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Dog Skin Problems: Dog Scratching, Itching, and Other Skin Conditions

Dog Skin Problems: Dog Scratching, Itching, and Other Skin Conditions

Excessive itching, scratching and licking are all signs that your pup may have a skin condition like dermatitis. Our Oakland vets here explain what may be causing your canine companion's discomfort and how your can help your pet feel better.

Why Is My Dog Scratching More Than Normal?

Most dogs inevitably encounter skin conditions and discomfort which causes excessive itching at some point in their life. It will be annoying for your pup, but won't be serious. That being said, some skin conditions do not need to be seen by a veterinarian and will require treatment in order to prevent them from becoming much more severe. 

    Causes, Symptoms & Treatment

    There are any number of reasons why your dog may begin licking, biting or itching at their coat more than normal. Some of the more common dog skin conditions which may cause this include:

    Parasitic Bites

    Bites from mites and fleas are one of the most common sources of your dog's itching and are also one of the easiest to treat. Your vet is able to prescribe medication to help resolve this parasite issue. You can also give your pup proactive treatments to avoid fleas, mites or ticks altogether. 

    Environmental Dermatitis

    This is a skin irritation that develops due to contact with certain substances, such as grass, dirt, and plants. Symptoms include itchy/dry or cracked skin, rashes, blisters, redness, or swelling.

    Some helpful ways to alleviate this condition include oatmeal baths or antihistamines. Your vet may also recommend cortisone cream or other more serious alternatives depending on the severity of your dog's dermatitis. 

    Nutritional Dermatitis

    This is a relatively uncommon issue in dogs, however, it is possible that they have an allergic reaction to some substance in their food. Generally speaking, nutritional dermatitis results in skin irritations and scratching, but digestive issues may happen as well. This includes vomiting or diarrhea. 

    If your dog is showing either kind of symptoms associated with nutritional allergies, it's best to contact your vet as soon as possible.

    Skin Allergies

    Some dogs are prone to allergies, making this a somewhat common reason to visit the vet. Allergens that cause itching can be found in pollen, dander, plants or insects, among other things.

    Some of the symptoms associated with skin allergies aside from itching include excessive grooming and licking, watery eyes, sneezing, rashes and inflamed skin. Your vet may be able to diagnose what is causing the allergy and well recommend treatment as well as ways to prevent future reactions. 


    Another type of allergic reaction is hives. Hives can be a reaction to many things, from bites or medications. Symptoms show as a raised bump that would cause the dog's fur to stick out.

    Occasionally, hives will present with swelling near the eyes. Using a hypoallergenic shampoo for dogs will usually alleviate the condition. A hydrating leave-in conditioner may also help. Ask your vet what they recommend for your pet.

    Urgent Cases

    If your dog's skin problems persist for more than a couple days, that is a sign that you should book an appointment with your vet as soon as possible so they can diagnose and treat it. Prolonged ithciness and discomfort can cause your dog to hurt themselves with excessive grooming and scratching. If left unchecked, this kind of behavior can be quite serious. 

    Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

    If you would like to learn more about treating your dog's skin problems or to seek treatment options for your itchy pup, contact East Bay Veterinary Clinic today. We will be able to diagnose and treat your dog's skin condition.

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