Common Causes of Itchy Dog Skin

Your pup has been scratching himself constantly lately. You don’t know why, or how you can relieve his itching.

However, by finding out the root of your dog’s itchy skin you can determine how to best proceed in caring for him. Once you know how what’s going on, you’re able to treat his skin at home or identify when to see a veterinarian. Much like humans, part of helping your dog age gracefully is taking care of their skin.

The following are a few common causes of itchy skin problems in dogs, along with the steps you can take to make your pup feel better.

Dog Dry skin

When you part your dog’s hair, do you see dandruff? Under his coat, does his skin look cracked? When you touch it, does he start scratching immediately? If so, he may be experiencing dry skin.

Dry skin in dogs typically occurs in climates where there is little to no humidity. It also can be caused by dry pet foods, which can make your pup dehydrated. To remedy these issues, add a humidifier to your home and include digestive enzymes in your dog’s meals. These enzymes will help your dog digest food easier, and work to improve the moisture in his coat and skin. You should also incorporate omega-3 fatty acids like fish oil into his diet (salmon oil is a great option, as long as it’s wild and not farm raised.)

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Grooming is also an important method for keeping your dog’s skin healthy as it rids your pup of the fur, skin, and flakes that tend to stick around when your dog sheds. If your dog has long hair, daily brushing is recommended to avoid dry skin. If your dog has short hair, you may only have to brush it three to four times per week. Part your dog’s fur throughout the week to check out the skin and see if it needs some TLC.

Another contributing factor to dry skin is bathing your dog too much or not enough. If you’re bathing your dog on a regular basis, you should invest in a shampoo that will soothe his skin and alleviate any dryness. An oatmeal shampoo bath or shower is going to help your dog’s skin recover (pair it with a moisturizing rinse and his dry skin should get the hydration it needs.) Many pet owners use coconut oil and apple cider vinegar to wash their pups.


Fleas, ticks, and mites love dogs. Fortunately, fleas can be spotted jumping around and following your dog and you can see a tick by brushing their coat with a fine tooth comb. However, mites are very tiny. If you believe the cause of your dog’s itchy skin might be parasites, purchasing a flea shampoo is a good first step. However, it is also recommended you speak to your veterinarian about further treatment options. It also is very important to thoroughly clean your house, especially the dog bed, to rid your living space of any parasites that might be lingering.

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Dog Skin Allergies

If your dog scratches a lot, has runny eyes, and licks certain areas on his body, he might be allergic to something. The breeds that are most susceptible to skin allergies are terriers, retrievers, setters, pugs, and bulldogs. Common allergies include but are not limited to perfume, feathers, cigarette smoke, grass, trees, weed pollens, dust, and dander.

Dogs also commonly suffer from food allergies.

Treatment for allergies depends on what your pup is allergic to. For example, if it’s food, he will have to take an allergy test. If it’s pollen, you will have to bathe him more frequently. Either way, you should seek your veterinarian for guidance.

Dog Skin Infection

Skin infections, also known as pyoderma, often appear in pets. Some of the infections include ringworm, bacteria, and yeast. If your dog has open sores of pimples on his body, he may be suffering from a skin infection.

Skin infections come up because a dog’s skin isn’t healthy due to malnutrition or dry weather. To prevent infections from happening, you should aim for preventative care.

Once you’ve unveiled why your dog is scratching and what kind of treatment to pursue, it’s time to monitor him, and make sure he doesn’t go through the same experience twice. By keeping your dog healthy this Autumn, you are working to prolong his life and ensuring that he’s a satisfied pup.

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