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Itchy skin in dogs

Dog on white background

Overview

  • Have you noticed your dog scratching more than usual? Do they nibble at certain parts of their body? Have they developed any other symptoms such red skin, alopecia, sores or stained fur?
  • Itchy skin is a very common problem in dogs and can be caused by many different conditions, some minor and some more serious.
  • Book an appointment with your vet if your dog has itchy skin - it’s a very uncomfortable problem that can make a dog feel miserable.

General information and causes

Most dogs scratch every now and then, but excessive scratching indicates something is wrong. Itchy skin is a symptom of many different conditions including:

Symptoms of itchy skin

Scratching isn’t normal if it happens regularly (more than 4-5 times day), and/or causes other symptoms such as:

Beware, some dogs scratch and lick in private - keep an eye out for secretive scratching!

Photo illustrating saliva staining on a white dog's paw

Saliva staining on a dog's paw

When to contact your vet

Always contact your vet if you think your dog is scratching or nibbling himself/herself more than normal. Itchy skin can be very uncomfortable and shouldn’t be ignored.

Home remedies

The treatment required for an itchy skin problem depends entirely on what is causing it. It might be something you can manage at home, but it’s important to talk to your vet and find the cause before trying any treatment at home.

Published: August 2020

PetWise Pet Health Hub – brought to you thanks to support from players of People’s Postcode Lottery 

Written by vets and vet nurses. This advice is for UK pets only.

Illustrations by Samantha Elmhurst