Causes of itchy dog skin

Scott Emerson

It’s impossible to always find the source of itchy dog skin.

In the winter it’s often dry skin aggravated by a heater. In humid environments it seems to be mold that causes the biggest problems. In dry areas, dust mites can be a contributor. A low percentage of dogs are allergic to certain food ingredients.

But by far the largest factor is inhaled allergens. In the spring this is usually tree pollen. In the summer, grass pollen. In the fall, weeds and flowers.

Genetic factors are a huge contributor too. Dog breeds that come from a very small gene pool are prone to allergies. Smaller dogs seems to suffer more itching, again because of the genetic influence of selecting for smaller and smaller puppies. Luckily, smaller dogs rarely do serious skin damage or worry a single spot. They will often produce reddish stains caused by a reaction of their saliva and skin and hair, but that’s usually the extent of the problem, except for the licking itself.

White or pink skinned dogs are sensitive to everything. They get dry skin, sunburn, allergies, you name it. They are also prone to secondary infections, rashes and sores.

Larger breeds will often chew the hair off, or focus on a particular spot on their leg or paw. Instead of just licking, they will use their teeth and scrape off hair and skin. Bigger dogs are at a more serious risk of long-term chronic problems. Early stage treatment is important to make sure it doesn’t develop complications.

English bulldogs have further complications. They will often develop cysts between their toes, usually on the back feet. There are a dozen theories as to why, but it’s obviously in their genes. Few other breeds have this problem. Dermapaw can help reduce swelling and discomfort of interdigital cysts. We have dozens of English bulldog customers that use it primarily for this.

Keratosis is the weird knobbly, scaly skin that often looks like mud on your dog’s nose. It’s fairly harmless but it looks uncomfortable and can itch and crack. Dermapaw helps soothe your dog’s itchy nose and replace any lost oils. It feels nice and smells good.

Some dogs will develop keratosis on the bottom of their paws. Dachshunds are prone to this. It looks like bumply, scaly stalagtites. Sometimes there is hair growing out of it. Rub Dermapaw into the cracks and between your dog’s toes. It won’t prevent the keratosis, but it should make it feel better.

Despite all the things that could be causing your dog’s skin to itch, there’s very little you can do about most of them. There are also no cures on the horizon for allergies, or generalized dry, sensitive, inflamed skin.

So the options narrow down to symptom management. Overall, you want to keep your dog’s skin in the best physical shape possible. Reduce the inflammatory response. Provide protection against bacteria and the environment.

The more things you can do to help your dog’s skin feel better, the less he will lick his paws.

Hopefully, you can find a combination that will keep problems under control, and licking to a minimum.