7 Methods to Help Relieve Constant Itching in Dogs

Treatments for dogs experiencing extreme itching are in high demand, to the extent that many dog owners consider it a normal part of their pet’s life. However, constant itching in dogs is not normal. It causes discomfort and stress for your dog and can quickly lead to skin damage, pain, infection, and in many cases.

1. Why Do Dogs Itch Frequently?

a. Pain
When dogs experience pain or discomfort, they may start licking or biting the affected area continuously. In this case, the licking or biting is often limited to small areas and may occur more frequently at specific times during the day, such as after exercise.

  • Sharp objects such as thorns or stones stuck between the toes or paw pads are common causes of pain. So if your dog suddenly starts licking or biting its paws, carefully check for foreign objects or cuts.
  • Dogs with joint inflammation or hip/knee dysplasia may also start licking around the affected joints. For many dogs, hot spots (localized areas of inflamed and infected skin caused by bacteria) can also cause significant irritation.

If you suspect that pain is causing skin irritation in your dog, consult a veterinarian to choose the appropriate treatment.

b. Parasites
Similar to fleas in cats, fleas and ticks can also cause itching in dogs. When a dog scratches excessively, you should check the itchy area for fleas or ticks. Fleas are relatively easy to detect because they are larger, while ticks are smaller and harder to find.

You can inspect your dog’s body for small dark or white spots (flea feces and eggs) on their fur. They are most commonly found on the belly, near the base of the tail, and around the dog’s neck. Alternatively, you can use a flea comb to determine if your dog has fleas. If your dog has ticks, you can use a tick comb to check for them. If your dog has fleas or ticks, you can apply natural remedies to eliminate them before they multiply.

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In addition to fleas and ticks, your dog can also be bitten by dust mites. These are tiny creatures that live on the skin of all dog breeds and rarely cause any problems unless the dog’s immune system or skin condition is compromised. The most common signs of a dust mite infestation in dogs are itchy, hair loss, redness, scaling, secondary skin infection, and recurrent ear infection. Because dust mites are very small, you may find them difficult to see.

If you suspect that parasites are causing itching in your dog, find ways to naturally remove fleas, ticks, and dust mites. Fleas have the ability to transmit serious diseases, such as Lyme disease, and the easiest way to prevent their impact is to remove them as quickly as possible (ideally within 24 hours of contact).

You can then move on to enhancing your dog’s health through diet to minimize the chances of future disease transmission.

c. Stress or Boredom
Itchy dogs may be too bored or stressed. Similar to how we fidget or bite our nails when bored or anxious, dogs may develop physical reactions to psychological issues. Although these reactions can occur in various forms, scratching, licking, and/or chewing are common.

There are several ways to reduce your dog’s anxiety and boredom:

  • Exercise is crucial for any dog, but for bored or anxious dogs, physical activity is even more important. It prevents your dog from getting bored and also helps burn excess energy, making it easier for the dog to rest and calm down afterward. It also releases endorphins, which have a soothing and mood-enhancing effect.
  • Use supporting products: There are many products available to entertain and calm dogs, from toys and chewables to pheromone diffusers and soothing herbal supplements. You can use the Adaptil pheromone diffuser to make your dog feel more comfortable.
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The challenge is understanding whether your dog’s itching is the cause or the result of stress. If you suspect that boredom or anxiety is causing your dog to scratch, bite, or lick excessively, try some of the options mentioned above and then move on to the dietary section below to help improve your dog’s overall health, both mentally and physically.

d. Toxins

  • Many flea, tick, and deworming treatments contain strong chemicals that can cause irritation and skin abrasions.
  • Vaccinations for dogs can also lead to adverse effects, including skin issues. Many dogs experience skin allergies (red, itchy, and inflamed skin) a few days, weeks, or even months after these types of treatments. Therefore, the general rule is to keep vaccinations to a minimum and adhere to the most natural forms of treatment available.

e. Bacterial or Fungal Infections
If you notice that your dog’s skin appears thicker, scaly, flaky, or peeling, it may be a sign of an infection. Other signs of a skin infection include a musty odor, dark patches of skin, redness, itching, pustules (similar to pimples in humans), and secondary chronic ear infections.

Many dogs are not infected with these types of infections by coming into contact with other dogs but rather by coming into contact with water, soil contaminated with high levels of certain bacteria.

f. Dry Skin
Many people experience dry skin in winter and have to use moisturizers. Dogs can also develop dry skin when temperatures drop, leading to itching. Certain nutrient deficiencies, such as a lack of quality protein or an improper balance of essential fatty acids, can also cause dry skin in dogs. This means that diet can also be a strong factor and can exacerbate dry skin caused by environmental factors.

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