Could a Heath Problem be Behind Your Dog's Scratching?

One of the age-old questions of dog owners is why does my dog scratch, lick, and bite itself so much? Is it just itchy, does it have dry skin, is it cleaning itself? Those are all possible, however there could be more to it.

Neurogenic Dermatitis is probably the most difficult skin problem in dogs to diagnose and treat. Most veterinarians will diagnose this only after all the other options proved to be wrong. So, what is neurogenic dermatitis. This is when the dog itself is the reason for the scratching and licking. This is often caused by boredom, confinement, frustration, or separation anxiety. In most cases the dog will focus on a specific area and never allow the skin to heal from all the scratching and licking. Self-mutilation like this can lead to infections. Treatments for this will be mostly behavioral, although there is some medication for things such as anxiety in dogs.

Allergies can also be difficult to diagnose. A dog can't really tell you if something specific makes him itchy or feel sick. This is another type of dermatitis that won't be diagnosed until the others are ruled out first. Dogs can be allergic to food ingredients, plants, dust, fibers, medications, flea bites, bacteria, etc. To help with an allergy diagnosis dog owners should pay close attention to when their dog seems to scratch and lick the most. You can also look for hives on your dog.

Your veterinarian can help recommend treatments as well as ways to prevent allergic reactions in your dog. Treatments vary depending on the type of allergy. For a food allergy you would just have to change to a food with different ingredients. For other allergies a dog may require pills, injections, ointments, sprays, baths, etc. Some dogs are allergic to flea bites so killing and preventing fleas would help prevent future allergic reactions.

Even if a dog isn't allergic to flea bites, fleas can still cause canines to scratch and bite. Just imagine if you have tiny creatures running around in your hair and biting you. It can't be comfortable.

As much as your dog's scratching and biting may annoy you, just think about how annoying it may also be to your dog, but they don't know what else to do.

The information provided on this site is for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for advice from your veterinarian or other health care professional. You should not use the information on this site for diagnosis or treatment of any health problem or for prescription of any medication or other treatment.