If you noticed your dog is excessively itching and licking their body, they may be experiencing a skin allergy or irritation. Trying to figure out what’s causing it can be a daunting task, but with careful diagnosis, management, and treatment, you can help soothe your dog.
Find Out What’s Causing It
There are many reasons a dog may scratch excessively. According to an article from the American Kennel Club, one veterinarian was able to cite 43 causes of skin irritation in dogs. That’s a lot, but most fall into five categories:
- Atopy (an allergic reaction to something in the environment)
- A food allergy
- Parasite hypersensitivity
- A yeast infection
- Or bacterial infections.
If it’s not obvious what might be causing the irritation, it may be a good idea to take your dog to the vet in order to stop the scratching before it gets worse.
Types of Allergies in Dogs
There are three main types of allergies in dogs: skin allergies, food allergies, and environmental allergens.
For instance, some dogs are allergic to flea bites and can get extremely itchy, especially at the base of the tail where skin can become red, inflamed, and scabbed over.
When dogs have a food allergy, they’ll feel itchy on their ears and their paws. They will also feel some gastrointestinal distress.
Environmental allergens such as pollen or mold can cause atopic dermatitis. Sometimes these are seasonal and can appear in many places on the dog’s body. This includes: the ears, paws, wrists, ankles, muzzle, underarms, groin, around the eyes, and in between the toes.
It’s important to treat your dog right away as their excessive scratching and licking can lead to infection.
Ways To Treat Skin Allergies And Irritation
The best thing to do is to ask your veterinarian what the cause of allergy or irritation may be in order to find out what needs to be eliminated from their diet or environment. Your veterinarian may suggest doing allergy testing to try and find out what the cause is. But even with testing, it may be difficult to know exactly the cause. Your vet may prescribe allergy shots to help eliminate your dog’s issues or a medication that can help with itching and skin irritation.
Bathing your dog regularly can help prevent and treat skin allergies or irritations. Some dog owners don’t like to give baths too frequently for fear that it’ll dry out their dog’s skin or damage their coat, but according to an article from the AKC, dermatologists have cited that newly developed dog shampoos can actually improve a dog’s skin and coat. And if your dog has a persistent itch, more bathing may be the best way to prevent or cure an infection on the skin.
Another option is to buy an over-the-counter supplement that can help with a dog’s itchy skin. We’ve listed a couple of options below.
BARK Dog Skin & Coat Supplement: Veterinarian-formulated, this supplement is made with all natural ingredients (including Omega-3, 6, 9, and Vitamin E) and comes in the form of 120 soft chews. Basically, it looks and tastes just like delicious treats, and it could really help soothe your dog in their time of need. ($19.99.)
As always, if your pooch is a senior or is suffering from severe itching, hair loss or skin lesions, it may be time to check in with your vet.