Itchy Pet Awareness and Solutions

The month of August is known as Itchy Pet Awareness Month, which aims to promote dog and cat skin health and your pet’s health and happiness. While commonly overlooked, itching is a medical condition that requires a proper diagnosis to effectively treat the true cause of the itch.

Why is My Pet Itching?

Dogs and cats usually come in contact with irritants by inhaling from the air or by direct contact with the skin. They may also develop allergies or sensitivities to food or treats in their diet. Some common outdoor allergens include parasites like fleas, ticks, lice or mites, insects, pollens, or even chemicals on lawns. Common indoor allergens include dust mites, molds, mildew, as well as household cleaners, detergents, and other products. Some pets may develop allergies that come and go with the seasons. Learn more about Seasonal Allergies in Dogs and Cats on our other blog.

 Common Signs of Itching in Dogs and Cats:

  • Scratching is the most obvious sign of itch
  • Biting
  • Chewing
  • Frequent licking
  • Excessive rolling
  • Recurrent ear problems
  • Hair loss
  • Body odor
  • Skin changes

If the scratching becomes intense, your dog or cat may damage their skin while trying to relieve the sensation. As a result, this can leave the skin with open wounds, and vulnerable to infections and the potential for hotspots. You may also notice hair loss, scabbing, and crusting due to excessive scratching, chewing, or rubbing. Because the symptoms of allergies are similar to other disorders, it’s important to speak with your veterinarian if you notice these behaviors.

How Do I Relieve My Pet’s Itching?

Consulting your veterinarian is important to determine the true cause of the itch and what treatment can best help your pet. Your veterinarian may prescribe an antihistamine or anti-inflammatory medication to help relieve your pet’s symptoms. They may also recommend bathing with a medicated shampoo to wash allergens away from the skin and reduce irritation.

This information is not intended to diagnose or treat any disease and is purely educational. Please seek advice from your pet’s veterinarian with any questions regarding the health of your pet.