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Dog Skin Problems: Scratching, Itching & Other Conditions

Dog Skin Problems: Scratching, Itching & Other Conditions

If your dog has a skin condition commonly known as dermatitis, it might be suffering from symptoms such as itching, scratching, and excessive licking. We talk about what might be causing your dog's skin problems and how you can help treat them.

Skin Conditions That Cause Itching & Irritability

Most dogs will inevitably encounter itching at some point. In most cases, it will be annoying for your pet but not serious. However, some conditions do need to be seen by a vet and will require treatment to prevent them from becoming worse.

    Causes, Symptoms & Treatment

    There are several reasons your dog may begin scratching, biting, or excessively licking its fur. Here are some of the more common reasons:

    Parasitic Bites

    One of the most prevalent sources of itching in dogs is bites from fleas and mites. Luckily, your vet can easily and quickly resolve this issue by prescribing medication for your dog.  Another readily available option is to proactively provide your dog with doses of preventive medication at regular intervals. 


    Some dogs are sensitive to environmental substances, such as grass, dirt, and plants. This can cause skin irritation and other symptoms which include itchy/dry or cracked skin along with rashes, blisters, redness, or swelling. 

    These symptoms can be relieved using oatmeal baths or antihistamines. You should always seek guidance from your vet who may recommend cortisone creams or other medications depending on the individual pet or situation. 


    On rare occasions, your dog may experience an allergic reaction to something in its diet. While nutritional dermatitis typically results in skin irritations and scratching, there is the possibility that digestive issues may happen as well, such as diarrhea or vomiting. If your dog is displaying either type of symptom, it's best to make an appointment with your vet.


    Another common reason to visit your vet is due to many dogs are prone to allergies. These allergens can be found in pollen, dander, plants, or even insects and food among many other things. 

    These allergens can cause itching that can result in your dog overly licking or grooming, as well as watery eyes, sneezing, rashes, and irritated 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 can be a common reaction caused by insect bites or some medications and would be observed 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.

    Emergency Cases

    Prolonged itching can cause your dog to excessively scratch and bite at the itch which can create a self-inflicted injury. To resolve the situation before it becomes serious, you should make an appointment so your vet can diagnose the issue and treat it.

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

    New Patients Welcome

    Dana Park Veterinary Hospital is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Redding companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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