When you see your dog scratching and nibbling, the first thing you do is to check for fleas. You go through his coat, checking a bit by bit, using a flea comb, and nothing. And then you ask yourself: Why is my dog itchy but has no fleas?
If your dog is still itching and he doesn’t have fleas or a food allergy, there are few possibilities why he does that:
- Environmental allergies. Like mould, pollen, dust mites… Also, dogs may develop contact dermatitis when they come in contact with pesticides or some preservatives.
- Anxiety, stress, boredom. Like stressed people might bite their nails or scratch or twirl their hair. I, for example, scratch my back when I’m stressed. I’m aware of that and trying to get rid of this habit by using 5-second rules. I only started two weeks ago, but so far so good! But back to dogs! Dogs can respond to stress in a similar way by nibbling, chewing, scratching. They can even develop a condition similar to humans’ obsessive-compulsive disorder.
- Dry skin. Those of us with dry skin know how it feels. And we also know how fragile the dry skin is and how easily it can be damaged by scratching. A variety of factors, including cold weather and central heating in winter, unsuitable shampoo, fatty acid deficiencies, all can cause dry skin in dogs. And how your dog may respond to the discomfort of dry skin? Yes, by scratching, nibbling, and licking.
- Hormonal imbalances. Some time ago, I had a problem with my thyroid gland, causing hormonal imbalance. My body wasn’t producing enough thyroid hormone or putting out too much of the hormone cortisol. One of the symptoms was itchy skin. It was so uncomfortable! I had a cold shower a few times a day, I was moisturising with Hand Butter a few times a day, and even using Skin Relief spray. This hormonal imbalance can cause superficial skin infection, that make the skin itchy. And hormonal imbalance may be a reason why your dog is itchy.
- Pain. When trying to find out why your dog is licking or chewing excessively, especially his feet, be sure to consider the possibility that something is making them physically uncomfortable. For example, joint pain or arthritis. When we humans feel pain and discomfort in our joints, we rub them or hold them. Dogs can’t do that, so they nibble and chew. Or if you notice your dog is biting his paw repeatedly. He could have a thorn or sharp stone stuck in his paw pad or between the pads.
Do you know the reason why is your dog scratching? And what do you do?