Why is my dog scratching so much?

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Dogs and cats scratch themselves occasionally and it’s perfectly normal, but how do you know if there’s a more serious problem and what do you do about it if there is?

PARSIPPANY, N.J. (BUSINESS WIRE)—Zoetis Inc. (NYSE:ZTS), the leading global animal health company, a launched Your Animal Instinct , a program to help pet owners understand when their dog’s itching may be due to an allergy-related skin condition – and what they can do about it.

Dog owners can take an online itch quiz at YourAnimalInstinct.com to help them distinguish between their dog’s normal itch and when frequent scratching, licking, biting, and/or rubbing could be the sign of allergic skin disease.

Completion of the “Itch Instinct” quiz will trigger a donation made by Zoetis to expand the number of recipients in its K-9 Courage™ Program, which provides healthcare assistance to retired military and police dogs, as well as service dogs that assist veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress.

“I’m excited to be a part of this program because I know first-hand how tough it is to witness your dog scratch so much that he can’t sleep, and all you want to do is help him,” said actor Nick Lachey, whose dog, Wookie, was diagnosed with allergic skin disease. “We tried some creams and antihistamines, which didn’t provide much relief. When our vet told us what was causing his itch, we were relieved to find out there was a treatment called Apoquel that could help him.”

While an occasional itch may be normal for dogs, it should never interrupt activities such as playing or eating, cause hair loss or skin damage, or be often enough that it’s bothersome to dogs or their owners.

“If your dog is frequently or constantly scratching, licking, biting, scooting and/or rubbing, the underlying cause might be an allergic skin disease which can lead to additional problems including infection and severe skin irritation. It’s important to talk to your veterinarian if your dog is exhibiting this behavior,” said Dr. Jeff Werber, veterinary medical journalist and owner and chief medical director at Century Veterinary Group in Los Angeles, who added that Zoetis’ for allergic itch, Apoquel, can help your dog in as little as four hours.

While it’s common for pet owners to try over-the-counter treatments such as antihistamines or prescription corticosteroids, these often do not provide the necessary relief, or may come with unwanted side effects such as drowsiness, increased panting, thirst, frequent urination, liver disease and an increased risk of infection.

Besides the quiz link, you can also use the infographic below to help with understanding more about your dog’s itching and scratching.

causes of dog itch infographic


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