Why is my Dog Itching?

 |  Aug 23rd 2010  |   4 Contributions

I have a German Shepherd/Grayhound mix who is 5 years old. She has been scratching and chewing herself to the point of pulling her hair and leaving sores. She doesn't have fleas or ticks.

We think it could be allergies. We recently moved back to California which corresponds with her behavior. We've given her baths in soothing shampoo but that doesn't help. She's had the same food for 5 years, no out of the ordinary treats. I've heard it's safe to give dogs benedryl, is this safe? Could something else be causing her excessive scratching and chewing?

Oceanside, CA

Allergies are the most common cause of itching and hair loss in dogs. Dogs can be allergic to many things, but fleas are the number one offender, especially in California.

You have said that your dog doesn't have fleas. Paradoxically, most dogs with flea problems don't "have" fleas. However, they may be bitten here and there--that's all it takes to cause an allergic reaction.

If your dog isn't on a high quality flea preventative then that's the first step. It can take up to six weeks for itching to improve after fleas are out of the picture.

You also should have your vet check your dog for other skin parasites (such as mites), skin infections, and other potential causes of itching and hair loss. It also is remotely possible that stress (from moving) contributed to the problem.

The links in this article will direct you to relevant pages on my website where these topics are covered in greater depth.


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