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Main Reasons Your Dog May Be Itchy

Finding the source of your dog’s skin irritation can be a daunting, long process, but the good news is that with a combination of careful diagnostics, management, and medication, dog owners can do much more than scratch the surface of those annoying canine itches.

Veterinary dermatologist John C. Angus asked one of his residents to compile a list of all the possible causes of itchy dogs. She came up with 43. Fortunately, Angus says that somewhere between 95 and 98 percent of cases will fall into five categories:

  • Atopy, an allergic reaction to normal environmental proteins, such as pollen
  • Food allergy
  • Parasite hypersensitivity
  • Yeast infection, such as Malassezia dermatitis
  • Bacterial infections, known as staphylococcal pyoderma

To learn more, or to find a veterinary dermatologist, visit the website of the American College of Veterinary Dermatology.

Baths are an importance consideration when dealing with an itchy dog. A lot of dog owners resist giving their dogs regular baths for fear that excessive exposure to water and shampoo will dry or damage the skin and coat. But dermatologists point out that newly developed, moisturizing shampoos for dogs can actually improve skin and coat condition. In cases of persistent itches, frequent bathing may be essential, especially if the culprit turns out to be an infection.