You sit there watching as your dog keeps itching and scratching. You get frustrated as he keeps digging into the same spot on his hind leg. Why does my dog keep itching, you ask?
From boredom to dry skin, many underlying factors can cause poor Fido to chew away at his leg like that.
Why Does My Dog Keep Itching?
You know that hard to reach mosquito bite in the middle of your back. You’d do anything to scratch yourself to relief.
The same is true for your pup. Itchy skin is a common issue for our canine friends. There are a few things to be aware of when it comes to their skin care.
Your pet’s health is important to us. Be sure to speak with your veterinarian about uncontrollable itching or to find the right solutions for your dog.
So, why does my dog keep itching?
6 Things to be Aware of
When your dog has an itch that just won’t go away, it may turn into a “hot spot” with all of the licking, biting, and chewing. Hot spots are pretty common among dogs.
These hot spots are the first sign that your pet is suffering from something. Eventually, it may lead to a wet scab on their fur that can become infected if not properly treated.
Be sure to keep each hot spot clean. You may also need to cover any spots with a loose bandage to keep your dog from further licking. For severe cases, try using a dog cone to keep your pet safe.
Some dog scratching may be the result of allergies to food or environment. Just like humans, dogs can have allergies to mold and pollen. Some dogs are even allergic to the sun or grass. Similarly, dogs may develop a skin irritation called contact dermatitis if they encounter certain pesticides or soaps.
2. Boredom or anxiety
Dogs have been known to have physical responses to being psychological upset, just like their humans who bite their nails or tap their leg. Some dogs even develop a condition similar to human obsessive-compulsive disorder, which can be seen in behaviors such as scratching, licking, or chewing.
3. Dry skin
If you’ve ever had dandruff, you know how itchy your scalp can get. The same is true for your dog. A wide range of external or internal factors, including winter weather and fatty acid deficiencies, can make your dog’s skin dry out.
If your dog keeps licking or chewing at something on his body, it could be a sign that he’s in pain or something is making him physically uncomfortable. Check for thorns, pebbles, or other debris that may be lodged in his skin. Check his collar to make sure it isn’t rubbing against his neck too hard.
On the other hand, compulsive chewing or licking can also be a response to orthopedic problems, including arthritis and hip dysplasia.
Check your pet for fleas, ticks, and mites. Ticks are often visible to the naked eye and easy to spot. However, fleas are a bit smaller and often go unseen until there is a large infestation. And mites are microscopic.
Ringworm is another issue to look out for. It’s highly contagious between animals and humans. It could look like a hot spot or dry skin. Puppies and older dogs are more likely to suffer from ringworm. Be sure to see your vet for proper treatment.
6. Hormonal imbalance (H4) (100)
If you’re still scratching your head wondering, “why does my dog keep itching,” then it may be time to go to the vet to have his thyroid checked.
If your dog’s body isn’t able to produce enough thyroid hormone it may irritate his skin. Conversely, if his body is creating too much of the hormone cortisol, it can make him itch all over.
How Can I Soothe My Dog’s Itchy Skin?
Our pets become parts of our families. It’s for that reason we search the internet high and low when they show symptoms of anything irregular.
The question to ask isn’t just why does my dog keep itching; it’s also how do I help him feel better.
We can’t stress this enough. If you are concerned about your pet’s health, take him to see the vet. Skin conditions can be uncomfortable for your pooch and hard to get under control.
But if you’re looking for something to ease the pain before you can get an appointment with your vet, we have a few suggestions for simple treatments to help your dog feel better.
A Balanced Diet
When asking yourself why does my dog keep itching, the first place you should look is the label of your dog food.
The right nutrition can keep your dog’s skin healthy and itch-free. Many commercial dog foods may not be meeting your pup’s needs. They may also be loaded with wheat or gluten ingredients, increasing your dog’s allergic reactions.
You can help soothe your pups’ skin from the inside by feeding him a balanced diet enriched with omega-3 fatty acids and healthy carbohydrates.
Many of us are away from home many hours throughout the day due to our busy schedules. If your dog is compulsory itching, biting, and chewing due to boredom, be sure to find creative ways to keep him entertained.
Fido needs lots of exercise. Don’t skip out on a daily walk (or two) to run off some of that extra, nervous energy.
Being proactive is better than being reactive. There are a few simple natural remedies that you can use to either treat hot spots or even keep them at bay.
The best part is, many of these are items you already have in your cupboards.
Apple cider vinegar
Did you know that apple cider vinegar can be used as a powerful antibacterial and anti-fungal treatment? Since it contains just apples and water, it’s completely safe for dogs.
Make a mixture of half water, half apple cider vinegar and put it in a spray bottle. Spray your dog’s coat to treat ringworm, hot spots, infections, and dry, itchy skin.
You can also add a few drops to your dog’s water bowl each week as a preventative measure against skin problems and a wide range of other possible issues.
Coconut oil is surprisingly good for dogs. When used in small amounts, it can help aid your pets' digestion, improve their coats, help prevent infection, and more. Coconut oil is almost exclusively saturated fat. It’s the good kind of fat that helps with digestion, skin and coat health, and thyroid health.
Rub a little coconut oil on your dog’s hot spots and skin irritations to help soothe his discomfort. You can also mix small amounts into his kibble to help prevent issues from the inside, out. Be sure to get organic or unrefined quality to ensure your dog’s health.
Anyone who’s suffered from a bad sunburn knows the soothing power of Aloe Vera. It has a powerful healing agent, while also reducing the redness and heat in your skin. It can do the same for your dog.
Put a small dab on problem spots to help ease the irritation. Be sure to get alcohol-free aloe, as that can upset your dog’s stomach, burn his skin, or worsen the symptoms you are trying to heal.
The best aloe comes directly from the source. If you’ve got an aloe plant at home, just break off an arm and rub its sap on your dog’s problem areas.
CBD, or cannabidiol, is a compound found in cannabis and hemp. Every day health care professionals and scientists are finding new ways to use CBD oil as a natural health remedy. CBD oil has also been found as a safe, effective way to help ease some of your dog’s underlying itch issues.
CBD oil is particularly helpful for a dog that suffers from anxiety or pain, especially neurotic pain. It’s also good for reducing inflammation and redness.
The Final Word
No more asking why does my dog keep itching. Not only are you aware of the underlying causes, but you're also armed with several ways to combat it.
Compulsive licking, biting, and chewing can be annoying as a pet owner, but think about how uncomfortable your pet is.
Next time you find your dog working away at a hot spot, we hope you feel knowledgeable enough to soothe his pain.
What remedies work best for your dog? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below.