Jump to section

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.

Itching, Scratching, Chewing (Pruritis) Average Cost

From 367 quotes ranging from $300 - $2,500

Average Cost

$500

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
arrow-up-icon

Top

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
arrow-up-icon

Top

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.

arrow-up-icon

Top

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.

Allergy

  • 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.

Infection

  • 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.
arrow-up-icon

Top

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. 

arrow-up-icon

Top

*Wag! may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page. Items are sold by the retailer, not Wag!.

Itching, Scratching, Chewing (Pruritis) Average Cost

From 367 quotes ranging from $300 - $2,500

Average Cost

$500

arrow-up-icon

Top

Itching, Scratching, Chewing (Pruritis) Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

question-icon-cta

Ask a Vet

dog-name-icon

dog-breed-icon

Rottweiler/Aussie shepard

dog-age-icon

Two Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

thumbs-up-icon

1 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Extrmely Itchy Licking And Biting His Paws All The Time

my dog has recently been extremely itchy and he normally bites and licks his paws but lately its all the time and his paws are very red and look sore and he is favoring his one paw over the other he cant walk more then a few steps without itching

Aug. 30, 2020

Owner

answer-icon

Dr. Sara O. DVM

recommendation-ribbon

0 Recommendations

Hello, So sorry to hear about your dog. You can try Benadryl to see if that helps. A typical dosage is 1mg/pound. If this does not help, it would be best for your dog to see your vet. This is most likely due to allergies and there are many great prescription options for allergies in dogs. Also, medicated baths will help your dog's skin feel much better.

Aug. 31, 2020

Was this experience helpful?

dog-name-icon

Rio

dog-breed-icon

Standard Poodle

dog-age-icon

5 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Chewing
Chewing, Itching

Why is my dog suddenly and constantly itching and chewing on himself? He has Atypical Addisons disease, periodic seizures, a degree of separation anxiety, and obsessive behaviors. Standard male Poodle, almost five years old and is neutered

July 21, 2018

Rio's Owner

answer-icon

Dr. Michele K. DVM

recommendation-ribbon

1611 Recommendations

Causes of itching in dogs can be related to parasites, bacterial or fungal infection, allergies, or allergic reactions. Since I can't see Rio, I don't have any way of knowing what might be causing the itching, and it would be best to have him seen by a veterinarian to see what might be going on to make him so itchy, and to get treatment for him.

July 22, 2018

Was this experience helpful?

dog-name-icon

Chloe

dog-breed-icon

Golden Labrador

dog-age-icon

9 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Scratching
Chewing Paws
Licking Stomach

Dog constantly, licking stomach skin, biting & chewing paws, scratching. Has diet of lamb mince, brown rice & frozen veg (brocolli, cauliflower & carrot). Never anything else as she had some intolerances which made her very sick.

May 29, 2018

Chloe's Owner

answer-icon

Dr. Michele K. DVM

recommendation-ribbon

1611 Recommendations

Many things can cause the signs that you are describing with Chloe, including bacterial or fungal infections, parasites, or environmental allergies. Since I cannot see her or diagnose what is going on with her, it would be best to have her examined by a veterinarian, as they can look at her, determine what might be going on, and recommend any treatment that she may need.

May 29, 2018

Was this experience helpful?

dog-name-icon

Sancho

dog-breed-icon

Pit bull

dog-age-icon

11 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

thumbs-up-icon

2 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Licking
Scratching
Bitting

My dog is constantly bitting licking and scratching himself and i dont know what i can do for him and would that be a resort to him having a heartattack or seizures and what can i do for him at home i dont have the money to get him to a vet at this moment

May 23, 2018

Sancho's Owner

answer-icon

recommendation-ribbon

3320 Recommendations

Biting and scratching may be caused by various different conditions including allergies, infections, parasites, autoimmune diseases, chemical irritation among other causes; without a thorough examination I cannot say specifically what is causing these symptoms, try to think of any changes in the home before this biting and scratching started as this may be a possible cause. To start with you should try bathing Sancho with a sensitive dog shampoo and applying a flea and tick prevention product on him (if he hasn’t had one for more than a month). Monitor him for improvement, but if there is no improvement you should visit a Veterinarian regardless of cost. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

May 23, 2018

Was this experience helpful?

dog-name-icon

Corcky

dog-breed-icon

Mixed

dog-age-icon

5 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Licking
Hair Loss
Itching
Biting
Red Spots
Scratching

My dog corky is constantly itching everywhere. He is scratching and biting any place on his body that he can reach, it is so bad bad that he is startingto bleed a little bit. But sadly I can not take him to the vet because they are tellingme that it would cost over $600 dollars plus he has to redo his shots. Seeing him go through this is really breaking my heart but I do not have the money to help him. He is our only dog that is going through this right now.

dog-name-icon

Bowser

dog-breed-icon

Black Lab

dog-age-icon

3 Months

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Licking
Itching
Scratching

Bowser is our first family pet and we're planning on taking him to the vet as soon as we can. He's been itching and scratching for quite a while. He licks and chews his feet, and has hair loss on his feet. I'm also noticing that one if his eyes is somewhat swollen. I don't know if he has allergies to the grass outside or if it's something else entirely. He doesn't have fleas. He doesn't have patchy or scaley skin and it doesn't appear red or inflamed either. We changed his dog food to lamb & sweet potato, thinking he might have a food allergy, and nothing has changed. He is constantly whining and itching, he's absolutely miserable.

Itching, Scratching, Chewing (Pruritis) Average Cost

From 367 quotes ranging from $300 - $2,500

Average Cost

$500

How can we help your pet?