What Is Dog Itching?
Itching is a condition in which dog feels restless or strong desire to scratch the part of his body where itching is happening. Itching is not a medical condition and should not be a cause of worry but a consistent itching caused by underlying medical condition should be a cause of worry.
Every dog scratches now and then due to itching but a consistent and incessant scratching which leads to a wound is a cause of worry.
The medical term for scratching related to excessive itching is pruritus.
What Are The Causes Of Dog Itching?
Reasons for dog itching can be the following:
- Allergy: Dog Allergy can be a reason for dog itching. Itching is a reaction of the body to histamines produced by the body when it identifies an allergen in the body. Dog Allergy can be caused in the following ways:
- Food Allergy i.e Chocolate
- Seasonal Allergy i.e Pollens
- Flea Allergy i.e Flea Saliva
- Boredom or Anxiety: Boredom can be one of the causes for the dog to do excessive scratching, chewing or licking i.e boredom eczema. Anxiety also has an effect on dog behavior and just like human bite nails when they are anxious so does the dogs to compulsive licking, scratching etc when they are anxious.
- Dry Skin: Dry skin is a result of the lack of humidity and lack of fatty acids in the body. Dry skin is a result of the lack of humidity and lack of fatty acids in the body. This happens mostly in winters when there is very little moisture in the air, the skin becomes flaky and breaks the moment you touch it.
- Hormonal imbalances: Lack of thyroid hormone or too much of cortisol, cause the underlying medical conditions which can cause skin infection as a symptom. This skin infection makes the dog to lick, bite or scratch the affected area.
- Pain: When dogs are in pain they tend to lick or chew the part of the body in order to nurse the wound or pain they might have. Chewing of paw might mean that there is something sticking in the paw which is causing irritation or pain.
- Parasites: Flea, Mites and Ticks can also be the reasons for the dogs to scratch, lick and bite a part of their body. Some dogs are allergic to flea saliva so when the flea bites, the saliva causes an allergic reaction and makes the bite area itchy. The same is the case with Ticks and Mites.
How to Diagnose Dog Itching?
To diagnose the reason for dog itching, its important for the doctor to take following steps:
- What are the symptoms have you seen?
- For how long has this condition been?
- What did your dog eat before this condition started or is he allergic to something?
- Has your pet been with other pets?
- Physical examination of the area of itching.
- Check for any parasites caused itching.
The doctor may order CBC or other tests to check other related diseases like tick fever etc.
What Are The Treatments Of Dog Itching?
When the reason for the dog itching has been identified then the condition can be treated by the doctor accordingly:
- Allergy: To treat allergy based itching the doctor will have to find the cause of the allergy in the dog.
- Food Allergy: Put the dog on a hypoallergenic diet and find food item to which the dog is allergic.
- Seasonal Allergy: Keep you dog indoors more when there is a pollen season.
- Flea Allergy: Keep your dog flea-free by using flea prevention products and keep the dog bed flea free.
- Boredom or Anxiety: If boredom or anxiety is the cause of itching, scratching, biting and licking then the pet owner should try to engage the dog more and know the trigger points which cause anxiety to dog. Once the trigger points are known then its best to avoid those triggers.
- Dry Skin: To prevent dry skin you should keep your dog in a humidified air and to locally add moisture to the skin, you can apply coconut oil for few days. Adding fatty acids rich foods like eggs and fish will help nourish the skin.
- Hormonal imbalances: Lack of thyroid hormone or too much of cortisol, care the underlying medical conditions which can cause skin infection as a symptom. This skin infection makes the dog to lick, bite or scratch the affected area.
- Pain: Scratching, biting and licking caused due to pain at a body part needs to be checked by a vet immediately and treated.
- Parasites: Treatment for tick, flea or mite infestations is very important. All these parasites are very damaging to the dog and they can also cause more serious health conditions than just itching i.e tick fever etc. Keep the dog bed flea free and change it every year to avoid it being the host for parasites.
What Are Home Remedies Of Dog Itching?
In case of allergies you should always consult a vet however there are some home remedies that can benefit your dog along with doctor’s consultation.
Colloidal Oatmeal Baths
Colloidal Oatmeal Baths can soothe your dog’s itchy skin by reducing inflammation and washing away allergens that get trapped in the fur. Oatmeal bath has anti-inflammatory properties that can ease redness, swelling, and itchiness, and cool your dog’s hot, uncomfortable skin.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar has strong antibacterial and anti-fungal properties. You can create a spray by mixing 50% of apple cider vinegar and 50% of water. Spray the mixture on your dog skin where the dog skin is irritated and it should relax the bacterial or fungal infection at the spot of spray.
Please Note: Apple cider vinegar should not be used on open wounds of dogs. It will be extremely painful for dogs.
Coconut oil can be applied on the coat or fur of the dog and it will soothe the area of eczema or irritation in the skin. Coconut oil has anti-inflammatory and anti-fungal properties. Coconut oil can also be given in small quantities in dog food for the well being of skin and coat.
Aloe Vera has healing properties and is also known to cool down the hot areas on the skin. Application of un-flavored aloe vera will help treat itchy skin, eczema, skin allergy, hot spots and skin rashes.
Please Note: Aloe vera should not have any artificial flavors and should be alcohol-free.
Baking soda paste, when applied on a dog’s skin, can help dry out rashes on the skin, reduce itching, and reduce redness and inflammation of the skin. Baking soda paste can be made by mixing 50% baking soda and 50% water. Blend the mixture to create a paste and apply it at the affected area.