Nothing Quite Like It

An itch that gets scratched. There really isn’t anything quite like the relief that comes with it for you and for your pet. American journalist Franklin P. Jones opined, “Scratch a dog and you’ll find a permanent job.” He’s right, and, if you’re lucky, you’ve already secured that post. But what if your dog or other pet friend is so itchy they can’t stop scratching and nothing brings them relief?

We Live in Fortunate Times

Fortunately, we live in the best of times. We have endless opportunities to educate ourselves about anything we want to. August, for example, is Itchy Pet Awareness Month. It’s a great time to learn about symptoms, causes, and cures for your furry, itchy, bestie so you can learn how to make sure they’re taken care of as well as possible.

Causes of Itchiness in Pets

In 2021, skin irritation was the leading cause of vet visits for dogs and the tenth leading cause of veterinary visits for cats whose owners purchased Nationwide’s pet insurance. Skin irritation and itchiness are extremely common and, fortunately, are also highly treatable. The most common causes of skin irritation resulting in excessive itchiness in pets are:

  • Allergies in their environment (indoors or out)
  • Food allergies
  • Seasonal allergies
  • Fleas

Skin irritation and itchiness can be minor, or it can become very problematic. When left untreated, the irritation increases as does your pet’s attempts to relieve it through excessive scratching. Extremely irritated skin can lead to other conditions, including:

  • Hair loss
  • Open wounds
  • Infection resulting from those wounds
  • Skin inflammation ranging from minor to severe
  • Increased body odor

None of these conditions are pleasant and some of them are serious, requiring veterinary care.

If Your Pet is Pruritic

What a word. It sounds alarming but it really just means itchy. Everyone needs a good scratch now and then, but if your pet’s itching is extreme and/or it causes the conditions listed above or any others, it’s time to figure out what’s causing their distress. In addition to scratching themselves a lot, your pet may exhibit other symptoms like:

  • Skin redness
  • Chewing or licking their skin frequently
  • Pet grooming themselves excessively
  • Having frequent ear infections
  • Stealing food or begging more than usual
  • Generally acting out of character

Diagnosis and Treatment

Because so much of their irritation and itching can be related to allergies, your vet might suggest allergy testing as part of the diagnostic process for your pet. Common allergens are:

  • Dust mites
  • Trees, grasses, pollens
  • Fleas
  • Beef
  • Dairy
  • Chicken
  • Grooming products

Your veterinarian may also suggest an elimination diet to help pinpoint your pet’s allergens.

Homey Gnome Veterinary Clinic

If you’re in Oakdale, MN, and the surrounding areas, Homey Gnome Veterinary Clinic will help you figure out what’s causing your pet’s itchiness and distress. Here are some of the things we might suggest to help your pet:

  • A diet of specialized food
  • Specific supplements
  • Allergy shots
  • Immunotherapy
  • Prescription steroids
  • Topical therapies

Helping relieve your pet’s itchy skin might be a multi-pronged treatment. We want to help you figure out what’s causing their symptoms and get to the root of their allergy so you can cater to your critter’s need for affectionate scratches, which are the only kind they need.