A dog scratching his neck.

A pet that constantly scratches at themselves can be incredibly hard to deal with, especially if their tags jangle every time. While it can be irritating to people, think about how grating it must be for a pet to live with itchy skin. Skin issues can often be resolved with treatment and time, but we don’t always immediately know the cause of itchy skin. We’ll go into the common causes of skin problems in pets and what can be done to help them.

All of a Sudden

Similar to humans, cats and dogs can suffer from dermatology challenges. Left alone, certain skin problems in pets can lead to stress, pain, and possible infection. That’s no way for any animal to live. Here are some of the most common issues facing our pets:

  • External Parasites: Fleas are often responsible for causing crazy, relentless itching in cats and dogs. What’s worse, many pets develop Flea Allergy Dermatitis, which is characterized by a severe hypersensitivity to flea saliva. The good news is that while this problem is prevalent, it is easy to treat. Additionally, flea-related allergies can be prevented with routine parasite prevention medication.
  • Environmental Dermatitis: Many pets react to certain substances or surfaces with itchy skin, rashes, blisters, swelling, and redness. Typically triggers in the environment may include grass, dander, pollen, wool, dust mites, and more. While the result shows up on a pet’s skin, triggers are often inhaled. Antihistamines can be administered to soothe symptoms, but skin treatments like oatmeal baths or cortisone cream are also highly effective.
  • Nutritional Allergies: It is possible that skin problems in pets are caused by an ingredient in their food. Look for any signs of itchy, dry, cracked skin around the ears and paws. Frequent ear infections, diarrhea, or vomiting may be related to food allergies. A new approach to their diet, including an elimination of problematic ingredients, may be necessary to reduce pain and discomfort. 

Facing Skin Problems in Pets

If your pet is increasingly scratching at certain parts of the body, it is time to seek help. Repeating scratching can lead to hair loss, open wounds, and bacterial infections. In addition to swelling and inflamed or swollen skin, look out for watery eyes, sneezing, and changes to behavioral patterns.

We offer full dermatological services as a part of overall wellness, and are committed to walking hand-in-hand with pet owners to soothe a pet’s skin problems and stop any damage. After a thorough physical exam and discussion about behavior changes, we will begin to look for the root of possible skin problems in pets. Various labs, such as stool and blood tests, can be very helpful at identifying skin problems in pets. 

A diagnosis and treatment options will follow. It can take some time for pets to feel better, but itchy skin should not be accepted as normal.

If you have additional questions or concerns about skin problems in pets, please call us at (913) 681-2818. We are always here for you at Blue Valley Animal Hospital