What Causes Upset Stomach in Dogs?

It is quite common for dogs to experience an upset stomach, otherwise known as dyspepsia. An upset stomach can affect both young dogs as well as older dogs, and in most cases, they will recover just fine on their own.

However, sometimes an upset stomach is more than just an upset stomach and may be related to an underlying health concern. Regardless of the cause, if your dog is suffering from a severe upset stomach, and it has lasted beyond a reasonable 24-hour timeframe, you should see your vet as soon as possible.

A tummy upset that goes beyond the 24-hour period can cause further health issues, such as dehydration, anemia, and weight loss. Severe dehydration and anemia can be fatal.

Causes of Stomach Upset in Dogs

Dogs can suffer from an upset stomach for a variety of reasons. Some of the more benign triggers are related to things like overeating, or not eating enough. In both cases, your dog’s stomach can become upset and cause illness. Or things like worms, viruses and bacteria, and even motion sickness can cause your dog to have an upset stomach. And that’s something to keep in mind the next time you want to take your dog on a road trip to the beach!


Other causes of an upset stomach may be related to parasites, such as giardia, hookworm, whipworm, coccidia, and more. Though coccidia is relatively rare, giardia is common. These tiny parasites are microscopic, and very hardy. When they are the cause of your dog’s upset stomach, they can wreak quite a bit of havoc.

Dietary Changes

Sometimes, dogs suffer from an upset stomach due to dietary changes, or eating something that they don’t agree with. Other times it may be a food allergy that could have been previously unknown.


Viruses can cause stomach upsets too, including serious viruses such as parvo and distemper, as well as corona. Distemper and parvo can be deadly, so if you suspect either of these, it’s important to see your vet as soon as possible.

If your dog’s immune system is compromised or weakened in any way, bacterial infections can gain a foothold too, and cause gastrointestinal upsets. In particular, bacteria like e. coli and salmonella are quite common.


Sometimes, dogs may experience an upset stomach because they have inadvertently poisoned themselves. Dogs can be poisoned by getting into household items such as pesticides, as well as over-the-counter drugs.

Other things like antifreeze, and even seemingly innocuous things like your vitamin D supplements can be toxic to your dog and make him very ill. If your dog goes outside a lot, some plants can be poisonous to dogs. These can cause diarrhea and vomiting, especially with plants like elephant ears and nettles. Dogs also tend to enjoy rooting around in the garbage, and often find all sorts of interesting and potentially toxic things.

Food Sensitivity

Seemingly benign foods, such as garlic, grapes, onions, and chocolate, can at times make a dog sick if ingested. This is especially true if they are ingested in large quantities. Xylitol is a natural sweetener that extremely toxic to animals, and should be kept in a high pantry in a sealed container, well away from your four-legged friends.

Stress & Anxiety

Finally, stress and anxiety are common causes of an upset stomach in dogs. Just like people, dogs can respond to stressful situations with feelings of anxiousness. Those feelings can cause gastrointestinal upset, gas, and even diarrhea.

If you suspect stress or anxiety is the cause of your dog’s illness, you will need to look around your environment, and try to figure out the source of his distress. If you can’t eliminate the source of the stress and anxiety, you may need to see your vet so that they can prescribe specialized treatment options and possible medications to keep your dog calm and even-keeled.

More Severe Symptoms

More severe signs of an upset stomach in dogs include vomiting as well as diarrhea, and if left unchecked, both can lead to dehydration. Sometimes, dogs may have slightly yellow colored bile in their vomit, or show signs of blood, either fresh or digested.

These type of symptoms can indicate a more serious stomach upset, such as gastritis or inflammatory bowel disease. Inflammatory bowel disease can cause problems with your dog’s small or large intestine, and unfortunately, is usually a condition that will have to be managed throughout his life.

As you can see, dogs are much like people when it comes to getting an upset stomach. There can be a variety of causes, and treatment methods can vary depending on your dog’s needs.  

Again, in milder cases it often resolves on its own when you just let your dog do his thing. Just remember that if your dog has an upset stomach and it doesn’t resolve on its own within 24 hours, see your vet.


