Does your itchy dog need to see the veterinarian?

Why Does My Dog Itch?

If you see these signs,
your dog may need medical treatment

Frequent scratching is one sign of allergic dog itch, but there are other telltale signs as well

Signs your itchy dog may need medical treatment

Frequent licking,
chewing, biting, or scratching

Signs your itchy dog may need medical treatment

Excessive rolling,
rubbing, or scooting

Signs your itchy dog may need medical treatment

Recurrent ear problems
(head shaking, ear discharge/odor, or scratching at ears)

Signs your itchy dog may need medical treatment

Hair loss

Signs your itchy dog may need medical treatment

Body odor

Signs your itchy dog may need medical treatment

Skin Changes
(rash, redness, greasy skin, or scabs)

DOG ITCH Can Be a Vicious Cycle

When your dog has an allergy to food, fleas, or something in the environment, there are several things that happen within the body. Scratching, licking, and chewing results from exposure to allergy “triggers” and a frustrating cycle of itching starts that often continues and may get progressively worse. Your dog may continuously scratch, bite, chew, or lick specific areas. A red rash or hot spots on the skin may appear, along with skin inflammation.

Early allergic itch, while annoying and bothersome, may be sporadic and mild. But left untreated, it typically progresses and becomes more severe and persistent—interfering with everyday activities and potentially leading to other health problems, such as skin and ear infections. So, it’s best to control allergic itch right from the start—before this vicious cycle begins—and additional health issues arise that are difficult to manage and further add to your dog’s discomfort.

The cycle of allergic dog itch

Could your dog's itch need prescription medicine?


The causes of allergic dog itch


The causes of allergic dog itch


The causes of allergic dog itch


(such as pollen, dust mites, or mold)

The causes of allergic dog itch


(such as carpet, shampoo, environmental chemicals—insecticidal products)

There are many reasons why your dog may be scratching, licking, chewing, rubbing, and scooting. It could be that your dog is allergic to food, fleas, or even to ingredients in shampoos, carpets, lawn chemicals, or insecticides. Other contact allergens can be wool products (dogs might sleep on or rub up against) and laundry detergents. Dogs can also have allergies to seasonal pollens, outdoor and indoor molds, and dust mites. Dust mites and molds are common in all homes and if your dog is sensitive to these allergens it can lead to year-round disease. 

Don’t wait to treat allergic dog itch


You probably have tried everything to give your itchy dog relief—including oatmeal baths, lotions, or over-the-counter topical medicines. But while these home remedies may provide some temporary relief, they don’t really get to the underlying cause.


You may have also looked to steroids or over-the-counter antihistamines to relieve dog itch. Did you know that while effective in humans, antihistamines are often not effective in treating dog allergies? In fact, they can put your dog at risk for progression of allergic itch and infection, because they don’t treat the underlying cause and the itch continues, leading to additional frustration and disappointment. Antihistamines also offer little or no benefit for treating the “flares” that can occur in a majority of dogs with atopic dermatitis.*1 Steroids may not be a good option if your dog requires long-term treatment. Allergic dermatitis can be a lifelong condition in some dogs, so getting the right treatment early on can help avoid unnecessary suffering and the costs associated with treatments that just don’t do the trick or that add on other worries.

See this video.
You have options!

Don't wait to treat allergic skin disease


Control of pruritus (itching) associated with allergic dermatitis and control of atopic dermatitis in dogs at least 12 months of age.


Do not use APOQUEL in dogs less than 12 months of age or those with serious infections. APOQUEL may increase the chances of developing serious infections, and may cause existing parasitic skin infestations or pre-existing cancers to get worse. APOQUEL has not been tested in dogs receiving some medications including some commonly used to treat skin conditions such as corticosteroids and cyclosporine. Do not use in breeding, pregnant, or lactating dogs. Most common side effects are vomiting and diarrhea. APOQUEL has been used safely with many common medications including parasiticides, antibiotics and vaccines.

For more information, please see the full Prescribing Information.

Reference: 1. Olivry T, DeBoer DJ, Favrot C, et al. Treatment of canine atopic dermatitis: 2015 updated guidelines from the International Committee on Allergic Diseases of Animals (ICADA). BMC Vet Med Assoc. 2015;241(2):194-207.