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Help. My dog is scratching but doesn’t have fleas!

Hi, I just read your post on fleas and I wanted to tell you my story and hope you might offer some help.

I have a 10 y/old Chihuahua that’s constantly scratching. I’ve tried giving her a bath every 2 – 3 weeks but that hasn’t helped. She doesn’t have fleas and I haven’t seen anything else on her. Sometimes she scratches till she is almost bleeding.

Could this simply be dry skin?

What else can I do to help her stop scratching?

Please help. She’s miserable.

Thank you,



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74 Responses to “Help. My dog is scratching but doesn’t have fleas!”

  1. Doctor B - NY says:

    When pets get itchy, the culprit nine times out of ten, are allergies.

    So if you’re wondering why your pet is suddenly scratching or licking incessantly its probably from allergies.

    So many pets are suffering from itching these days lets talk about them a little more. Allergies are a common complaint for pets and there are three basic causes in our pets. Fleas are the most common cause of these allergies. Pets can also be allergic to the same things we can be, like pollen, mold and detergents. The other common cause for allergies in our pets is proteins in foods.

    You can have allergy tests run at your veterinarians office – and this may be a good thing to do but you should assume that your pet has an allergy to fleas and take steps to address that first.

    Remember, to trigger an allergic reaction to fleas your dog only has to get bitten by the flea once. It does not matter if your dog does not currently have fleas. If your dog is allergic to them, then a single bite is all it takes to trigger itching and scratching. Think about what happens when someone who is allergic to bees gets stung. The bee is gone, but the body reacts long after the sting – and the bee – is goine. That’s what happens to a pet with a flea allergy. The bite triggers an allergic reaction of itching and scratching that can worsen as time goes on.

    It’s therefor important that you take precautions to keep your dog free of fleas and to work with your vet on the best way to do so.

    Good luck!
    Doctor B

  2. Tess A says:

    I no doubt spent well over $1000 between vets and meds over 5-6 yrs on my 2 dogs due to constant itching problems, which often turned to infections. The constant onslaught of medications and injections (prednisone, steroids, etc) are what I believe led to more serious complications such as diabetes and cushings disease. Only rarely did my dogs have fleas.No vet ever told me the dangers of all these shots or the likely cause of the itching. My sister told me to find a food with NO CORN. My dogs have NEVER again had itching problems since removing ALL derivatives of corn from their diet. Give it a try.

  3. admin says:

    Hi Tess,

    This is certainly worth a try for anyone whose dogs are having the same problems. I’ve had some success with Avoderm in the past for a Golden who had seasonal hot spots. I just checked and Avoderm does not contain corn either.

    I’m glad to hear you found a solution for your dogs, and one that obviously made them healthier in the process!


  4. Karly says:

    Sorry, but I do not agree with you on this, because your post titled Help. My dog is scratching but doesn’t have fleas! and I’m not clear on your advice. I’ll try what you say, but I’ve had my dog checked for allergies before and I just keep putting the flea stuff on her anyway. She needs help.

  5. AnniesRose says:

    I have the same problem with both of my chihuahuas and my vets office staff were surprised that they couldn’t even find flea dirt on them. I’ve been feeding them the same diet for years and this problem has just begun. It bothers me that these poor babies are suffering and I can’t do anything about it.

  6. Sharon says:

    I have a 4 yr old Min Schnauzer and she scratches all the time…all night and I know she is miserable. She does not have fleas and we treat her monthly for them. We just moved to Texas 10 months ago. In Missouri she did not have any problems. Any suggestions?

  7. Charlotte says:

    I have a German Rott, she does not have flees yet scratches and licks constantly. It’s sad to see her like that because I feel helpless. I’m going to try removing corn completely from her diet and see what happens. I will keep you posted!

  8. Patricia says:

    My 2 Bassett Hounds just started the same thing 4 moths ago. I got rid of the fleas the vet had them on antibiotics incase of infectiona nd a high does of antihistamin but it won’t stop. what is going on with all the dogs? I can’t sleep at nights either for all the scratching and chewing sounds going on.
    I thought maybe a reaction to the flea meds so I stoped and am waiting to see if it inproves. Could this be mites?

  9. Linda says:

    Hi Pam, While mite are a possibility – if you are sure there are no fleas, the next thing to suspect is allergies. Often food is the culprit. This is one of those topics that has many possibilities and your vet can help you figure out the cause.

    In the meantime, you can give your dogs a bath to eliminate mites and there are several available at pet stores or look online for a home remedy.

    Let us know how you handled this and what it was, OK?


  10. Faye says:

    I have a small terrier dachsund mix and she scratches and licks herself 24/7. I have seen the vet who has prescribed an allergy medicine (allertec) as well as Temiril and she still scratches. I don’t want to put her through the allergy tests because I’ve heard it’s not good. I have also washed her in Aveeno to help her with the itching and while it works for a day or two, she goes back to scratching day and night so much so that she draws blood and has little spots all over her body. It’s driving me crazy and I feel so sorry for her but I just don’t know where to go with this. Any suggestions? I feed her normal dogfood and have even given her people food (hamburger and chicken) in case it is dogfood and she still scratches. What are mites by the way?

  11. Linda says:

    Hello Faye,

    Mites, also known as Biting Mites, are very small critters in the same class as ticks. They are animal-hosted (meaning they feed on their host – in this case that means your pet) and they cause itching and welts with their bites. Mites can show up in ears causing head shaking and scratching and infection, under skin, causing mange, hair loss and scratching, and other unpleasant symptoms. Your veterinarian will take a skin scraping to see if your pet has mites and if he/she does, will prescribe treatment to handle it. I’d rule that out next as the allergy treatment has not handled the problem.

  12. Angelique says:

    My Lhasa Apsohas recently been shavedand ever since he has been totally itchy. I don’t understand why. He has absolutely no flees buta lot of flee dirt left over.Could it possibly be science diet or red ant bites?Also, what is up with the corn?He’s constantly licking too. Please help get my dog out of this misery and torture.