*This article is for informational purposes only. Please see a vet if your pet shows any symptoms.




My Dog Has an Upset Stomach: What Do I Do?

Though it’s not pleasant, dogs can experience upset tummies too, just like people. When they do, they will often naturally gravitate towards eating grass. Though it seems abnormal and you might wonder what’s so tasty about that grass, it’s a natural behavior that can alleviate discomfort when a dog’s tummy is feeling sick.

Eating grass is an instinctual, protective response that dogs engage in when they suffer from something that doesn’t agree with their digestive system. Dogs eat grass to clean out their intestinal tract and get rid of any foreign matter that may be causing their upset.

However, sometimes they could be even too sick to do even that. If your dog is too sick to eat grass and make attempts to resolve the upset on his own, you may have to look to other methods to treat his tummy woes. Whatever you try, be sure to consult your vet first, to make sure it is safe for your dog.

Causes of Upset Stomach in Dogs

As with most health ailments, dogs can experience an upset stomach for a variety of reasons. Because of the number of potential culprits, it can be difficult to narrow down exactly what may be causing your pup to feel so icky. However, there are a few common causes of upset stomach in dogs. These include:

Food Changes

Most dogs will eat just about anything that you give them. True, there are some dogs that seem to be more particular and picky, but in general, dogs like to eat just about everything.

The problem with eating anything and everything is that sometimes their tummies don’t like what they’ve eaten. Some dogs can have sensitive guts, and even small changes in their diet can mess with their system and make them sick.

One way to combat this is if you are attempting to change their food, mix two different formulas together. Then you can slowly phase the old one out over a period of time, rather than making an abrupt change.

Table Scraps and Spoiled Food

Another way to avoid an upset stomach in dogs is to not feed your dog table scraps. This is especially important if his stomach is sensitive. When dogs have a delicate constitution, you never know what might trigger an upset, and sometimes people food is a little too rich for their digestive systems.

An additional thing to watch out for is your dog getting into the trash and consuming food that may be spoiled. Canines, like humans, can become violently sick from eating spoiled or contaminated meats and veggies. And what dog doesn’t like to root around in the garbage? Unfortunately, this makes rotten food a common trigger for an upset stomach.

Eating Too Fast or Slow

Sometimes, dogs can simply get sick because they eat too much. Just like you and I can overeat, dogs can too, and they may pay for it later. On other occasions, it’s possible for your dog not to eat enough, and then feel sick because of it.

Other times, maybe your dog just ate his food too fast. Puppies are notorious for gobbling down their food quickly, so that’s something to look out for especially in younger canines.

Also, sometimes dogs eat foreign (non-food items) that they shouldn’t, such as plastic, fuzz, and whatever else they come across that they find intriguing. Foreign objects in your dog’s gut can cause uncomfortable gastrointestinal problems.


Sometimes dogs can become dehydrated, and this can cause their stomach to be upset. This seems to be especially common in pups, as it is very easy for their small bodies to become dehydrated.

Dehydration often comes on with a bout of diarrhea, and you may notice that your dog doesn’t seem interested in drinking his water or have much of an appetite. If you suspect dehydration, you can do a skin pinch test on your dog’s neck.

Skin that remains in a pinched position indicates dehydration. You can also check your dog’s gums, and make sure they appear shiny and wet-looking. If they don’t, dehydration could be the issue.

Stress and Anxiety

Sometimes dogs can just become stressed and anxious, which can upset their tummies. This can rock the balance of bacteria, and trigger vomiting and diarrhea, as well as cause fatigue. Your dog may experience a loss of appetite, and attempt to eat grass to soothe his stomach. Sometimes even the weather can trigger an upset stomach, especially in the case of thunderstorms and dogs who may be afraid of thunder.


Your dog could also contract a virus that is making him sick. Especially if his stomach upset seems particularly virulent, with explosive diarrhea or hard-core vomiting. This can be an indication his problem is viral.

The parvovirus, as well as the coronavirus, are particularly nasty little agents of illness for dogs. If you suspect any type virus, it is important to see your vet. He may not need medications, but your dog could still require treatment in the form of fluids to help him stay hydrated until the virus runs its course.

