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Why is My Dog Itching and Scratching? And Other Dog Skin Problems

Signs your dog has dermatitis include itching, scratching, and licking. Today our veterinary team in Ypsilanti help you learn the reasons why your dog may be experiencing skin problems and how you can help them.

Conditions That Cause Skin Itching & Irritability

At some time in their lives almost all dogs will expereince itching. Most of the time it will only be annoying for your pet and not serious. Although, there are some situations where your pup will have to be seen by a vet to get medical treatment and the keep the situation from getting worse.

    Causes, Symptoms & Treatment

    There is a handful of reasons why your dog could start to scratching, licking or biting at their fur. A few of the most common causes include:

    Parasitic Bites

    Flea and mite bites are one of the most common causes of itching in dogs but, they are one of the easiest to treat. Your veterinarian will be able prescribe medication to resolve the parasite issue. You could also proactively give your dog medication to avoid fleas, mites, or ticks in the first place.

    Environmental Dermatitis

    This is a skin irritation that develops due to contact with certain substances, such as grass, dirt, and plants. The symptoms include itchy/dry or cracked skin, rashes, blisters, redness, or swelling.

    We suggest alleviating this condition with antihistamines or oatmeal baths. Your vet can also recommend a cortisone cream or other alternative depending on the severity.

    Nutritional Dermatitis

    This issue is relatively uncommon in dogs, however it is possible for them to have an allergic reaction to something in their food. Generally, nutritional dermatitis causes skin irritations and scratching, but digestive issues could happen as well, such as diarrhea or vomiting. If your dog is showing any of these symptoms, book an appointment with your vet.

    Skin Allergies

    Some dogs are prone to allergies, making this a fairly common reason for veterinary visits. Allergens that cause itching can be found in pollen, dander, plants or insects, among other things.

    A few of the symptoms other than itching include excessive grooming or licking, watery eyes and sneezing, rashes, and inflamed skin. Your veterinarian might be able to diagnose what is causing the allergy and will recommend treatment and ways to prevent future allergic reactions.


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

    Sometimes, hives will present themselves with swelling near the eyes. Using a hypoallergenic shampoo for dogs will usually alleviate the condition. A hydrating leave-in conditioner could also help. Ask your vet what method they recommend for your dog.

    Emergency Cases

    If your dog's itching lasts longer than a few days, make an appointment with your vet so they can diagnose the condition and treat it. Prolonged itching can cause excessive scratching and biting at the itch which can create a self-inflected injury. This can get serious if it is left unchecked. 

    To get more information about dog skin conditions or to schedule an appointment contact our Ypsilanti vets today.

    Caring for Pets in Ypsilanti

    Michigan Avenue Animal Hospital is accepting new patients! Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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