  13. tyra says:

    I to lived in. missouri n my dog did not have this prob..moved to Texas and 2 of my dogs now have allergies per the vet…have ones’ already shot n seemed to have helped. But I did notice that they sell allergy meds at Walmart for dogs

  14. Monique says:

    My puppy is a 9 month old border collie/shepherd/lab mix (not too sure but he definitely has collie in him) and has developed a very bad itch. His itch because he has

    fleas (we’ve checked several time and had him checked, nothing!), he has no hot spots, no bleeding, no hair loss or anything. He’s a very happy pup that has a great

    coat of fur and has a very good diet. He loves the out doors and other dogs. Since he doesn’t have any fleas we’re thinking it’s allergies of some sort. Here’s what

    we’ve tried so far:

    1) We have him on a restricted diet (First, Natural Balance Kibble, and now we’re trying Blue Wilderness as we’ve heard really good things about it and it’s a bit more

    balanced than Natural Balance). He’s allergic to Chicken for sure so we don’t fed him that. We just started the Blue and he’s enjoying it so far.

    2) We’ve also started added a fish oil to his food once a day

    3) Gave him a bath with Oatmeal and Aloe shampoo to relieve itching (which didn’t seem to help at all!)…Made it worse I gave him another bath but just a

    rinse down with no soap or anything. Patted him dry (as I’ve heard rubbing is not good for the skin) and let him air dry indoors for a bit and then blow dried him a

    bit. Once he was completely dried I brushed him (as brushing a dog while wet is not good either). I’ve been brushing him once a day for a week now to get all the

    lose hair and dander off.

    4). We started thinking it could be our laundry detergent. So we switched our detergent to a hypo-allergenic detergent (no fragrances) (as he tends to scratch lots

    when he in our bed). We washed all of our bedding using that. We washed our dogs bedding in just the machine with no soap and put it on extra rinse to get all the

    detergent off (I’ve heard using detergent on dogs bedding is a no no). Washed his collar with no soap as well. Cleaned his houses out (just water and gave it a good

    wipe down).

    5) We then thought well perhaps it’s something outdoors? So we did all the cleaning, bathing, vacuuming of the house and kept him indoors for a few days (of course

    we took him out to pee and took him for walks but on leash whereas he loves to run at the park, roll in dirt, mud and play with other dogs). This didn’t seem to help


    6) As I mentioned before in #5, we vacuumed the house too get all the hair off the carpet and whatever else is in the carpet.

    I should mention as well that we don’t us any cleaners around the house that have fragrances either.

    Here’s some other information that might help.

    He’s itching is not localized really. He bites his fur sometimes but no hair loss. He scratches just above his tail, his ears, chews at his paws…all of the listed,

    he has not developed any sores, loss of hair, hotspots and this has been going on for a few months now. I would have expected to see something like losing hair, hot

    spots or bites on him but nothing!

    Other bit of information, he seems to scratch the most at night! He goes crazy and keeps us up at night! We sometimes lock him out of our bedroom but seems hardly

    fair to him as he`s just itchy! So we let him sleep with us again… He used to sleep in his crate downstairs but now we let him roam the house (he`s house broken and

    is very good.) and now how found a nice spot to sleep in our onsuite bathroom since the tile is cool for him. He sometimes calms down but then he wakes up again and

    starts all over. During the day he doesn`t seem as bad. He scratches less but still more than a normal dog should. (like right now he`s passed out on the kitchen

    floor not scratching as he`s probably so tired from scratching all night)

    Another quick point which I just discovered this morning is when I pet him, he doesn`t seem to want to scratch…could it be an attention grabber (scratching that

    his?) Doesn`t really make sense since he scratches in the bathroom at night…why would he do that if he wanted attention? he`d come to us if he wanted

    attention…just a point of information I would add incase anybody would have any ideas…

    Also, whenever he scratches I check immediately sometimes hoping to find a flea, tick or a red spot, nothing!

    More about his diet: Like I mentioned before he`s on a restricted diet with no grains, (if you`re not familiar with Natural Balance or Blue you can check out the

    ingrediants here:

    (He is currently on Blue Wilderness Salmon)

    His food that he was on before was:

    He had been on a few flavours as we thought he might be allergic to something in the food. He didn`t really seem satified with any of them. (Scratching I mean).

    we took him off of natural balance because a) read quite a few reviews from dog owners that it does cause problems with dogs (ie: scratching, daiarreah, vomiting ect).

    We found this interesting since Natural Balance is listed as a better quality food for dogs. I know all dogs are different and some dogs are just more sensative to

    things but wanted to try something different anyways. So, in the end, we`re trying Blue Wilderness. We are also considering raw food after this if this doesn`t work

    withing a month or two. Anybody have any thoughts on that for stoping scatching?

    For treats, we`re giving him the same treats as his dog food (same ingrediants but a treat form). So this way we are limiting the ingrediants on what he eats.

    Toys: He has some stuffed toys and some bones which is likes to chew on (perhaps I should take away the bone for awhile to see if that helps…can`t see if that`s the

    corporate as he only chews that during the mornings but I guess it still could be…) He gets bully sticks every now and then but he hasn`t had one in a few weeks so

    that`s not it.

    We`ve also even thought it could be humidity in our house but that`s not a real problem as we keep our house cool at night. We`ve even tried keeping the heaters off

    for a few days during the day to make it cool all day and night but that didnt seem to do anything. We could check our humitity but I`m sure that`s not the issue.

    Internal possibilities: He could have a yeast infection, scabies (which we highly doubt it is as we live in Canada but could be perhaps), hormonal imbalance, or

    hopefully not, cancer. Scratching i`ve also heard can be caused by anxiety, stress, depression, or boredom, which he definately isn`t as he gets lots of attention,

    excercise and is very playful and happy. He loves to smile all the time. To me, he`s like a normal dog but with one issue, scratching!

    I know I wrote a novel here but I`m trying to figure out why my poor puppy is scratching so much and trying to avoid going to the vet as that`s really expensive!

    Trying to narrow things down as much as possible until we`ve run out of options and then we`ll have to go the vet. Does anybody have any experience with any of this

    or know of any other possibility of why my poor puppy is scratching?

