Itchy pets and how to help them

Dr. Cynthia Maro

Pets get itchy or pruritic for a variety of reasons. Most of the time pets are itching for medical reasons, and not just because they want attention.  

An occasional itch can be the result of a bug bite, some matted fur or even getting some mud or a stick between the paw pads, but repeated itching, biting, licking, over-grooming, rubbing on furniture or rolling incessantly in the grass can be a warning sign of more serious problems. 

Pruritus or itchiness can be a sign of any one or a combination of the following health problems: 

  • Atopic dermatitis/inhalant allergies 
  • Contact allergies 
  • Food allergies or sensitivities 
  • Skin mites 
  • Flea bite dermatitis 
  • Staphylococcal hypersensitivity (allergic reaction to the Staph bacteria which enters the deeper layer of the skin when inflamed) 
  • Bacterial dermatitis (inflammation of skin secondary to infection) 
  • Fungal or yeast infections, including ringworm 
  • Dry skin 
  • Dietary deficiencies 
  • Hormone imbalances, including thyroid disorders and adrenal gland imbalances 
  • Nerve damage, inflammation or chiropractic subluxations 
  • Very rarely: OCD or Obsessive Compulsive Disorder