It’s totally normal for dogs to scratch themselves. However, if they’re doing it excessively and compulsively, then chances are, something’s wrong with them. While you might automatically suspect your pet of having fleas, it might not always be the case.
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There are various reasons why your furry friend might be itching. Scratching is not only uncomfortable, but it is also an indication of an underlying health condition. So, regardless of whether the source of the behavior is caused inside or outside, it’s best to pay attention to your dog carefully.
It helps to focus where your pet is constantly scratching, so you can have a little idea of what’s going on. And while the best solution is to take them to the vet, not everyone has the time and money to do so. Plus, not all conditions require professional help. To help you ease your worries, we’ve compiled the five common reasons why they may be itching.
Much like humans, dogs also suffer from skin conditions like dry skin due to the change of weather, hormonal imbalance, and even as a reaction to their new shampoo. Of course, there are more causes of dry skin, but you should expect that they all present in different ways, depending on the dog.
Some of the common symptoms of dry skin include dandruff, scabs, itchiness, scaling, inflammation, and hair loss. Visiting a doctor will help you diagnose your pet quickly, making it easier for you to determine how to treat their skin issues.
If the dry skin is caused by poor nutrition, switch to a high-quality diet containing lots of omega-3 fatty acids. Likewise, maintain your dog’s coating by using a mild shampoo and conditioner made especially for them, and brush their fur regularly.
Among all the others on this list, allergies are the most common reason for dogs to itch. Skin, food, and environmental allergies happen when your pet’s immune system reacts badly to a foreign substance. It can be especially challenging to specify which type is bothering your dog because many of the symptoms overlap with one another.
There is also the acute allergy reaction, which happens when your dog has a severe reaction to an allergen, such as vaccine reactions and bee stings. And while the hives and swelling might alarm you, there’s no need to panic since this can be treated with antihistamine and is only fatal if left unattended.
If you notice your dog constantly scratching its ears and head, then you should check if they have an ear canker. For those who’ve never heard of the condition, this is when your pet has a yeast infection and ear mites, making their ears itch and produce an unpleasant smell.
Similarly, it can also be observed through the presence of a black, brown, or orange discharge. Be careful when you check their ears, though. Ear cankers can be painful, making their ears sensitive and inflamed to the touch.
Fortunately, you can find over-the-counter medication when this happens. However, if you think the symptoms are more severe or reoccur too often in your dog, you should visit a vet or educate yourself about the condition. To help, you can learn more about ear cankers from Aristopet.
Fleas, ticks, and mites are parasites that cause your dogs to scratch at their skin compulsively. Due to the minuscule size of these pesky insects, you might not see them at first. However, if you observe the warning signs, you should immediately take action before the infestation worsens.
If you let the issue untreated for too long, your dog might be victim to tapeworms, anemia, paralysis, fever, weight loss, restlessness, and many more. Thus, you should get them checked as soon as possible so they can be prescribed with the proper treatment and medication.
Stress, Boredom, or Anxiety
Sometimes, the reason why your dog is scratching is not because of a skin condition or a parasite. If none of the reasons above is true for your pet, their behavior must be caused by something psychological.
Scratching can possibly be a displaced behavior for an animal that is stressed, bored, or anxious. If you think about it, it’s something that can be compared to a person biting their nails when they’re nervous.
It’s a strange way for these feelings to manifest, but since dogs can’t speak our language, they act it out instead. To prevent your pet from scratching themselves raw, spend more time with them and play games to stimulate their minds. Likewise, positive reinforcement training is also good to help remove their bad habits.
Constant itching and scratching are harmful to your beloved furry friends. So, don’t ignore these behaviors if you see them. Remember, it’s better to get your dog checked as early as possible to prevent them from suffering worse in the future.