    -An itchy dog`s owner

  15. Chris says:

    It could be a yeast infection. Usually you can tell, the dog will have a smell to them. Our new rescue dog who also has border collie in her has had a bacterial and yeast infection. Allergies is cause but also autoimmune disorders and it they have been on antibiotics that gets rid of both the good and bad bacteria. I’m going to give Brother’s allergy food a try, I’ve read great things about it for dogs with yeast and allergy issues. And, I would have the vet do the skin test. They just scrape the skin some and they can see it on the skin. If it’s a bad yeast infection, it may take a while to get rid of. The diet is most important in preventing the yeast. My dog has good days and bad days for the scratching. She is also giving herself wounds from all the scratching because she is so itchy. The best diet is low to no carb and no sugars. Many recommend a raw diet but I don’t have time to do that. A tea tree shampoo and vinegar rinse is good for the skin and getting rid of the yeast on the skin.
    And, you can get some great info from Dr. Beckers website. She is a holistic vet that has wonderful remedies.
    Good luck. I can’t wait until we can help our girl feel better.

  16. orla orourke says:

    Hi Monique,

    I have the same problem with Cookie. I have exhausted all flea/mite possibilities and so am leaning toward allergies.

    Since Cookie’s son Wee Val lives with her and is not scratching, I and my vet are leaning toward allergies.

    Listen you know that expression “fit as a butchers dog” well I believe there may be some truth to it and I am embarking on a raw food diet for cookie. It takes the same amount of time as dog food as opening a packet of ground mince and placing it in their bowl

    This will be a bit tough for me as Im veggie but I cannot bear to see her in such unending relestness through scratching! I know you said you guys were thinking of that next so good luck I think it may turn her and Cookie around!

  17. Barb says:

    My Chihuahua just started scratching a week after he got his shots. He doesn’t have fleas, his fur is beautiful and clean. His skin doesn’t look dry or red. I am almost sure this is caused by his shots this time but what can I do about it? I feel so bad for him, any advise would be appreciated.

  18. M.Brown says:

    I have a pit bull dog, whos only 10 months old… When we first got him he never scratched at all but after several months he began to scratch. It started off mild & after a couple of weeks it became severe. He scratches and scratches, and scratches to the point were he bleeds, or begins to go bald in certain areas and it’ll look red and really aggitated; he has also become very sensitive to the touch and tends to whine from time to time if he’s in pain. He doesn’t like to stay outside long because of flies, nor does he like for people to rub on him a lot because it causes him to constantly shake. Also when he itches or shake large flakes that looks like dandruff falls off or sits on top of his coat. We try to keep him from scratching as much as possible but we also know how much it bothers him so from time to time we’ll give him some leeway to scratch, or else he’ll just sneak off and do it somewhere else. Another thing he does is bite scratch and lick on his paws until they become puffy and red; sometimes it sounds as if he’s eating himself alive which really disturbs and saddens our family to see/hear. The vet has told us that he does not have fleas and my family and I have tried everything from, rubbing him down with different types of oils to giving him baths every 2-3 days but still nothing has worked and the itching seems as if it’s not becoming any better. I don’t know if dogs can get eczema, can this be some sort of summer allergy because he’s never itched and scratched during the cold months, or is this just a bad case of some sort of dry skin reaction? Were all just really confused, and it saddens me to see that he has to keep suffering everyday. We really need some help/ or suggestions! PLEASEEE, or we may have to consider to just give him away to the pound :(.

  19. alex says:

    Are you serious??? You would give your dog to the pound?! he’s itching deal with it! Lets hope you never get an allergy!

  20. Karen says:

    I can’t believe someone would consider giving their dog to the pound because they scratch! My god, the dog is in misery, that’s apauling! Think of your dog, not yourself.! They depend on you to help them as they are helpless to do so. Get a list of possible causes and a notebook. Try one thing at a time and note any changes. As you eliminate things remember you are getting closer to solving the puzzle that will get your dog out of his constant misery. You are responsible as a dog owner to properly care for your pet and if you give up this dog because he scratches, which he can’t help, then you should never ever have another pet. Pets are like children in the way that they get sick, that is not a reason to give them up.

  21. Paula says:

    Our little basinji mix has started itching. Just like everyone else’s doggies. She had no fleas, and no allergy problems. But we did take her for her rabies vacc two weeks ago. The symptoms coincide so perfectly with that shot, I don’t think it is coincidence. Envy one else’s babies have their shots, right? I know Holman vacc.s are not what they’re cracked up to be. I think I’ll try a mild antihistamine and see how that goes. I’ll keep ya posted!

  22. Paula says:

    Sorry, I meant to type “human” , not “holman”! Human vaccs aren’t that great or really that safe as you would think, soooo….

  23. Jamie says:

    I’m having this problem with a Pom and a Pit… no fleas or ticks but the biting and scratching is horrible, I can’t imagine what they are going through. I was told to use anitbiotic with pain reliver on the raw spots (or vitimin E oil, but that just sooths it dosen’t treat really) and that they can be given benadryl tablets. 1mg for every pound up to 3 times a day. I hope this hepls my boys as well as someone out there. please (someone) let me know if you’ve tried this and it has helped. Would just like to hear this advise from more then a couple people for peace of mind, sure would hate to make things worse for my dogs

  24. linda cosey says:

    my dogs get the itch in hot weather what can it be

  25. critic says:

    I came here looking for a solution and the ENTIRE forum is about other ppl talking about going through the same thing and not offer one solution. Huge waste of time.

  26. Linda says:


    Are you serious? There are so many remedies listed, beginning with the first reply. I don’t know if you actually read through what is posted here or not.

    However, the first thing you need to do is to determine WHY your dog is scratching, especially if he/she does not have fleas.

    Guessing won’t cut it.

    It could be mites, mange, allergies (and it is good to figure out what’s causing it). If it is mites, mange or something along those causes, then the treatment is different than if it is an allergy from fleas, food, bugs, medication or something else.

    We have a cat who has a terrible allergic reaction to a flea bite. If one flea bites her, then hops off never to be seen again, she breaks out in rashes and bumps and has to be helped with medication even though we typically only use non-drug remedies with her.

    Please reread before you criticize.