Underlying Illness

Dogs often get sick to their stomach because of some underlying health issue that you may or may not be aware of. Pancreatitis can sometimes be an underlying health concern, especially if your dog appears to be in severe pain and is running a fever.

Stomach ulcers are also a common culprit, and one indicator of that could be whether your dog appears to have blood in his vomit. Digested blood will look like old coffee grounds, only smell much worse!

Sometimes dogs experience bloat, also called torsion, which causes their belly to become bloated and tender, and then they get very sick.

Signs and Symptoms of Upset Stomach in Dogs

Dogs can present with many indicators of an upset stomach, with two of the most common being diarrhea and vomiting.

Other signs of upset stomach in dogs may include:

  • Constipation or trouble defecating.
  • Signs of blood, either in your dog’s feces or sometimes in his urine and vomit.
  • Fatigue and lethargy.
  • A stomach that looks hard or distended, and appears painful.
  • Dehydration, which you can check by the elasticity of his skin, and by examining his gums. If they look dry and pale, without a moist coating, then your dog could need fluids.
  • Sometimes dogs may drool if they are feeling nauseous.
  • Your dog’s appetite may change and he may not be hungry.
  • Your dog could have gas.
  • Sometimes dogs may run a fever with tummy upset.

If you notice any of these signs and symptoms, you will need to keep a careful watch over your pooch, and if things aren’t improved within 24 hours, a trip to the veterinarian is in order.

Treating Dogs with Upset Stomach

There are many ways to treat an upset stomach, but it all depends on what is causing the upset in the first place. If your dog appears to be extremely ill, then taking him to the vet is your best move.

Your vet can prescribe antibiotics as well anti-fungal or bacterial medications if needed. Your vet can also administer fluids if your dog is extremely dehydrated, and they can give you specific recommendations based on your dog’s needs.

However, if your dog’s upset tummy appears to be a mild case, there are other ways to treat his symptoms and keep him comfortable while the illness runs its course, which will allow you to skip the expensive vet visit.

Pepto Bismol™ and Imodium®

For a mild upset stomach or case of diarrhea, sometimes giving your dog Pepto-Bismol™ or Imodium® can be helpful. You will want to call your vet first to make sure it’s safe, as well as obtain the proper dosage for the size of your dog.


Obviously, if your dog’s tummy is upset, giving him food is only going to upset it further. Just like with humans who contract a tummy bug, fasting can provide a period of relief and give your dog’s tummy a bit of time to rest and heal.

You will still need to give your pup fluids and water, but you should do it in very small amounts on a frequent basis, so that he doesn’t consume too much too fast, and make his upset stomach worse.

Fasting is recommended for anywhere from 12 to 24 hours, but should only really be used with adult dogs. After the fasting period, you can introduce very bland foods into your dog’s diet very slowly, until you are sure his stomach is back on track and can handle a normal diet.

Plain Unsweetened Yogurt

Yogurt contains probiotics, and dogs that are having tummy issues can always benefit from probiotics. Feeding your dog a tablespoon or two of unsweetened yogurt can be soothing to the gut, and help your dog’s intestinal flora to balance back out.

However, make sure the yogurt is plain, as artificial sweeteners and sweeteners like Xylitol can be very dangerous for your canine friend.

Bananas and Pumpkin

Adding foods like bananas and pumpkin into your dog’s diet can be beneficial to an upset stomach too. Pumpkin is very high in fiber, so it can help with bowel problems and keep him moving properly, plus it is loaded with antioxidants.

Bananas are loaded with many nutrients too, including potassium and vitamin C, and they can boost your dog’s immune system, inhibit the growth of bacteria, and provide essential electrolytes that help prevent dehydration.

Try a Bland Diet

Foods that are recommended for a dog on a bland diet include boiled rice, white meat chicken with no bones or skin, or lean and drained hamburger. Do not season this type of food, or add anything extra at all. Remember, the goal is bland!

You can offer this mixture to your dog several times a day in three or four small meals, until his digestive issues begin to improve. You can also try adding in the yogurt or pumpkin to this mixture, to give it a fiber and probiotics boost.

