If you’ve noticed your four-legged friend is scratching more than usual, then it might be time to investigate further. While some scratching is normal, excessive scratching could be a sign of a skin condition, an allergy or a bug infestation.
The most obvious cause of excessive scratching is fleas. Take a good look in your dog’s fur and if it does turn out to be fleas, visit your veterinarian who will be able to recommend the best course of action, whether this be an oral medication, a spray or even just a simple flea comb. Even if it’s not fleas, another type of bug might be the cause. Ticks, mites and lice are also common in dogs. If your dog has any rashes or scabs or patches of hair loss and inflammation then it’s likely to be caused by mites. Mites cannot be seen by the naked eye, but as they can also feed off humans, it’s important that you are vigilant with checking your dog over as soon as you notice any increased scratching.
Dogs can also suffer from dry skin, much like humans, and can find the flakiness, dandruff and cracked skin just as irritating as we do. The two main causes of dry skin in dogs are diet and environment.
Always check with your veterinarian before making any major diet changes. In terms of adjusting their environment, your pet may be sensitive to the chemicals you use to clean your home, or the fertiliser you use on your lawn. Consider switching to some more natural alternatives to see if their condition improves.
Another cause of excessive scratching could be an allergy. If you’ve noticed that your dog also has a runny nose and red eyes, then you could have found your culprit. Now you just have to figure out what your dog is allergic too and just like humans, it could be a range of many things including shampoo, food, dust or cigarette smoke. Your veterinarian will be able to offer you advice on how best to manage your dog’s allergy.
It might also be possible that your dog is suffering from some kind of infection. Ringworm and yeast infections are common in dogs and scratching is a key symptom of both. Any infection will require medication from a veterinarian.
If you’ve considered all of the options above but none of them seem to fit the bill then it’s worth seeking further medical advice as there are over 160 different skin disorders that can affect dogs and they aren’t always easy to diagnose.