The 5 Most Common Causes of Dog Itching 11

If your dog’s itching is excessive, it is an indication that there is something the matter.

While occasional itching and scratching is normal, if it is happening enough that you notice it, then you need to learn how to stop dog itching. If you don’t, the condition will worsen and can lead to all sorts of problems down the road – from secondary bacterial skin infections to hearing loss.

Puppy itching and scratching

Your dog needs your help to stop scratching so much.


You would think a dog’s itching should be a relatively simple problem to overcome, right?  The problem is, we can’t simply ask our dogs what the problem is. Instead, we must play detective and use our best guess as to the cause – of which there can be many.

Once the cause is determined, then a plan of action can be formed.

Steps To Figuring Out What Is Causing All The Itching

So, to stop dog scratching, one must first figure out why your dog is so itchy in the first place. The easiest way to do this is going through each of the possible causes, in order. 

  1. Fleas/Insect Bites
  2. Mange
  3. Improper Nutrition
  4. Psychological (anxiety/stress)
  5. Allergies

Allergies is last because there can be so many things your dog is allergic to.

And if you go through the items 1 through 4 and still find your dog’s itching has not gone down at all, then you can dive into determining the allergic trigger.

For example, improving your dog’s nutrition (#3) may very well take care of any food intolerance that your dog has, which may be the very reason for all the scratching.

#1 Fleas And Insect Bites

Fleas and insect bites can cause non-stop scratching, especially if your dog has an actual allergy to flea bites. But fleas are probably the easiest to determine: yes or no. Your dog has fleas or they don’t.

Click Here for more about Flea Control

#2 Mange in Dogs

Mange is caused by a parasite known as a mite and is another matter that is relatively easy to determine.

There are three main types of mange – read about mange in dogs to understand the different symptoms and with help determining if this is your dog’s problem.

Click Here for more about Mange

#3 Nutrition

Improper nutrition is actually a HUGE reason many dogs itch and is also commonly misdiagnosed as dog food allergies and other allergies.

Depending upon the type and quality of food you feed your dog, they may not be getting what they really need, and their immune system becomes over-stressed – producing itchiness.

Click Here for more about Nutrition

#4 Anxiety/Stress

Psychological problems that cause itching and licking can be very hard to determine.

Believe it or not, dog separation anxiety is a huge and growing problem, as is noise anxiety (fireworks, thunderstorms).Dog anxieties manifest themselves in many ways, and constant itchy skin is one of them.

Click Here for more about Anxiety in Dogs

#5 Allergies in Dogs

Allergies in dogs can be so difficult – your dog, like you, can become allergic to so many things.

  • allergens inhaled, such as pollen and dust mites;
  • allergens absorbed through skin contact, such as rubber, wool, pesticides;
  • insect bites, such as fleas and mosquitoes;
  • and of course, dog food allergies.

But when dealing with allergies in dogs, rather than using anti-histamines (which are meant for humans), you really should try to boost their immune system and control your pet’s environment to limit exposure to the allergen.

Click Here for more about Allergies

Those Are The Top 5 Reasons For Dog Itching

So those are the main reasons that cause dogs to itch and scratch incessantly. Unless you specifically know what is the problem from the beginning, go through these systematically, eliminating areas and helping you to narrow in on your dog’s problem.

Take a look at Natural Itching Remedies for ways to help calm the itching while you take care of the problem.

By KC Jones


carl baldry says:

i have a rhodesian ridgback thats nearl four and he keeps scratching and licking his bum. i wormed him five weeks ago and i fleed im a few weeks ago to. the vet looked at his bottom and said there is nothing there. i cant think what it is could you help please. thank you

StopDogItching says:

Kind of surprised the vet said there was nothing he could do, so I am assuming your dog got checked for any serious issues, and has no serious or deep lesions or infections from the scratching and licking. Just from what you are saying, it kind of sounds like your dog has hot spots.

One of my dog gets them if she gets any flea bites at all (even just one or two), and keeps biting and licking the bum and tail even though all the fleas are gone (I get out the flea comb just to double check). She creates her own sores, and these itch. It is kind of a vicious cycle for them. By the constant licking they are keeping the area moist which contributes to bacterial growth and the sores never completely healing.

