In detail

Itching in dogs: why does the four-legged friend scratch it?


One of the most common reasons for visiting the vet is itching in the dog. If your dog often scratches, licks, nibbles or rubs, the cause must be found. The reasons for this can be extremely different and difficult to find. But this is the only way to get rid of the annoying itch so that your four-legged friend feels completely comfortable again. Scratching yourself from time to time is completely normal for dogs. High itching, however, has different causes - Shutterstock / Natee K Jindakum

If you notice skin changes such as rashes or changes in behavior in addition to frequent scratching in your dog, something is wrong. At the latest when your dog scratches bloody, it cannot be normal and you should see a veterinarian. And who does not know it: a mosquito bite is enough to make you itchy to sleep! Your dog is no different if he has itchy skin. You need to help your furrow to put this troublesome problem aside.

Sometimes there are foreign bodies in the skin after a game trip, such as thorns. This can also itch and is usually harmless. Nevertheless, check whether the foreign bodies can be easily removed from the fur - awns, for example, are very persistent and can even lead to inflammation.

Parasites cause itching

There are many parasites that can make your dog's life difficult with constant itching. These include the following bugs:

fleas
They are probably one of the most common causes of itching in dogs. These annoying parasites are constantly biting. First, look for fleas. If you don't find any shape and color, check the fur for flea droppings: find fine dark brown crumbs, place them on a white paper towel and dampen them. Flea droppings become blood red when combined with moisture. If so, your dog most likely has fleas.

mites
There are a variety of mites that can give your dog constant itchy skin. There are different types and types of mites that have their own characteristics and sometimes attack completely different skin areas. Mites are very often found in young animals. Roughing mites (Sracoptes scabiei) dig into the skin and lay their eggs there. These can also trigger a so-called ear mange. This means the infestation of ears, more precisely the auricle and the external auditory canal - mostly with ear mites (Otodectes cynotis). They can be identified because they are responsible for thick, brown incrustations in the affected areas.

Predatory mites (Cheyletiellae) can be found all over the dog's body, but changes in the skin, hair loss and flaky areas are usually found on the trunk and shoulder area. If you are suspected, please go to the vet as soon as possible, predatory mites also go to cats and humans! A small amount of hair follicle mite is normal, but in young animals they sometimes reproduce so much that they cause skin diseases. They live in the dog's hair follicles and feed on the sebum. There are also grass mites - to name just a few of the numerous mite species.

skin fungus
A fungal infection on your dog's skin also causes uncomfortable itching. These yeasts can be transmitted indirectly or directly from dog to dog. An example of skin fungus is the so-called Malassezia pachydermatis. Dandruff and crusts can appear in the dog as symptoms.

worms
In the event of a worm infestation, the anus of your dog is itchy and ensures the "sledding" known to dog owners. However, it is not always worms that can be used, but also food or drug intolerance, which can lead to inflammation of the anal glands.

Mosquitoes, ticks and Co.
An insect bite or bite, for example from parasites such as mosquitoes or from other bloodsuckers such as ticks, also give rise to itching.

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Itching for allergies

Contact allergy to certain materials is often the cause of itching, for example due to a collar. Symptoms include hair loss and pimples in these areas. Allergies to dust mites or mold are also considered "culprits". A so-called flea saliva allergy is an allergic reaction to the saliva of the parasites and sometimes the result of a flea attack. Hay fever is also not uncommon in dogs. If your dog has a food allergy, it will react to certain substances in the feed. This usually brings with it non-specific symptoms, such as itching. Examine your four-legged friend's head and paws. These are places where skin allergies can often be found through food allergy. Incidentally, this allergy should not be confused with food mite allergy, which can also be responsible for the itching, but is caused by mites.

Diseases other than the cause of itching

Dogs that have suffered minor injuries, for example, may experience itching because bacteria have settled here. Inflammation develops and causes symptoms such as redness, skin crusts, pustules or hair loss in affected areas. In addition, anything can give the cause of itching when walking the dog: contaminated feces, sprayed plants and dirty water. The symptom of itching can also be psychological: some dogs that are scared or much alone lick themselves excessively. This can go on until skin areas become sore and itchy. Either way: If your dog scratches a lot, go to the vet.