Black and white picture of a dog scratching it's head

Why is my dog itching and scratching?

All dogs love a good scratch now and then but, if it is out of the normal or seems excessive, it might be doing them harm.  


Time to investigate

First, you want to rule out all the possibilities of what could be causing the problem. It’s not normal for your dog to be itching constantly and if the issues persist, it could lead to hair loss and hot spots – where the itching is so persistent your pet will constantly chew on its skin. If your dog spends more time scratching than playing, then you need to take action! Check out James Wellbeloved’s ‘no more itching’ guide:  


Firstly, check your dog for the presence of fleas. Fleas are small parasites which suck the blood of their host animal. These bites cause irritation to the skin. Look out for flea dirt in the fur or small dark moving objects particularly in areas of less dense hair such as the stomach. If you spot fleas you will need to treat your pet and your home. Prevention is best, so use a vet recommended flea product routinely.  

To the vets!

No fleas? Then take your dog to the vet to know if the itching could be medical. They will be able to perform some routine checks and offer more guidance around the subject.  

Cleaning products

What are you using to clean the house? Some breeds – such as the Tibetan Terrier, Shih Tzu and Poodle – have very sensitive skin. Ensure you are using pet-friendly cleaners. Things to avoid are bleach or any other ammonia-based product. Dettol or similar products are great and can be used around animals.  

Where do they sleep?

Next, check where the dog sleeps – this is where it spends most of its time! Is this a nice clean environment? Imagine; if you got into a dirty bed each evening it would probably make you feel grimy and itchy too! If you take your dog to a kennel during the day, ask what types of cleaners they are using – they won’t mind. Make sure they are okay for use around animals.  

Take a look at their diet

Once this is done, and if your dog still itches, it’s time to look at its diet. Make sure you are feeding your pet a high quality complete diet. Dogs can develop adverse responses to foods just like humans. That’s why at James Wellbeloved we rule out ingredients linked to dietary intolerance in pets such as beef, wheat, soya and dairy. We only use a single animal protein in each food so that if your dog is intolerant to lamb, they can still have a choice of our other three protein choices –turkey, fish or duck.  

“If you make an effort to improve your dog’s nutrition you’ll find their itching might well stop – making life much more comfortable for your pet!”

If you’ve conquered the diet, but your dog is still itching, ensure you aren’t bathing it too much. Long periods in the tub could strip a dog’s natural oils, which could result in itching. Play it safe and bathe your fluffy companion once a month. You may also want to consider a steroid shampoo, which can be purchased through your local vet. This special type of shampoo could potentially bring back lost oils and help regrow any hair lost when your pup was trying to make itself comfortable. Itching is uncomfortable. It’s not fun for your dog and it isn’t fun for you. However, with a little investigation, you could put a stop to their constant scratching. Consider the dog’s diet, a clean resting area, reducing the dog’s time in the tub and a good shampoo.