If your dog doesn’t seem interested in this recipe, you could also try giving him baby food with meat in it. Just make sure there are no onions or garlic in the recipe, as these are toxic for dogs. Most of the time, baby food is bland enough that it can be eaten on an upset tummy, and dogs seem to like the flavor.


Giving your dog water can cause further upset in a dog that is ill. While it’s important to keep your furry friend hydrated, sometimes water isn’t the best route. You can try offering him ice chips instead. If your dog can tolerate the ice chips well, then you can offer him more a few hours later, and combine it with 1 or 2 teaspoons of water.

Bone Broth

Bone broth is an excellent way to provide minerals and nutrition for dogs that are sick, and it is soothing and healing to their stomach. However, bone broth would need to be made ahead of time and frozen, because it takes at least a day to make it properly. Then you could freeze it into ice cubes, and have on hand whenever your dog gets sick.

Ginger and Oatmeal

Additionally, natural remedies like ginger and oatmeal can be helpful to dogs with an upset stomach. Ginger is well known for its anti-nausea properties, and can also help with gas and bloating.

Oatmeal is great for soothing a stomach that is upset, and provides a variety of vitamins, minerals, and soluble fiber. Like yogurt however, avoid oatmeal blends that have sugar, especially artificial sweeteners. Plain is the way to go!

As you can see, there are many potential reasons a dog develops an upset stomach, and there can be many ways to treat it.

Some cases of tummy upset will be milder than others; in some instances, they may even resolve on their own. If you leave your dog alone and let him do what comes naturally, (i.e. eat grass), he will often recover without any help from you. If you feel that fasting, or protocols like the bland diet might help, then there’s nothing wrong with giving it a shot. You want to give your dog the best chance at speedy and full recovery.

However, if your dog appears to be running a fever, or his illness and symptoms seem particularly severe, do not hesitate to take your dog to the vet to rule out more serious conditions like parvo or giardia. Always better to be safe, rather than sorry.

*This article is for informational purposes only. Please see a vet if your pet shows any symptoms.






Signs Your Dog Has an Upset Stomach

All dogs experience an upset stomach from time to time. It doesn’t matter whether they are older or just a pup, upset stomachs appear to be an equal opportunity ailment.

There’s nothing like being woken up in the middle of the night by the awful sound of your dog trying to puke on your floor. Fortunately, upset stomachs are usually not too serious, and often the problem will resolve on its own given some time.

However, if your dog seems to be very sick, or his symptoms last longer than 24 hours, a trip to the vet might be in order.

Signs of Upset Stomach in Dogs

Some of the most common symptoms of an upset stomach in dogs are:

  • Audible gurgling that you can hear coming from your dog’s tummy.
  • Excessive gas, even more so than normal.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Vomiting and diarrhea.
  • Eating grass to alleviate discomfort.
  • Dehydration due to vomiting and diarrhea.
  • Dogs can also display excessive thirst as well as burping.
  • Breath that smells foul.
  • Behavior changes such as depression and disinterest in their surroundings.

Sometimes dogs can experience more severe cases of an upset stomach, or have some underlying issue that can cause a worsening of symptoms.

Signs of something more sinister going on are:

  • Severe vomiting, especially vomit that has a sudden onset and is considered “acute”.
  • Vomit that appears to have blood in it.
  • Vomit that looks as though it has coffee grounds in it, which is digested blood.
  • Vomit that looks a bit yellow with bile.
  • Dogs that are very sick can sometimes also suffer from abdominal pain, which can range anywhere from mild to debilitating. You may notice your dog standing in an odd stance, as though he is bowing or praying, or standing with his head hanging.
  • Weakness and lethargy are clinical signs of an upset stomach.
  • Sometimes your dog may have blood in his stool, which can occur with cases of gastritis that are particularly severe.
  • Dogs with a chronic stomach condition may have a dull-looking coat.
  • Dogs that are suffering from some sort of blood loss will have pale looking mucous membranes.
  • If your dog has ingested any kind of toxins, his mucous membranes could appear jaundiced and yellow in color.
  • Drooling is also sometimes a sign that your dog has ingested something toxic.

