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Dog Skin Problems: Itching, Scratching and More

Dog Skin Problems: Itching, Scratching and More

Itching, scratching and excessive licking can all be signs that your dog is suffering from a skin condition called dermatitis. Here, our Beacon vets explain what could be causing your dog's skin problems and how you can help them feel better. 

Skin Conditions That Cause Dog Itching & Scratching

Most dogs will inevitably encounter itching or scratching at some point. In most instances, it will be annoying for your pup but not serious. That being said there are some skin conditions that will need to be seen by veterinarians and that will require treatment in order to prevent them from growing more severe. 

    Causes, Symptoms & Treatment

    There are a number of reasons why your dog may start scratching, licking or biting at their fur. Some of the more common dog skin problems include:

    Parasitic Bites

    Bites from parasites like mites and fleas are one of the most common sources of itching or scratching in dogs. Thankfully, they are also one of the easiest to treat. Your vet will be able to prescribe medication to help resolve these parasites. You can also proactive treat your dog with preventive medications to avoid mites, ticks or fleas 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. Symptoms include itchy/dry or cracked skin, rashes, blisters, redness, or swelling.

    Some suggested ways of alleviating this condition can include oatmeal baths or antihistamines. Your vet may also recommend cortisone creams or alternatives depending on the severity of your dog's condition. 

    Nutritional Dermatitis

    This is a relatively uncommon issue to affect your dog. That being said, it is possible that your pup may be having an allergic reaction to something found in their food. Generally speaking, nutritional dermatitis will cause skin irritations or scratching but may express itself through digestive issues as well like diarrhea. If your dog is displaying either type of symptom, it's best to make an appointment with your vet.

    Skin Allergies

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

    Some of the symptoms, aside from the expected itching and scratching, can include excessive grooming, watery eyes, sniffing, rashes and inflamed skin. Your vet may be able to diagnose what is causing your pet's allergy and will be able to recommend treatment in addition to preventing allergic reactions in the future.


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

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

    Urgent Cases

    If your dog's itching persists for longer than only a couple of days, you should make an appointment with your vet so that you can get a diagnosis and treatment. Prolonged itching may cause excessive scratching and biting at the itch. This may become serious or result in self-inflicted injury for your dog if not promptly treated. 

    Veterinary Dermatology in Beacon

    Our veterinary professionals, know that chronic recurrent skin problems, ear infections and allergies can be extremely irritating to your pet, and frustrating for pet parents.

    With a range of tests available to us in-house, we look for the root cause of your pet’s skin disorder and offer a customized treatment plan to start the healing process.

    Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

    Would you like to learn more about skin problems in dogs and how your dog may be affected, contact The Beacon Veterinary Associates today to book an examination and learn more.  

    Welcoming New Patients, Beacon Vet

    Now Welcoming New Patients

    Our vets at The Beacon Veterinary Associates are now accepting new patients! Our experienced team of veterinary professionals are passionate about giving the cats and dogs of Beacon the health care they need. Contact us today to schedule your pet's first appointment.

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