Relief For An Itchy Dog

If you have an itchy dog you've probably got an unhappy dog, or at least an uncomfortable dog.   No doubt you're also desperate to find the cause so you can stop your dog constantly scratching.  There are many reasons why dog's itch, but did you know the time of year that they itch can be a clue to the reason why?

It's not only seasonal allergies where changes in the weather, causes changes in your dog's skin.

In fact, the time of year that your dog suffers more from itchy skin can tell you a lot about why your dog is itching.

How to find the cause of an itchy dog.

 For example, a dog that starts to get itchy in springtime may well be suffering from allergies, but did you know that a dog that itches more in winter is probably suffering from dry skin or a dog that itches more when it is hot and humid is probably suffering from yeast?

Time of Year Dogs Start Itching

Time of Year Common Cause
Spring Allergies or Yeast
Summer Allergies , Yeast or Hot Spots
Winter/Fall Dry Skin or Dandruff
All Year Itching Allergies or Mange

It may not always be easy to figure out why your dog is itchy but I bet you know when it starts.  If you're like most people you start to surf the internet as soon as your dog starts to constantly scratch.  You're hoping to find the reason why your dog is itching so you can get him some help. Problem with that is you usually need to know what your dog is suffering from to be able to look it up. 

That's why I decided to organize the common reasons dogs itch by the time of year that they start.  That way you only need to figure out what season you're in right now and research those conditions.  So, let's start!

Itchy Dog in Spring

Without a doubt, the most common cause of dogs with itchy skin that starts in spring, are seasonal allergies.  A dog with allergies will be scratching and itching a lot.  Especially the face, belly, paws, and ears.  Generally, the itching starts in spring but usually lasts through summer too.  But, don't be too sure it's allergies, it could also be yeast instead.

The two most common allergies in spring are flea and inhalant allergies. Both of which can be treated with a gentle shampoo and anti-itch spray.

See here for more information on the different types of allergies, the symptoms of each and how to best treat each one.  Oh, and don't forget I mentioned yeast, read on to see if your dog is suffering from yeast instead.

Summertime Itching in Dogs

As mentioned, dogs that suffer from allergies will still be suffering through the summertime.  But that's not the only cause of a dog itching in summer, yeast is another big factor that causes a dog to itch.  In fact, yeast is often misdiagnosed as an allergy.

Yeast lives in the moist areas of our dog's skin and proliferates as soon as the weather gets hot and humid.  Key areas are the ears, paws, groin area and any skin folds that your dog may have.  You see, it's very similar to allergies.  Tell tale signs that it's yeast are lots of ear scratching, obsessive paw licking and butt scooting across your floors!

If you think your dog is suffering from yeast, you can find more information here.

The best way to treat yeast is with an anti-fungal shampoo and anti-itch spray that also has anti-fungal properties.

Hot Spots in Dogs

Another cause of an itchy dog during summer are hot spots.  Hot spots are angry red sores that are caused by extreme itching that causes your dog to bite, lick, and scratch at one area until it produces the angry red sore known as a hot spot. 

If you notice your dog scratching in one area constantly, part his fur to look for an open sore.  You can find more information on hot spots in dogs here.

The best way to treat hot spots is with a medicated shampoo and anti-itch spray.

Itchy Dog in Winter (or Fall)

Dogs that start scratching in the winter or even fall, are almost certainly suffering from dry skin.  It's also probably the easiest cause of an itchy dog to diagnose and is usually indoor dogs that suffer from dry skin the most. 

Dogs playing in the snow.

Why?  Well, it's not necessarily the cold weather that is drying their skin out but more likely the forced air heating in your home. 

The best solution for treating dry skin is with an colloidal oatmeal shampoo followed by a conditioning rinse.

You should use the shampoo and rinse on your dog at least once a month and start as soon as you turn on that heating!  You can also use a good anti-itch spray for in-between baths or for those really itchy areas. You can find more information on dry skin in dogs here.

Dry (or Oily) Skin That Has Excessive White Flakes

Some dogs that have dry skin also have lots of white flakes.  If you notice this on your dog, chances are he has Seborrhea, otherwise known as dandruff.  Dogs that suffer from dandruff will have lots of white flakes on their fur which is fairly easy to spot and recognize. 

Dandruff comes in two forms, oily or dry, which basically means your dog can have dry skin dandruff or oily skin dandruff.  

The best way to treat dandruff in dogs is with an anti-dandruff shampoo for dogs followed by a conditioning rinse.

You can find more information on how to recognize and treat dog dandruff here.

All Year Round Itchy Dog

What about those dogs that seem to itch all year round?  While it's true that most dogs itch from time to time, but there are some that obsessively scratch year round, no matter what the weather.  These cases are harder to treat and will often require a vet visit to determine the cause.

Having said that, If your dog is itching and scratching all year long, then it's most likely due to either a food allergy or an allergy to something that is present all year such as dust mites or possibly even mange.  In either case, you'll probably need more help to determine the cause which you can find here.  Taking your dog to your vet is probably a good idea too.

Finally, if you have an itchy dog that also has bumps, pimples, sores, or a rash, then further investigate is necessary to find out what is causing your dog to itch.  You can do that by following these three simple steps here.

To Sum Up....

In short an itchy dog can be caused by many things. Dogs with allergies or yeast will itch more in spring and summer and dogs with dry skin will itch more in the winter.  Dogs that have mange, or severe allergies (especially food allergies) will itch all year long. 

Knowing why your dog is itching and finding the right shampoo to treat each condition, can ease a lot of discomfort for your dog.