Itching in dogs - how much scratching is normal?

Have you ever noticed a dog scratching its ear with its hind paw? Or a pet that lovingly nibbles its own fur with its front teeth during daily grooming? Then you know that scratching is something completely normal for our dogs. 

But what about animals that scratch themselves incessantly? Who are constantly nibbling their paws or even desperately rubbing against objects to find relief.If the itching is more than a spontaneous reaction and becomes a symptom of a disease, you should act. 

Healthy behaviour or pathological action

As is so often the case, your powers of observation are called for. If your pet cleans himself and spontaneously scratches various parts of his body, this is part of his routine. Even harmless insect bites can be annoying, but they are also no cause for alarm. Sometimes dogs scratch for fast stress relief, similar to shaking. These are all perfectly normal actions. 

It's a different story if your pet can't seem to stop scratching. A dog that fanatically works the same body part over and over again needs help. No matter if he scratches his ears, licks his paws or bites his back every second. These desperate attempts are a sign of a problem with which you should present to your trusted veterinarian. It is particularly noticeable when there are bald patches, skin lesions or even bloody scratched skin. Please seek veterinary help as soon as possible.  

Possible causes and triggers for itching in dogs

  • Coat change
  • Insect bite
  • Dry indoor air
  • Injury
  • Contact allergy (e.g. contact with fertiliser etc.)
  • Environmental allergy (e.g. dust mites, pollen etc.)
  • Parasite infestation
  • Incorrect grooming
  • Fungal infection
  • Ear infection
  • Skin disease
  • Feed intolerance/allergy
  • Inflamed anal glands
  • Organ disease
  • Stress

Scratching as stress relief

If it can be ruled out that an allergy, parasite infestation or physical ailment is the cause of the excessive itching, the explanation may be psychological. A dog that is constantly stressed will often choose scratching, licking or nibbling as a way to relieve stress. Could the reaction come from panic? Is the animal insecure or overwhelmed? Does it show the behaviour in specific situations? As with all other triggers, your detective intuition is needed to find the cause. If it is indeed a psychological problem, you could, for example, work specifically on a solution with a qualified dog trainer. 

Feed intolerance or allergy as a trigger for itchingmittelunverträglichkeit oder -allergie als Auslöser für Juckreiz

If a parasite infestation or an infection can be ruled out, a common trigger for severe itching is food intolerance. The signs of a food intolerance or allergy usually appear suddenly and regardless of the season. Additional diarrhoea or vomiting can be another sign. An dlimination diet can be used to determine which component of the food the dog does not tolerate. Consult your vet and feed grain-free dog food if possible. 

Give a hand - Preparing for a visit to the vet

In order to relieve your pet of the itch and its trigger, it is essential that the cause is found. So if you notice that your dog is scratching, licking and nibbling abnormally much, keep a record.They will be grateful to you in the veterinary practice. 

Generally, a distinction is made between primary and secondary causes of itching. In primary causes, the itching is present first, and skin changes follow afterwards. A secondary cause first shows a skin change and has itching as a consequence. 


Try to have answers ready for the following questions:

·         When did the problem start? How long has it lasted?

·         Where exactly is the itchy spot?

·         If there is a skin lesion: was the itching present first?

·         Are other animals or people in the varea affected?

·         Is this a consistent problem or seasonal, situational or location-dependent?

The more precise your answers, the quicker it will be possible to make a diagnosis and find treatment options. 



Support for the skin - a benefit not only during the change of coat

If your pet's itching is due to a simple reason such as the change of coat, then you can best support your pet with our Natural Gold Bio Oil . It provides an optimal supply of vitamins, Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids for healthy skin and a shiny coat. Just like the supplement powder in our Dog's Doc line, Vital Hair & Skin, which also cares for the skin from the inside out, so to speak, and ensures a vital skin and coat appearance with high doses of biotin and hyaluronic acid. 

Much like the DOG'S LOVE herbal blend Super Shine, which brings suppleness and shine to the coat with sea buckthorn berries and nettle leaves. Our products help you to support your pet in the best possible way with natural and healthy means.