The Pitch on the Itch!

posted: by: Dawn, RVT Tags: "Clinic Specials" "News" 

Nearly every day we see at least one, if not several, cases of itchy pets.  There are a variety of reasons as to why pets become excessively itchy. This is why anytime a pet owner calls in saying their pet is scratching or chewing themselves a lot, we recommend a doctor's exam to determine the underlying reason so we can treat appropriately.


Below are key reasons why pets itch:

-         Allergies (#1)-While humans have respiratory symptoms with allergies, pets more often have skin and ear problems.  Pets can have seasonal allergies to grasses and pollens, or year round allergies to food, fleas, and dust mites.  Like with humans, allergies can develop over time.

-         Fleas (#2)-Owners often will not see the fleas.  Technicians and doctors will look for sneaky fleas and also flea dirt (tiny black specs in the hair coat or on the skin).  One flea, even if unseen, can send a pet over the edge if they are super sensitive to flea bites.

-         Skin Infection-For various reasons, pets may develop a rash or pustules on the skin signaling either a bacterial infection or fungal infection (yeast or even ringworm).  This can occur from the pet chewing or licking the area, or can appear which will cause the pet to chew or scratch.

-         Mites-Various types of mites normally live under the skin.  In certain situations, they can cause lesions, hair loss, and itching.

-         Anal Glands-Chewing or licking around the rear end could be a sign that your pet’s anal glands need expressed.  Pets will chew or lick when anal glands are full and possibly infected.

-         Pain-Sometimes chewing at certain areas can be because that area is sore, such as at a joint.  Licking an area could also signal a wound, so check the area carefully for any hidden wounds.

-         Bored-Some pets will chew or lick at areas when they are bored or to get attention.  If these areas become sore or infected, the pet will lick even more.  These pets still need a doctor exam to rule out medical reasons and infections.  Then the behavior can be addressed.


All of the above problems should be addressed by a veterinarian as soon as possible.  Delaying any necessary treatment could cause complications or require treatment for longer durations.  If your pet is itching, chewing, or licking, please call us for an appointment!