Itching in Dogs

What is normal itching?  Does my dog itch more than normal?

A recent study of 314 dogs from 4 countries shows that most normal dogs lick/chew the paws, rub the face, sneeze, shake the head, or scoot less than a few times per week.  In this study, it was very unlikely for a normal dog to have these behaviors more than once daily.  So if your pet exhibits these behaviors more than once daily, that warrants further investigation to see if there is an underlying condition triggering these behaviors.  Licking or scratching to the point of hair thinning, red skin, or scabs on the skin is not normal.

There are many reasons for dogs to be itchy.
  • Parasites (fleas, mites, ticks, lice)

  • Bacterial infection (most commonly staphylococcus bacteria; “staph” infection)

  • Fungal infection (Malassezia yeast or dermatophytes (ringworm) infection)

  • Atopic Dermatitis and Allergies to food or environmental allergens like dust mites or pollens

  • Autoimmune diseases like pemphigus foliaceus

  • Skin cancer called epitheliotropic lymphoma

Erythema of feet dog allergies.jpg

This dog is licking its feet due to a yeast infection caused by allergies.

This dog has a staph infection secondary to allergies.

Flea dirt on a dog.jpg

This dog has flea dirt behind the ears, indicating a flea infestation.

Demodex mites dog.jpg

This dog has mites causing itchiness and infections.