Why is my Dog so Itchy!?!?

One of the most common calls we receive during the summer is related to itchy dogs.  It seems like this time of year is the height of skin problems in our area.

An itchy dog can present in several different ways, including scratching, rubbing, licking, hair loss, body odor and ear problems. So, that brings us to the question…

Why is my dog so itchy?

  • Fleas or Mites– Fleas are more abundant during the hot summer months.  Proteins in the flea’s saliva can cause an allergic response in some dogs.  Year-round flea and tick prevention is recommended to prevent a flea infestation.
  • Staph, Yeast or Bacterial infections- Skin infections are often accompanied by hair loss, scaling and odor.  Excessive scratching, rubbing or licking of the feet is common in dogs with yeast or bacterial infections.  An anti-biotic or anti-fungal medication would be recommended in this situation.
  • Food Allergies- The most common food allergens are animal proteins.  If your veterinarian suspects food allergies, they may recommend a food elimination trial or a veterinary prescription diet.
  • Seasonal Allergies- Seasonal pollen fluctuations can cause an allergic response in dogs who are hypersensitive to these things.
  • Environmental Allergies- Some dogs can be allergic to factors in the environment such as dust mites, certain grasses, trees, molds and more.

Successful treatment relies on finding the underlying cause of your pet’s signs and symptoms.  Prior to your appointment it is important to keep track of your pet’s symptoms.  The doctor will want to know what symptoms your pet is experiencing, are they licking or scratching?  How long have these symptoms been present?  Are there times when the symptoms appear worse or better?  All of this information will help the doctor to determine what is causing your pet’s problem. 

The veterinarian will develop an individualized treatment plan that will address your pet’s current symptoms and also the underlying cause.  Treatments options can vary between medicated shampoos, steroids, allergy medications, antibiotics and more.  In some cases, allergy testing is warranted. The ultimate goal is to get your pet comfortable and healthy. If your pet is experiencing itchiness or skin issues, please don’t hesitate to reach out to Hill & Harbour Veterinary Center at (401) 398-7807 or info@hillandharbourvets.com.

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