Dog Scratching Skin Raw

Dog scratching can be a symptom of a mild irritation or of a serious skin infection. The behavior can be repetitive and turn into an obsession, so that the dog can scratch his skin raw. This condition should be detected and treated, because the wounds can get infected and cause several other complications.

Causes of Dog Scratching Skin Raw

If you see your dog scratching his skin raw, this may be due to:

  • Allergies, which may originate in the dog's food or environment
  • Skin infections, which can be caused by fungi, bacteria or viruses that the dog comes in contact with and can be transmitted from other canines or various objects from the outdoors
  • Pain, which can be localized in a single area, the one that the dog scratches incessantly
  • A growth on the skin, which makes the dog uncomfortable and he tends to scratch it persistently
  • Stress, which will cause the development of various obsessive compulsive behaviors

The causes of a dog scratching the skin raw can be determined judging by other symptoms displayed, but there is also need for a few skin tests and blood tests, which will confirm the diagnosis.

Additional Symptoms

If your dog scratches his skin raw, you will have to look for additional symptoms that may include:

  • Lack of appetite, which can be caused by the presence of allergies, stress or a tumor
  • Skin rashes, indicative of a skin infection or allergies
  • Sneezing and coughing, also pointing to allergies
  • Foul odor of the skin, indicating a skin infection
  • Hiding behavior, due to stress
  • Excessive barking, may be determined by stress or pain

There may also be other symptoms in your pet. Make sure you detect these symptoms and let the vet known when you take the dog for an examination and tests.

Treatment for Dog Scratching Skin Raw

The treatment for the dog scratching his skin raw will depend on the findings of the vet.

If the dog has allergies, he will have to get steroids or antihistamines and topical creams, which will reduce the irritation. A longer term treatment may include allergy shots, but these cannot be used in dogs that have food allergies. A skin infection requires antibiotic treatment, which can be administered orally or applied locally. If the vet finds an internal medical condition, this may require various types of treatment. Stress can be eliminated through therapy, training or in the worst case scenario with medication.

During the treatment, the dog will have to be monitored and if need be, a lamp shade collar will be placed around his neck. This will prevent him from scratching the wounded areas. Another solution is to bandage the dog's paws or place some gloves on the paws during the first days of the treatment, making it impossible for the dog to scratch himself.