There are liquids/gels you can get at most pet supply stores for hot spots (again – assuming these are not infected or serious lesions on the skin). These help kill the bacteria and reduce the itchy feeling. This will not fix the problem over night – you need to keep applying and reapplying until the sores are all gone. And always double check for fleas as well, as these can start the whole process.

Good luck – and remember, it does take a while. I’ve had to apply the gel a couple of times a day for well over a week before I got her tail healed last year.

Dana says:

I have a parm. that scratches all the time. and has now ripped his his hair out on his siiiiiiide and tail. could it be from feas?

StopDogItching says:

Fleas are definitely the most common reason, especially at this time of the year. There have been times when I have looked my dog over and over and could swear there were no fleas. But it wasn’t until I got a flea comb (anywhere from $3-$10) at a pet supply store that I was finally able to see them. And if your dog is sensitive to flea bites, or has a flea allergy, it only takes a couple of bites to send them in a tizzy.

I always say treat for fleas first. Give him a good bath and then apply some flea control (natural if your dog is sensitive). Also make sure to vacuum the house. During flea season, I try to vacuum every other day.

CrissieNes says:

Yeah you said it: “there can be so many things your dog can be allergic to.” Seems like my dog is allergic to everything. She was scratching and had a rash until we found a food called L.I.D. sweet potato & fish that doesn’t make her react. She hasn’t scratched since thanks to the Natural Balance food, which solved all her problems.

StopDogItching says:

Natural Balance LID is probably the dog food I hear most about as far as helping with dog allergies. It’s just nice that there is something out there that helps them with all that itching!

Stephen says:

Frusteration is an Itchy DOG !

As we approach SPRING Itchy Allergy Season, it is important to begin to build Tolerance to Enviro Allergy TroubleMakers.

Friendly Reminder: 85% of our Itchy Allergy Dogs = Allergy to the Same Pollens, Dust Mites & Molds that We Suffer From.

While nutricious FOODs are important, they do not address the Allergy Source ..

So, if a DVM Derm is not near by for Allergy Skin Testing / Shots, you may want to try Doggy GOO.

Visit Doggy GOO Testimonial page to read what otehr Pet Parents are GOO saying.

Connie Sunday says:

We recently took in a female dog (unknown mid size breed) a month ago that was left in a house after her owners up and moved. Did take her to vet for itching and she was given a cortisone shot as well as monthly supply of Comfortis for fleas. She wouldn’t eat any dog food canned or dry. I would boil chicken in chicken broth just to get her to eat something. She would take a few bites. I did take her back to vet complaining that she would not eat. He ran blood work, checked her stool, checked her teeth and did an all over exam. She is fine and healthy. About a year old. After about 4 days she finally began to eat canned dog food.
Now we are facing issues of her itching and scratching continiously even after flea treatments. I know it is quite bothersome to her as well as to us. She does however have hair like a terrier. She constantly bites at her legs, base of tail, anal area as well as around the vulva area. She is spayed. She scratches about the neck and face area. Help! What can I do to bring her as well as our selves some comfort?

StopDogItching says:

I know your pain. Our dogs got fleas a couple of summers ago and it truly was a miserable experience for our dogs. And it wasn’t like there were hundreds of them either, just a couple of fleas.

I know you gave her flea treatments, but did you treat your house as well. If not, fleas are probably jumping back on her and biting her again (I don’t know how Comfortis works). I would really try to give her supplements to boost her immune system, like fish oil. And remember, it is not going to work right away, it takes time.

In the mean time, try using a topical spray, like Itchin’ For Relief to help ease the itchy sensation.

Bob Accardi says:

I have a german shepherd who from spring thru 1/2 of fall chew her paws and her belly until they are raw . She been to three vets the last on gave her antibiotic & corisone which worked very well until they were done and slowly she started again. I now give her 75mg of benadryl a day which helps . Is there somwthing else I can due, with my limited resorces, to help her.

StopDogItching says:

Beef up her immune system, with either supplements and/or her food. This can help her cope a little better. Do you use fertilizer or pesticides in your yard where she goes out? She could be having reactions to that. I would also try to wash off her feet whenever she comes in if at all possible – there could be something seasonal (pollen, fertilizer, etc) that is getting on her paws.

Refer to this article for what to wash your dog’s paws off with Thirty Seconds to Relieve Your Pet’s Itchy Paws

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