My Dog is Scratching, But it’s Not Fleas.

What could be the cause of my dogs scratching?

There are many reasons besides fleas that your dog could be scratching. Some pets experience allergies, just like people. Others may have a skin infection that will go away with simple treatments. Dr. Sae Namekata-Wales from Greencross Vets Strathfield says ignoring your pet’s skin condition could complicate treatment options and prolong your pet’s discomfort

‘We often see dogs who have scratched themselves to the point that the skin has been broken. This can lead to bleeding and infection. This level of skin damage requires systematic treatments like tablets instead of just topical creams, and the skin takes much longer to heal.’

Fungal, bacterial, and yeast infections are some common causes of itchy skin and are normally simple to treat. So don’t delay in bringing your pet to the vet to find out what’s causing them to scratch. Your pet’s quality of life can be affected by uncomfortable itching and scratching.

Skin disorders can be difficult to diagnose. The expertise of a professional veterinarian is needed to ensure safe and effective treatment is started to get your dog back to full health. Some common causes include:

Flea allergy dermatitis

Dogs can be allergic to flea bites, and it might only take one bite from a single flea to cause this allergic reaction. Dr. Namekata-Wales says, ‘Some dogs are particularly sensitive to flea bites. You may not find a flea or flea dirt in your dog’s coat, but one bite could be the cause of their itch.’


Atopy, or Canine Airborne Allery, is an allergic reaction to airborne pollens or particles from grass, trees, dust, cleaning products, or mould. Treatment for atopy involves a course of hyposensitisation injections. To diagnose atopy, a blood or intradermal skin test is required.

Other causes

Food allergies account for between 10 and 15% of all allergic skin diseases in dogs. Diagnosing food allergies can be difficult, just like with humans. Another cause of scratching could be mites, which can lead to a skin condition known as ‘mange’. Mange is incredibly uncomfortable, and it is zoonotic, meaning it can be passed from animal to human. Treating the mites that cause mange involves treating your pet and their environment.

Your local Greencross Vets will work with you to diagnose your pet’s itch and decide on the best treatment plan. If your dog has been scratching a lot lately, it might be time to find out why.

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