog itchy?
There are many reasons dogs itch all the time. Sometimes it’s for pure, blissful relief: just like us, they get an itch, so they scratch it. When it starts to get compulsive or all too frequent however, it’s important to get it looked at right away. There are many causes for non-stop scratching, so working out exactly what’s happening with your pup is essential for their wellbeing (and your sanity too).
Top six causes of itchy dogs
Our vets identify the most common causes of itching for you below, starting with the top perpetrator.
A single bite can cause your pup to be very itchy. Lesions tend to be more at the back of the body. If you’re looking for
evidence of the flea/s, you might not always find it (your pup may have already removed it). So it’s always best to see a Vet.
2. Inhaled allergies (atopy):
This itch is due to allergens such as dust or pollen inhaled in the air. It’s more of an all-over body itch. You might notice it starts seasonally, but it can build up to being year-round too.
3. Food allergies:
this is usually due to a protein in food––believe it or not, beef is a common cause. The itch can be anywhere on the body and tends to occur all year round.
4. Contact allergies:
when your pup gets itchy after physically coming into contact with a plant. A ground cover called trad (or Tradescantia albiflora) is a major cause. The itch is wherever the allergen touches, which tends to be the underside of the body and
This can vary from small areas of hair loss to large areas with red, pimply skin. It’s common in puppies but occurs in adults too. The mite is microscopic so the vet does tests for this. The good news is it isn’t contagious.
Most commonly caught from foxes, this mite can pass from dog to human and is very contagious to other animals. It causes an intense itch. The mite is microscopic so the Vet does tests for this, but it can be difficult to find.
Every dog is different
It’s important to note there may be more than one cause for your itchy dog. Also, there are other less common causes we haven’t listed above that might be the culprit too. Use this list as a handy guide, and if you’re still unsure or concerned, chat with a Vet.
Claire is a QLD graduate with over 15 years experience as a neighbourhood Veterinarian in Australia and the UK. Animal lover and the founder of Vetchat, born from a passion to help pet carers everywhere access trusted advice earlier, for healthier, happier pets. Grateful to be carer to her beautiful Red-dog.
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