Itchy Dog: Why It’s Happening and How To Solve It

Scratching, licking, and chewing are all typical habits for dogs, and they can be caused by a number of things. Itching is not only annoying for dogs, it may also be painful and lead to other issues if left untreated.

For example, hot spots, also known as "acute wet dermatitis," can appear anywhere on your dog's body, although they most commonly appear on the head, chest, and hips.

Let’s take a look at exactly why your dog is itchy and how you can help your buddy get back to normal as soon as possible.

Why is my dog itchy?

One of these common problems might be the cause of your dog scratching and itching more than usual:

1. Dry skin

A skin allergy called dry skin in dogs can be caused by a number of reasons, including cold temperatures and fatty acid deficiency. Your pet may scratch or lick its skin or fur in response to the discomfort.

2. Fleas and ticks

Check for fleas and ticks first if your dog is scratching. These blood-hungry bugs frequently utilise dogs as hosts and may latch on to them anywhere. Ticks can go unnoticed for a long time until they are completely engorged and big enough to be seen and removed.

Do keep in mind that these pesky insects are known to transmit deadly diseases. So, be extra cautious and take care of your dog throughout tick season.

Fleas are less harmful, but they're just as annoying. Infestations of this nature can produce significant itching and skin responses, necessitating veterinarian treatment in certain cases.

Flea bites can trigger allergic responses in certain dogs, resulting in painful hot patches, hair loss, swelling, and infection.

If you inspect your dog often, you may find fleas simpler to see than ticks, although long-coated and dark-coloured canines may require further assistance. To be sure you're dealing with a flea infestation, run a clean flea comb through your dog's coat.

3. Environmental allergies

Pollen, dust mites, mould spores, grass, and a variety of other common allergens may cause an allergic reaction in your dog.

After spending time outside, you may see your dog licking their paws, rubbing their faces, or shaking their heads, as well as scratching, rubbing, and hair loss on their legs, sides, and belly.

Brown stains and redness on the tops and bottoms of the paws are common side effects of paw licking. The inner ear flaps and outer ear canals may seem red and inflamed, and a brownish ear discharge may be present.

4. Bacterial infections

A staph bacterial infection occurs after your dog has scratched an area to the point of irritation and skin damage, allowing germs to grow and infect the region.

Persistent itching, skin redness, crusts/scabs, rash, or pimples are all signs of a staph bacterial infection. These infections are most commonly caused by allergies or parasites, although they can also happen in dogs with hormonal immaturity.

5. Food allergies

When your dog is allergic to their food. For example, if they have a chicken allergy, they may scratch their face, ears, tummy, armpits, feet, and scoot or lick their rear end to demonstrate their allergy.

Food allergies can also cause ear discomfort and infections. Gas, an increased frequency of bowel motions, or loose stools may occur in some of the afflicted dogs

6. Boredom, anxiety or stress

Dogs can have physical responses to psychological discomfort, just like people. In reality, some dogs acquire obsessive-compulsive disorder, which is similar to human OCD. Scratching, licking, and chewing are some of the activities that can cause serious injury.

They are also more prone to scratching or itching when they are bored, so try to spend as much time with them as possible to steer them from hurting themselves

How can I help my dog?

Here are some ways you can help ease your dog’s pain:

Oatmeal baths

Oatmeal is a popular treatment for dry, itchy skin that is also healthy for our beloved pets. In fact, oatmeal is an active component in most hypoallergenic shampoos for dogs to help soothe and prevent inflammation.

Begin by powdering ordinary oats and sprinkling it in your dog's warm bath. It usually takes 10 to 15 minutes for the oatmeal to calm red, irritated skin, regardless of the reason. It's also harmless and can be eaten, so it's alright if your dog licks it off during its bath.

Coconut oil

When rubbed into the coat and skin, solidified coconut oil can relieve the agony of doggie eczema, allergies, skin infections, and even insect bites. When searching for coconut oil, look out for phrases like "organic," "unrefined," or "virgin" on the label to ensure the best quality, human-branded coconut oil possible.

