A dog that is constantly scratching at his skin because it is itching will cause problems. It is not easy to watch your dog chewing and scratching at himself and the itching is certainly uncomfortable for your dog, so if you have an itchy Lab on your hands read on to learn how to change things.
What causes your dog to scratch?
When you find the actual cause of itching and itchiness in your dog then you are over halfway towards solving the problem, so take a good look at your dog to see if you can find any of the following symptoms:
Swelling, greasy, hairless patches or red sores can be a cause of either a yeast or bacterial infection. These are usually easily treated by your vet with cream or antibiotics. If you catch an infection early you can prevent its rapid spreading.
Some scratching is a nervous issue that often accompanies excessive licking and chewing of legs or patches of skin and not necessarily because of itching. This may cease if your dog is given sufficient exercise or mental stimulation. Separation anxiety can also cause a nerve-based skin disorder.
Pollen, grass and food allergies can cause excessive itching and scratching. Your dog may be allergic to the grain used in his food or a shampoo that you bathe him in which can cause itching. Dry skin can be caused by insufficient nutrition and this can cause your dog to feel itchy.
Environmental factors can also cause itching in a dog. An example of this is nettle stings. External parasites are a major cause of itching, especially if they’re brindle coated, like these. Fleas and ticks are the main ones in dogs, however, even worms can cause itchiness for your Lab. By keeping your doggy pal pest free, with prescribed treatments, you will minimize the risk of infection.
Your vet will be extremely useful in identifying the cause of itching and scratching in your dog,. He will also be able to prescribe the best treatment, whether it be a food change or antihistamines for an allergy, antifungal creams for infection, or pesticides for fleas.
As previously mentioned, some nervous itching can arise when a, is not receiving enough mental or physical stimulation. This is called “neurogenic” scratching and can be the most difficult to treat. This type of itching and scratching can be eventually sorted out by playing with your dog more, encouraging him to learn new things and increasing the amount of physical exercise. It’s interesting but often true that attending a training class with your dog will stop him itching.
In the interim, however, you will need to stop your dog being able to get to patches of skin that he has chewed or licked until they are sore. You can do this by applying a loose bandage to the area or using a veterinary cone to stop him reaching the patch.
If the itchy parts are on your dog’s body then you can consider a T-shirt or similar to stop him getting to them and irritating them further. These itchy patches must also be watched carefully because if your dog breaks the skin this can lead to infection that will need to be treated by a vet.