  27. none of your business says:

    Obviously the vets arent telling them anything that helps, so unless your going to inform us on how to run test for mites, mange, or allergies that are not visible to the eye, I suggest you THINK before criticizing. Your not helping anyone by just telling critic he’s wrong and not elaborating on your theory. Now for everyone else, if you would like to try a shampoo for sensitive skin and allergies you can try a tractor supply store or farmers co op or something similiar they carry a variety of such. I use a iodine based shampoo and it has help my yellow lab a lot. There’s different brands for different dogs too. It’s a cheaper way to try and find a fix and it might suprise you how well some work

  28. Linda says:

    Thanks John. It is a funny point to make, but when I look and I see, as the first answer, a response from a veterinarian on WHY a dog might be scratching, that is an answer. It might not be the answer you are looking for, but it is one. And there are others in the thread as well.

    I responded to criticism because the person writing in, obviously frustrated, said there were no answers. He would have been better to have said “There are no answers that help me with my problem”. I am assuming he tried other solutions.

    Your solution is one that works for some owners and it is one I’ve tried over the years as well. If his dog has a food allergy, it is not a solution that will work because the cause is not determined. There is another popular thread here on adverse reactions to Frontline. One of the symptoms is scratching and chewing and other worse symptoms. Your solution would not be good for that cause either.

    My very first statement was look at this thread. There are several solutions listed that could help the original person’s question. My second was determine what the cause is so you can solve it correctly.


  29. Hope Szabo says:

    My daughters dog has terrible allergies. The vet suggested to use a food that has meat in it she has never had before. Kangaroo meat or veal. Make sure there is not corn or other additives or as few as possible.

  30. karina says:

    hey my do is latley scraching alot an we took her to the vet and they gave her a medicine but she is still scrathcing what shoulld i get her she has no flees but the vetenarian said she has allergiesin her blood what does thatmean please give me a answer poor little dog she bleeding to death

  31. Carol says:

    I feel so sorry for these dogs. My dog Gizmo is a long haired chihuahua and is 1 year old. I am over-sensitive to his feelings and it kills me that I cant do anything about this constant itch. I’m pretty sure I know what it is caused from. He had fleas and was treated with stuff from the vet, ‘advantage’. A couple hours after applying it he scratched for 2 days solid, far worse than the flea problem he had to start with. I took him to the vet the next week and she said to give him Benedryl before he got his next dose of the flea meds. He scratched for about a week. The flea stuff is in his system for a month.The next time the fleas bothered him I was out of town and my daughter was treating her dog so she treated mine. It was a different, cheaper brand of flea control which stays in his system for 3 months. He started scratching again a few hours after this stuff was applied and hasn’t stopped since. He has one spot where the skin is broken and it is bleeding. I was told that virgin coconut oil was miracle stuff for this problem. That was 2 days ago. He’s still scratching. I gave him Benedryl last nite so we could both sleep. He started scratching as soon as I got up this morning. He could have been scratching through the night. ???, and maybe he’s just beat but he has not scratched for about a half an hour and he’s lying down. (Yeah) I just hope this coconut oil works. I just happened to have it in the house because I have added it to my diet. If it turns out it doesn’t work, then I’m still looking, but I’m sick and tired of high vet bills, not to mention I’m now broke over them, so I’m going to be looking on my own. I’ll let you all know how it goes. Thanks for your suggestions and sharing as well. It somehow makes me feel better to know others have the same problem but I sure feel bad for the dogs and cats. Good Luck!

  32. saldem59 says:

    Stop bathing your dog so much.They have a oil base skin and if you keep washing him the skin dries up causing your dog to itch just like dry scalp .Go to you vet have him give a special anti itch shampoo and wash him once a month.GOOD LUCK

  33. I will try this again. I have a 78yr old lab-spaniel mix and a pit mix. I used to live in Martinsburg W Va, moved to Romney W Va., 3yrs ago. my lab mix started scratching biting a yr after we moved here. My pit mix started the same thing after he turned 25months old. I have a pit bull bully who is 13months. I am worried once he turns 2 he will have the same thing. I have been told it is not due to flees, they could not find any traces of flees on my babies. The vet said that labs have exama or doggie skin infection. the same thing people get, that get red and itchy and inflamed. He said to wash him in the oatmeal bath. Tried that, didn’t work. I have changed their dog food. Tried different shampoos, nothing has worked. I also sprayed the yard. The people who used to live here in the house before us have had outside dogs, big ones, little ones. so I thought maybe their dogs had some kind of dease. I don’t know what else to do for my boys, they are like babies, they can,t tell you what hurts or where or why they itch. So I have to try and help them. I was also told to give them away instead of help them. NO WAY. They are mine. I am going to try the suggestions that a lot of you have given. I hope and pray that something helps them. I have also put them out of my room at night so I could sleep the only thing I got was guilt. It didn’t help them. Wish you all luck. I know I wish myself and my boys good luck. I can not afford vet bills or the test for allergies. My son had that done 15yrs ago, it was costly for a human. so I can only imagine how much it is for animals. If anyone does come up with something that works I hope and pray they post it. We as humans have a lot to do with and share the blame, with what comes down in our environment, think about it, the government, burning trash, what goes up must come down. We have been in war for the past 11yrs, we as a world go around in circles, so what goes up over seas, comes down to earth somewhere. True. thank you for all your help.

  34. Kimberlygray says:

    I have a question, we like others lived in one county in W Va, moved to another county in W Va. I have a 78yr old lab-spaniel mix and a pit-mix who is now 2yrs, the older dog started scratching,after we have lived here for 2yrs, now he is bald and has sores. My 2yr old is bald and they both sound like they are eating them selves. I feel so sorry for them. They are like babies they can not tell you where they hurt. I have changed food, sprayed the yard, switched shampoo, taken them to the vets, he said no flees, he said they may be allergic to the flees or environmental. I did not know that animals could get a yeast infection. That’s uncomfortable in its self. I thought that maybe the people that lived here before me, that their dog was kept outside, maybe the dog had a problem and it may have been left there that my dogs contracted. The vet said that labs have the skin exama(I no I didn’t spell that rite) the skin that itches and gets sore and red. I hope you know what I am trying to say. So the vet said bath them in the oatmeal based shampoo, I did, didn’t help. The person that lives in the house with me said the same thing the person did in a response ahead of me. Give them to someone else. NO WAY. They are my babies. I don’t have a lot of money for vet bills. I am going to try a lot of the suggestions that have been recommended in the whole page. except I don’t understand why it has taken them 2yrs to start scratching. The older one has lived here 2yrs then started scratching, now the other baby is just over 25months old now he is going at it. I have another pit bull bully who just turned 13months. Im wondering if he will start once he turns 2yrs old also. I’m going almost as crazy as my poor babies, thank you for your help,. hopefully for their sake I find something that works. I do understand what you say about not being able to sleep due to their digging, biting, scratching, rolling, I’ve locked them out of the room also so I could sleep, all I got was a big guilty feeling. thank you. will let you know if the suggestions worked.

