Why Do Dogs Scratch?
Dogs scratch themselves from time to time. It’s only when that scratching becomes a little more frequent that your pooch may have a more significant underlying issue. What it "might" be may surprise you.
Mighty mites and mange
Excessive scratching can be a sign of mites, which cause the condition known as mange. While mites naturally live on dogs, they can cause skin and hair problems when the quantity reaches a certain level. The two most common forms of mange are caused by the mites Demodex canis, which causes demodectic mange, and Sarcoptes scabei, which causes sarcoptic mange.
Demodectic mange is most commonly observed in puppies and dogs that may have a compromised immune system. It’s not contagious; rather, it is caused by a weakened immune system. Sarcoptic mange, on the other hand, is highly contagious and if left untreated, can spread across the entire body.
Symptom of Mange
The symptoms of mange include:
- excessive itching and scratching
- localized wounds and scabs
- areas of hair loss
How to treat mange
Treatments for mange are limited and typically involve a chemical dip performed by a veterinarian where your dog is submersed in a chemical liquid that kills off all of the mites. Some veterinarians may first prescribe medications if the condition is not severe. Both treatments carry some amount of side effects and should be considered alongside other, more natural options such as sulfur dips and herbal remedies. Remember to bathe your pooch with a disinfecting shampoo at least once every other week and avoid contact with other canines that may be displaying the symptoms of mange.