Causes of Dog Itching and Scratching

Dog itching may be caused by a number of factors, ranging from allergies to parasites. It is important to detect the cause of the itching to get proper treatment and to avoid excessive scratching that may lead to infections.

Environmental Factors

Itching may be caused by environmental factors such as pollens, mold, sun or chemicals. Dogs may also be allergic to plastic receptacles and bowls.

Dogs may develop allergies that cause extreme itchiness. The allergies can be treated with antihistamines or allergy shots, and by reducing the dog's exposure to the allergy-causing factors.

Even if the dog's skin is dry and irritated, it may be itchy. Some dogs have dryer skin than others or dryness may be caused by wind.

In this case, all you need to do is to get a shampoo with a gentler hydrating formula and reduce the frequency of baths. Some fatty acid, selenium and vitamin E supplements may also reduce the skin dryness.

Nutritional Causes

The dog's nutrition may cause itchiness. If the dog is allergic to some food ingredients, he may get skin rashes and these are typically itchy.

You need to detect the allergens in the dog's food by testing. This may be a lengthy process. A vet can also determine the food that causes allergies in the dog.

The offending ingredient should be completely eliminated and replaced with an ingredient with similar nutrient content. Often, the dog will receive prescription food.

Some of the most common ingredients dogs are allergic to include beef, corn and chicken.

Poor nutrition may also cause unhealthy and dry skin.

Fatty acid supplements are recommended, and you should talk to your vet about improving your pet's diet.

Parasitic Causes of Dog Itching

Numerous canine parasites cause itchiness.

Fleas and ticks will make your dog scratch, causing even bald patches. Ear mites will cause itchiness in the ear area.

Special shampoos, powders and ear drops should be used to eliminate parasites. You also need to make sure to get rid of the parasites that may be located in your home.


Ringworm is a fungus that may lead to round shaped bald spots. The ringworm resides in the superficial layers of the skin and will cause itchiness.

Yeast infection may be located in the ears, mouth, paws or rectum of the dog, and is particularly itchy. The infection is caused by a fungus.

There are several treatment options to heal these infections. Your vet may prescribe a steroid cream to ease the itchiness.

Hormonal Imbalance

Itchy skin can be caused by hormonal imbalance. If you rule out any other causes for the itching and scratching, your vet may perform some tests to establish if the dog has any thyroid problems.

Ignoring the itching and scratching of your dog is painful and unpleasant for him, and may lead to bald patches. The scratches may cause wounds and these can get infected. Visit your vet as soon as you notice any scratching and make sure you observe other possible symptoms.