There are millions of dog owners out there as we speak eagerly to learn how to stop dog scratching. Whether from fleas, a food allergy, or a fixation on their skin, a dog that keeps scratching can cause hot spots, infections, and other skin problems that can progress to severe long term problems if you’re not careful.
The Causes of Dog Scratching
There are multiple reasons a dog might scratch incessantly. Before you can stop dog scratching, you must first identify the root cause.
Infection – Infections can be caused by bacteria, yeast, or fungi. Look for greasy sores, hairless patches, or red swelling for any of the three.
Neurogenic – This is a nervous issue that can be caused by excessive licking and chew. Often, this is caused by a lack of exercise or mental stimulation. It can also be caused by separation anxiety.
Allergenic – Food allergies, flea allergies, plant and dust allergies, and other allergies can all cause skin problems that lead to severe itching.
Nutritional – A dog that doesn’t get the right nutrients in their diet can get dry skin, developing eczema, sores, or simply bad hair that leads to dryness.
Environmental – Too much water from swimming, digging, or playing outside can cause scratching as well.
Parasites – All parasites can cause itching, including ticks, fleas, flies, gnats, and mites. Most medications can stop parasites.
As you can see, before you can stop dog scratching, you must first identify why the scratching started in the first place.
Visiting the Vet
To fully determine where the scratching behaviour is developing from, visit the vet and have your dog thoroughly checked. If it is an infection your dog will need some form of antibiotics, antifungal or cream to remove the effects. Allergies will be treated with antihistamines and a change in diet, and parasites can be treated with flea baths and medications.
Dealing with Neurogenic Scratching
When you go to stop dog scratching, the hardest to stop is the neurogenic cause. All five other issues can be treated with shifts in diet, medication, or change in their exercise routines. For chronic, neurogenic itching, the first thing you really need to do is pinpoint why the dog might feel the urge to continuously scratch his skin.
First, make sure your dog is getting enough exercise. Most of the time, the dog is just bored and has developed a neurotic tick to continuously itch or lick, almost hypnotically. To stop dog scratching due to boredom, you may also need to avert that behaviour. You can do this by putting bitter apple spray or cayenne pepper on your dog’s favourite licking spots.
You can also get a cone from the vet that will not allow the dog to reach those itching hot spots. Once the dog has a better, more active exercise routine, you will be able to slowly return their other activities to normal, removing the cone and the spray.
If your dog continues scratching, make sure you visit the vet again to rule out any other physical ailments. Sometimes, infections can grow in the interim.
Ultimately, your goal as a dog owner is to pay close attention to why your dog might start scratching. Most of the time, it can be easily fixed, but you can never be too careful.