During the average day we may unknowingly scratch an itch here and there. It is normal behavior for animals and humans alike. When the itching becomes excessive or compulsive, it usually signals there is something foul at play. Determining the cause and solving the issue is important for both your pet’s health and comfort.
Why is my Pet Scratching?
Several things can cause excessive itchiness for your dog or cat. Your pet may be suffering from fleas or mites, allergies, skin infections, contact dermatitis, or an autoimmune disorder. Oftentimes, the itching will be complimented by one or more other symptoms, which makes identifying the issue somewhat easier. If you observe your pet scratching excessively, look for other accompanying symptoms.
Luckily, the underlying problem can almost always be determined through a comprehensive physical examination by your veterinarian. Some issues like allergies, may require laboratory testing to identify the exact source of the irritant.
How can I help my Pet?
Aside from veterinarian care, there are a number of things you can do to make your pet more comfortable:
- Keep your pet’s hair short. Long hair attracts moisture and particulate matter. The combination can house environmental allergens and other harmful material.
- Wash your pet and use a moisturizer. Bathe your pet with a special purpose pet shampoo once every couple weeks. Applying a moisturizing conditioner afterwards can help reduce the chances of dry, itchy skin.
- Supplement with fish oil. An appropriate dose of fish oil for your pet can help moisturize skin and reduce inflammation.
- Don’t neglect pest control. Ensure you are giving your pet regular flea and tick treatments. It can be easy to forget, so mark it down on the calendar.
- Check ears and skin for infections. Skin infections can be easy to miss under all that hair. If your pet is scratching specific areas repeatedly, check at that location under their hair for any signs of infection.
Has your pet ever had an itching problem? Were you able to determine the cause?