Why does my dog scratch a lot?
Does your dog scratch a lot and does his hair fall out ? There are many causes that can cause irritation and hair loss , sometimes in a localized way and in others in a generalized way. If your dog suffers from this problem, you are interested in reading this article in which we will explain the different causes that can cause bald spots in your dog or constant scratching.
Remember that if you have observed your dog scratching and losing hair, it is essential that you go to the veterinarian to obtain the correct diagnosis and receive the appropriate treatment.
My dog scratches a lot and has no fleas – Atopic Dermatitis
Atopic or allergic dermatitis is a chronic disease of the dermis that causes inflammation and hypersensitivity. It is generally of hereditary origin, although there are breeds with a certain predisposition to suffer from it, such as the West Highland White Terrier, the Boxer, the Shar Pei or the French bulldog, among others. To develop this disease, the presence of environmental allergens is necessary , the most common being pollen, mites, chemicals, fertilizers or some fabrics.
We can see that the dog scratches a lot and makes wounds , loses hair, licks itself, constantly rubs different areas of the body with its paws and even bites itself. It is also common to witness fur and skin discoloration, watery eyes or thickened and darkened skin. In this way, when the dog scratches and does not have fleas, the most common cause is usually this type of dermatitis.
Steps to follow before atopic dermatitis
Although there is no cure for atopic dermatitis, it can be controlled by eliminating the presence of allergens in the environment as much as possible, and offering the dog a veterinary prescription food specially formulated for atopic dermatitis, such as Atopic Carefrom Advance Veterinary Diets by Affinity, made from fish and beneficial ingredients for the health of the dermis, such as aloe vera, which helps regenerate the skin, reduces inflammation and has an antibacterial effect, ideal for preventing infection after excessive scratching. On the other hand, supplements also help protect dogs from atopic dermatitis, as is the case with Affinity’s Advance Veterinary Diets DermaForte nutritional supplements, which reinforce the skin barrier.
Using the right shampoo to bathe the dog is another of the fundamental steps to help keep atopic dermatitis at bay, such as the Atopic Care shampoo from Advance Veterinary Diets by Affinity, one of the products preferred by specialists due to its formula scientifically proven, based on aloe vera, collagen and olive leaf extract.
In the most serious cases, the use of medication stipulated by the veterinarian may be necessary.
My dog scratches a lot and has dandruff – Seborrheic dermatitis
Seborrheic dermatitis is a very common disease that affects the dog’s dermis, causing scales, crusts and excess oil . The discomfort caused by the appearance of seborrhea causes a bad smell and discomfort in the dog, which can start scratching, causing wounds, irritation and hair loss.
The first phase can be defined as dry seborrhea and is identified by the presence of scales on the mantle, which is often confused with dandruff. If it is not treated, it turns into oily seborrhea , in which case we will appreciate lack of shine of the coat, greasy hairs attached to dry skin, scales and irritation of the dermis. Later this condition can cause infections, alopecia, fever and even depression. Likewise, with this type of dermatitis it is common to observe that the dog scratches a lot and smells bad due to excess fat.
Steps to follow before seborrheic dermatitis
Finding the cause that is causing seborrhea is essential to start treatment and prevent the dog from scratching so much, which is why a veterinary visit is required. However, in general, frequent baths are usually recommended with the use of an antiseborrheic soap that helps cleanse, protect and reduce inflammation of the skin, as well as a change in diet or the use of supplements that provide omega 3 .
My dog scratches and bites a lot, is it moist dermatitis?
Acute moist dermatitis is a health problem that tends to appear in summer and spring, mainly caused by excess moisture in the dog’s dermis. Some factors, such as heat, parasites or allergies themselves, can favor the appearance of moist dermatitis. In addition, and due to the sensation of itching, the dog scratches and licks continuously, losing hair and weighing down the remaining fur in the area, which increases humidity levels and worsens the clinical picture.
We should not confuse acute moist dermatitis with acral lick dermatitis , in this case the dog scratches a lot, bites and licks a specific area of the body in a stereotypical way and is generally due to a problem related to stress and the anxiety.
Steps to follow in case of acute moist dermatitis
The veterinary visit is mandatory, since a skin scraping must be carried out to detect the presence of Staphylococcus , an opportunistic bacterium that proliferates rapidly in the face of this pathology. The treatment to be applied is based on antibiotics .
The veterinarian may also recommend the use of a veterinary prescription shampoo to help soothe the skin, heal wounds, moisturize the dermis and reduce inflammation in the area.
My dog scratches a lot and has red skin – Contact Dermatitis
That the dog scratches a lot and has red or irritated skin is not an exclusive symptom of contact dermatitis, since it is also present in atopic dermatitis, for example. However, it is true that it is one of the main signs, since contact dermatitis appears when the dog comes into contact with a substance that causes skin irritation and hypersensitivity. In addition, this type of dermatitis can be aggravated if the dog already has skin problems.
Generally, it appears after the dog comes into contact with different types of chemical products , such as paints, dyes, bleach or fuel, and it is common to see inflammation of the skin, itching, scratching, scabs, redness and hair loss. However, it can also happen that the dog shows the reaction when it comes into contact with its new bed, collar, drinker or any synthetic object, for example. For this reason, it is common to see that the dog scratches his neck a lot if he has just released a new collar.
Steps to follow in case of contact dermatitis
If we observe that the dog loses its hair in areas , for example if it scratches its neck a lot, we could suspect that the cause of the problem is its new collar, in which case we must remove it immediately. Likewise, it is advisable to go to the veterinarian to ensure the diagnosis and receive temporary treatment to calm the discomfort that the dog may suffer. The use of a specific shampoo, antihistamines or applying a lotion to the affected area can be some examples of the treatment to be applied.
My dog scratches his face a lot – Food allergy
Food allergy is an inappropriate and exaggerated response issued by the immune system to a substance that does not cause damage to the body. Generally, it is due to a genetic factor, but it can also occur spontaneously.
The most common allergens are corn, wheat, chicken or soy, but each dog can show hypersensitivity to a specific food. In the event that the dog suffers from a food allergy, we will observe various symptoms such as vomiting, excessive flatulence, diarrhoea, nausea, loss of appetite or frequent belching. But it can also happen that they do not present these symptoms and that we only observe skin reactions, such as irritation, redness and scratching, it being common to see that the dog scratches a lot and has swollen eyes .
Steps to follow when faced with a food allergy
To diagnose food allergy, the veterinarian will take into account the symptoms that we observe in the dog and will propose an elimination diet , which consists of offering the dog different foods to detect which of them it is allergic to. The elimination diet is the only certain way to diagnose a food allergy, but it can take five to eight weeks to complete, in some cases even more than eight.