Home » Home and Family » Pets

Why is my Dog Scratching?

Aug 17, 2007
Scratching is a common symptom in dogs, and a whole range of underlying causes can be responsible. If your dog is scratching, it is advisable to seek treatment as soon as possible, as self trauma can cause secondary injuries that may extend the duration, and cost, of treatment. So, if you have noticed your dog scratching, what should you do about it?

Firstly, ask yourself when was the last time I put anti-flea medication on him/her? Most spot-on flea products only provide protection for a month, so if it has been longer than this then you should re-apply the medication. Be aware that anti-flea products that are on sale in supermarkets and pet shops are general sales list products, and are not as effective as the products available from your veterinarian. However, FrontlineŽ has recently been made available on general sale and so can be purchased without a prescription.

If flea treatment is up to date, with a reputable product, the next step is to rule out mites. Most anti-flea products do not kill mites. The most common type of mite infection in dogs is sarcoptic mange, also known as scabies. This mite causes an intensely itchy dermatitis that can also be transmitted to humans. It is often spread by foxes, so if you have many foxes in your area, this is one to be especially aware of. This is one you have to approach your veterinarian for. Scabies is diagnosed either by doing skin scrapes (using a scalpel blade to scrape debris from one of the affected areas, placing it on a microscope slide, staining it and examining it under a microscope) or via a blood test. Many vets though will choose to simply apply the appropriate drug and if the itchiness stops, a presumptive diagnosis is made. If your dog does have scabies, your vet might give a one off steroid injection to alleviate the itchiness in the short term until the anti-parasitic drug kicks in.

If external parasites have been ruled out, the next step is to rule out a bacterial infection, a yeast infection or ringworm. Of these, only ringworm is potentially transmissible to humans. Ringworm is not actually a worm, but a type of fungus. It is usually tested for by examining the affected area with an ultraviolet light, which causes a certain type of ringworm spore to glow green. If ringworm is diagnosed, your vet will dispense either oral or topical medication to cure it. Bacterial infections are treated with a 2-3 week course of antibiotics, whereas yeast infections are usually treated with a medicated shampoo.

If parasites, bacteria, yeasts and ringworm have all been ruled out then your pet probably has an allergy. This could be a food allergy, a contact allergy or an environmental (e.g. pollen) allergy. For further information on allergies in dogs, see my next article: "The Itchy Dog: is it an Allergy?"
About the Author
Dr Matthew Homfray is one of the experts at www.WhyDoesMyPet.com - Expert Answers for all your Pet Questions

Visit them today, you will be impressed by the quality of their pet experts and the speed with which your question is answered!
Rating:
Please Rate:
(Average: Not rated)
Views: 163
Print Email Report Share
Article Categories
    • Artists
    • Gambling
    • Humanities
    • Humor
    • Movies
    • Music
    • Photography
    • Tattoos
    • Television
    • Classic Cars
    • Motorcycles
    • Recreational Vehicles
    • SUVs
    • Trucks
    • Vans
    • Branding
    • Business Opportunities
    • Careers and Jobs
    • Corporate
    • Customer Service
    • Direct Mail
    • Entrepreneurship
    • Ethics
    • Financing
    • Franchising
    • Home-Based Business
    • Human Resources
    • Import and Export
    • Leadership
    • Management
    • Market Research
    • Marketing and Advertising
    • Negotiation
    • Network Marketing
    • Networking
    • Organizational
    • Presentation
    • Project Management
    • Public Relations
    • Small Business
    • Strategic Planning
    • Team Building
    • Telemarketing
    • Training
    • Data Recovery
    • Databases
    • Games
    • Hardware
    • Networks
    • Operating Systems
    • Programming
    • Security
    • Software
    • Spyware and Viruses
    • Ask an Expert
    • College and University
    • Home Schooling
    • K-12
    • Languages
    • Online Education
    • Psychology
    • Accounting
    • Credit
    • Currency Trading
    • Debt Consolidation
    • Insurance
    • Investing
    • Leasing
    • Loans
    • Mortgage
    • Mutual Funds
    • Personal Finance
    • Stock Market
    • Structured Settlements
    • Taxes
    • Wealth Building
    • Coffee
    • Cooking
    • Gourmet
    • Recipes
    • Wine and Spirits
    • Acne
    • Aerobics
    • Alternative Medicine
    • Beauty
    • Cancer
    • Cosmetics
    • Depression
    • Diabetes
    • Diseases and Conditions
    • Fitness Equipment
    • Fitness
    • Hair Loss
    • Heart Disease
    • Medicine
    • Men's Health
    • Muscle Building
    • Nutrition
    • Skin Care
    • Supplements and Vitamins
    • Weight Loss
    • Women's Health
    • Yoga
    • Feng Shui
    • Gardening
    • Home Appliances
    • Home Security
    • Interior Design
    • Landscaping
    • Affiliate Programs
    • Article Marketing
    • Auctions
    • Audio
    • Banner Advertising
    • Blogging
    • Broadband
    • Domain Names
    • E-Books
    • E-Commerce
    • Email Marketing
    • Ezines and Newsletters
    • Forums
    • Internet Marketing
    • Link Popularity
    • Pay-Per-Click
    • Podcasting
    • RSS
    • Search Engine Marketing
    • Search Engine Optimization
    • Security
    • Social Media
    • Spam
    • Video
    • Viral Marketing
    • Web Design
    • Web Development
    • Web Hosting
    • Copyright
    • Cyber Law
    • Intellectual Property
    • National, State, Local
    • Patents
    • Regulatory Compliance
    • Trademarks
    • Buying
    • Selling
    • Baseball
    • Basketball
    • Boating
    • Cycling
    • Extreme Sports
    • Fishing
    • Football
    • Golf
    • Hockey
    • Hunting
    • Martial Arts
    • Running
    • Scuba Diving
    • Soccer
    • Swimming
    • Tennis
    • Dating
    • Divorce
    • Marriage
    • Weddings
    • Astrology
    • Buddhism
    • Christianity
    • Faith
    • Hinduism
    • Islam
    • Judaism
    • Meditation
    • Metaphysical
    • New Age
    • Cable and Satellite TV
    • Cell Phones
    • Communication
    • Gadgets and Gizmos
    • GPS
    • Satellite Radio
    • Video Conferencing
    • VoIP
    • Addictions
    • Coaching
    • Goal Setting
    • Motivational
    • Stress Management
    • Time Management
    • Clothing
    • Electronics
    • Fashion
    • Gifts
    • Jewelry
    • Causes and Organizations
    • Environment
    • History
    • Holidays
    • Men's Issues
    • Nature
    • Philosophy
    • Politics
    • Women's Issues
    • World Affairs
    • Air Travel
    • Camping
    • Cruises
    • Destinations
    • Outdoors
    • Article Writing
    • Book Reviews
    • Copywriting
    • Fiction
    • Non-Fiction
    • Poetry
    • Quotes
    • Screenplay
    • Tools and Resources