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Dog Skin Problems: Scratching, Itching & Other Skin Conditions

Dog Skin Problems: Scratching, Itching & Other Skin Conditions

If your dog is itching constantly, they might suffer from dermatitis among other skin conditions. Today, our Vancouver vets discuss the causes, signs, and treatment of skin problems seen in dogs.

Itching & Irritability in Dogs

Most dogs will inevitably encounter itching at some point. In most cases, it will be annoying for your pet but not serious. However, some conditions need to be seen by a vet and will require treatment to prevent them from worsening.

    Causes, Symptoms & Treatment of Skin Conditions

    There are various reasons why your dog might start scratching or biting at their fur. Some of the most common ones are listed below:

    Parasitic Bites

    Bites from fleas and mites are one of the most common sources of itching in dogs and one of the easiest to treat. Your veterinarian can prescribe medication to resolve the parasite issue. We believe that prevention is typically better than the cure. Speak to your vet about flea, tick, and mite prevention products for your canine companion. 

    Environmental Dermatitis

    This skin irritation develops due to contact with certain substances, such as grass, dirt, and plants. 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 can also be an effective and inexpensive way to relieve your dog's itchy skin.

    Nutritional Dermatitis

    Although it's rare, dogs can have an allergic reaction to something in their food. Typically, nutritional dermatitis results in skin irritations and scratching, but digestive issues, such as diarrhea or vomiting, may also happen. If your dog is displaying either type of symptom, it's best to make an appointment with your vet.

    Skin Allergies

    Some dogs are prone to allergies, making this a somewhat common reason to visit the vet. Allergens that cause itching can be found in pollen, dander, plants, or insects, among other things.

    Aside from itching, symptoms of this type of allergy 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.


    Another type of allergic reaction seen in dogs is hives. 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.

    Dermatology Care for Dogs at Columbia River Veterinary Specialists

    Our veterinary dermatological services help treat and prevent diseases of the skin, coat, ears, and nails in Vancouver 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. 

    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 experiencing a severe dermatology concern? Contact our Vancouver vets to book an examination.

    We Welcome New Patients

    Columbia River Veterinary Specialists is accepting new patients by referral and for emergency services. Our experienced emergency vets  and specialists are passionate about the health of Vancouver companion animals. Ask your vet today about a referral.

    Contact Us

    Contact (360) 694-3007