Why is My Dog Scratching? Common Skin Problems in Dogs

If your dog is itching, licking, or scratching at their skin they could have dermatitis. In this blog, our Jacksonville vets list some common skin problems that can make dogs itch and scratch and how you can help them.

Skin Conditions That Can Make Your Dog Itch & Scratch

The majority of dogs will encounter itching in their lives. Most of the time it won't be from something serious, and will just be annoying for your pooch. Although some skin conditions do have to be addressed by a veterinarian and will need to be treated to keep them from becoming more serious.

    Causes, Symptoms & Treatment

    There are various reasons why your dog could start biting, itching, or scratching at its fur. A few of the most common skin problems in dogs are: 

    Parasitic Bites

    Flea and mite bites are one of the most causes of itching in dogs, and thankfully one of the easier conditions to treat. Your vet could prescribe medication to help clear up the parasite problem. You can also be proactive and give your dog preventive medications that help avoid fleas, mites, or ticks in the first place.

    Environmental Dermatitis

    This is a skin irritation that develops due to contact with certain substances, such as grass, dirt, and plants. Symptoms include itchy/dry or cracked skin, rashes, blisters, redness, or swelling.

    Suggested ways to alleviate this condition include antihistamines or oatmeal baths. Your vet may recommend a cortisone cream or other alternative depending on the severity.

    Nutritional Dermatitis

    This is a fairly uncommon condition among dogs, but, it is possible for them to have an allergic reaction to an ingredient in their food. Usually, nutritional dermatitis causes skin irritations and scratching, however, digestive issues could also develop which can include diarrhea or vomiting. If your dog is showing either kind of symptom schedule an appointment with your vet.

    Skin Allergies

    A handful of dogs are prone to allergies, making this a somewhat common reason for veterinary visits. Allergens that cause itching could be found in pollen, dander, plants, or insects, in addition to other things.

    Some symptoms other than itching include excessive grooming or licking, watery eyes and sneezing, rashes, and inflamed skin. Your vet might be able to diagnose the cause of the allergy and will recommend treatment as well as tips on how you can prevent future allergic reactions.


    Another type of allergic reaction is hives. Hives can be a reaction to many things, from bites or medications. Symptoms show as a raised bump that would cause the dog's fur to stick out.

    Occasionally, hives will present with swelling near the eyes. Using a hypoallergenic shampoo for dogs will usually alleviate the condition. A hydrating leave-in conditioner may also help. Ask your vet what they recommend for your pet.

    Urgent Cases

    If your dog's itching continues for more than a few days, you should contact your vet to schedule an appointment, they will diagnose the issue and develop a treatment plan. Prolonged itching can make your dog excessively scratch and bite at the itch which could lead to self-inflicted injury. This can become serious if it is left untreated.

    Veterinary Dermatology in Jacksonville

    Our veterinary professionals, know that chronic recurrent skin problems, ear infections, and allergies can be extremely irritating to your pet, and frustrating for pet parents.

    With a range of tests available to us in-house, we look for the root cause of your pet’s skin disorder and offer a customized treatment plan to start the healing process.

    Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

    For more information on skin problems in dogs or to schedule an appointment for your dog's scratching contact our Jacksonville vets today.