Every dog has a little scratch from time to time, and usually, it’s completely normal and harmless. However, if you have noticed that your dog is scratching more than often or is causing damage to their skin from excessive scratching, there could be a more serious underlying cause. The best thing to do if you notice that your dog is scratching more often than usual is to take him to the vet for a check-up. Your vet can diagnose any underlying causes and prescribe any medication or creams necessary. Typically, excessive scratching in dogs is caused by one or more of these common factors:
A dog who has a flea infestation is going to be scratching a lot more than usual due to flea bites on their skin, and sometimes the simple feeling of having the fleas crawling on them. This is why it’s so important to regularly treat your dog with a spot-on solution or give a flea prevention tablet from your vet. It may not always be easy to tell if your dog has fleas if they have a dark coat, but on lighter-haired dogs, you will usually be able to see the fleas on them. If your dog has fleas, you should also fumigate your house and thoroughly clean any beds and blankets that your dog uses as the fleas will infest these too.
There are several things that your dog might be allergic to which can cause them to scratch more than usual. If you have noticed that your dog always seems to be itchier after having a bath, for example, they could be allergic to something in the dog shampoo that you are using to wash them. Once you have ruled out any other possible causes with your vet, it may be a good idea to look into getting dog shampoo for sensitive skin or another kind of anti-allergy shampoo that will be less harsh and less likely to cause a flare-up.
If your dog is not getting the right diet, this can also have an effect on their skin and cause them to be itchier than usual. If you have recently changed your dog’s diet and she has started scratching excessively, this is usually a sure sign that she is not getting enough nutrients or could be allergic to something in the new food. The best way to rule out a food allergy is to put your dog on an elimination diet with the help of your vet.
In some cases, stress can manifest as itchiness on a dog, and being stressed out could cause your dog to be scratching more than usual. Think about anything that may have changed in your dog’s environment recently, such as bringing a new pet into the home, having a new person around more often, a new baby, or a house move. Training, spending time with your dog, and offering lots of soothing and reassurance can help. Your vet may also be able to prescribe medication to help with anxiety.
If your dog has started scratching more often than usual, it could be down to one of these causes. Visit your vet to get to the root of the problem and give your dog the right treatment.