Our dogs often enjoy a satisfying scratch, but excessive rubbing or licking can be a symptom of an underlying condition.
The chances are, you’ve probably noticed your dog scratching or licking his or her fur from time to time. This can be perfectly normal behaviour for our four-legged friends, but persistent itching and scratching is often a symptom of an underlying health condition, such as a skin infection, a flea or mite infestation, or even as a result of an allergic reaction.
It’s not just us humans who suffer from allergies, did you know that dogs can also react to things they are in contact with? Allergies to food, pollen and even grass can cause severe skin disease. They lick, chew or scratch at an area because they want the pain and discomfort to stop, but it often exacerbates the problem.
So, when is an itch just an itch, and when might it be a sign of serious discomfort?
Take a look at our series of questions below and, if you answer yes to any, we’d recommend investigating a bit further and getting some professional help.
Dog Skin Signs
- Do a thorough once-over, from top to tail. Can you see any red skin, rashes, scabbing or inflammation?
- Does his fur look thin or balding, where they might have been rubbing or scratching?
- Have you noticed an unusual smell to your dog’s skin, especially where it lies in folds?
- Can you see any scratch marks or sores, where they might have been chewing or worrying at their face, body or paws?
Dog Mood & Behaviour
- Have you noticed your dog rubbing his ears more than usual, or head-shaking?
- When eating, playing or out walking, have you noticed him being distracted by scratching, scooting or excessive rolling?
- Do you see him itching or rubbing at the same patch of skin multiple times each day?
- Have you spotted him compulsively licking or chewing his paws, or biting around the tail area?
- Has there been any change when it comes to bowel habits? This could include loose stools or unwelcome gas.
- Has there been a shift in your dog’s mood? This could include skittish behaviour, seeming depressed or being generally out of sorts.
If you’ve answered yes to any of the questions above, the you should probably give your local veterinarian a call to book a check-up. The good news is that most conditions are easily treatable. With a little TLC you can beat that itch, keeping your dogs as happy and healthy as possible.