Why is my dog scratching and biting himself? 5 Reasons

dog scratching and biting himself

Is your Cat or Dog scratching and biting himself? Well, Licking, chewing, and scratching behavior are normal and nothing to be worried about in the case of canines. But they have different reasons behind it. And some of them are very harmful. One of the most common signs is the development of hot spots. Hot spots are the wet, irritated, red regions that arise due to rubbing, scratching, licking, or chewing. 

Although acute moist dermatitis or hot spots can occur anywhere on the body. But they are most commonly found on the chest, hips, or head. Because dogs constantly lick, bite, or scratch an area once it is irritated. Due to this, hot spots can be enlarged. 

But what are the other reasons that make a dog lick and scratch himself constantly? Do all the dogs have the same problem? And what are its remedies? Let’s find out.

5 causes of constant scratching and biting

#1 Seasonal allergies

Your doggy may scratch and bite more in warmer climates when there are more mosquitoes and fleas in the surrounding. Also, the plants start to shed pollen.

Most of the dogs have no problem with pollen, but some of them have a genetic predisposition to allergies. When a dog has an allergic reaction to mold, dust, or pollen, the dog starts to bite and scratch excessively. 

There is no way to treat your canine’s seasonal allergies, however, there are remedies that could reduce or prevent the symptoms.

Steroids like antihistamines and cortisone like Benadryl (diphenhydramine) have been used for ages to deal with dog allergies. 

You need to speak for your vet before giving your canine allergic reaction medications — a vet can make sure that is the proper remedy for your canine and assist you to calculate the right dose, primarily based on your doggo’s weight.

Your vet might also advise different remedy options. There are numerous new immune-enhancing drugs, given both via means of tablet or injection, that is used mechanically, and are very powerful in dealing with pollen allergies.

Immunotherapy, a remedy that exposes sufferers to steadily growing quantities of an allergen, has been proven to lessen symptoms more than 1/2 of in the majority of allergic dogs.

#2 Flea allergies in Dogs

When fleas feed on the dog, they deposit their saliva into the dog’s skin.

This causes a transient inflammation for maximum dogs, however, a few dogs are genuinely allergic to flea saliva.

A non-allergic canine will nibble or chunk at a flea bite however not much more. However, if the canine has turned out to be allergic to flea saliva, the biting, itching, scratching, chewing, etc turn much more extreme and could close long after the flea is gone.

You can frequently discover fleas for your dog’s stomach, across the tail, and back leg. With cautious inspection, you may be capable of seeing the flea itself,  which appears like little bits of black pepper.

Treatment for fleas

  • Comb out the fleas with a fine-toothed comb
  • A specialised flea shampoo
  • Vacuuming the home and clean your furry friend’s bedding
  • Consult a vet 

Highly allergic furry friends can also take advantage of well-known allergic reaction treatments like steroids or antihistamines to assist lessen inflammation and itching. Talk to your vet to see if this short-time period relief remedy is a superb alternative to your dog.

#3 Skin infections in Canines

Yeast infections and bacterial infections in your canine’s skin can also cause itching.

Though any canine can get skin infections, your doggo is at more risk if they have hypersensitive reactions or a disorder that causes hormonal imbalances.

The most unusual hormonal illnesses that can cause skin troubles in doggies are hypothyroidism and Cushing’s disease. Both make the skin greater at risk of yeast and bacterial infection that may bring itching. 

To diagnose an endocrine disease, you’ll need to go to your vet to get blood testing for your dog. Once your vet has recognized one of these diseases, there are medicines to assist you to deal with your dog. 

If there’s no underlying problem behind an infection, your vet can prescribe an antibiotic to deal with bacterial infections and an antifungal tablet to deal with yeast infections.

#4 Food allergies

If your dogy has a food allergy, they’ll have a reaction straight away after eating, however, signs and symptoms of food sensitivity can increase more steadily over time. Your dog may also start scratching, in conjunction with different signs and symptoms like:

  • Unhealthy looking fur or skin
  • Diarrhoea and vomiting
  • Foot infections or chronic ear infections

If you watched your canine may have food allergies, your vet can assist you with the aid of placing your canine on a limited trial food regimen to decide which ingredients are inflicting the symptoms.

#5 Mange Disease In Dogs

Mange is a kind of skin disease that may cause extreme itchiness to your doggy.  the different forms of mange include:

  • Demodectic mange – Demodectic mange is also known as Demodex. It can be itchy but it is not contagious. Demodex is the overgrowth of mites present in your dog’s hair follicles.
  • Sarcoptic mange – Sarcoptic mange is the itchiest mange in dogs. It is contagious and can pass from dogs to dogs. Sarcoptic mange is also known as scabies. 