What to Do If Your Dog Has an Upset Stomach

Wondering what to do if your dog has an upset stomach? If you suspect that your dog has an upset stomach, you can try withholding food from him for 12 to 24 hours, and see if the condition improves. Just make sure that he has access to plenty of water, and that he is at least drinking it regularly.

It’s also a good idea to think back over what your dog has eaten recently and try to see if there are any potential causes to your dog’s sudden upset stomach. Sometimes new brands of food can upset a delicate digestive system, and sometimes dogs get into things they shouldn’t, such as eating plants outside, or digging in the garbage and eating spoiled food. Also, older dogs can experience digestive issues as a natural part of the aging process.

If you choose to withhold food from your dog for a time, when you do feed him, make sure you’re offering him a very bland diet. Food that you make yourself is usually best. Unseasoned chicken and rice are good options, as well as baby food with meat. Just make sure it isn’t seasoned with things like onion or garlic.

Oatmeal is a good option for dogs with stomach problems, as it gives them fiber as well as minerals and nutrients, and is soothing to the gut. Unsweetened plain yogurt is also beneficial to your dog’s digestive system, as it helps to keep the natural flora and bacteria balanced and healthy.

Often when dogs are sick they try to eat grass. This is fine, it’s a natural response, so if you see your dog doing it, just allow him to and his upset stomach could resolve without any intervention from you at all!

If your dog’s symptoms are extremely severe, or if the symptoms last longer than a 24-hour period, you should consult your veterinarian right away. Symptoms that continue beyond a 24-hour period could lead to further health complications, including dehydration, anemia, and weight loss.

*This article is for informational purposes only. Please see a vet if your pet shows any symptoms.





Do You Have an Itchy Dog?

Does your dog scratch and itch frequently? Does he obsessively lick, bite, or chew his skin? A dog that is itchy is not a happy or comfy dog. In fact, it’s much more likely that your dog is miserable.

It’s hard to watch your dog suffer, but sometimes trying to figure out the root cause of why your dog is itching, and then treating it properly, can be tricky. Sometimes it can be a downright mystery.

And I don’t know about you, but listening to a dog itch, lick, bite and chew constantly, can also be highly annoying. There’s nothing quite like lying in bed at 2 AM and listening to your dog’s tongue slurping repetitively. Especially when you have a 6 AM wake-up call to get ready for work.

So, not only is your dog miserable, but you are tired and miserable right along with them! Not a fun situation for all parties involved.

Signs of an Itchy Dog

Obviously scratching will be a huge indicator. Another indicator is constant licking, face rubbing, and chewing, licking, or biting their paws. Butt scooting can also be a sign, and if you notice rashes, red and inflamed areas, hotspots, or even ear sensitivity… all of these can be symptoms of an itchy canine.

Sometimes a dog can suffer from dandruff and itch because of that. With dandruff, you may notice unsightly white flakes, and your dog’s skin appear to be cracked and leathery-looking.

If your dog is itching due to some kind of bacterial or yeast infection, it could be coupled with a foul odor. Hotspots in particular cause a fair amount of itching, as well as be extremely painful for your dog. So, if you notice any signs of hotspots, you should see your vet as soon as possible to prevent further pain and irritation.

Other Signs and Symptoms of an Itchy Dog

  • Hair loss
  • Oozing, pus-filled bumps
  • Bleeding
  • Discoloration of the skin
  • Matting and moist fur
  • Restless behavior

What are the Causes of an Itchy Dog?

There are a wide range of causes, but noticing the time of year that your dog seems to itch the most can be very revealing. Changes in the seasons and the weather can be a major source of irritation for dogs.

But what exactly does itching have to do with weather?

Good question.

Often, dogs that itch mainly during the winter months could be suffering from a nasty case of dry skin. Dogs that seem to itch more often during the spring, could be suffering from seasonal allergies. Additionally, dogs that seem to itch more during the summer, could be plagued with an overgrowth of yeast. During the summer months, it is often hot and humid, making conditions ripe for yeast to proliferate.

