Why is my dog SO ITCHY?

It’s that time a year again!   We’ve been getting call after call about itchy dogs.    So why do dogs get so itchy?

There are many, many reasons dogs get itchy!  In this blog we’ll cover some of the basics.

  1. Fleas-  Fleas are probably the most common reason we see itchy dogs (or cats for that matter).    You don’t have to see fleas on your pet for fleas to cause a problem for your dog!  Most of the flea population exists in the environment in immature forms.  For more information on the flea life cycle, read our “A Day in the Life of a Flea” blog post.    One flea can bite your dog 200 times a day!  Some dogs are even allergic, and just 1 flea bite can make them tremendously itchy!  SO the first step in making your dog comfortable is keeping them on a monthly flea preventative.
  2. Atopy – Atopy is just a fancy word for allergies.   Many dogs can be allergic to something in their environment like dust mites or pollen.    There are a lot of different treatments we can recommend to help your pet with his or her allergies including shampoos, oral medications, and injections.  We even have a test that can help identify what things trigger your pet’s allergies.
  3. Food allergies – Some dogs have skin issues that are related to the food.  Dogs can develop allergies to food.  Most of the time dogs are allergic to the protein source (chicken, for example) in the food.  In order to be allergic to a food, a dog must have had that food in the past.  Even if your pet hasn’t had a problem with food, he or she could still develop a food allergy.  There are a number of different foods we can recommend to help or rule out a food allergy.
  4. Ringworm – Ringworm is a contagious fungal infection that can infect your dog (and you).   If you suspect your pet has ringworm, bring them in immediately.  If any humans develop a rash in your household, be sure to seek medical treatment with your health care provider.
  5.  Other parasitesThere are a number of other parasites that infect your pet’s skin including ticks, mange mites (like scabies and demodex), chiggers (another type of mite), and lice.
  6. Other causesThere are many other reasons your dog could be itchy ranging from contact with a skin irritant, too many skin folds, spiders, and much more…

So what should you do if your dog is itchy?  Well since there are so many different causes, we recommend giving us a call so we can make recommendations based on your pet’s unique situation.  Call us at 573-875-3647.