Why is my pet so itchy?

This month’s we will be focusing on how to keep your pet looking (and feeling) their best, starting with skin care. First up; Itchy pets!


One of the most common reasons we see cats and dogs is for itchy skin. In some cases it can lead to bald patches with fur loss, sore skin and infections.


When is scratching not normal?
All animals will have a nibble or scratch at themselves occasionally. However, if your pet’s life is being frequently interrupted by their need to scratch then they may have a problem.
Itchiness (also known as Pruritus) can be rated based on how often and when it occurs:

Normal dog/cat  No problems
Very mild itchiness    Scratches occasionally
Mild itchiness    Scratches but not when playing/exercising /sleeping

Moderate itchiness    Scratches at night but not when distracted with play/exercise

Severe itchiness   Long episodes of scratching, even when sleeping, exercising or playing

Very severe itchiness  Almost continuously scratching , won’t stop unless restrained.

Why is my pet itchy?
There are lots of reasons your pet can be itchy, including
• Dry skin – Some dogs are prone to dry, itchy skin. Supplementation and shampoos may help with these cases.
• Infection – Skin infections (superficial dermatitis or pyoderma) due to bacteria or yeasts can cause itchy, smelly skin.
• Allergy – Another very common cause of itchy skin in dogs and cats. Have a look at our ‘atopy and allergy’ blog for a more in depth discussion.
• Parasites – Fleas are the most common cause of itchiness in our pets. Check out our blog on parasites for more information.
• Behavioural issues – some pets , especially cats, may overgroom when stressed. They will lick, chew, scratch and pull out their fur. This can also lead to secondary skin infections, making your pet even itchier! Dogs may also develop ‘lick granulomas’ and ‘hot spots’ if they lick or scratch themselves repeatedly.


When to contact the vet?
If you feel that your pet is showing signs of itchiness, whether mild or severe, please feel free to contact us for advice.

What can I do to help prevent itchiness?
Parasites, especially fleas, are the most common reasons for itchiness . Keeping up to date with your pet’s flea and worming treatment will help keep itching at bay. Bathing will also help: take a look at our blog on grooming for some top tips. There are supplements available to keep your pets skin and coat in tip top condition.

For more advice please give us a call on 01437 760111

comments powered by Disqus