Call Us Today! 770-728-9976


Itching In Pets: Scratching The Surface

March 01, 2024

Do you frequently find your furry friend scratching themselves or rubbing up against things? Does your pet ‘ask’ (or order) you to scratch them and then act like they’re on cloud nine when you do? Itching is an annoyance for both us humans and our pets. Even though itching here and there is very common, itching that lasts for an extended period of time is a warning indication that something is wrong. However, you have to figure out why your pet is itching before you can address the issue. A local Covington, GA veterinarian provides some insight into the situation below.

When Does A Pet’s Itching Warrant Concern?

your furry friend can’t tell you when they need to see the vet.  You’ll need to keep a close eye out for signs that there’s more going on than just the occasional random itch. Persistent itching is the most obvious indicator, but there are other signs to check for.

Here are a few of the major ones:

  • Shaking/Pawing at the head, face, or ears
  • Obsessively licking or biting an area
  • Scratching/Chewing themselves
  • Fur loss
  • Flea dirt
  • Red skin
  • Lesions
  • Discharge or dark/discolored wax from the ears
  • Licking the feet
  • Discolored Skin
  • Flaking
  • Scabbing
  • Swelling
  • Pustules, pimples, or abscesses

If you see any of the above, contact your veterinarian right away.

What Makes Pets Itch?

Itchiness in pets can occur for a number of causes. Some are relatively straightforward to identify. For example, if you notice flea dirt—or worse, actual moving fleas—in your pet’s coat, you can safely presume he or she has fleas. Other reasons, however, can be more difficult to narrow down.

Here are a few possible options:


Allergies are another possible culprit. These are unpleasant for both pets and humans. They can produce a variety of symptoms, including itching. Other symptoms include red, runny eyes, sneezing, snoring, skin irritation, and upset stomach.

Pet allergies, like human allergies, can be divided into several groups.

Seasonal: Grass, pollen, and certain plants or leaves are common triggers for seasonal allergies. Mold and dust mites can also irritate pets.

Food: Food allergies are a very different ballgame. They occur when pets’ systems recognize a specific type of food —as an ‘invader’ and respond to it. The most challenging aspect of food allergies is often determining which allergen is responsible. You may need to put your pet on a bland diet until the symptoms subside. Then, start putting things back at a time to see what causes a reaction. This should only be done under the direction of your Covington, GA  veterinarian.

Contact Dermatitis: As the name implies, contact dermatitis is a skin irritation produced by direct contact with a substance or material. It is frequently accompanied by red, irritated, and/or dry skin. You may also see hair loss, skin discoloration, and tiny pimples or blemishes.

The list of potential culprits is rather long. 

  • Plants 
  • Detergents
  • Mulch 
  • Shampoo 
  • Conditioner
  • Soaps
  • Rugs 
  • Fabrics
  • Plastics 
  • Medications
  • Chemicals
  • Lawn and garden chemicals, such as fertilizers

Contact dermatitis can be pretty unpleasant for pets. While home cures, such as an oatmeal bath, may be effective in some circumstances, it’s critical to get a proper diagnosis.

Fungal Infections

The next item on the list is fungal diseases. There are several different types, and none are particularly pleasant. Dogs with skin folds or floppy ears are particularly vulnerable to yeast infections. Another probable cause is ringworm, which is actually a fungus. You might also notice a rash, crusty or scaly skin, redness, and, in some circumstances, a foul odor.

Many fungal infections can be treated with topical medications, which your Covington, GA  veterinarian will need to prescribe. You’ll also need to be thorough with cleaning and treatment to ensure that the problem is actually eradicated.

Bacterial Infections

Bacterial infections often result from wounds or scrapes that tear the skin. They can also cause peeling, redness, swelling, and pustules. If you suspect your pet has a bacterial infection, contact a veterinarian right away. Treatment options may include topical medications, antibiotics, or other treatments.

Dryness Of The Skin

Sometimes it is just dry skin! Environmental factors often play a role. Winter’s dry air frequently creates dry, itchy skin in both people and pets. Using the improper grooming products can also lead to this. Pets have exceptionally sensitive skin.

Make sure your pet is staying hydrated. A healthy diet is also vital in this case. High-fat foods can help maintain your pet’s skin and coat healthy and nourished.



 Fleas, of course, are the primary culprit here. Tick bites do not usually itch, though some pets react to tick saliva. Remember that both fleas and ticks can transmit deadly diseases and carry other parasites. Keep up with regular preventative care for your pet!

Mites can also cause irritation. There are various types of mites. As you might expect, Ear Mites live in pets’ ear canals and cause severe itching. You may observe your pet repeatedly shaking their head. Sarcoptic Mites cause mange, often known as scabies in dogs and cats. Unfortunately, humans can contract them as well. Then we have Demodex Mites, which burrow beneath the skin.  

Emotional Distress

Just like humans, pets can experience stress and worry. Fido and Fluffy may not be concerned about bills or inflation, or and they aren’t losing sleep wondering whether you will complete that report on time. However, they do get worried about stuff. Big changes are a major stressor for pets. Boredom, loneliness, discomfort, and disagreements with other pets are also possibilities. 

Pets frequently overgroom themselves to cope with stress. This can result in hair loss and skin irritation, making them prone to itching and infections. Kitties may react by under-grooming, which can cause problems with their skin and coats.

Medical Issues

In some cases, itching can be caused by medical issues. This could include things like hormonal imbalances or thyroid issues. This is another reason it’s important to contact your vet, as this type of problem definitely requires proper treatment.

If your pet is itching, we encourage you to consult your Covington, GA  veterinarian straight away. Itching isn’t usually a medical emergency, but there is a risk of infection if the problem persists. Plus, your pet will be quite uncomfortable until they get some relief!

How Do I Prevent My Furry Best Buddy From Itching?

Many items can relieve itching in pets. Medication, antihistamines, steroids, antibiotics, and medicated shampoos are some of the choices available. Your veterinarian may also recommend an oatmeal bath or a specific oil, such as coconut or olive oil. However, it is critical to select the correct approach. Doing the wrong thing will not only not help your pet, it could possibly even make matters worse.  

Conclusion: Pet itching can be caused by a variety of factors, including parasites, allergies, and stress. While itching can be managed, it’s crucial to see your veterinarian for a proper diagnosis.

Has your pet been itching lately? Do you need to arrange a grooming session? Please contact us, your Covington, GA  veterinary clinic, today!

Posted in General Care

5274 GA Hwy 20 S
Covington, GA 30016
t: 770-728-9976
f: 770-728-9974

Opening Hours:
Monday: 8am – 7pm
Tuesday: 8am – 5:30pm
Wednesday: CLOSED
Thursday: 8am – 7pm
Friday: 8am – 5:30pm
Saturday: CLOSED

Shop Online Now!

Request a Refill
Our Reviews

Request a Refill
Our Reviews