Scratch, Bite, Lick – What Causes Itchy Skin Problems In Canines?

Itchy Skin Problems In Canines?
Ticks and fleas are very common problems in dogs, which is why preventive practices must be done all-year round. Pets can get them from other dogs or from their surroundings….

When a dog scratches, bites, or licks a certain area on its skin, this is a cause for concern. For one, it could be a health problem. Secondly, it could also be a pest problem. It’s very important to find out what the source of the scratching is because not only is your dog’s health on the line, but yours as well. Consider this – if your pet spends a lot of time inside your house and it sleeps in your room or even in your bed, wouldn’t you want to know why its skin is so itchy? Any type of organism that is affecting your canine friend could also affect you and could even threaten your health.

So, what are the causes of itchy skin problems in dogs? Causes of canine itchy skin can be generally classified into three categories: allergies, infection, and pests/parasites.


Like humans, some dogs also have allergies. There are dogs that experience an allergic reaction to pollen, a seasonal condition that’s also known as atopy. They usually start scratching their face and feet, and the itchiness typically gets worse every year. Others develop contact dermatitis. This looks like tiny red bumps on the skin, and the affected area is probably sore or swollen. Contact dermatitis occurs when a dog comes into contact with an allergen which comes in many forms. Chemicals used in flea collars could trigger an allergic reaction, for instance. There are many other irritants, including paint, soap, plastic or rubber. Some dogs are also allergic to certain types of food, and they not only experience itchiness, but also loss of hair too due to excessive scratching.


Dogs like to play and explore, and as they do so, they could injure themselves. A small scratch could get worse if it’s exposed to wetness and if it’s not treated properly. The injury could become infected, which then causes itchiness and irritation. Some dogs could also get fungal or yeast infections. These skin problems are very itchy, and, if not treated properly, such problems will only recur and get worse.

skin problems in dogs


Some pests that infest canines and even felines are also known as ectoparasites because they live outside instead of inside a living organism. A few examples are chiggers, mites, ticks and fleas.

— Chiggers are mite larvae, and their bite creates a small swelling that becomes very itchy. These minute creatures usually infest the areas around a dog’s mouth and ears.

— The two species of mites that often plague dogs are scabies mites and Demodex mites. Between the two, scabies mites are more dangerous because they can easily spread to other dogs and to humans as well. But the good thing here is that there are effective treatments against scabies. Demodex mites are the opposite as they aren’t contagious to other dogs or to people. In general, these kinds of mites infect canines with weak immune systems, as in the case of puppies or sick dogs with immunocompromised systems.

— Ticks and fleas are very common problems in dogs, which is why preventive practices must be done all-year round. Pets can get them from other dogs or from their surroundings. These pests feed on blood, and when they bite the skin, they also introduce foreign substances that trigger an allergic response. Dogs will scratch the affected area, and, over time, this can get sore, raw or infected. Hair loss could occur as well.

Featured images:

This blog post was written by Claire Brent, a freelancer who also happens to be an animal lover. Most of her materials that tackle issues about pests and how they affect human and animal health have been used by Rove Pest Control.