You come home from work, unwind in front of the TV, and when it’s time to hit to sack… you hear it again. It’s your pup’s incessant need to scratch and drive you crazy. But if you think you’re uncomfortable, imagine how your dog feels. From scratching his ears all night long, licking his paw, or biting his tail, your dog is too itchy to go to sleep. Where does it come from? Dogs display many behaviors that their humans don’t always understand. Scratching relentlessly is one of them. There are certain triggers for the behavior and it’s best you learn about them ahead of time. So let’s begin…
The Root of the Behavior
From scratching at himself to scratching the floor throughout the entire night, dogs itch for many different reasons, and sometimes, for no reason at all. More so, it seems that scratching only worsens at nighttime, when the house is very quiet. Is it normal for a dog to scratch from time to time? Absolutely. However, when a dog is constantly licking, scratching, biting, or chewing to the point of wounding, you know you have a problem on your hands. If you do not want to wake up cranky each and every single morning, you need to get to the root of the issue and act upon it fast. First of all, you need to figure out if they tend to scratch themselves during the day as well, or if it only happens at night. If the latter is true, it is possible that your dog is sensitive to something in your house such as dust mites, another pet, or the laundry detergent you use on their bed.
Although the causes for itching can be complex, there are two main reasons why dogs scratch more at night: the condition of the skin itself and allergies. When referring to the first one, you need to take into account causes, such as dry, oily, or infected skin. The most frequent one pet owners come across is dry skin. If you live in a region with low humidity or are feeding your pup commercial pet foods that have an even more dehydrating effect on their skin and hair, your dog will be much more prone to dry skin. Allergies can also affect your pup’s skin irritation and cause him to scratch more at night. They may make your dog’s skin dry, greasy, or slightly dry and oily, and are accompanied by frequent symptoms such as scratching, licking, or chewing.
Encouraging the Behavior
Whatever the cause, you need to work out how to soothe your dog’s skin and help him settle down at bedtime since compulsive scratching can be very harmful. If you see a red, wet, or irritated area that arises from persistent scratching or rubbing, it is best to take him to a veterinarian to help figure out the exact cause and prescribe the right treatment. From that point on, you can help ease and prevent the situation from reoccurring by improving the quality of your dog’s diet and using the right medication. Consider buying specially formulated tonics to ease and relieve their itch. Choose remedies that are designed to calm your dog and help him relax.
At the same time, consider adding digestive enzymes to your dog’s meals, instead of dry, commercially processed foods. Enzymes improve the release of nutrients, whereas probiotics are very efficient in dealing with allergies. While they are relatively inexpensive, probiotics are safe to use and can help save you plenty of visits to the vet later on. Finally, brush your dog with a soft bristled brush before going to bed. This will help calm him down and it may also break the itch-scratch cycle that is so distressing for both of you.
Other Solutions and Considerations
In some cases, dogs will scratch more in response to fear, stress, or inadequate stimulation. Which is why you need to keep them fully entertained and exhausted throughout the day. You need to make sure he receives enough exercise, attention, and love so that he won’t feel the need to ask for all of these when it is time to go to bed. Training can also do wonders, so you can stop his anxiety or boredom by introducing him to new chew toys or bones to relieve stress. Last but not least, do make sure your furry friend is on a flea and tick program and has no internal parasites.
There is always a reason for your dog’s itching and scratching, and finding out the right cause is extremely important for an early recovery. Losing sleep is not a solution, neither for you nor for your little furry friend. Take the time to calm him down and soothe his itch before you both go to bed. The veterinarian will help figure out the cause of the behavior and determine the best treatment plan for the future. So good luck and don’t let the bed bugs bite.
By a Amstaff lover Marieta Murg
Published: 03/21/2018, edited: 01/30/2020