However, if your fur kiddo appears to itch year-round, then most likely, some type of allergy is the culprit. However, it could be an allergy to anything, it doesn’t necessarily mean seasonal allergies.

Though seasonal allergies are quite common, your dog can also suffer from an allergy to certain foods, or there could be something in your dog’s environment that is triggering an inflammatory response.

Another cause of itching that can last all year long is sarcoptic mange, otherwise known as scabies. Scabies are little mites that live on the surface of the skin, and when they begin to grow out of control, a nasty case of mange is the result.

You’ll want to treat this condition swiftly and aggressively, as scabies can spread from pet to pet, and pet to human, and the condition can be painful for your dog. Like a lice infestation, you’ll want to treat your home as well, and any bedding so that there are no infestations later down the road.

Summertime Itching

Obviously if your fur baby is suffering from some type of food or environmental allergy, it doesn’t matter if it’s summertime or winter. However, if your dog appears to be scratching more during summer months than at other times of the year, that could be a clear warning signal. If that’s the case, you should ask your vet to check your dog for a yeast overgrowth.

Yeast overgrowth can often be mistaken for allergies. However, yeast absolutely loves the hot and humid summer months. You will find yeast hiding out in the moist nooks and crannies of your dog, having a hay-day. These moist places are mainly in dogs’ ears and groin area, in folds of skin, and in the creases of their paws.

If you notice your dog appears to be chewing and biting his paws, or chewing his nails, or licking obsessively, then it’s highly probable that yeast is the culprit.

Sometimes your dog may also do the “butt scoot” across the floor or on the grass. This is because yeast can also cause anal itching.

Unfortunately, your dog’s response to summertime itching can create painful hotspots where your dog bites, chews, and scratches until the area becomes inflamed and even develops sores and crusting.

Springtime Itching

If your dog seems to be suffering more during the springtime, seasonal allergies could be the problem. You will notice your dog mostly itching his face, his paws, and his ears and belly. Be careful though, because seasonal allergies can sometimes be confused with a yeast overgrowth, and vice versa.

Inhalants, such as pollen, grasses, smoke, and dust can irritate your dog as well. Some dogs can even suffer an allergy to flea bites, stemming from a reaction to the saliva of fleas. Though fleas can be a year-round problem, they sometimes seem to be more prevalent during spring months. Perhaps it’s the change in the air, even fleas like to frolic!

Another springtime woe that can cause itching is flying insects. This can be a summer problem as well. Bees, wasps, mosquitoes, and flies are all stinging or biting insects that can plague your dog and trigger itching. This is especially true if your furry friend is outdoors often.

Outdoor Woes

Outdoor canines should be careful of spider bites. Although they aren’t too common, there are certain spider bites that can cause serious damage to your dog’s skin and coat.

Outdoor dogs also must beware of sunburn, especially if the dog is light or white-colored. Sunburn can cause itching and flaking, and just like with people can even turn into skin cancer later down the road.

Wintertime Itching

If your dog is itching mostly during the wintertime, the likely cause is dry skin. Dry skin can plague your dog during this time of year because winter months are drier. Most of us tend to run our heater indoors during winter as well, which compounds the problem. Sometimes running a humidifier inside your home during cold months can help with this problem.

Other Causes of Itching in Dogs

Doggy Dandruff

Doggy dandruff manifests as unsightly white flakes that are visible in your dog’s coat. Your dog can have dandruff whether he has oily skin or dry skin, but regardless of the type, it will typically need to be treated with medicated anti-dandruff shampoo.


Another cause of itching can be related to ringworm which is a fungal infection which presents as a raised red ring on the skin. Ringworm can affect your dog’s skin and cause crusty, oozing pustules, scaly skin, as well as balding and hair loss. Unfortunately, ringworm requires a visit to the vet for proper treatment, and is also highly contagious.

Food Allergies

These can be hard to nail down. It could be one of the ingredients in your dog food, it could be a response to table scraps they may have gotten at that last dinner party you hosted, or they could have an allergy to some additive or filler in their treats.

