Excessive scratching is one of the most common dog behavioral problems. We all know that dogs will scratch themselves when they have fleas or other skin issues, but many dogs with no actual medical condition are still guilty of excessive scratching.
If you’re having trouble managing your dog’s excessive scratching, then this article will help walk you through how to stop it.
Identify the Underlying Cause
Scratches are a sign of discomfort, so you should always investigate the underlying cause. The most common causes of excessive scratching include allergies, parasites, and skin infections.
If your dog is prone to allergies, it may have an adverse reaction after being exposed to certain substances in its environment or food that they’re eating.
Allergies can also develop as a result of stress or anxiety. For example, if you move house, change jobs, or take on a new dog. If this is the case for your pet, then it’s important to do whatever you can to soothe their anxiety before it spirals out of control.
Another major cause of scratching in dogs is parasital infections like fleas and ticks. According to PetMD, tick infestations are one of the most common issues dogs and their parents face. Many species of ticks infest dogs and are active throughout most of the U.S. at different times of the year.
Keep Your Dog Clean
Keeping your dog clean is the best way to prevent excessive scratching. Dogs are naturally clean animals, so it’s good to keep them as such.
To keep your dog’s haircoat soft and healthy, bathe him regularly with a mild shampoo once or twice per week. If you have an itch-prone dog who is scratching excessively, use an anti-itch shampoo instead of regular dog shampoo on his coat once per week until the symptoms subside.
Keep Your Dog Well-Hydrated
According to AZ Animals, dogs need to drink around one ounce of water per pound of their body weight every day to maintain adequate hydration. If your pooch starts scratching excessively, take note. He might be dehydrated.
Signs of dehydration in dogs include dry skin and gums, sunken eyes, small amounts of urine (less than normal), fever, lethargy, vomiting or diarrhea, rapid heartbeat, and breathing rates on top of any existing symptoms like itching.
If you suspect that your dog needs more fluids but isn’t interested in drinking from a bowl full of water by himself, or if he doesn’t like anything else, you can always give him an ice cube instead. Just make sure it’s not too big since this could cause choking hazards if swallowed whole by accident.
Provide a Comfortable Bed
Providing a comfortable bed for your dog is an important part of managing excessive scratching. If your dog is not feeling well, it may scratch excessively as a result. In this case, you can help them by providing a soft and comfortable place to sleep.
Use blankets or towels to make a bed for your dog that will be large enough for them to stretch out comfortably. It’s also important that the bed has plenty of padding. One inch or more will work well here. If possible, allow him or her to sleep beside you at night so that he feels safe and secure.
Keep Your Dog Active
It’s important to keep your dog active, as exercise helps relieve stress, release endorphins, and the body heals itself. Exercise can also help reduce the itch by increasing blood flow to the skin.
Exercise is a great way to bond with your dog and get some much-needed fresh air. All while making sure he doesn’t spend too much time alone scratching away.
Use Anti-itch Products
If your dog is scratching excessively, consider using an anti-itch product. There are several products available for this purpose, from collars to sprays, shampoos, and creams.
One popular choice is Atopica for dogs, which can be used to treat both fleas and allergies at the same time. This medication works by targeting specific allergens that cause an allergic reaction in your pet’s skin, thus reducing itching and scratching behaviors while also eliminating any irritation caused by the bites themselves.
Cyclosporine, the active ingredient in Atopica, relieves itching by addressing its root cause. It is often used for the treatment of allergic dermatitis. Make sure you talk to your vet regarding the proper dosage and potential side effects before giving Atopica to your dog.
Consult with a Veterinarian
Zippia states that more than 47,693 veterinarians are working in the U.S.
If you suspect your dog’s scratching is due to an underlying medical condition, consult with a veterinarian. Your vet can help determine the cause of your dog’s excessive scratching and recommend products or medications that will relieve their itching.
If the problem is caused by fleas or ticks, she may prescribe medication to treat those parasites as well.
It’s important to remember that excessive scratching in dogs is a symptom of an underlying problem. While it can be frustrating to deal with and even more so when the cause isn’t immediately apparent, remember that there are ways to help your dog stop scratching and find relief from their discomfort.