Why Does My Dog Scratch All The Time?
Scratching is a part of life for all living beings. We just get itchy from time to time! But do you find your dog is scratching ALL the time?
Scratching is a common behavior in dogs but how do you know when their scratching could be caused by a more serious condition?
Excessive scratching could be linked to a number of reasons such as fleas, boredom or anxiety, hormonal imbalances, dry skin, parasites or irritating dog hygiene products. In some cases, just switching up the dog cleaning products you are using to a more natural solution, like our oatmeal dog shampoo, can help. However, one of the most common hidden reasons is food allergies.
In this article we'll delve into the 10 most common reasons why your dog could be excessively scratching.
The Top 10 Reasons Causing Your Dog To Excessively Scratch
Not many people realise but although dogs and cats exterior looks have changed over the thousands of years they’ve been around, their anatomies have not changed at all. Which means they still require a primarily carnivorous diet (completely carnivorous for felines). You'll be hard-pressed to find a dog that wouldn't love to be given a fresh roo rack or fresh chicken necks to devour.
Kibbles (dry pet foods) are made up of primarily everything that cats and dogs are not meant to eat and most certainly not designed to thrive on. They are filled with high allergen ingredients like corn, grains, potato, rice, wheat, cereal, and tapioca which are used as cheap bulking agents. Some meat by-products are chucked in to give the kibble a meat flavour and the manufacturer is also able to label it with that meat by-product to fool people into thinking it is the primary ingredient.
In short, while your pet is resilient and can survive on these carbohydrate based ingredients as their diet, their body is constantly trying to break it down to get what little they can from it nutritionally. Eating this way means a lot of pets will face a food allergy in their lifetime and it will not go away unless their diet is changed to be more biologically appropriate.
Specific mention needs to be given to fleas, given this is the first thing that comes to mind for many pet owners, and not without warrant! These pesky pests are a nuisance given how easily they can transfer from pet to pet, and pet to human. Fleas are a common cause of itching in dogs and can cause redness, inflammation, and skin irritation. Fleas can spread quickly, so it's important to properly identify and treat any flea infestations as soon as possible.
3. Other Parasites
Aside from fleas, other parasites such as mites and ticks, or ringworms, can cause a dog to itch and can often create a skin infection if left untreated.
Mites can cause mange, which is an inflammation of the skin that can cause skin irritation, itching, and hair loss in dogs. It is caused by microscopic mites that burrow into the skin, lay eggs, and feed on the skin cells and oils. Mange is highly contagious, and can spread quickly between dogs. Treatment usually involves a combination of topical and oral medications.
Ticks can transmit a number of bacterial, viral, and protozoal infections to dogs, which can cause a variety of health problems, including skin infections, fever, lethargy, and joint pain. In severe cases, tick-borne infections can be fatal. Additionally, ticks can cause severe allergic reactions in some dogs, leading to itching, inflammation, and hair loss.
Ringworm is a contagious skin infection caused by a fungus. It is most commonly seen as a ring-shaped rash on the skin of dogs and can cause itching, hair loss, and crusty or scaly patches of skin. It is spread through direct contact with an infected animal, and through contact with contaminated bedding, grooming tools, and other objects. Treatment for ringworm in dogs typically involves topical and/or oral antifungal medications.
Parasites can spread quickly, so it's important to properly identify and treat any skin parasites as soon as possible.
4. Dry Skin
Dry skin can occur in dogs due to a lack of moisture and can be caused by environmental factors such as cold temperatures, low humidity, or a lack of fatty acids in the diet. Dry skin can manifest as redness, flaking, and itching. Our raw dog food meals are ideal for promoting healthy skin in dogs as our meals contain appropriate levels of healthy fats. You may find an omega supplement for dogs can also help improve dry skin.
5. Anxiety or Stress
Anxiety or stress can cause a dog to itch due to the release of hormones in the body that trigger the release of histamine. This can cause inflammation in the skin and lead to itching. Additionally, dogs can lick or chew on their skin as a way to self-soothe when they are feeling anxious, which can lead to further skin irritation and itching. cause a dog to become agitated and itch to relieve the tension. Stress and anxiety is often caused by changes in the environment, fear of unfamiliar situations, or separation anxiety.
Slow feeder dog bowls and mats are a great way to help reduce a dog's anxiety, as it encourages the dog to lick their food up which releases other kinds of hormones that promote relaxation!
Boredom can cause a dog to become restless and start itching as a way to relieve the boredom. This can be caused by a lack of mental or physical stimulation, so providing plenty of toys and activities can be helpful in preventing boredom.
Skin infections such as bacterial or fungal infections can cause itching, redness, and inflammation. These infections can be caused by parasites, allergens, or other skin irritants and can be very serious if left untreated.
8. Excessive Grooming
Have you ever noticed when after a dog wash, the first thing your dog may do is to go roll in the dirt or find something to rub itself against?
Dog cleaning products may contain ingredients that are irritating to your dog's skin, causing excessive itching.
Excessive grooming can also cause a dog to itch due to the friction of the fur against the skin.
You can reduce skin irritation from grooming by opting for natural dog grooming products that are hypoallergenic and free from sythentic chemicals and irritating ingredients. A soothing oatmeal shampoo for dogs is a great option.
9. Pain or Discomfort
When a dog is experiencing pain or discomfort from an underlying health condition, he or she may start itching in an attempt at relief. This can be caused by arthritis, hip dysplasia, or other underlying medical conditions. If there are no visible signs of skin conditions and you've ruled out any other potential factors above, it's important to seek advice from a vet to get a potential diagnosis.
10. Over Excitement
Over excitement can cause a dog to become agitated and start itching as a way to relieve the energy. This can be caused by too much playtime, too much stimulation, or a lack of exercise.
Excessive itching in dogs can be caused by many different things but if you're struggling to pin-point the reason why, then a veterinarian may be able to help diagnose the cause and provide the appropriate treatment to help relieve the discomfort.