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Why Is My Pet Itching? 

March 01, 2024

Has your dog or cat been scratching a lot recently? Does your furry buddy beg you to scratch them and then act as if they are in a state of bliss when you do? Itching can cause pretty severe discomfort in both people and animals. While the occasional itch is normal for Fido and Fluffy, persistent itching is a different story, as it often indicates that something is wrong. Of course, before you can address the issue, you’ll need to determine why your animal buddy is itching. A local Pipe Creek, TX veterinarian offers some light on this below.


When Should I Worry About My Pet’s Itching?


Animals cannot tell us when it’s time to take them to the veterinary clinic; therefore, you’ll need to keep an eye out for signs that there is more going on than just a random itch. 


Here are a few things to watch for: 


  • Licking the paws
  • Discolored skin
  • Flaking 
  • Scabbing
  • Ear Discharge 
  • Discolored wax
  • Shaking or pawing at the head, face, and ears
  • Obsessively licking or biting a certain place
  • Scratching 
  • Rubbing against things (including you) 
  • Fur loss
  • Rashes
  • Pustules, pimples, lesions, or abscesses
  • Red skin
  • Flaking
  • Flea dirt 
  • Sores
  • Swelling


If you notice any of these warning signs, contact your Pipe Creek, TX veterinarian immediately.


What Are Some Of The Most Common Causes Of Itching In Pets?


Itching in pets can happen for a number of reasons. Some are fairly easy to identify. For example, if you discover flea dirt—or worse, actual moving fleas—in your pet’s coat, you can safely conclude that he or she has hitchhikers. However, other causes may be harder to identify. We can help!


Here are the most common reasons for itching in pets.


Allergic Reaction


Do you have allergies? Even if you don’t personally, you probably know someone who does. Allergic reactions can be quite unpleasant for both humans and pets. They can cause a variety of symptoms, including itchiness. Other signs of a reaction include red, runny eyes, sneezing, snoring, skin irritation, and an upset stomach.


Allergies in pets fall into a few different groups.


  • Food Allergies arise when a pet’s body perceives a specific type of food—usually a protein—as an ‘invader’ and reacts excessively. Identifying the specific allergen is often the most difficult aspect of resolving food allergies. You might have to put your dog or cat on a bland diet until the symptoms resolve. Then, start reintroducing things one at a time to see what sparks a reaction.


  • Seasonal Allergies are frequently related to grass, pollen, and certain plants or leaves. Mold and dust mites can also trigger allergic responses in pets.


  • Contact Dermatitis. Contact dermatitis is an irritation of the skin triggered by direct contact with a substance or material. It often causes red, inflammatory, and/or flaky skin. Your four-legged friend may also get hair loss, skin discoloration, and small pimples or pustules. Contact dermatitis may be caused by many things, including soap, plants, detergents, mulch, shampoo conditioner, rugs, fabrics, plastics, medications, and chemicals, such as fertilizers for lawns and gardens.


Skin Dryness and/or Irritation


Itchiness in pets is not always caused by major health problems. Sometimes, it’s just a case of dry skin! Environmental factors are typically at play here. Winter’s dry air frequently causes dry, itchy skin in both humans and animals. Using harsh grooming products could also contribute to this. Pets’ skin is highly sensitive, so you should never use human products on them.


Make certain that your pet is properly hydrated. A balanced diet is also important for maintaining your pet’s skin and coat.




Skin infections may trigger itching, redness, irritation, peeling, and other symptoms. Many of these fall into two categories.


Bacterial Infections are among the most serious potential causes of itching. These are typically produced by cuts or scratches that break the skin. They can also cause peeling, redness, swelling, and pustules, and rarely resolve on their own.


Fungal Infections come in a variety of forms. Dogs with skin folds or floppy ears often develop yeast infections. Another possible reason is ringworm, which, despite its name, is actually a kind of fungus. Fungal infections in pets can cause rashes, crusty or scaly skin, redness, and, in certain cases, unpleasant odors.


Topical medications may be used to treat many different kinds of fungal infections. Of course, this must be prescribed by your vet. Schedule an appointment right away. You’ll also need to be diligent with cleaning and treatment protocols to make sure that the problem is completely cured. Otherwise, the issue may reoccur.


If you think that your furry friend may have a bacterial infection, contact your vet right away. Treatment options vary, but may include topical medications, antibiotics, and other medicines.


Parasitic Infestation


Fleas are, of course, the main antagonists here. However, ticks are sometimes to blame. While tick bites do not usually itch, some pets react to tick saliva. Fleas and ticks can transmit serious diseases and carry other parasites. Keep up with your pet’s preventative care!


Mites can also cause inflammation. There are several varieties of mites. Ear mites, as expected, dwell in pet ear canals and cause significant irritation. You may notice that your four-legged pal is repeatedly shaking their head. Sarcoptic mites cause mange—also known as scabies—in dogs and cats. Unfortunately, humans can contract them. Finally, there are Demodex mites, which burrow beneath the skin. 


Boredom, Stress, Loneliness, Etc.


Animals, like people, can experience stress and anxiety. Fido and Fluffy may not be worried about inflation, office politics, or a leaking roof, but they can definitely get anxious. 


Major changes cause a lot of stress for pets. Other possible causes include:


  • Boredom 
  • Stress
  • Loneliness
  • Trauma
  • Discomfort 
  • Tension With Other Pets
  • Separation From Previous Owner 
  • Age-Related Cognitive Issues
  • Fearfulness


Pets sometimes over-groom to cope with stress. This is comparable to certain nervous tics in people, such as nail biting or leg bouncing. Overgrooming in pets can result in hair loss, which makes them more susceptible to skin infections. Our feline pals sometimes react by undergrooming, which can also cause skin and coat issues.


If your veterinarian doesn’t discover any medical issues, this could be the cause of the issue. Ask your Pipe Creek, TX veterinarian for specialized guidance.


How Can I Prevent My Pet From Itching?


Pet itchiness can be relieved by various treatment options, which include medications such as antihistamines, steroids, antibiotics, and medicated shampoos. Your vet may also recommend an oatmeal soak or a specific oil, such as coconut or olive oil. Cleaning, preventative care, grooming, and veterinary care are all important. Ask your vet for specific care tips.


What Should I Do If My Pet is Itching?


While home remedies, such as an oatmeal soak, may be beneficial in some cases, we strongly suggest scheduling an appointment with your Pipe Creek, TX  veterinarian immediately. You’ll need to get a proper diagnosis before you can address the issue. 


Itching is not necessarily a life-threatening emergency, but it can lead to infection if left untreated. Plus, your furry buddy will be pretty miserable until they get relief!


Conclusion: Pets’ itching can be caused by a variety of factors, including parasites, allergies, illnesses, and stress. Contact your vet right away if you notice your pet itching.


Has your pet been itchy lately? Do you need to schedule grooming? Contact your Pipe Creek, TX veterinarian clinic today!

Posted in General Health