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Dog Skin Problems: Scratching, Itching & Other Skin Conditions

Dog Skin Problems: Scratching, Itching & Other Skin Conditions

Itching, scratching and excessive licking can all be signs that your dog is suffering from a skin condition called dermatitis. Here, our Lebanon vets explain what may be causing your dog's skin issues and how we can help treat them.

Skin Conditions That Cause Itching & Irritability

Inevitably, most dogs will encounter discomfort that causes excessive itching at some point in their lives. In most cases, this will be annoying for your pet, but not a serious threat to their health. That being said, some conditions do need veterinary attention in order to stop them from becoming worse.

    Causes, Symptoms & Treatment

    There are several reasons your dog may start to scratch, lick or bite at their fur. Some of the more common ones include:

    Parasitic Bites

    Bites from fleas and mites can be a common source of itching in dogs. Thankfully they are also one of the easiest causes to treat. Your vet will be able to prescribe medication in order to resolve your pup's parasite issue. You can also give your dog preventive medication to help prevent them from being made a host by ticks, fleas or mites in the first place,

    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 suggested ways to alleviate your pup's discomfort include oatmeal baths and vet-prescribed antihistamines. Your veterinarians may also recommend cortisone creams or other alternative treatments depending on the severity of your dog's condition. 

    Nutritional Dermatitis

    This is a relatively uncommon issue for dogs, however it is possible that they may have an allergic reaction to something in their food. Typically, nutritional dermatitis results in skin irritations and scratching, but digestive issues may happen as well, such as diarrhea or vomiting. If your dog is displaying either type of symptom, it's best to make an appointment with your vet.

    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 of skin allergies aside from the common itching can include excessive licking and grooming, sneezing, a rash developing, inflamed skin, or watery eyes. Your vet may be able to diagnose your pup's condition and what is causing the allergy. They will recommend treatments centered on how to prevent allergic reactions in the future.


    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.

    On occasion, hives will present themselves as swelling around your pup's eyes. Use a hypoallergenic shampoo for your dog in order to help alleviate this condition. Hydrating leave-in conditioners may also help here. Ask your vet about what they would recommend for your pet.

    Serious Cases

    If your pup's itching continues for longer than a couple of days, you should make an appointment with your vet as soon as possible. This way, they will be able to diagnose and create a treatment plan for the persistent issue. Prolonged itching can even result in a self-inflicted injury. All of this can become quite serious if not promptly addressed.

    To learn more about skin problems in dogs, or to seek treatment options, contact Cumberland Animal Hospital to book an appointment today. Our vets are here for you and your pup.

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    Cumberland Animal Hospital is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Lebanon companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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