It might not be fleas! Reasons and solutions for your dog’s itchy skin

dog allergy

We see it out of the corner of our eyes. A lone hind leg reaches up to scratch around the ear / neck area. We begin to panic. We realize with a dawning dread that we have a potential flea situation on our hands, and we enter into Dealing with Disaster Mode. But, as we comb our pooch’s hair frantically – looking for further proof of the detested vermin – it slowly sinks in (with considerable relief), that our dog is in fact, flea free. However the dog is still scratching and he’s starting to look at you with baleful eyes, so you know that something else is up. Itchy skin can be caused by things other than fleas, and it’s important to determine what the cause might be because even if it isn’t fleas, it isn’t very pleasant for your puppy.

Environmental Allergens
It may be surprising to know that dogs can develop allergies to outside stimuli similarly to humans. It doesn’t seem like that would be the case as dogs are built so differently and have a thick layer of hair all over their bodies but it’s true. If your dog is scratching or biting at his paws, he may be allergic to grass or something that he treads on often. Or, if your dog is scratching a certain area and you notice some bumps, he might be having a reaction to an insect bite . If the biting and itching from your puppy are severe, take your dog into your vet and tell him or her your concerns. He or she will probably put your dog on an antihistamine which will give your dog some relief from his allergies.

Dry Skin
Dry skin can be quite common, and it can be very annoying for your dog. Just like in humans, dry skin can cause a dog to have itchy, flaky skin. But, unlike people, dogs can’t just grab a bottle of moisturizer and relive their irritated skin, so they will sometimes scratch until the skin becomes cracked and bleeds. So, before the dry skin leads to wounds, give your dog a conditioning treatment that will stop your dog from scratching and will give your dog relief from the itchiness.

Food Allergens
Contrary to what some people think, you can’t just feed your dog anything and he or she’ll be fine. A dog’s digestive system can be just as delicate as a person’s, and dogs can also develop food allergies. If you think your dog may be allergic to certain types of food, look for these common symptoms of a food allergy: inflamed, itchy skin, excessive scratching and inflamed areas of the face, feet, ears, armpits and groin. Work with your vet to figure out the cause of the allergy, and when you get your pet on a diet that is no longer bothering him, the itchy, dry skin should start to clear up.

So, the next time you see your dog scratching don’t automatically drag out the carpet cleaner and the flea bath materials. It could be another irritant that’s rubbing your dog the wrong way, and a little investigating will save your dog a lot of scratching!

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  1. A well put together list. Thanks for posting it.

  2. I haven’t tried this but I heard that using a wet tea bag can calm dry or irritated skin. I’d be interested to hear if anyone has tried this and what their thoughts are.

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