You may also try putting a tiny scoop of coconut oil into your dog's kibble if you want your coconut oil to do double duty, but you should always check your vet before changing your dog's diet.

Use soothing shampoo

It is wise to use a soothing shampoo and conditioner that is not only safer for your dog but also protects its skin's barrier. You could also try using a sulphate-free shampoo that is hypoallergenic, and soap-free to wash and moisturise the skin without stripping it of its natural oils.

After washing, condition your dog's hair and skin to rehydrate, moisturise, and restore the skin barrier.

Avoid using your own shampoo on your dog. Human shampoo is made specifically to help only human skin. Stick to a pet shampoo since human shampoos may remove natural oils from your dog's hair and irritate their skin, causing them to itch, which will only worsen the problem.

Tea soaks

Chamomile and green teas are well-known for their calming and anti-inflammatory properties in people, but they're also effective in dogs. Try giving your dog a calming soak in a chamomile or green tea bath if it has hot, itchy areas of skin.

Aloe vera

If you've ever experienced a sunburn, you know how effective all-natural aloe vera can be. Aloe vera is a strong healing agent that may also help to decrease redness and remove unwanted heat away from the skin. Aloe vera can be applied directly to your dog's afflicted areas.

Change its diet

If your dog is itching due to food allergies, removing probable trigger foods, like beef or wheat, might help a lot. Proceeding with a food elimination trial is the only way to confidently rule out food allergies. Fatty acid supplements added to your dog's normal diet can also assist with dry skin concerns and keep its coat healthy.

Apple cider vinegar

Did you know that apple cider vinegar has antibacterial and antifungal properties as well? You can try to make a simple mixture of equal parts of the vinegar and water in a clean spray bottle. Next, treat your dog's itchy regions with the solution. If your dog's paws are sensitive, soak them in the mixture for up to five minutes.

Best food for itchy dog skin

One of the best foods for itchy dog skin is a novel protein based diet, such as fish. This meal has a twofold benefit: they are a new protein source as well as a source of skin-supporting elements from natural fish oil.

This means they're ideal for dogs with food allergies as well as dogs with dry skin or unexplained sensitivities who just need a little extra help.

Nevertheless, preparing fish for your dog from scratch can be hard and complicated. Petcubes Gently Cooked King Salmon will be the best alternative for you. It is filled with all the rich nutrients from the salmon, especially the rich Omega-3 fatty acid. This has been shown to decrease inflammation, enhance digestion, and improve skin health.

Another option will be to try our Gently Cooked Crocodile. Crocodile meat is frequently utilised in novel food protein diets for allergy-prone dogs because it can assist with skin allergies like dermatitis. This is because the most effective way to treat skin allergies in dogs is to offer them a protein they have never had before.

When should I visit the vet?

There are a variety of causes for your dog's itching such as dog ear infections, but the two most prevalent are bugs and allergies. Regardless of the cause, you should seek veterinary help if you see your dog scratching all the time.

Do not provide any drugs until your veterinarian has examined your dog and given you instructions. Even if it’s a simple rash or fleas, it’s best to seek professional help as the last thing you want to do is make a significant decision that has unintended consequences.


Just remember at the end of the day, it's up to you to keep your dog healthy and happy. So, you can start by keeping your dog clean and limiting his exposure to outdoor allergens. These are the most important things you can do to keep his itchy skin at bay. There are also natural remedies for itchy dogs and you should follow your veterinarian’s advice and give the utmost care to your dog and it will return to normal soon enough.

Reviewed by: 

Dr Francis is one of the top wildlife nutritionists in Asia. Originating from Montreal, Canada, he left at 21 to pursue his Masters and subsequently a PhD in wildlife nutrition at Oxford Brookes University. Instead of taking the path of common animal science to learn about farm animals, or through the veterinarian space and taking a certificate in nutrition, he took the road less travelled to dive deep into the world of animal ecology, metabolism and nutrition.