Putting an End to your Dog’s Scratching

If your dog is doing a lot of scratching then something isn’t right.  You know that.  You are probably eager to discover the reason for the excessive scratching and to put an end to it for your dog’s wellbeing.  Too much scratching may cause breaks in the skin that produce hot spots, infection, or an opportunity for parasites to invade.  Besides that, whatever is causing your pooch to scratch can’t be good.

Why Your Dog may be Scratching

If you can determine the cause of your canine companion’s excessive itching you’ll likely be able to put an end to it.  Look for these causes.

Fleas and Other Parasites:

We start here because fleas are a reality for so many dogs and owners.  Other parasitic pests include ticks, gnats, flies and mites.  The good news is that parasites are easy to spot and eliminate.

Infections:

When your dog has an infection under the skin the spot will itch.  These nasty conditions are also easy to spot.  Look for a red or hairless patch, and oozing sore or any kind of swelling.

Allergies:

Dogs are susceptible to allergens just as humans are.  These can be tough to find.  Your dog may be allergic to flea, fly or mosquito bites.  It may be allergic to food scraps.  Even dust can cause allergies.  If you don’t find any obvious source of the scratching then consult your animal doctor about the possibility of allergies.

Diet-based Causes:

Dogs that don’t get enough vitamins may develop skin issues.  Dogs without enough water will get dry, itchy skin.  Eczema, sores or cracking may result.

Environmental Causes:

Does your doggie swim in the lake, dig in the dirt or nose around in the brush?  All of those places are rife with itch-causing issues.  Think about your dog’s environment and how it may be causing allergies.

Nervous Responses:

A stressed dog may burn off anxiety by licking or chewing which can result in itching skin.  Be sure your dog is getting plenty of exercise, is treated with kindness, has sufficient companionship and is provided with interesting experiences like a walk on the trail or a ride in the pick-up.

When to See the Vet

If you discover an obvious cause of the scratching then eliminate it.  If the cause eludes you then schedule a good going-over with the vet.  The checkup will cover all the possibilities.  The vet will prescribe medication, ointment, or a change of environment to address the specific problem diagnosed.

Helping your Canine Companion with Nervous Scratching

This can be a toughie.  Overcoming this anxious habit begins with being a strong leader at home, giving your dog the security of knowing it will be protected and provided for.  Next, give your dog plenty of physical and mental exercise.  Chasing a ball for a half-hour, walking through a new neighborhood or taking your pooch on an excursion will do your pooch wonders.

If your resting dog licks its paws through force of habit, even though you’re providing good physical and mental stimulation, you may need to exert your authority and demand that it stop.  If your dog continues the behavior simply out of habit, try spraying some bitter apple on the paws.  This may produce the aversion your dog needs to break the habit.  In extreme cases you may need to put one of those spiffy cones around doggy’s neck to keep it from licking anything.  If you go this route be sure you are first eliminating any physical cause of the scratching or the cone will simply torment the dog.

Regular baths, frequent grooming, a good diet, scheduled visits to the vet and lots of good, clean fun should keep away most causes of scratching.  Take good care of your pooch and you’ll have a happy, healthy companion for years to come.