You see the symptoms, here are the signs. There are many reasons why your dog is scratching. As the observant owner, it’s up to you to pay close attention before speaking to a veterinarian for the proper treatment. Above all, when in doubt if you notice excessive scratching, go with your gut. There is probably an underlying reason(s) why your dog is continuously scratching.
First and foremost, a primary reason for your dog’s scratching is fleas and lice. They often cause intense itching, especially when buried in the skin. In fact, mites can only be detected by microscopic examinations of skin scrapings. Your vet will be able to identify these causes of scratching to advise on treatment. (Click here to read more about the topic: "Ask Your Vet".)
Another cause of dog scratching is bacterial skin disease. This could be a result of skin parasites, poor nutrition, unhygienic environments, allergic skin conditions, hormonal diseases, or long term steroid treatments. Bacterial skin diseases are usually characterized by crusts and itching and to some extent, hair loss. Treatment for this skin disease is often antibiotics and medicated shampoos. Your vet will be able to prescribe the appropriate antibiotic therapy (typically 7 to 10 days).
Another reason for intense dog scratching could be food allergies! Your dog may be sensitive to various components of its diet which can easily result in skin disease. For instance your dog could be hypersensitive to beef, dairy products, wheat, eggs, and chicken. Some dogs experiencing food sensitivity are also sensitive to ear infections, a common ailment of skin allergies.
Again, this is where the vet’s role is important as it relates to the underlying reason of dog scratching. He or she can advise on an appropriate diet which will test if food hypersensitivity is an issue. For instance, it’s not uncommon for your dog to be less allergic to mutton, ride, and fish. Your dog may need a diet such as this for four to eight weeks. At that point you may need to reintroduce foods slowly to see if the skin condition subsides or recurs.
Above all, if you notice your dog is scratching excessively and you have ruled out items mentioned above, it is time to call your vet. For more information and to shop at The Dog Bowl's online storefront to help relieve your dog's scratching click here.