dog itching

If your pet is scratching and you’re not sure why, don’t worry – you aren’t alone! In fact, according to pet insurance claims, pet skin issues are the number one reason pet owners seek veterinary care.

Pet skin issues are no walk in the park. It takes time to sift through the many, many reasons a pet may be itchy. This takes patience, trust in your veterinarian, great communication, and financial resources. However, by working together, we can help you determine why your pet is scratching, as well as help them find some relief – which is worth a lot!

Don’t Panic

Before you throw in the towel on your pet’s skin issues, know that new skin takes about four weeks to regenerate and make its way to the surface. That’s why even curable and somewhat “simple” skin issues can take weeks to resolve. Patience is a virtue when it comes to skin problems, but helping your pet feel better is a great reward.

Other reasons to address pet skin issues with your veterinarian include:

  • Zoonotic disease – Some skin problems can be zoonotic, meaning that whatever is causing the issue can also create problems for you and your family. If you see your pet itching and scratching, come see us right away.
  • Antibiotic resistance – Not every skin problem requires antibiotics, but if your pet is prescribed a medication, it’s imperative that you finish the entire course. Never share antibiotics between pets (or people!), and don’t give your pet any old or “left over” medications. This can increase drug resistance and make the illnesses we worry about that much stronger.
  • Pet allergies Pet allergies are common, and there are many causes and types of allergies. By working with your veterinarian, you can determine more quickly the source of your pet’s allergies (usually fleas, food, or seasonal irritants) and begin managing their symptoms. Hint: medication isn’t always the best method of treatment for allergies!

Signs of Pet Skin Issues  

Make sure the following signs of skin problems don’t escape your attention:

  • Intense itching
  • Rubbing the face or body on carpet or furniture
  • Open sores
  • Hair loss
  • Chewing or biting at feet, ears, underbelly, or tail area
  • Head shaking
  • Itching around the ears
  • Red or blotchy skin

Managing Pet Skin Issues

The best way to manage skin problems in pets is to work closely with your veterinarian. There are also steps you can take at home that will provide your pet with some relief:

  • Make sure your pet is on a year-round monthly flea preventive.
  • Wipe your pet’s belly and feet when they come in from outside.
  • Don’t wear shoes in the house.
  • Run a HEPA filter.
  • Don’t try allergen-free pet food or treats or any other “allergy” food unless directed by your veterinarian.
  • Bathe your pet using a shampoo recommended by your veterinarian.
  • Use an antihistamine as directed by your veterinarian.

Long Animal Hospital and Emergency Center is your partner in pet health and wellness. If your pet is itchy, please schedule an appointment right away so we can help them achieve the happiness and comfort they deserve!