Step-by-step: Find out what's causing your pet to scratch

Just like humans, it’s normal for cats and dogs to scratch occasionally. But when this becomes excessive or causes pain or discomfort it could be a sign of something that needs further investigation.

Skin problems are one of the most common reasons owners take their pet to the vet. But in some of these cases, you can help your dog at home — provided you know what’s causing the problem.

Common causes of scratching include fleas, allergies and stings. Your first step should be to try to identify the cause of scratching at home.

To find out what’s causing your pet to scratch:

1. Restrain your pet

Make sure that they can’t accidentally hurt you if you touch an area that is painful or uncomfortable. This is usually best done on the floor on a non-slip surface with an assistant to help you where possible.

2. Check

Examine their skin, paying particular attention to the itchiest areas.

3. Treat

Remove anything from your pet’s skin that could be causing the itching — such as fleas.

If your pet has been in contact with anything new (plants or cleaning products) it may be worth bathing the affected/in contact area with cool water.

4. Seek advice

If you can’t figure out why your dog is scratching or if you are concerned about your pet, you can book an online consultation with one of our experienced vets who will be able to advise you further. Find out more about our Video Vet service here.

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