  35. MARIJO says:


    Apple cider vinegar, diluted 1 part to 3 parts water and patted on the itchy skin stops scratching quickly and will help the skin to heal. You can also give it to your dog orally in water or on bread, or in their food. ACV is a miracle cure for many things. It cannot hurt to try it.

  36. kuntrygrl says:

    @marijo-Dr Oz said the same thing! If your dog is itching and losing hair to spray them with diluted apple cider vinager, it cures the skin and the hair will grow back in no time.

  37. Sue says:

    Last year we got a rescue dog who had been badly abused. When we got her home
    she started to roll along the grass and began the scratching. Apart from a ver expensive shampoo which was great I also rub Ungvita vitamin A creamon her red skin and an anti fungal cream called Canesten
    She had no fur on her tummy but it has grown back now. I noticed she get this condition in October which is pollin months here in Australia
    We are moving back home to New Zealand with our three rescue animals so it will be interesting to see how Suzie goes in the cooler weather. Some people have made comments about us paying $3000 to take our pets home. I just look at them and often see a person who has no pets and no heart. We love our babies

  38. Sue says:

    Last year we got a rescue dog who had been badly abused. When we got her home
    she started to roll along the grass and began the scratching. Apart from a ver expensive shampoo which was great I also rub Ungvita vitamin A creamon her red skin and an anti fungal cream called Canesten
    She had no fur on her tummy but it has grown back now. I noticed she get this condition in October which is pollin months here in Australia
    We are moving back home to New Zealand with our three rescue animals so it will be interesting to see how Suzie goes in the cooler weather. Some people have made comments about us paying $3000 to take our pets home. I just look at them and often see a person who has no pets and no heart. We love our babies

  39. Julie says:

    After reading all this I think I am going to try the Apple Cider Vinegar. My lab is 8 years old and is totally miserable. She scratches all day and night. I feel so sorry for her. Thanks for all the tips on here but I’m going to start with this one. Like some of you said they are our babies and want to keep them happy.

  40. Ira Zapico says:

    Scratching can really be annoying. I always use some anti-inflammatory to treat it. ”

  41. Bobbie says:

    I have a family of 4 GSD’s, mother, father and his sister, and the son from mom and dad. Brother and sister are black with tan and mother and son are tan with black. Mother and son, the blonds I call them, have been itching incessantly for 2 weeks now. The dad and sister, zero. So, after reading all the above commentary, I will make a shampoo and conditioner for them with added tea tree oil, cedar oil, peppermint, geranium, Vit E and diluted apple cider vinegar. They don’t have fleas etc and are fully spoiled and I will have the house treated inside and out with pet friendly chemicals and also use boric acid and diatomaceous earth in fine powder lines around the house,

    I will try to log my progress and results so I can try to be helpful to others! So Good Luck to me & all of you who want to try any part of this ! I can’t live without my kids (dogs) but I refuse to let them suffer any longer, and the benadryl isn’t working!

  42. Denise says:

    I have a little Shih tzu/mix rescue who was fine until he a) went to a different groomer, b) possibly got bit by a flea, but we never saw one or c) changed his dog food. These all happened within three days of each other. He has now been on prescription dog food for 3 weeks, the scratching has not stopped. the vet prescribed prednisone, it worked but i took him off of it, not safe in the long run. He does not have fleas but he his definitely allergic to something. His food has no corn in it. He scratches 24/7 and keeps us up all night. We also have an 8 year old black lab who slobbers him constantly when they play, has anyone noticed a connection with saliva and scratching? I could try to keep them apart but they love playing together. I’m going to try the apple cider vinegar tomorrow. Any other thoughts? Thanks!

  43. Jeanette says:

    My chihuahua scratched for years! I treated him with flea medicine and gave him oatmeal baths, etc. Nothing helped him. He would keep me up all night scratching constantly. I finally discovered it was his food! I changed his diet to be grain free. He eats EVO dog food. He was on Science Diet for several years which I found out is so bad for dogs! Dogs should not eat grains. He has not itched for 4 years! He is so happy now.

  44. Jasen says:

    I have two dogs. Both are adult. I left them with my mom for a week and since they returned, they’ve been itching. This typically happens when my mom takes them for a few days, but they usually stop within a week. It has been a few months. I’ve found no signs of fleas. Now, my girlfriend’s dog is now acting similarly, which they play together often.

    I have a hard time thinking food is related to both dogs and the trip to my mom (they ate my food). And since it seems to be showing signs of hopping to a 3rd dog, i am thinking animal related.

    I have searched my dogs and found no signs, though i did find a scab on one dog’s under neck from what i can guess was her rubbing it raw.

    We did find some clumps of what looked like a combination of dirt and dried skin on my girlfriends dog. we were unsure if it came from the yard since we’ve been doing a lot of digging at that property and she hangs out with us.

    i’ve treated the dogs for fleas (normal process when my dogs visit my mom).

    I have a hard time believing it’s food related.

    I am beginning to suspect something else – maybe mites? I did bathe both dogs at same time but they only got a momentary relief from it. I can not keep washing them as its bad for their health, they need their natural oils in-tact.

    diet has not changed. both dogs have been on the same food for years without trouble prior. Both dogs began showing signs of trouble at same point, after visiting my mom’s place.

  45. Rachel says:

    I’ve read through all of these comments and replies but none seem to be clear to my little pups situation. I’ve recently got a red nose pitbull/husky mix. He just turned 6 months old. He’s had his puppy shots, before we took him to the vet he was happy go lucky cute little cream pie but it seems as though after the shots, heartworm medication and flea treatment he started itching.

    It’s been about 2-3months since his last vet visit but a few weeks after that visit he started itching. He itches above his butt (where his tail joins his back) causing some hair loss. He is chewing on one side of his thigh where his testicles are starting to drop (so proud of the big boy haha stupid i know :sadface:) but its only his left side causing redness and discoloration. Also his armpit favored on one side he has started to itch causing redness and it to be tender and on his neck where he brings his back leg around and scratches it, it’s caused a slight rash that comes and goes.

    I’ve also tried the oatmeal-aveeno baths to no prevail, so now i’m back to using puppy sensitive skin shampoo. I’ve gotten desperate to even apply a little baby oil on his hot spots to help keep those moisturized which helps a lot for about 3-4 days. He has expressed his interest instead of fear to my hair dryer so I blow dry him dry after every bath since he seems to favor the heated wind. He is full on puppy and loves attention but it’s sad because when we play and give him attention it seems like I have to pat him on his side instead of pet and stroke him. When we pet and stroke him he gets super itchy.

    Also I have a 16 year old cat who has always been in a house with 3+ other animals. All of the animals had some sort of skin irritation. The other cats and mine as well had thinning/bare skin with scabs on their necks, sides, and bellies. The dogs in the house had it bad too. The problem was a build up of pet dander which is now being better taken care of by my parents and all of the animals health is(are?) improving dramatically. Within the last year of me growing up and being a big girl I’ve moved out of my moms house and took her(my elderly cat) with me. Moved into a duplex with a roommate who also had an elderly female cat. The amazing change in her personality and health was skyrocketing and almost like I just got a kitten again. Her hair grew back she lost a LOT of weight to the point i had to start feeding her 4x as much food due to the fact I could feel her bones of every body part. She was way too active for her own good and so i fed her more just to put more meat on her. I felt disgusting having a cat that skinny.

    When I moved into my boyfriends house we got my pup and inherited slobs for roommates. I try and keep up on cleaning but it is really aggravating only being 22 and now having a 30yo, 21yo sons and a 17yo daughter(they do nothing at all). I’m trying to keep dander down but it seems like both of my pets are being effected by something. I don’t know if its my roommates perfume/cologne or something else. The cat is starting to itch her neck again causing scabbing and of course my poor pup. I thought it might be something related to me exposing him to other dogs but the shots are suppose to protect him from that.

    Neither of my pets have fleas and neither of them have visible ear mite residue. Another thing that has changed is that my parents house they smoked indoors where as at my duplex and the house i’m at now there is no smoking inside at all. I’ve been feeding my cat PurinaONE Indoor Cat Formula, and my puppy PurinaONE Puppy Chow. Every once in a while I buy a can of Whiskas pete wet food for the cat and Blue Buffalo Homestyle Recipes which doesn’t seem to do anything to improve its just a bit pricey to treat them when I can afford it.
    I’m scared to try the allergy test because of what it may cause and with my cat being so old i don’t know and for my pup I don’t want him to over react and lose him.

    Sorry a lot of back story and too much writing but if there is any advice please please help!

  46. Chloe says:

    I have an 6 year old Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog crossed with some form of laborador kelpie cross. We adopted her from a shelter in the country as she was due to be put down the next day, she was maybe a year old at the time. We got her desexed not that long after i think.

    She had no obvious health problems at the time, but after a year or two began to scratch continuosly. (We have had her for almost 5 years). She often has bald patches where she has worn off her fur and occasionally bleeds, and sometimes becomes infected (which we treat symptomatically). There have been periods when she has not scratched so much but these are rare. And she eats her elizabethan collars.

    We have spent thousands of dollars at various vets trying to find out what is wrong, and there has been no improvement with recommended diet changes and certain medications. It is apparently not any sort of infection.
    As a pharmacy student, I suggested to the vet that she try oral corticosteroids, which i gave her a small dose of daily for about 2 weeks. This is the only time she seems to have stopped scratching herself so much. I really don’t think continuous steroid treatment is viable, as someone said further up in this discussion, their dog developed health problems most likely as a result of this.

    One vet a few years ago suggested it could be some form of lupus, or a liver problem. No tests gave evidence for this though. One of my theories is that she could be allergic to cats. I got a kitten (the dog is a family pet) about a year after we adopted the dog, the dog didn’t immediately show that it was itchy, but she definitely didn’t have this problem before the kitty arrived. Is it possible for dogs to be allergic to cats? I would never have imagined it was but I suppose they could be.

    Also, fleas don’t seem to be a causative factor. Although she occasionally shows some evidence of them, she remained itchy after treatment of all pets and house on multiple occasions.

    I think I will try to change her diet again and the oatmeal baths in vain. I just don’t want her to be so itchy all the time because it’s not fun at all (understatement).
    If anyone has anything else that has worked please post!!

  47. vera says:

    I pray for all of you with ailing pets. I had my 2yr old shitzu/bichon (Rocco/a Girl) allergy tested. She scratches and breaks out regularly. My other shitz mix (Zebby/Girl) has “none” of those problems. She was a stray out in the elements for a long time. We believe it( the elements, could have built up her resistance. When we found her she was “flea ridden” with hair loss. We took her in, deflead her, got her vet checked and the only problem we had is when she was eating our cat’s food and got ” severe gastrointestinal” problems. We put the cat’s food up high and till this day, (6yrs)n no problems. Dogs cannot eat cat food but dog food wont hurt cats, although they probably shouldn’t. Rocco, our two year old shitzu is allergic to the following: “not fleas”, flies, cats, grass: bermuda, timothy, ryegrass, johnson grass, weeds: ragweed, marsh elder, dock/sheep sorrel? trees: cottonwood, aspen, elm, pecan, hickory, birch, sycamore,”not the walnut tree” in our back yard? Fungus: (3 of them. there are “15” named) cat hair, salmon, milk, lamb, barley, duck, Indoor: kapook? Insects: she tested negative for cockroach, mosquito, flea…. and POSITIVE to wait…..a fly? Yes. a fly. Some of these things I’ve “eliminated, fish, cheese, milk….it’s helping but like us, they I’m told could be more “seasonal” also”. Didn’t really have the money to spend but it was worth it. Approox $300.-$400 Pa. “land of taxes.

  48. michele says:

    My little pom just started iching about 3 months ago. tried the oatmeal shampoo, didn’t help. i believe that the dog food i usually by has been changed. i went to my local heath food store and asked them about it. they suggested that she might not be getting enough good fatty acids (omega 3). they also suggested an oil of oregano spray for dogs that they sell which is suposed to work well on the itchy spot good for infection too, but a lady had come in earlier and wiped them out saying it really works. ive yet to try it. i am trying the fatty acid.

  49. josee says:

    tea tree oil

  50. Tracy says:

    If you have a rott they are highly sensitive to wheat and grains on food
    must feed good high potien diets for a good result other then that they can
    Have allergies to grains in the food

  51. Friendayors says:

    My dog is a “mutt” we got from the humane shelter 6 years ago. Like all the others, she has no fleas… but itches day and night. Keeps her up and everyone else. I wish I could find a solution. I’m going to try getting a food without corn.

    I heard from someone that there is a tree (has “helicopter” shaped seeds) can cause problems. The helicopter seeds are how they make itching power… as pranks, etc. I’ve not seen any itching powder for years. I don’t know if this is true. But, I will say I have several of those trees in my yard. I dunno….
    I live in the Midwest (Greencastle, IN)

  52. Kendra says:

    My husband and I have a 7 month old chow chow. He scratches at his ears, bites his legs, licks his paws raw, and shakes his head. He has red spots on his skin. We know that chows cannot have a lot of protein in their diet. We feed him Solid Gold food. He had a visit at the vet’s office a couple of weeks ago. He does Not have fleas, and does Not have ear mites. It’s winter time here, but a friend of mine recommend DermaPaw dog skin and paw treatment. It’s a soothing relief cream, and healing protection for your dog paw licking, sores, infections, and skin allergies. It can be used on any part of your dog. It’s 100% non-toxic, and contains no steroids or antibiotics. We just started using this product a few days ago. We did not order the socks that are sold separately. They also show how you can make your own at home. Our chow thinks the socks are toys, so we are using the cone for now. We are also switching his food. I will keep you posted!

  53. Kendra says:

    My husband and I have a 7 month old chow chow. He scratches at his ears, bites his legs, licks his paws raw, and shakes his head. He has red spots on his skin. We know that chows cannot have a lot of protein in there diet. We feed him Solid Gold food. He had a visit at the vet’s office a couple of weeks ago. He does Not have fleas, and does Not have ear mites. It’s winter time here, but a friend of mine recommend DermaPaw dog skin and paw treatment. It’s a soothing relief cream, and healing protection for your dog paw licking, sores, infections, and skin allergies. It can be used on any part of your dog. It’s 100% non-toxic, and contains no steroids or antibiotics. We just started using this product a few days ago. We did not order the socks that are sold separately. They also show how you can make your own at home. Our chow thinks the socks are toys, so we are using the cone for now. We are also switching his food. I will keep you posted!

  54. Jessie williams says:

    i have a one year Pomeranian and she does not have flees from what i can see and she itches like crazy mostly on her back its getting to a point where she is loosing fur and i dont know what to do

  55. Denice says:

    Hi everyone, buy tea tree oil and soak a paper towel in water and add 1/4 teaspoon of tea tree oil to a soaked paper towel and rub it on your dogs problem areas . Tea tree oil heals and soothes and it is a natural product that wont hurt your dog if she licks it. I do this everyday during allergy seasons cuz I don’t like to give my dogs Benadryl cuz it is a chemical. Tea tree oil is amazing and has so many health benefits! I also put aloe Vera on a Cotten ball and a drop of tea tree oil and rub it on the inside of my dogs ears if he is scratching them. My dogs are in awe when I use this treatment cuz they instantly stop scratching. The smell of tea tree oil is kind of a menthol sent just to let you know 🙂

  56. Laura says:

    I have two mini schnauzers and they are scratching themselves raw to the point they pull their hair out and bleed. They can not sleep and you can see how extremely frustrated they are. I recently switched their food to Pedigree because i thought it was the best dog food you could get but after reading all other answers I see I just made the problem worse. When I use spot on flea treatment from the vet their itching seems to instantly stop so I am thinking it must be some kind of mite coming from the grass. When I used the flea treatment this time it did not work so I am switching to a meat based dog food today. I will follow up so you know how well it worked.

  57. Amber says:

    I have a 6 week or 7 week old puppy his name is Cinni he itches all a day and hes never been outside yet so i don’t think he has fleas…email me at ( if you know what wrong with him?

  58. VetLocator Staff says:

    Jessie, your dog may have allergies and they can be nasty and so uncomfortable for your dog. Just like humans, if it is scratching due to allergies, you need to figure out what your dog is allergic to, then remove that thing so your dog stops scratching. The other thing that can commonly cause scratching and itching like that is mange. That is caused by a tiny mite that gets under your pet’s skin. If it is mange, the treatment is very different to get rid of mites. The best thing is to check with your vet, determine what the cause is and take it from there.

    Good luck Jessie!!

  59. Randi says:

    I have a two month old red bone coon hound / lab I have checked him up and down for fleas I haven’t seen any at all and he is always on my bed and I never get any flea bites he is always itching and when he does he cries and it makes me feel horrible I feed him purina one puppy formula I gave him one bath when I first got him cause he was dirty and since then he has been super itchy I used puppy shampoo what can I do to help the poor little guy

  60. VetLocator Staff says:

    Hi Randi, just like humans the cause for itching can be from fleas, allergies, dry skin and other bugs. Check with your vet if you have questions… Sometimes just getting bitten by a flea turns on a pet’s flea allergy, so even if you don’t see one, your pup can still have them. Since they are bites you can often find the flea bite area. However, if you are pretty sure that’s not the problem, the next thing to suspect is your puppy’s food. Switch it up – there is a lot of research you can find on foods that are hypoallergenic. Again, your vet can be very helpful with these suggestions. Once I had a dog that just had really dry skin and he’d get hot spots every summer. We switched foods and tried Avoderm which for him worked like a charm. The added fat and oils from avocados cured his hot spots quickly and his coat became silky and beautiful. Not every dog will respond in the same way, so this is just an example of a food solution for our dog’s problems. Good luck with your little guy!!!!

