Itchy Dogs!

1st July 2023

Itchy skin conditions tend to be more common in the summer months. Affected dogs tend to scratch and lick so much that they cause further skin damage and the problem quickly gets worse. 

What might cause a pet to feel itchy?


Fleas are the number one cause of itchiness in dogs. Some dogs are very sensitive to flea bites and only need one or two bites to become itchy. Others can carry a large number of fleas without seeming itchy at all. Scratching and fur loss tend to be worse on the rump, above the dog’s tail. The best way to check for fleas is to look for tiny dark flea droppings in the dog’s coat.


There are three main types of mite that can cause itchiness in dogs – demodex mange (sometimes called “red mange”), sarcoptic mange (sometimes called “fox mange”) and harvest mites. These often cause distinctive patterns of hair loss and skin discolouration and can be tested for with skin and blood tests at the veterinary surgery.

Full scent glands

If the scent glands just inside the bottom become blocked, dogs can feel itchy all around the hindquarters (the glands are internal so the dog cannot reach them directly). A veterinary surgeon can check these glands and empty them if necessary.


Dogs can be allergic to food components or to environmental allergens such as pollens and dust. It is possible to diagnose and treat food allergies with careful dietary changes. For allergies to the pollens and dusts that are all around us, it is usually necessary to use medication to relieve itching and protect the skin.

Unusual causes

Occasionally pets will be itchy because of more complex medial conditions such as liver disease or abnormalities with the immune system.

Itchy dogs should receive a health check to work out and treat the cause of any itching as quickly as possible. At Acorn House Veterinary Hospital our experienced team of vets and nurses will be happy to help you and your pet.

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