Millions of puppy owners would love to know if there are easy ways to stop puppy scratching. A puppy’s delicate skin is prone to a host of problems ranging from parasites and allergies, as well as boredom or anxiety. Excessive scratching can lead to skin infections and hot spots, so make sure to eliminate scratching before it becomes problematic.
Unfortunately puppies scratch for many reasons. In order to stop puppy scratching, you need to identify the cause of the problem.
Puppy skin can have bacterial, viral or fungal infections. These can be recognized by open sores, bare patches of skin and red swelling.
Excessive licking and chewing can be caused by a lack of exercise, boredom or separation anxiety.
Less commonly, scratching can be triggered by allergies to food, flea bites, plants or dust.
Malnourishment can lead to dry skin, eczema, dry hair and sores.
Dry skin and extreme itching can be caused by exposure to too much water or dirt. This can be caused by swimming, digging or too much time outside.
While fleas are extremely common, puppies often react to ticks, biting flies, mites and other flying insects. Parasite reactions are generally easy to control with medication.
If you need to stop puppy scratching, the first step is to visit your vet to make sure that it is not being caused by an infection or something else easily controlled by medication. Your vet will be able to provide you with antibiotics, anti fungal or antihistamines and discuss any necessary dietary changes. He can also assist with medicated baths to kill any parasites.
Unfortunately, neurogenic scratching is the hardest type to stop. Because your puppy is unable to tell you why he is scratching, you need to observe him carefully. Is he scratching because he is bored. Many puppies find repeated licking to be soothing. Putting foul flavored bitter apple or cayenne pepper on his preferred licking spots may help stop puppy scratching if the habit is not too deeply ingrained.
Your vet can also provide you with a cone shaped collar that will not permit your puppy to reach the itchy spots. Once he is out of the habit of licking, you can gradually wean him off of the cone and sprays.
If after trying all of these, he is still scratching, another trip to the vet is in order. Sometimes the itching can trigger an infection secondary to the initial cause.
In the end, it is your responsibility as a puppy owner to watch your pup’s behavior carefully. With close attention, you should be able to prevent or stop puppy scratching.