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Common Causes of Itching in Dogs

Photo by Adrianna Calvo from Pexels
Itching can be a symptom of many different health conditions in dogs, and constant aggravation of an area, caused by itching, can lead to subsequent health problems such as infection. We've outlined some of the most common causes of skin irritation to help you find the source of your pup’s itching.


When a dog comes into contact with an allergen their immune system responds defensively by producing antibodies which cause inflammation, and in turn, itchy dermatitis. Your pet’s vet can perform a skin scrape and blood test to more accurately determine the cause of your pet’s allergies.

Inhalant Allergy

Your dog’s immune system might be triggered by inhalants such as dust, mould, and pollen. You can determine if your pup is allergic to pollen by taking note of when their itching increases. If they tend to scratch more around Spring, they're likely to be allergic to pollen. If your dog has an allergy to one, or more, of these normal environmental conditions, it would be beneficial to wipe off their fur with Body & Paw Wipes when returning home from a walk as some allergens can be absorbed through the skin.

Contact Allergy

Skin contact with an allergen such as a particular grooming product, household cleaning product, feathers, or wool, can cause an inflammatory response in some dogs. Consider changing your pet’s shampoo to something made for sensitive skin such as our Oatmeal Range; removing certain items from their bedding; and using natural cleaning products.

Flea Allergy

Flea allergies are a result of a dog’s overactive immune response to flea saliva. After only one bite, a dog with an allergy will scratch as if they're covered in them. Prevention is better than treatment, so make sure to use a shampoo that repels fleas such John Paul Pet’s Tea Tree Shampoo; as well as a flea collar to kill existing fleas; or other deterrent.

Food Allergy

Food allergies can create dermatitis along with issues with digestion. If you suspect a food allergy, try putting your dog on an exclusion diet that removes better known allergens such as soy, beef, and wheat, then slowly reintroduce each ingredient whilst monitoring your dog’s skin condition.



Mange is a skin disease in dogs which is caused by two kinds of mites. Demodex is the most common mite and lives in the hair follicle of most dogs. When a dog’s immune system is low these mites can proliferate causing hair loss around the face. Scabies is a less common mite that can be contracted from other animals, and even passed on to humans. Unlike Demodex, Scabies can leave your pup feeling intensely itchy.

Ticks, Fleas, and Lice

Some lice can be treated at the same time as fleas and ticks because they attach and feed off a dog’s blood. Others feed on the dog’s skin debris and may need to be treated separately and removed with a flea comb. Oral medication and spot treatments can prevent and kill ticks and fleas; alongside regular baths and checks, particularly after walking in long grass. Parasites can cause secondary problems by spreading bacteria so prevention is important for your dog’s health.

Skin Infections

Fungal Infection

Warm moist environments are ideal for fungal infections. Certain breeds of dog are more prone to fungal infections because of their physiology. Dogs with skin rolls, like bulldogs and pugs, are likely to develop yeast infections where their skin folds touch. Spaniels tend to get infections around their ears and lips. You can prevent these forms of infection by keeping your pet’s ears/skin clean and dry with Ear & Eye Wipes.

Bacterial Infection

Itching can cause hotspots - irritated, wet, raw looking areas - which are prime locations for the development of bacteria, which unfortunately worsens the intensity of a pet’s itch. Wash your pup with a pet PH balanced shampoo with the natural antibacterial properties of tea tree oil.

Dry Skin

Dry skin can also lead to itching, hotspots, and resulting bacterial infections. The use of heaters in winter can exacerbate these symptoms, try one of John Paul Pet’s conditioning sprays for a moisture boost.

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