There may be few things more frustrating than watching and listening to your furry friend scratch incessantly, but chances are they are far more frustrated and inconvenienced than you are. While an occasional scratch seems perfectly normal for any living thing, incessant scratching usually indicates some underlying skin condition or health problem. Whatever the cause behind your pet’s skin problems and constant scratching, neither you nor your pet should have to suffer through them. However, it may not be necessary to immediately schedule a trip to the veterinarian’s office until one rules out some other possible causes for incessant scratching.
How to Stop Pet Scratching Problems
One of the most common reasons for incessant scratching is, of course, the existence of fleas. Not only can flea bites be uncomfortable and unrelenting, some dogs and cats are very allergic to flea bites. This can cause your pet to scratch and chew at their skin and hair all day long, which can also lead to excessive hair loss. If you determine that fleas are part of the problem, seek out a veterinary-approved flea medication for your furry friend, as well as a flea treatment for your home. By handling both your pet and your home at the same time, you stand a greater chance to effectively eliminate the problem so it cannot continually regenerate.
If fleas aren’t the source of your pet’s incessant scratching, the next thing to check is whether their food contains food coloring or other allergens. Many animals have allergic reactions to foods or treats that contain food coloring, and some animals may even have an allergic reaction to the primary protein found in many common pet foods, like lamb, beef, chicken, wheat, corn, soy, fish or milk. After removing any food products that contain food coloring from their diet you may want to consult with your veterinarian about other possible food allergies.
In addition to ensuring that your pet isn’t consuming any food products that contain food coloring, you should also verify that their food is a high-quality, high-protein brand. You may even consider supplementing his meals with omega-3 fatty acids and pet vitamins and minerals that are designed to help improve skin conditions.
You may also want to consider any changes you have made to your pet’s diet or environment that are time-coincident with his incessant scratching. Many pets can display a sensitivity to a diet change, even from one high-quality, protein-rich diet to another high-quality, protein-rich diet. It may also be that you changed your laundry detergent and your pet’s skin has become irritated from coming into contact with the residuals of this new detergent.
If none of these suggestions work, you should definitely arrange for a visit to your pet’s veterinarian as soon as possible. Your pet may be suffering from mange, which along with constant itching can also cause fur loss. Or your pet may be having a reaction to something they have eaten or to seasonal allergies and they may need an antihistamine to help ease their discomfort. Most veterinarians are able to test a pet for what they are allergic to, either by doing skin patch-testing or by drawing blood and sending it to a lab. Your veterinarian may also recommend a steroid injection, but you should clarify with them whether this is absolutely necessary as it can cause greater side effects than oral steroids and does not have any additional proven benefits over oral steroids.
The constant urge to scratch and bite at their skin is always very difficult for your furry companion to experience, and they simply cannot do anything themselves to improve the situation. If you notice incessant scratching, it is important to take action immediately and help put an end to it.