Constant scratching is a sure sign of skin irritation, and it may make dog owners as frustrated as their furry companions. Itchy skin can be caused by many stimuli, including allergies and parasites. Certain shampoos are created specifically for itchy dogs, and can provide relief from a variety of causes.
Causes of Scratching
When a dog's scratching becomes frequent, concerned owners know there's a problem. Scratching can be caused by many environmental factors. A dog's sensitive skin may react when exposed to plastic or pests such as mites, fleas and ticks. He may develop painful hot spots if bacteria infects his skin. A dog's diet can promote food allergies, which may manifest as a full-body itch, according to Doctors Foster and Smith. Dogs also may chew on their legs or feet for no apparent reason. If your dog exhibits obsessive scratching behaviors, a visit to the veterinarian can give you the answers you're looking for.
Dogs spending substantial time outdoors may attract a host of unwelcome parasites, including fleas and ticks, or they may be irritated by dust mites in their living area. Repeated exposure to fleas can trigger a hypersensitivity in dogs, according to PetMD, so a monthly prevention regimen is necessary. If your dog happens to pick up fleas or ticks, you can choose a natural pyrethrin shampoo, or one that contains safe herbs such as citronella and lemongrass.
Dogs may develop allergies as early as the age of 3. If your dog experiences an allergic reaction, he may vomit and his nose may run, but it is more likely that his entire body will itch. Frequent ear infections often accompany canine allergies, according to Doctors Foster and Smith. Once a dog is diagnosed with allergies, you can try to remove the allergen from his living area. A colloidal oatmeal shampoo or a hypoallergenic shampoo bath can soothe his irritated skin. Check with your vet for frequency of bathing, which can vary by breed.
Ringworm is a fungal infection that can occur on humans and their canine companions. It appears as a round, red circular ring on superficial layers of the skin. It can be transferred from a pet to her owner and causes hair loss surrounding the affected area. If your dog is diagnosed with a ringworm infection, your veterinarian likely will recommend a twice weekly bath with medicated shampoo, according to VCA Animal Hospitals. Oral medication also may be prescribed.