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Why is my Dog Scratching ? Dog Itching & Other Dog Skin Problems

When your dog is itching, scratching, and licking themselves it is a sign they have skin condition known as dermatitis. Find out what may be causing the dog's skin problems and how you can treat them.

Dog Skin Problems that Cause Itching & Irritability

Most dogs will encounter itching at one point in their lives . It will mostly be annoying for your pet but not serious. Although, some dog skin problems will require veterinary treatment need to prevent the symptoms from becoming worse.

    Causes, Symptoms & Treatment

    There are several explanations for your dog to be itching, scratching, licking or/ and biting at their fur. The most common reasons include:

    Parasitic Bites

    Flea and mite bites are among the most common reason for your dog's itching and, one of the easiest to treat. Your vet can prescribe medication to resolve the parasitic problem. You can also give your dog medication in advance to avoid fleas, mites, or ticks year round.

    Environmental Dermatitis

    This is a dog skin problem that develops when they come into contact with certain irritants, such as grass, dirt, and plants. Symptoms include:

    • itchy/dry or cracked skin
    • rashes
    • swelling
    • blisters
    • redness

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

    Nutritional Dermatitis

    This is an uncommon issue for dogs, although, it is possible they have had an allergic reaction to something in their food. Usually, nutritional dermatitis results in skin irritations and dog scratching, but digestive issues may also occur, these can be diarrhea or vomiting. If your dog is displaying either of these symptom, it's best to make an appointment with your vet.

    Skin Allergies

    Some dogs are prone to allergies, making this a common reason to visit the vet. Allergens that cause dog itching can be found in pollen, dander, plants or insects, among other things.

    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.


    Hives are another form of allergic reaction dogs can get due to many things such as, bites or medications. Symptoms include a raised bump that would cause the dog's fur to stick out.

    Sometimes, hives will appear with swelling around the eyes. A hypoallergenic dog shampoo and hydrating leave-in conditioner may also help alleviate this condition. Ask your vet what they recommend for your dog.

    Emergency Cases

    If your dog's itching continues for more than a few days, make an appointment with your vet so they can diagnose and treat the issue. Prolonged itching can cause excessive scratching and biting which may create a self-inflected injury. This can become serious if left untreated. 

    To learn more about dog skin problems, or to seek treatment options, contact our Bedford vets to book an appointment today.

    We're accepting new patients! Book your pet's first appointment today.

    (914) 666-8061 Contact