Itchy Dogs

i'll scratch my own back!

Do you have an itchy dog? There are a number of causes of itchy skin, but the three most common are flea bites, dry skin, and allergies. Although it may be difficult to find out the exact nature of the cause of the itching, steps can be done to help alleviate it.


Fleas are the easiest issue to address in terms of itchiness. The majority of the time fleas cause dogs to have itchy skin around their back half, especially around the tail. If you separate the hair and look carefully you can often find the fleas running around. There are many treatments available to kill the fleas. Topical drops and pills can be used for long-term protection for your dog. These topical and pill treatments will usually also kill other parasites including ticks, worms, ear mites, scabies, etc. The parasites that are killed and the duration it lasts depend on the specific treatment used.

Another method of flea control is to give your dog a flea bath. There are many citrus-based shampoos and flea-specific shampoos that work great for killing fleas. If your dog has a bad case of fleas, it is highly recommended that you spray your house and yard with a dog and cat-safe product that will kill the fleas.

Dry Skin

Dry skin is common issue seen in the dog grooming world and can cause significant itchiness to your canine. There are some basic things you can try to help soothe the dry skin at home. First, make sure you groom your dog on a regular basis, but not too much. When washing your dog, use a hydrating shampoo. Shampoos that are oatmeal-based help to rehydrate and soothe a dog’s skin.

Consider using a conditioner that is made for dogs. An important thing to remember is to use shampoos and conditioners that are made for dogs – not people. People shampoos have a different pH balance than shampoos meant for dogs.

Supplementing your dog’s food with olive oil or salmon oil can be helpful. Also, make sure you are feeding your dog a high quality brand of dog food. Dogs fed higher quality food tend to have healthier skin and fur.

The hardest part of dealing with dry skin is identifying the cause of it. Using a process of elimination can help narrow down different possible causes, but sometimes a trip to the vet is in order to completely relieve a dog’s dry skin.


Dogs can get and have allergies – just like people – and they can cause itchiness. Similar to dry skin, a process of elimination can help narrow down the possible allergy suspects. If the allergy is caused by something in the environment (i.e. dust, pollen and grasses) a bath using a hypoallergenic shampoo can help to relieve the itching. As with people, dogs can be allergic to a wide variety of things, and it is best to consult with a vet to identify what the allergen is and how to best treat it. Before going to the vet, pay attention to where you dog is chewing and scratching and let the vet know. Often when they scratch different parts of their body it can help to narrow down the possible causes of the itching.

Danielle Grimm has been a dog groomer since 2000.  The first shop that she worked in taught her how to groom dogs and cats.  She currently does grooming in Montrose, CA where she has fun working with dogs every day.  She lives there with her dogs Dillon and Leo.  You can email her at  Just mention MeowWoofChirp in the email.  Danielle is also a member of the MeowWoofChirp community.  You can see her profile at: