Itching in pets can be quite common and can be caused by a wide variety of factors. The condition can range from mild to severe, and in some cases, it may even lead to skin infections. Pet owners hate to see their animals scratch, itch, and lick – and hate being kept up all night while their animal does so!

One of the most common causes of itching in pets is fleas. It only takes a few fleas for a dog or cat to start scratching incessantly. Cats are great groomers, so you rarely will see fleas on your cat. Dogs with fleas appear to have dirt, or flea frass, in their coat. Fleas are known to reproduce rapidly, so an infestation of these tiny insects can cause a lot of discomfort. To get rid of (and prevent) fleas, we recommend year-round flea and tick protection, such as Bravecto.

Another common cause of itching in dogs is allergies. Dogs can be allergic to a variety of things such as pollen, certain foods, or even dust mites. If the itching is caused by allergies, it may be necessary to identify the specific allergen and make appropriate adjustments. For example, switching to a hypoallergenic, hydrolyzed protein prescription diet. Medications, such as apoquel and cytopoint, can help with itching caused by environmental allergens.

Hot spots or moist dermatitis are a consequence of itching in pets. These areas of itchy skin usually occur when the dog’s skin becomes moist and warm due to excessive licking, scratching, or biting of the area. Hot spots usually need to be seen by a vet so that antibiotics can be administered. These come up quite quickly and can be painful to your animal.

Pet owners should seek veterinary advice if their dog seems particularly uncomfortable or if they notice any lesions or skin irritation. With proper management, dogs can be relieved from itching and the discomfort that comes with it!


Brooks, W. (2021, June 21). Itch relief for dogs and cats. VIN. Retrieved April 17, 2023, from