Dog Keeps Scratching? Here's What To Do
December 16, 2020 | 3 min read
Updated December 16, 2020
Published: July 4, 2019
Updated: August 4, 2022
Summary: If your dog keeps scratching this can be very distressing to witness, particularly if it feels like they're constantly scratching and biting themselves. In this blog, learn what to do if your dog keeps scratching and why it might be occurring...
It is incredibly normal to catch your pup having a scratch behind the ear when they’re idly relaxing in your home, but to notice them itching and scratching regularly is a different story altogether! You see, the odd scratch here and there is very normal - just the same for us humans, but you know that if you were scratching your hair and body more, you would think something is wrong, right? It is the same for your fluffy pal, too.
Constant scratching and chewing could be a sign of skin discomfort– and the continuous vigorous friction between their paws and claws on the skin could be making the situation worse.
With over 160 types of skin disorders that can affect your pup, you need to make sure, as their puppy parent, to keep an eye on their scratching and itching!
Why Is Your Dog Constantly Scratching And Biting Themselves?
The cause of your pup’s discomfort could be many things; fleas, seasonal allergies, or an immune-mediated skin condition, so it is important that when you notice their scratching becoming an issue, you find the cause as soon as possible...
Your first thought when you notice your pup itching is fleas, right? Well, here at the PetLab Co. we recommend checking their fur first and being on a flea preventative all year round. If fleas are the cause, you may notice little black droppings that could be mistaken for small granules of pepper. If it is a simple case of fleas, then it can be easily treated and short-lived, so it should be simple to rectify.
When there are no signs of fleas or ticks, that is when you will need to investigate further if your dog keeps scratching. There’s more than one reason your pup may have irritated skin and poor fur quality - that doesn’t include a flea or a tick. Visiting your vet would be advisable, but there are a few things you can do at home first to check what could be causing your pup’s irritation.
Unfortunately, cheap low-quality foods are not the best when it comes to supporting your pup’s health needs. Poor quality diets have reduced amounts of all the goodies your pups need, which are normally beneficial to the health of your pup’s skin and fur, resulting in a lack of nutritional support. We are firm believers in spending a little extra time researching and a bit more money to guarantee that your pet’s nutritional health is at the best standard it can be.
The longer you’re a puppy parent, the more you may notice that a lot of our own discomforts can affect your pooch, too. Struggling with dry skin is something that can seriously affect your furry pal, resulting in things like dandruff and uncomfortable, vulnerable skin. Many cases of dry skin have resulted in dogs feeling discomfort when they’re petted, creating irritation which they will naturally scratch, creating more discomfort and itchiness.
Dry skin could be a result of environmental factors or dietary sensitivities. Unfortunately, most shop-bought pet foods are not the best when it comes to supporting your pup’s health needs. Many of the brands have the natural oils removed from the food, which are normally beneficial to the health of your pup’s skin and fur, resulting in a lack of nutritional support.
Just like us humans, your pup can experience seasonal allergies, and it is more common than you may think. Falling victim to red eyes, itchiness, and even a runny nose, our pups can struggle quite a lot if they experience an occasional allergy. When the seasonal allergy comes up, it can cause your pooch to feel uncomfortable and irritable, resulting in itching and scratching.
As there are many reasons your pup may be scratching, it is your job to try and discover the cause if your dog keeps at it. You may notice that your fluffy friend itches a bit after you have taken them for a nice long walk, which could indicate a random allergy to something environmental; pollen, grass, or other pollutants. Sometimes the allergy could be coming from your own home or specific meat. Some dogs can react badly to your cleaning products or a perfumed air freshener. Your vet can help you discover what your pup may be allergic to through parasite prevention or a hypoallergenic diet trial.
How To Help A Dog Constantly Scratching And Biting Themselves
Check In With Their Diet
If your dog keeps scratching, something as simple as changing what you’re feeding your pup could be the answer. If you know that your pooch is having an allergic reaction to their food, changing to a hypoallergenic diet or a sensitive skin and stomach feed could help them. If your pup is on low-quality food, you could try to invest into a more nutritious brand of food to help your pup get the vitamins and oils they need to keep their coat and skin in good health. If you decide to try and change their food, remember to do this slowly and gradually over a two week period.
Give Them A Bath
Having a pup with poor hygiene will exacerbate any skin irritation, so keeping on top of their grooming could do wonders. Daily brushing will help spread all their natural oils around their body. And, on the plus side, when bathing your pup regularly, you will have the advantage of noticing if there are any changes to their skin and fur, helping you catch problems before they become bigger health issues.
Be careful not to over wash your pups though - they do need their natural oils to protect their skin so daily shampooing is not advised. And of course, depending on the breed, your dog will have different needs for their coat.
Sort Their Environment
As mentioned above, if your pooch’s itching as a result of something in your home, it would make sense to change or remove whatever is causing the issue. Try to avoid using pesticides and fertilizers in your backyard too, as these can upset your pup’s fur when they’re playing around in the lawn.
Introduce Them To Targeted Supplements
Adding a supplement to your pet's daily diet can have a huge, positive impact on their contact scratching and biting. Try to find a supplement, sourced from a reputable, specialist pet brand that aims to support a healthy immune response and promote your pup’s skin and coat health.
Dog Keeps Scratching
The easiest way to deal with a dog that keeps scratching is to find the cause as soon as possible! With so many reasons for the irritation, you need to work out the source, then you can tackle the problem. It is very easy to just assume that your dog’s itching, gnawing, and scratching is normal, but it might not be the case. Try to make sure you’re regularly grooming your fluffy pal and keeping an eye on the health of their skin. There are many ways you can support your pup’s health with a few simple changes in your home and routine.
Please make sure to consult your vet before you take any concrete action as they are best suited to help you assess your dog’s needs.
Author Dunn. T. J DVM "Skin Problems In Dogs" Pet MD, Mar 10. 2011 https://www.petmd.com/dog/general-health/evr_dg_skin_problems
Author Hunter, Tammy DVM and Ward, Ernest DVM "Yeast Dermatitis In Dogs" VCA Hospitals https://vcahospitals.com/know-your-pet/yeast-dermatitis-in-dogs