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Skin Problems in Dogs: Itching, Scratching and More

Skin Problems in Dogs: Itching, Scratching and More

Excessive itching, scratching or licking are sure signs that your dog has some kind of irritation affecting their skin—often a condition call dermatitis. Discover here what may be causing these skin problems and how our Montecito vets can help you to treat them.

Skin Conditions That Cause Itching & Irritability

At some point in their lives, most dogs will become very itchy. In many cases, this is just an annoyance for your pooch and isn't something very serious. However, there are some condition that cause itching which need to be seen by your vet and that require treatment in order to stop them from growing worse. 

    Causes, Symptoms & Treatment

    There are a number of different reasons that your dog may begin itching, biting or scratching at their fur. Some common examples include:

    Parasitic Bites

    Flea and mite bites are one of the most common sources of persistent itchiness in dogs, Thankfully they are also one of the easiest to treat. Your vet will be able to prescribe your pet some medication to resolves this issue. 

    You can also give your pup proactive medication to help them avoid fleas, mites or ticks in the first place to sidestep this issue altogether. 

    Environmental Dermatitis

    When your dog comes into contact with certain substances, like grass, dirt or plants, they may develop skin irritation. Symptoms of this condition include dry and itchy skin, blisters, rashes, redness and swelling. 

    Some ways you can alleviate this condition include oatmeal baths and antihistamines. Your veterinarian may also recommend a cortisone cream or other alternative depending on the severity of your dog's condition.

    Nutritional Dermatitis

    This is a somewhat uncommon issue for dogs. But, it is possible that your pup is having an allergic reaction to something contained in their food. Generally., nutritional dermatitis causes scratching and skin irritation, bit your pup may also experience digestive issues in these cases like vomiting or diarrhea. 

    If your dog is showing either kind of symptom, it's best to make an appointment with your vet as soon as possible. 

    Skin Allergies

    Some dogs are prone to allergies. That makes this cause a somewhat common reason to visit your vet. Allergens that cause itching in your dog can include insects, plants, dander, other animals or pollen.

    Some of the symptoms aside from itching include excessive grooming or licking, watery eyes and sneezing, rashes, and inflamed skin. Your vet may be able to diagnose what is causing the allergy and will recommend treatment as well as ways to prevent future allergic reactions.


    Another type of allergic reaction is hives. Hives can be a reaction to many things, from bites or medications. Symptoms show as a raised bump that would cause the dog's fur to stick out.

    On occasion, hives will appear as swelling near your pup's eyes. Using a hypoallergenic shampoo for your dog will generally alleviate this condition, though. If you have a hydrating leave-in conditioner, it may also help. Make sure you ask your vet what treatment will be right for your pup. 

    Emergency Cases

    If your dog's itching persists for more than a few days, you should make an appointment so your vet can diagnose the issue and treat it. Prolonged itching can cause excessive scratching and biting at the itch which can create a self-inflected injury. This can become serious if left unchecked. 

    To discover more about how your can help your dog with their skin problems and to find treatment options, contact our Montecito Pet Hospital veterinary team to book an appointment today.

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