Finding out if your dog has a food allergy is more a process of elimination, and can take some time. In fact, you vet may even recommend a special “food elimination” diet if they suspect your dog has food allergies.

Environmental Allergies

These can be allergies to things like a certain cleaner or detergent in your home, dust mites, or even carpet fibers. Smoke, pollen, ragweed and more can affect your four-legged companion. Dogs, like people, can really be allergic to just about anything. So, it’s important that you observe your dog closely, and take notes as you try to narrow down the suspects.


Bacterial infections can most definitely cause itching. A bacterial infection will need to be diagnosed by your vet and most likely treated with antibiotics. Unfortunately, bacterial infections can mimic other skin conditions found in dogs, so make sure you see a professional for a proper diagnosis.

Ear Mites

These little bugs can infect the internal and external ear canal, causing both ear and skin infections. Left untreated, ear infections can lead to impaired hearing. Ear mites like to eat the oils and ear wax in your dog’s ear, and make a nice comfy home there. If your dog appears to be sensitive to you touching their ears, ear mites could be the problem.

Lice and Ticks

Lice and ticks can sometimes be a source of canine itching. However, they are not nearly as common as some of the other pests, so look to those first.

Hormonal Issues

Endocrine malfunctions can sometimes be a cause of itching and other skin ailments. If your dog’s endocrine system is not functioning properly, it messes with your dog’s levels of hormones, pushing them out of balance. When this happens, your dog’s skin can suffer for it. This is especially true if there is a cortisone or thyroid imbalance, both of which can affect the skin.

Ideas for Relieving Your Itchy Dog

Change Their Food

If you suspect your dog has a food allergy, start by eliminating the most common trigger foods. Wheat, beef, and corn are the usual suspects. You can also give your dog nutritional supplements to keep his skin moisturized and healthy. Coconut oil and vitamin E is also good for this. If you decide to try a different brand of dog food, inspect the ingredients carefully.

Eliminate Bugs

If your dog is itching due to some type of parasite, such as fleas, ticks, lice, ear mites or mange (scabies), you will need to treat him for that particular parasite. Treatment options will be different for each one. With fleas and lice, as well as sarcoptic mange, you may also need to treat your home and furnishings to prevent infestation.

Medications May Help

If your vet has narrowed down the source of your dog’s itching, there are a variety of medications that can be prescribed. Topical and oral antibiotics, as well as steroids and anti-itch creams may be recommended. Sometimes special shampoos and dips could be necessary.

Try Preventatives

Cone collars could be necessary to keep your dog from licking and chewing spots you are trying to heal. You can also try bitter sprays to discourage licking, and make sure you give your dog preventative flea, tick, and worming medications on a regular basis.

Give Your Dog a Bath

Bathing your dog regularly can help with itching, depending on the cause. However, do not go overboard, as excessive bathing can make some types of itching worse, especially if your dog is itching due to dry skin.

Keep Your Dog Active and Busy

A dog that is bored or anxious will bite and scratch himself to keep busy. You might consider offering your fur kiddo toys and special chews to redirect his destructive scratching and licking. And it goes without saying that you will want to make sure your dog receives plenty exercise, and plenty of love each day. A tired, well-loved dog will be much too content to do more than lie down for a nice afternoon nap, cuddled next to their favorite human.

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*This article is for informational purposes only. Please see a vet if your pet shows any symptoms.


1 http://pets.webmd.com/dogs/allergies-dogs#1

2 https://www.vetary.com/dog/condition/itchy-skin

3 https://www.rover.com/blog/dogs-allergic-reaction-signs/

4 http://www.petmd.com/dog/general-health/evr_dg_itch_and_scratch_bite_and_lick

What Causes Itchy Skin in Dogs?

In vet speak, itching is also known as pruritus. Your dog could be excessively licking, chewing, or itching on one area of his body, or he could be itching all over.

Where and how much your fur baby itches depend on the underlying cause of the itching, and nailing down the source can sometimes be challenging.

Unfortunately, if itching is not addressed quickly, it can lead to inflammation and infection, as well as major discomfort for your four-legged friend. Excessive itching can be highly stressful and cause significant distress, and should never be ignored.

