Itchy cat scratching it's chin.

We all know the satisfied looks our pets get when they get scratches behind their ears, belly scratches, or even butt scratches from their humans. The scenario, as well as their facial expression, changes, though, when our pets do their own scratching. Common causes for itchy cats and dogs include dry skin, environmental allergies, or food sensitivities. More serious conditions like mange or parasites that cause itching can require medical treatment by a vet. Keep reading for some ways to combat itchiness in your pet.

Regular Grooming and Pet Skincare

Basic grooming practices can often help itchiness in cats and dogs. Both cats and dogs benefit from regular brushing, which untangles fur and distributes natural oils. You should bathe dogs around once a month, or anytime they get especially stinky and dirty. Bathing too frequently can lead to dry skin. While there are sensitive shampoos for dogs designed to treat itchiness, it’s best to check with your vet before using a medicated one. And of course, indoor cats almost never need to be bathed. For either type of pet, consider trying a dry shampoo to help minimize odors.

Nutrition & Supplements

Frequent itchiness can be caused by food sensitivities or allergies. When this happens it’s typically in response to a protein intolerance from either animal or vegetable sources. If you suspect a food allergy, work with your veterinary team to do allergy testing, try an elimination diet to determine the specific cause, or find a hypoallergenic dog food. Certain supplements containing fatty acids can also help ease itchy symptoms.

Prescribed Medications

Parasites are one of the hardest (and grossest) things to treat but are also one of the easiest to prevent. Regular flea and tick preventives are available in the forms of oral or topical medications given monthly, or shots given twice a year. In addition to preventing tick-borne diseases that can have serious long-term health outcomes, you can avoid the awful task of repeatedly cleaning your pets and your entire home to eradicate fleas.

Pets can be affected by seasonal or environmental allergies just like humans. Pollen and dust mites can cause itchiness, sneezing, or eye discharge in dogs and cats. Sometimes seasonal allergies can be addressed by household tasks like frequent vacuuming and changing the furnace filter. Other itchy pets could benefit from oral antihistamines or even allergy shots.

Finally, some conditions like mange, yeast infections, ringworm, and ear infections require antifungal or antibiotic medications. These are relatively harmless infections but do require diagnosis and treatment at a vet visit.Of course, some scratching is normal. But if your pet is itchier than normal, don’t wait too long before looking into the cause. Call True Care Veterinary Hospital at (732) 677-2180 to schedule a visit with our vets for all of your pet health concerns.