If your canine has mange, they are able to develop riming on their elbows, ears, and back thighs, however, they may be itchy in different regions too.

If you believe your furry friend can also have mange, consult your vet to perform a skin scrape and assist in the search for those mites.

How can I treat my dog’s skin problems?

The exact treatment for scratching depends on the type of cause. However, there are different steps you should follow to relieve the itchiness. Sometimes, different approaches combined together can yield maximum results. 

Here are some of the simple and effective ways to help your doggy to relieve this problem. 

1) Use prescription medicines

You must use medicines that are approved and consulted by the vet. Your vet can evaluate the whole scenario and advise you on the best medicines for your dog’s condition.

For example, if your dog has an allergy then he needs corticosteroids and antihistamines. While another dog with skin infection needs topical treatment and antibiotics. 

You must understand the fact that some medicines do not address primary issues, only the symptoms. 

2) Go for anti-parasite treatments

Parasitic infection is a very critical disease for dogs as well as humans. While dealing with fleas you need to treat your dog and also clean the whole house thoroughly. 

Mite infections can be very challenging and require prescribed medicines and antiparasitic shampoos in major cases. 

Keeping dogs away from intestinal parasites needs frequent deworming. The deworming protocol depends on the dog’s lifestyle and age.

3) Change the diet

Food allergies are very common in dogs. Hence, giving your doggy a low allergy food may yield good results. 

Look for the ingredients present in the old diet and make sure that the new one has different ingredients.  

Raw diets allow you to choose different ingredients that are rich in nutrients. Also, they have minimal processing.

4) Limit the exposure from airborne allergens

Airborne allergens are hard to manage. Molds, pollen, and mites are everywhere and hence difficult to avoid. Therefore, stopping your pooch from going outside is impossible. But you can limit its exposure. 

Taking care of the environment inside your house is quite easy. You just need to maintain the cleanliness in the house. Do regular vacuuming and install the HEPA filters for cleaning the air. 

5) Clean your dog after walking

Instead of limiting your dog to go outside, you can focus on cleaning your doggo. For example, you can wipe your furry friend after daily walks. Focus on wiping the belly and paws as they are more contracted to allergens.

Understand this, wiping does not remove all the allergens. But, it can limit their number from entering your home. This also reduces the spread of allergens

6) Bathe the dog frequently

Bathing is the best way to remove the allergen from the coat and skin. Also, it removes the loose hair and mitigates the shedding problem. But, you must be careful before choosing the shampoo for your pooch.

Most dog shampoos dry the skin and can increase the itching problem. Hence, you have to buy high-quality shampoo that can moisturize your furry friend’s skin.

Other possible reasons for a dog to scratch and bite constantly

  • Anxiety or boredom
  • Dry skin
  • Hormonal imbalance
  • Pain
  • Yeast

Why does my dog keep scratching himself but has no fleas?

  • Food allergy
  • Nutritional deficiency
  • Environmental allergies
  • Yeast infections
  • Bacterial infections

What can you give a dog for severe itching?

  • Oatmeal baths
  • Chamomile
  • Green tea
  • Coconut oil
  • Aloe vera gel
  • Baking soda

What is the best itch relief for dogs?

Curaseb Anti-itch spray

vetWELL anti-itch spray

Vet organics anti-itch spray

Burt’s bees anti-itch spray

tropiClean oxymed spray

TropiClean Sweet Pea Tangle Remover Spray for Pets, 16oz - Made in USA - Dog Detangler and Dematting Spray - Naturally Derived Ingredients - No-Rinse Formula - Alcohol Free - Paraben Free - Dye Free
  • REDUCES BRUSHING TIME – Our ready-to-use, no-rinse formula helps quickly remove tangles, knots and mats for gentle brushing.
  • SAFE AND GENTLE – Alcohol free, paraben free, dye free. Safe when used as directed for daily use on dogs, puppies, cats and kittens 12 weeks or older and will not affect spot-on treatments.
  • SOFT AND SHINY COAT – Helps eliminate frizz and static by retaining and restoring moisture, leaving the coat smooth and shiny.
  • FLORAL SCENT – The floral scent of sweet pea leaves your pet smelling fresh and ready for cuddles!
  • MADE IN THE USA – We proudly manufacture and ship our products with only the highest quality, naturally derived ingredients.

How can you tell if your dog has a yeast infection?

Signs of yeast infection include:

  • Sores
  • Yellow and sticky discharge
  • Red skin
  • Itchiness
  • Hair loss
  • Greasy coat
  • Smelly skin
  • Flaky skin
  • Thickening skin

Final words

Frequently asked questions

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