Some Causes of Itching in Dogs

Hormonal Imbalances

If your dog’s endocrine system is not working properly, hormone levels such as cortisone and thyroid can also become out of whack. When this imbalance happens, it can affect your dog’s skin and trigger itching.

Fungal Infections

Fungal infections can easily be confused with yeast or bacterial infections, so it’s important to see your vet to get an accurate diagnosis. Fungal infections can affect any part of the body, and fungi such as ringworm are extremely contagious.

Medications that are used to treat bacterial infections will not work with fungal infections, which is why it’s important to know the difference and treat appropriately.

Yeast Infections

All dogs carry yeast, both inside and outside their bodies, as well as in their ears. However, the yeast numbers are low, and don’t cause any health issues. It’s only when a yeast overgrowth occurs that infection becomes a problem. Yeast overgrowth tends to be most prevalent in all the moist places on your dog, such as folds of skin, ears, and anus.

Bacterial Infections

Bacterial infections are very common, and can easily mimic other canine skin conditions. The best way to determine if your dog has a bacterial infection is to see your vet. Then your dog can receive the proper antibiotics recommended for treating the problem.

Environmental Allergens

Sometimes dogs itch because of common irritants such as pollen, dust, grasses, molds and mildews, and even tobacco or wood smoke. It’s a pretty good rule of thumb that if you can be allergic to it, so can your fur kiddo.

Food Allergens

Again, just like with people, dogs can be allergic to certain foods. It’s best to start by eliminating foods that are known to be allergens, such as beef, corn, and wheat. If you don’t see improvement in doing that, then look to other ingredients in your dog’s food. Your vet may even recommend an “elimination diet” to narrow down the source of your dog’s allergy and treat them effectively.

Flea Allergy

Another very common allergen source with dogs is flea allergy dermatitis, or FAD for short. This allergy is a reaction to flea saliva that is injected into your dog’s skin with a flea bite. You may notice your dog biting and scratching around his tail, and you may notice hair loss in that area.

Flea allergies can also trigger excessive grooming, so much so that it can sometimes be hard to find an actual flea. Your dog has licked them all up and ate them already. However, even the bite of one single flea on a dog with a flea allergy can cause an intense reaction and make your dog miserable.


Mange is the result of sarcoptic mites proliferating and plaguing your dog. Mange is also known as scabies, and can cause extreme itching as well as redness and irritation, hair loss, pustules, and even broken skin, bleeding, and infection when it’s bad. Unfortunately, scabies can be contagious, so it’s important to catch this condition early and treat it aggressively.

Ear Mites

Ear mites are a common affliction for dogs. Ear mites like to chow down on your dog’s ear wax and ear oils, both in the internal and external ear canal. This can cause itching and irritation, and can lead to more serious skin issues and ear infections down the road. If left untreated, even hearing can be impaired! So, ear mites are certainly an ailment you don’t want to ignore.

As you can see, there are a wide variety of health concerns that can cause itchy skin in dogs. A dog’s skin and coat can be every bit as sensitive as a human’s skin, so it’s important to make sure you are feeding your pooch a healthy diet.

Make sure it’s one that promotes healthy skin and fur, and make sure your fur kiddo is getting plenty of water, as well as activity and exercise. Water will help keep your dog’s skin hydrated, and exercise will help to combat boredom and emotional issues that can lead to scratching, biting, and chewing behaviors.

If you suspect there is infection going on, or some other underlying medical cause that is contributing to your dog’s itching, then seeing a vet as soon as possible is important for early and effective treatment. The less your dog must go on suffering, the better. No one likes itchy skin, especially not your dog.


*This article is for informational purposes only. Please see a vet if your pet shows any symptoms.


1 http://pets.webmd.com/dogs/guide/dogs-and-compulsive-scratching-licking-and-chewing

2 http://thebark.com/content/vet-advice-relief-your-dogs-itchy-skin

3 http://www.petmd.com/dog/centers/nutrition/evr_dg_common-dog-skin-problems

4 http://www.petmd.com/dog/slideshows/care/reasons-for-dog-scratching-himself