Itching, scratching, and licking are signs your dog has a skin condition known as dermatitis. Find out what might be causing the skin problems and how you can help treat them.

Skin Conditions That Cause Itching & Irritability

An itching will inevitably occur in most dogs at some point. In most cases, it will be annoying but not harmful to your pet. However, some conditions must be seen by a veterinarian or a veterinary dermatologist and treated to prevent them from worsening.

    Causes, Symptoms & Treatment

    There are a number of factors that could be causing your dog to start licking, biting, or scratching at their fur. The following are some of the more frequent ones:

    Parasitic Bites

    Flea and mite bites are one of the most common causes of itching in dogs, and one of the simplest to treat. Your veterinarian can prescribe medication to treat the parasite problem. You can also give your dog preventative medication to keep fleas, mites, and ticks at bay.

    Environmental Dermatitis

    This is a form of skin irritation that can occur after coming into contact with particular substances, such as grass, dirt, or plants. The skin may become irritated, dry, or cracked; rashes, blisters, redness, or swelling may also be present.

    Antihistamines and oatmeal baths are two methods that have been suggested as potential treatments for this condition. Depending on the severity of the condition, your veterinarian may suggest a cortisone cream or another alternative.

    Nutritional Dermatitis

    This is a relatively uncommon problem for dogs, but they could have an allergic reaction to something in their food. Nutritional dermatitis typically causes skin irritation and scratching, but it can also cause digestive issues such as diarrhea or vomiting. If your dog exhibits either type of symptom, you should schedule an appointment with your veterinarian.

    Skin Allergies

    As a result of the fact that some dogs are more likely than others to develop allergies, their owners frequently find themselves in need of veterinary care for this reason. Itching is a common symptom that can be brought on by allergens, which can be found in a wide variety of places, such as pollen, animal dander, plants, and insects, among other things.

    In addition to itching, other symptoms include excessive grooming or licking, watery eyes and sneezing, rashes, and inflamed skin. All of these symptoms are caused by an allergic reaction. It's possible that your veterinarian will be able to figure out what's triggering the allergy, as well as make treatment and prevention suggestions for you based on their findings.


    A rash known as hives is an example of a particular kind of allergic reaction. The skin rash known as hives is a form of allergic reaction that can be brought on by a wide range of stimuli, including medication and insect bites. The dog will show signs of the condition in the form of a raised bump that will cause the hair on its body to stand on end.

    Itchy hives can sometimes cause swelling in the area around the eyes. The use of a shampoo that is hypoallergenic for dogs is typically helpful in reducing the severity of the problem. A leave-in conditioner that moisturizes the hair might also be helpful. Talk to your pet's veterinarian to find out what they think is best for your animal companion.

    Emergency Cases

    If your dog has been scratching for more than a few days, you should make an appointment with your veterinarian so that the cause of the problem can be identified and treated. Itching that lasts for an extended period of time can cause a dog to scratch and bite at their skin excessively, which can lead to a self-inflicted injury. If nothing is done to stop it, this situation can quickly become much worse.

    To learn more about skin problems in dogs, or to seek treatment options, contact our Los Angeles vets to book an appointment today.