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Posted on 05-08-2017

Gainesville pet owners - Does your cat or dog itch constantly? Do they obsessively lick paws or scratch certain areas? Have you noticed a foul odor on their skin or ears, discolor or balding spots?

Occasional pet itching is common - especially with dogs. Constant itching may be a sign of skin disease or allergies and can cause hair loss or skin damage. Their itching can be an annoyance to you, even keeping you up at night. If not handled early, your pets may have a harder time battling this issue and it can be harder to treat and control.

Common Pet Allergies:

  • Flea allergy

  • Food allergy

  • Contact allergy or contact dermatitis

  • Atopic dermatitis (a chronic itchy skin disease associated with environmental allergens)

Our veterinarians will examine your pet to make a skin allergy diagnosis and develop a treatment plan.


Flea bite hypersensitivity causes severe pet itching. Even one flea bite can cause pruritis (itchy skin) with the hind end affected most often. Fleas and flea feces that contain your pet’s blood are not always visible to your eye. We recommend year-round flea prevention and, if needed, medicated flea baths (contact our Prestige Pet Resort) to limit fleas on your pet and stop their itch.


In about 10% of cases, pets are allergic to certain substances in their food. We recommend allergy testing for pet food allergies to bring fast relief to pets.

Contact Dermatitis

Allergic contact dermatitis is rare but occurs when a pet’s skin overreacts to molecules in the environment such as nickel, rubber, wool, dyes and chemicals.

Atopic Dermatitis

A common pet diagnosis is atopic dermatitis, a chronic inflammatory skin disease brought on by environmental allergens such as grass, mold, pollen or cigarette smoke.

Talk to your veterinarian about skin and blood tests for dermatitis.  A referral to a veterinary dermatologist might be recommended. In a skin test, a small level of allergens is injected under your pet’s skin to test for reactions. In a blood test, your pet’s blood will be analyzed for which specific allergens could be causing the reaction.

Treatment of Pet Allergies & Pet Itching

Once the pet allergens have been identified, we can develop a plan to eliminate the source of the allergy in your pet’s environment and treat the skin.

Options for pet allergies and itch relief include:

  • Antihistamines

  • Anti-itch conditioners

  • Cyclosporine therapy

  • Essential fatty acids (Omega 3 supplements like Welactin and Dasaquin)

  • Hypoallergenic diets

  • Immunotherapy

  • Injections such as Cytopoint

  • Oral steroids in low doses to treat sporadic outbreaks

  • Prescriptions such as Apoquel

  • Topical steroid sprays

*** May only - Purchase any Dechra skin care product and be entered into drawing for a free Dechra skin care gift basket.

Talk to your Shores Animal Hospital veterinarian about your pet’s itch issues and how we can provide relief.

Want to take a quick 6-question quiz to learn more about your dog’s itching AND help military, police and service dogs?

Each time the quiz is taken, Zoetis will make a donation to K-9 Courage™ Program.  K-9 Courage provides healthcare assistance to retired military and active police dogs as well as active service dogs that assist veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress. Once admitted into the program, each dog receives a $300 credit every year for the rest of its life to help cover veterinary expenses like wellness and emergency visits, vaccines, prescription medications, food, and treats.

Take the Itch Instinct Quiz


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