What is making my cat or dog scratch or itch?

The first thing to know as owners is that it is very common for our dogs or cats to scratch occasionally throughout the day. However, an increase in the intensity, frequency, or irritation to the skin is not normal and often causes the inflammation known as dermatitis.

The most common causes of itchiness and dermatitis in our pets are:

  • ectoparasites like fleas and mites
  • skin infections like yeast and bacteria
  • atopic dermatitis caused by environmental allergens such as pollen, dust, or plants
  • food allergies, which can sometimes be due to chicken or wheat

What should I do if my pet scratches or itches excessively?

If your pet has any of the following symptoms including:

  • intensive itch, irritation or reddening of the skin around the eyes, the ears, the feet, the abdomen, or even their interdigital areas
  • pimples or scabs on their skin
  • hair loss
  • vomiting or diarrhea.

It is very important to take your pet to the veterinary clinic to diagnose and properly treat them. Most causes of itchy skin mentioned previously require immediate and continuous management. It will come back if you don’t treat the underlying cause.

If your pet is up to date on their parasite prevention and continues itching and showing symptoms, your veterinarian will help you determine if the cause can be due to atopic dermatitis, skin infection, or even a food allergy.

It is essential not to delay your trip to the veterinarian as pets can scratch vigorously and self-inflict open skin wounds known as hotspots. Hotspots are severe and painful lesions that worsen with time increasing your pet’s itch receptors. More often than not, pets can get generalized skin infections from excessive scratching, thus should be treated immediately.

How can I treat my pet’s itchy skin at Emancipet or my local veterinarian?

Emancipet or your local veterinary clinic will help you determine the most appropriate treatment for your pet. We can prescribe medication against parasites and shampoo for the most common infections.

If your pet suffers from allergies, our vets at Emancipet will help guide you and make recommendations on the next steps to keep your pet itch-free all year long.

Remember, most causes of itchy skin require continuous management, and will come back if we don’t treat the underlying cause.