Dog Scratching But No Fleas

Dog scratching is a behavior that may occur when the dog has fleas, but there are also other physical or psychological factors that may cause this symptom. These causes range from allergies to anxiety. It is important to monitor your pet and observe any additional symptoms to determine the cause of the scratching behavior and put an end to it.

Allergic Reactions

In addition to fleas, allergic reactions are the most common cause for dog scratching. The allergens may be caused by inhalant irritants such as cigarette smoke, shampoos, dust mites, pollens and grasses or may also be caused by foods or if the dog gets in contact with certain materials he is allergic to.

The detection of the culprit allergen is essential to determine the best course of treatment. Ideally, the dog should be kept away from these allergens.

Excessive Exposure to Sun or Wind

If the dog is exposed to sun or windy weather, the skin can get dry and itchy leading to scratching behavior. Make sure your dog avoids the sun, especially if he has a light colored coat.

Use moisturizing ointments and shampoos to avoid dry skin.


In addition to fleas, dogs may be affected by ear mites or other intestinal parasites that will cause itchiness. The ear mites will make the dog scratch in the facial area, while the intestinal worms will cause extreme itchiness in the rectal area.

The parasites should be removed and there are several dewormers and topical solutions to remove the ear mites and the intestinal parasites.

To stop the scratching, topical ointments containing cortisone may help.

Deficient Nutrition

The nutrition of the dog may determine the quality of his skin; if the dog doesn’t eat all the essential nutrients, vitamins and minerals, the skin will be dry and flaky and this will cause itchiness and scratching.

Fatty acids, vitamin B and E may improve the quality of the dog’s skin.

Fungal Infections

Fungal skin infections may also cause the dog to scratch. Ringworms and yeast infections are common fungal infections that may occur in dogs.

The ringworm fungi will cause bald patches and itchiness, while the yeast infection may cause foul odor, itchiness and crusty skin.

Fungicides and topical ointments should be administered to eliminate the fungi.

Thyroid Issues

The thyroid gland is in charge with producing thyroid hormones and when these are in deficit, may cause skin dryness, itchiness and scratching.

In addition to these symptoms, the dog may also lose weight, lack appetite or present other behavioral problems.


There are also psychological factors that may cause dog scratching. Anxiety may cause the dog to scratch his skin or chew his fur. The factor causing the anxiety should be identified and eliminated and the dog may also receive some anxiety medication.

Scratching is not a healthy behavior and may lead to secondary infections, as the dog’s nails may carry a lot of bacteria and excessive scratching may cause wounds that can get infected.