October 20, 2017

Every dog is going to scratch occasionally, but when it happens all the time it’s usually due to a problem that may require attention. Here are a few potential causes for chronic scratching.

Dry Skin

There are many reasons why a dog can have dry skin, resulting in constant itching and scratching. During winter, the combination of cold, windy weather outside and dry, indoor heated air can dry out a dog’s coat. There are also dietary factors that can cause dry skin. A low quality diet can be deficient in things like fatty acids, which are necessary for maintaining healthy skin.

Pain

If your dog is experiencing pain, he can’t exactly tell you what’s wrong. He might, however, try to make the pain stop by licking, biting or scratching the painful area. If your dog is constantly working on the same spot, and you don’t see any obvious cause for the itching, try palpating the area to see if there might be something there that is causing him pain.

Hormonal Imbalance

Like humans, dogs can have an imbalance in their hormone levels that can result in itchy skin. An underactive thyroid can cause the skin to become greasy, develop a foul smell and, sometimes, become itchy. Itching can also occur with Cushing’s Disease, which involves hyperactivity of the adrenal gland. There are also glands in the skin that can malfunction and result in a dry, itchy coat.

Parasite Infestation

There are several types of parasites that can make your dog miserable. When a tick latches onto your dog’s skin, it can cause both itching and inflammation. This reaction can be even more severe if your dog is allergic to ticks. Another type of parasite that can cause itching is fleas. Their saliva can be highly allergenic to dogs. Both of these parasites can be easily spotted on your dog’s skin. But there are some microscopic parasites, such as mites, that you can’t see. They will generally cause scaly or balding skin.

Emotional Scratching

Sometimes dogs will habitually scratch themselves when they’re bored. They can also use it as a means of self-soothing when they’re feeling anxious. The problem with this type of behavior is that scratching can cause the skin to become inflamed. This inflammation may itch, causing the dog to keep scratching. 

Allergies

There are many things that can cause allergies in your dog, resulting in excessive scratching. There might be something in your dog’s food to which he’s allergic. There could also be something in his environment, such as mold or pollen. Allergic scratching can also result from a reaction to dog shampoo or flea treatment chemicals.

Whatever is causing your dog’s constant scratching it is important to find and eliminate the cause. Scratching can cause hot spots, with possible inflammation, pain, and balding, that make your dog miserable.