Jun 09 2016

Why is my pet itching? (or rubbing, licking, chewing)


Occasional itching is common for dogs and cats. FREQUENT or consistent itching may be a sign of skin disease, especially if the hair is missing or if the skin looks abnormal. Allergies (including pollen, insects, contact or food), mites, infection, behavior issues or illness can cause problems with the skin which may or may not be associated with itching.

Visible signs of itching that may be observed by family members can be:

  • Licking

  • Chewing

  • Rubbing

  • Leg kicking when pet or scratched

Visible signs of itching where NO clear itching is observed can be:

  • Broken hairs

  • Patches of hair loss

  • Reddish staining to light colored coats

  • Redness to skin

  • Darkening of skin (will be indicator of long term itchy skin)

Due to the large variety of reasons for skin problems, pets should be seen to diagnose the cause and formulate a treatment plan for their individual needs. Bathing is generally helpful for most skin problems but since dog’s and cat’s skin is very different than humans, we generally recommend a shmpoo made specifically for them. Unless otherwise directed, a soap free shampoo tends to be best as it won’t easily strip off flea products or dry the skin. ALWAYS follow the label directions for the shampoo you use as many will require specific contact times to achieve treatment goals.

Some helpful websites include:

Jenn | Hospital Blog

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