Hi stranger! Signing up for MypetMD is easy, free and puts the most relevant content at your fingertips.

Get Instant Access To

  • 24/7 alerts for pet-related recalls

  • Your own library of articles, blogs, and favorite pet names

  • Tools designed to keep your pets happy and healthy



or Connect with Facebook

By joining petMD, you agree to the Privacy Policy.

PetMD Seal

Itchiness, Desire to Scratch, Chew or Lick Causing Inflamed Skin in Dogs

ADVERTISEMENT

Pruritus in Dogs

 

Pruritus is the medical term used to define a dog's sensation to itch, or the sensation that provokes its desire to scratch, rub, chew, or lick its hair and skin. Pruritus is also an indicator of inflamed skin. Intense scratching can eventually lead to partial or full hair loss, but with treatment, prognosis is positive.

 

The condition or disease described in this medical article can affect both dogs and cats. If you would like to learn more about how pruritus affects cats, please visit this page in the petMD health library.

 

Symptoms

 

Some of the most common symptoms seen in dogs include:

 

  • Scratching
  • Licking
  • Biting
  • Chewing
  • Self-trauma
  • Inflammation of the skin
  • Hair loss (alopecia)

 

Causes

 

There are many causes of pruritus, including fleas, scabies, lice, allergies, bacterial infections, abnormal cell development (neoplasia), and immune disorders.

 

Diagnosis

 

A skin biopsy may be needed to determine the diagnosis as there are many triggers that can cause skin itching and the desire to scratch. Allergy testing is often used to determine and localize the cause of the itching or desire to scratch.

 

 

Treatment

 

The treatment given will be dependent upon the underlying cause for the condition. If the dog's diet is causing the skin irritation and the desire to scratch, dietary modifications will be recommended. Medicine may be given orally, by injection, or as a medicated topical (external) ointment to minimize or eliminate the desire to scratch.

 

Living and Management

 

Pruritus requires ongoing treatment and can be frustrating for the dog's owner if progress is not made. Administering the prescribed medications will help to reduce or eliminate the desire for the dog to scratch. Dietary modifications may also be called for.

 

Prevention

 

There are currently no known preventative measures, but with maintenance and treatment, recurrence can be avoided or minimized.

 

 

Related Articles

Skin Disease Due to Food Allergies in Dogs
Dermatologic food reactions are non-seasonal reactions which occur following ingestion...
READ MORE
Mange in Dogs
Mange (demodicosis) is an inflammatory disease in dogs caused by various types of...
READ MORE
Skin Disease Caused by Licking in Dogs
Acral lick dermatitis is a firm, raised, ulcerative, or thickened plaque usually...
READ MORE
  • Lifetime Credits:
  • Today's Credits:
Hurry Before All Seats are Taken!
Enroll
Be an A++ Pet Parent! Take fun & free courses to earn badges & certifications. Choose a course»
Search dog Articles

 

Latest In Dog Nutrition

The Role of Exercise in Pet Weight Loss
Exercise is beneficial for our pets in many ways, including weight loss, and here's...
READ MORE
Pet Food Ingredients that Promote Longer Life
Pet foods, in order to promote a healthy long life, must be balanced and complete...
READ MORE
What Are Lean Proteins and How They Can Help ...
Protein is an important component in your pet's food, but not all proteins are the...
READ MORE
Around the Web
MORE FROM PETMD.COM