Itching, Scratching, Chewing (Pruritis) Average Cost

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What is Itching, Scratching, Chewing (Pruritis)?

When your dog chews and licks at himself, he is trying to get rid of the uncomfortable feeling of itchiness. If your dog is constantly itchy, scratching to the point of hair loss and redness, this is considered pruritus. It can be in one certain area or the whole body. Itching may be caused by several disorders, such as contact dermatitis, allergy, and infection. The itching can also be caused by parasites, such as fleas or mites.

Inflamed skin caused by chewing or licking is common in dogs. It is also known as pruritus (itching), and it is not actually a disease or disorder, but a symptom of another problem. The key to treatment is to find the cause of the itching.

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Symptoms of Itching, Scratching, Chewing (Pruritis) in Dogs

If your dog is unable to stop the licking and scratching, take him to the veterinarian without delay before secndary infection affects the skin.

  • Constant scratching
  • Excessive skin licking
  • Gnawing
  • Rubbing
  • Self-injury
  • Redness of the skin
  • Bald spots
  • Whining
  • Anxiety
  • Aggravation

Causes of Itching, Scratching, Chewing (Pruritis) in Dogs

Your pet could display itching signs that are to the extreme, leading to distress and anxiety. Some of the causes for the uncontrollable itching, scratching, chewing or licking could be as follows.

  • Allergy
  • Infections (yeast, bacteria)
  • Parasites (fleas, mites, ticks, lice)
  • Scabies

Diagnosis of Itching, Scratching, Chewing (Pruritis) in Dogs

The first thing your vet will do is a physical examination of your dog’s entire body. He will pay special attention to the areas of redness and inflammation where your dog has been itching. Provide your veterinarian with as much detailed information as you can about the itching, such as when it started, any changes in diet or shampoo, if the itchiness is getting worse, and what was going on at the time of the itching.

 A skin scraping will be taken to be tested for bacteria or yeast infection. The veterinarian will also do a CBC, blood chemistry, and skin allergy test to check for signs of diabetes, immune disorder, allergy, or other problems.

Treatment of Itching, Scratching, Chewing (Pruritis) in Dogs

Your veterinarian will give your dog an antihistamine to stop the itching while you are waiting for results from the tests. Once the cause of the itching is determined, your veterinarian will decide on the best course of treatment.


  • If the itching is caused by allergy, the veterinarian will administer antihistamines and steroids to suppress the itchiness. You will also be given a prescription for an oral medication and topical lotion to use for 7 to 10 days. The important thing is to determine the allergen, such as new food or shampoo. Changing your dog’s diet or shampoo will prevent the itching from returning. If the problem does not get better or if it returns, bring your dog back to the veterinarian for further testing.


  • If your dog’s itchiness is caused by infection, your veterinarian will prescribe an oral antibiotic and topical lotion to use for 2 to 3 weeks.  

Parasites and Scabies

  • Parasites and scabies are treated with a special shampoo and ointment that you will have to use exactly as directed. Be sure to wash all the bedding that your dog has been laying on recently to keep the parasites from returning.

Recovery of Itching, Scratching, Chewing (Pruritis) in Dogs

Many forms of itching need to be treated continually to get rid of the problem. It may be necessary to use a prescription shampoo and lotion for your dog for the rest of his life to prevent reoccurrence.