Is your dog constantly scratching and biting himself, and you aren’t sure what to do? Does it seem like the dog is chewing himself raw? You’re not alone. A dog biting its legs or scratching at himself is actually a fairly common reaction to several things.
We’ll break down the top reasons why your dog is scratching and biting himself and well as some possible ways to help your dog stop.
Most Common Reasons Why My Dog Bites Himself
If your dog is biting his leg, there is usually something irritating his skin. Here are the most common reasons why your dog bites his leg:
Fleas and Parasites
Fleas, mites, and ticks will bite and irritate your dog’s skin and carry diseases. They are generally the leading cause behind chewing and biting. And depending on where you live, fleas and other parasites can be a huge problem. To identify fleas, ticks, or mites, you’ll want to comb through their fur where your dog is biting.
How to Get Rid of Fleas and Other Parasites
The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) recommends calling your veterinarian to determine the infestation and prescribe a flea or parasite treatment plan. This may include cleaning any areas of your house where your dog comes into frequent contact.
Related Link: Dog Got Stung By a Bee: What to Do
Dry skin is a small sign of a more significant issue for your dog. Dogs can suffer from dry skin from several factors:
- Dry, cold weather
- Lack of fatty acids
- Cushing’s disease
- Parasites, lice, or canine scabies
- Bacterial or fungal infections
- Excessive bathing
Dogs with dry skin often have dandruff flakes, or its skin will be cracked and tough.
How to Relieve Dry Skin for Dogs
Because it can indicate a more severe problem, you will want to visit or call your veterinarian to ensure proper treatment. The vet may recommend a humidifier or a veterinarian-approved shampoo. Also, feeding your dog high-quality dog food and supplements can improve your dog’s coat.
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Some dog breeds are more susceptible to allergens such as molds, pollens, soaps, and pesticides that can increase your dog’s desire to scratch or bite to relieve the itch. You’ll want to pay attention to your environment, or if your dog ate something different, that would cause an allergic reaction.
How to Relieve Allergies for Dogs
If your dog has a food allergy, you’ll need to determine which allergy through an elimination diet. Unfortunately, all you can do for environmental allergies is try to control the symptoms or avoid the allergen.
Bacteria and fungal infections can also irate your dog’s skin, causing them to scratch or bite. These infections set in when your dog has a cortisol or thyroid hormone imbalance. Bacterial infections appear as tiny, red bumps on the skin. Fungal infections make your dog’s coat oily and greasy.
How to Treat Dog Skin Infections
Your dog will need to see the veterinarian to treat skin infections because treatment will include topical medication and oral antibiotics. Once your vet prescribes the proper treatment, your dog should stop biting and scratching as the infection heals.
Pain, Soreness, and Inflammation
In some cases, if your dog is sore or hurt from stepping on or brushing against something sharp or irritating, then they may scratch or bite at the spot where it hurts. Dogs with arthritis and inflammation may chronically chew, lick, or scratch where it hurts.
How to Relieve Pain and Soreness
You may want to call your vet to diagnose the cause of the pain or soreness. Your vet will prescribe a treatment to manage the pain and inflammation. You can also give your dog CBD oil supplements and dog treats to reduce pain and inflammation.
Boredom, Loneliness, or Restless
Dogs need stimulation, attention, and companionship because they are pack animals. Dogs also need to be active. If your dog is bored or restless, it may chew on its leg or another body part.
How to Stimulate Your Dog
Spend time playing and loving your dog. Look for opportunities to socialize your dog by taking them to the park or having a dog playdate. You can also look for ways to mentally challenge your dog to help with their growth and development.
How to Stop a Dog From Chewing Himself?
Once you’ve identified the cause of the scratching or biting, it can be challenging to stop your dog from chewing himself, even with treatment. If they have persistently chewed or licked in the same area, it can create acute moist dermatitis that only aggravates the problem, and the area can grow.
To help your dog, you can:
- Have your dog wear a special collar to prevent them from biting and licking.
- Give them a chew toy or bone that they can chew on to relieve the stress.
- Use medications prescribed by the vet to treat the problem.
- Change your dog’s food if the food is triggering allergies.
- Give your dog supplements that are rich in fatty acids to improve your dog’s skin and coat.
You Can Reduce Your Dog’s Chronic Biting and Scratching By Identifying the Problem
The best way to identify what is causing your dog to chew himself raw is to take him to the vet. The vet will diagnose the problem and create a treatment plan. Hopefully, within a few weeks, your dog will be back to normal.
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Related Link: How Much Sleep Do Dogs Need?