It’s hard not to notice when your dog is scratching a lot. Either you spot them having a good scratch, or perhaps licking or chewing themselves, or you hear the jingle of their tags. Scratching every now and then is natural. We all get an itch occasionally that has to be scratched. But if your dog is scratching a lot, it could be because there’s a bigger problem. Dogs scratch for a number of reasons, and it’s not always because they’re feeling itchy. Fortunately, you can look out for possible signs of what might be causing your dog to scratch a lot.
One possibility when your dog keeps scratching is a parasite. Parasites include things like fleas, worms, and ticks. They can often cause skin irritation and other problems, causing your dog to scratch. Some dogs might also scoot their bum along the floor to try and scratch an itch caused by worms. Dogs should regularly receive preventative treatments to help them avoid parasites. But if you think your dog has a parasite, a visit to the vet can confirm it. You can make sure you get the right treatment to kill off the parasite and soothe any problems that it might be causing.
Dogs can have allergies too. They can get hayfever like we can, or they can have food allergies and more. One of the allergies you might want to look out for is a dog grain allergy. Many dog foods contain grains to provide some of the nutrition but also to help bulk them out. However, some dogs may experience an allergic reaction to one or more types of grain. If your dog is scratching, has red skin, inflamed pads on their paws, ear infections, or gastrointestinal problems, they could be signs of an allergy to their food. A grain-free food might be the solution.
It’s not always a skin irritation that causes your dog to scratch. Some dogs might scratch due to feeling bored or anxious. Dogs can have problems with their mood and emotional state too, which might lead to physical behaviours and symptoms. As well as scratching, you might find that bored or anxious dogs start to lick or chew themselves compulsorily too. Of course, this can cause a number of problems. Working with a vet or a behaviour specialist can help you to address this issue and ensure your dog gets the right care.
Dry skin is another common reason for dogs scratching a lot. If you’ve ever had dry skin, you’re probably familiar with the way it can feel irritated and itchy. Lots of things could cause your dog to have dry skin, from the weather to their diet. You might find that adding supplements to their diet can help. For example, cod liver oil can help with healthy skin and fur, and it’s also good for the joints.
If your dog won’t stop scratching, don’t ignore it. It’s probably a sign of a bigger problem.