  61. Brittney says:

    I have a two year old chiuaua and papillion mi and if i dont take her a bath for a while she starts to scrach. Ive learned from the past wo years she has dry ichy and sensitive skin. If your dog is scrachin and doesnt have gleas go to your local pet store and buy a special shampoo for dry ichy skin that contains oatmeal when i took my dog a bath with it she stopped scratching right away

  62. VetLocator Staff says:

    Thanks for sharing this with other pet owners Brittney. I’m sure this share will help some itchy pup out there whose owner didn’t know where to turn for help. 🙂

  63. SHEBA INU/ GERM MIX says:

    I rescued my baby back in Sept 2012 she was not scratching now she is scratching like crazy night and day. I have checked her for fleas, ticks and other bugs and she has none. We give her a good bath at least once every 3 weeks and no bugs has ever been seen. I used sum Moisturizing Gel Oil and it did slow down the itching but makes her coat very oily, but I rather have a oily baby than a scratchy baby that is going out of her mind every minute from scratching. What are the best products on the market?

  64. brittiany says:

    A few months ago, my four year old ridgeback was scratching very bad. I didn’t see any fleas, but decided to treat for fleas anyway. Bad idea, he must have had some type of allergic reaction to it cuz he started losing small patches of fur all over his body. I gave him an oatmeal bath and every thing cleared up fine… until now. All of a sudden he’s scratching like crazy again. This time I spot a few fleas and buy a flea collar. Seems to have worked, no fleas or flea dirt, but he’s still scratching like mad. Is there anyway it could have been worms this whole time? I think I’m going to schedule a vet visit just in case. Keep ya posted.

  65. Meghan says:

    Hi everyone! I think my dog Muffin takes the cake. She is a 48lb rescue mutt from our local shelter. for over a year…yes I said it.. Over a year. she had scratched all over her body and has had bleeding holes in her head most of the time. 3 vet’s and Tuft’s university later…nothing! I can tell you everything we tried that didn’t work. now…I will say she did have mange as I caught it.. (scabies on humans) but it keeps coming back. I am beginning to believe she has an immune disorder. Her face and ears on occasion get really red for no reason at all which leads me to think SLE (Lupus). I have SLE and they say pets resemble their owners…lol
    I say this because just when you think its gone it comes back.
    Here is what I have learned through my journey..
    Tea tree oil was a waste of money.
    all the shampoos,creams,ointments…same. waste of money.
    Prednisone helps which is another reason I think lupus.
    fish oil..waste along with the vitamins
    different dog foods…nope
    ivermectin which is the same medication given for monthly heartworm…worked great. its what they use to rid mange. you can buy it at the local tractor supply place. its in a brown box and it says injectable for cattle and swine you can look up dosage ammts online. can buy at the local tractor supply place as well. this rids fleas ticks and mange..the best part is..its a million times cheaper than advantix.. its advantix’s main ingredient. don’t believe me look it up.
    Revolution for dogs- awesome.
    Oatmeal baths can actually do more damage than good D/T
    if your dog has an allergy to oats…mine does.
    I am going to find someplace to get her tested for Lupus..the reality is. THOUSANDS have been spent and I still see no end in sight. I have made a decision the end of September is going to be the end of the line. I will have to put her down,
    If anyone has any questions for me…or if you have any answers for me…PLEASE RESPOND!! or email me
    thanks and good luck

  66. Dog Lover says:

    Don’t put your poor dog down – keep trying, but stay away from topical and chemical treatments – try treating from the inside. Ask around for an holistic vet – one who doesn’t push the drugs associated with any one particular pharmaceutical company. Get some food grade diatomaceous earth and either toss it with his food and some olive oil or mix it with a liquid – but it’s not water soluble so in liquid it sinks to the bottom. Diatomaceous earth is not chemical – it is finely ground fossils of single cell organisms and it will mechanically clean out the dogs intestinal tract of any toxins, worms etc. People can take it too – for the same reason. Make sure it’s food grade though – not chemically or heat treated.

  67. cj says:


  68. dj gibson says:

    My dog has no fleas, but scratches himself until he breaks skin and starts bleeding. Please help me. I dont know what else to do.

  69. Taylor - Blog says:

    Hi DJ,

    It could be a number of things: allergies, unseen ticks or fleas, shampoo, or a hot spot. I am not going to suggest a different shampoo, but none at all. Brush her everyday with a soft bristled brush and she shouldn’t need a bath.

    Really the best thing is a vet visit. Brushing, a new food, or a new shampoo won’t stop problems. Let the vet do a skin scraping, identify the real problem, and prescribe a safe and effective remedy. Good Luck.

  70. terri says:

    I have a 1 year old Pomeranian. She itches non stop all day and night so I assumed she had fleas. I bought her flea treatment and a flea collar but she still itches and scratches. I don’t know what to do. Someone help!!

  71. troy says:

    we have been to the vet a couple of times did scrapings gave us fish oil helped on one not the other also flee medication and colars shampoos they also said to use benedryl changed foods they said it was snow mold the snow has been gone for months and she is still tear her fur out the neighbors dogs are fine and we have had them for years not been doing anything different what is wrong

  72. ema caste says:

    omg please no dot put tee tres oil on your dogs, it is highly toxic for them!!! if you have small dogs so not use it at all! it may cause seizures!!
    if your dog is scratching and licking till blewding occurs TAKE THE POOR DOG TO THE VET!

  73. Heather says:

    I have a one year old male chihuahua- terrier mix that I rescued from an animal shelter. He was spayed at about nine weeks old or maybe even a little younger. He itches day and night and chews and licks his feet constantly. He has no hair on his hind legs and his front legs from chewing on them. I’ve taken him to the vet and he’s been treated for mites(not the case) he does not have fleas either. We have him on a food trial now, it doesn’t seem to be helping. I don’t know what else to do I will probably return to the vet, I’m wondering if it’s hormonal or immune problems. Any help would be welcomed.

  74. cathy lancaster says:

    I have a 7 year old pom and she is constantly scratching she does not have fleas what can I do to stop her from scratching please help thank you

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