If your dog is excessively itching, scratching or licking relentlessly it is a good sign that they could be experiencing a skin condition such as dermatitis. Today our La Mesa vets discuss some of the most common reasons for itching and scratching in dogs and what you can do to help.

Excessive Itching & Scratching in Dogs

Itching is a normal part of life for any creature including dogs and humans. Typically these moments are quick to pass either on their own or with a quick scratch. However, some conditions do need to be seen by a vet and will require treatment to prevent them from becoming worse.

    The Common Causes of Itching in Dogs

    There are many reasons why your dog might begin to scratch and bite at their fur or skin. Some of the most common reasons for this behavior are listed below:

    Parasitic Bites

    Bites from fleas and mites are one of the most common situations seen by our La Mesa vets and luckily are also the easiest to treat. Your veterinarian can prescribe medication to resolve the parasite issue. Preventing this issue is much better for both you and your dog rather than if you find yourself needing to treat your dog. Speak to your vet about flea, tick and mite prevention products for your canine companion. 

    Environmental Dermatitis

    It is common for substances such as grass, dirt, and plants to cause an uncomfortable reaction in your dog. Environmental dermatitis can lead to itchy/dry or cracked skin, rashes, blisters, redness, or swelling.

    To help alleviate this condition your vet may prescribe antihistamines, cortisone cream or other alternatives depending on the severity. Oatmeal baths are a common way to relieve your dog's itching in the comfort of your home and for a low cost.

    Nutritional Dermatitis

    Although it's rare, it is possible for dogs to have an allergic reaction to something in their food. Typically, nutritional dermatitis results in skin irritations and scratching, but digestive issues may happen as well, such as diarrhea or vomiting. If you notice the signs of nutritional dermatitis in your dog then you should make an appointment with your vet.

    Skin Allergies

    Allergies are a very common reason why our La Mesa vets see many dogs. Allergens that cause itching can be found in pollen, dander, plants or insects, among other things.

    Symptoms of this type of allergy, aside from itching, include excessive grooming or licking, watery eyes and sneezing, rashes, and inflamed skin. Your vet may be able to diagnose what is causing the allergy and will recommend treatment as well as ways to prevent future allergic reactions.


    Hives are another common symptom that can occur in dogs with allergies. Hives can be a reaction to many things, from bites to medications. Symptoms appear as raised bumps that cause the dog's fur to stick out.

    In some cases, hives will present with swelling near the eyes. Using a hypoallergenic shampoo for dogs will usually alleviate the condition. A hydrating leave-in conditioner may also help. Ask your vet what they recommend for your pet.

    How We Can Help With Your Dog Dermatology Needs

    Our veterinary dermatological services help treat and prevent diseases of the skin, coat, ears and nails, in La Mesa pets. Our team of professionals can determine the cause of your dog's skin problems and create a treatment plan to help restore your pup's skin to good health. Contact our vets to learn more about we can hep with all of your dermatology concerns.

    Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

    Is your dog itching and scratching? Contact our La Mesa vets today to book an examination for your animal companion.