Dogs often scratch when they feel it’s necessary, it’s a normal part of their behaviour. However, if it continues for extended periods and seems not to reduce in occurrence or go away, it could signify a more serious condition. If you notice intense scratching in dogs, immediately consulting the veterinarian should be your next course of action.

What is Pruritus?

The medical term for itchy skin is Pruritus. It’s a common clinical sign of a skin disorder in dogs and can result in intense scratching in dogs, redness, and inflammation of the skin. If the cause of itching is left and your dog keeps scratching, they can develop Pyoderma or pus in the skin, skin bleeding, hair loss and scabs.

Causes of Intense Itching and Scratching in Dogs

Food Allergy

Skin itching is a common adverse reaction to food allergy. Intense scratching in dogs soon follows, and the condition won’t go away until the dog stops consuming the type of food. Some of the most common food allergens in dogs are beef, dairy products, chicken, eggs and fish.

Seasonal Allergy

Dogs, like humans, also get seasonal allergies. It occurs when they inhale or touch something to which they are sensitive. Seasonal allergies can manifest in different ways, and one of them is continuous scratching in dogs because their skin becomes very itchy.

Contact Dermatitis

Canine Atopic Dermatitis happens when there is exposure and reaction to otherwise harmless substances, such as grass, dog bed stuffing, or even dog shampoo. It is believed to be hereditary, and the onset of symptoms starts at the age of three. Among the many symptoms of Contact Dermatitis are chronic Pruritus, scratching in the ears, underbelly, around the eyes and groin.


One of the most common reasons for intense itching and scratching in dogs is external parasites. When left untreated, these insects can become a massive problem. Bloodsucking parasites such as fleas and ticks can cause Lyme disease, and those that burrow deep within their skin, such as scabies, are highly contagious.

Bacterial Infection

Bacterial infections may also cause dogs to have itchy skin. Whilst it’s more prevalent in older dogs, younger pups can also catch them. The most common is the Staphylococcal or Staph infection. They produce red, pus-filled bumps and crusty borders. It’s a zoonotic risk, meaning dogs and humans can transmit it between each other.

Intense Scratching In Dogs: What To Do To Make Your Furbaby Feel Better

It can be hard to pinpoint the cause of itchiness in dogs. Some breeds are more prone to skin issues than others, but even the healthiest dogs can experience itchiness from time to time. It’s important to maintain your furbaby’s hygiene and pay attention to their skin and behaviour changes. Seek help from your veterinarian if you notice intense and incessant scratching in dogs.

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