Why Your Dog May Have Itchy Skin and How You Can Help Him

Itchy dog scratching
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Causes of itchy skin include allergies, fleas, mites, bacterial infections, hypothyroidism, autoimmune diseases and cancer.

Your dog's itchy skin could be an indication of skin allergies, as well as a sign of some diseases. And if your dog has itchy skin, he'll likely scratch, rub, lick or chew in an effort to relieve the irritation no matter what's causing it. Learn more about the causes of itchy skin and how you can help your pet.

What's causing my dog's itchy skin?

There are a variety of causes of itchy skin in dogs. They can include allergies, fleas, mites, bacterial infections and other diseases that can be manifested in the skin like hypothyroidism, autoimmune diseases or cancer

How do I know if my dog has itchy skin?

Licking, chewing, rubbing, scratching and general discomfort are the most obvious signs of itchy skin. Hair loss, evidence of self-trauma and redness of the skin are other common signs. Your veterinarian may suggest various tests to help with the diagnosis. Recommendations may include skin scrapings, fungal cultures, skin biopsies, blood tests, allergy testing and diet trials.

What can I do about my dog's itchy skin?

Take your pet to the veterinarian to determine the cause. Once a cause is identified, treatment may range from topical therapy and medications to desensitization injections or diet changes. Antibiotics are commonly used to address secondary bacterial infections that may develop. There are also a number of products to help control parasites that can cause itchiness.

Can I prevent my dog from getting itchy skin?

Though you can't always prevent your dog from developing an allergy, there are some things you can do, like making sure he receives regular external parasite control. Talk to your veterinarian about which product might be right for your dog. It's also a good idea to keep him well groomed, since excessive or unkempt hair can lead to irritation. Finally, see your veterinarian at the first sign of your dog's discomfort — early intervention can help relieve irritation and potentially prevent secondary infections from occurring.

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