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scratching puppyIt can be common for owners to scold their dogs for scratching and promote being quiet, but the scratching and licking will continue in private if your pet has skin allergies or other dermatolgical problems.

When owners notice excessive grooming, licking or chewing of the paws or abdomen, or reddening of the ears the problem may be skin allergies. Another common sign is saliva causing a red-brown stain on light colored hair.

Over time, the itchy condition, or pruritis, becomes more severe to the point it dominates the dog's life and therapy becomes necessary. Untreated pruritis results in baldness and secondary infections of yeast and bacteria.

When an animal presents with symptoms of pruritis, veterinarians must first rule out multiple causes of the itchiness prior to arriving at the cause. The pruritis may be caused by infestation of fleas, sarcoptic mange, or demodex, bacterial and skin yeast infections, food sensitivity, or allergies to common substances in the environment.

  • Signs of Dermatitis
  • Excessive Grooming
  • Excessive licking and chewing of the paws, abdomen, and perineum
  • Baldness
  • Saliva staining
  • In long term cases a change in skin color

Causes of dermatitis and associated pruritis:

  • Infestation of fleas or other parasites
  • Bacterial and yeast skin infections
  • Food sensitivity
  • Hypersensitivity to the environment
  • Hormone imbalances

Typical treatment starts by eliminating parasites and skin infections. Hypoallergenic diets may be recommended. Allergy testing is completed to determine reactivity to common household mites, dusts, pollens, and molds.