Cold, dry winter weather causes a dog's skin to itch and flake, particularly if he spends time indoors in an artificially heated environment. But winter discomfort pales in comparison to bug and plant-related itching when summer temperatures start to rise, making conditions ideal for pests and skin conditions to flourish.
Even if your dog spends most of his time indoors, he can pick up fleas on a quick trip outside to relieve his needs. Fleas jumping on his feet and legs make their way to the warm, moist areas in your dog's groin and underarms. Ticks that attach themselves to his skin will cause irritation and itching. Check your dog carefully for pests after each outing. Watch for redness or swelling that signals an allergic reaction to pest repellent products.
Poison ivy, poison oak and spiny seed pods that catch in your dog's fur cause irritation that will cause him to scratch and bite himself. Just like humans, dogs experience sensitivities to flowers and weeds and sometimes feel itchy from just rubbing up against them. Brush his fur daily to remove dust and dander. A weekly bath with a mild shampoo formulated for dogs with allergies can help soothe his skin. Consult your veterinarian if redness and swelling accompany his itching, as it can be a sign of a more serious problem.