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Why is my pet still scratching after applying flea treatment?

Blog Home Apr 23, 2021

We asked in-house Itch vet Zoe Costigan to give us the lowdown on why your pet is still scratching after applying Itch Flea. Here’s what she had to say:

 

It’s fairly typical after you’ve applied Itch Flea for there to be a period of hyperactivity amongst the fleas as the product takes effect, and this can cause an increase in itching. 

It should settle down though after 24 hours. 

If after 24 hours your pet still continues to scratch, there could be other things going on. 

Your pet could be flea-allergic, it could have a skin infection or a hormone imbalance, or other conditions which can lead to itchiness. 

 

Why WHERE your pet’s scratching matters (and what they could be trying to tell you!)

Where exactly your pet is scratching could be an indication of what is troubling them. 

Typically, flea-allergic dogs will scratch along the base of their spine and around their tail. 

Other parasites, such as sarcoptes, your pet will be more itchy on the tips of their ears and their elbows. 

Facial eczema is really common in allergic cats, they’ll scratch away at their face, making a mess of their features. 

Allergic dogs will typically scratch their ears, chew their paws and rub their bellies along the floor, as allergies tend to affect their least hairy areas of the body. 

 

What are some other causes of itchy skin in pets?

After flea allergies, most itchy skin disease is usually due to an underlying allergy of some sort, be it your pet’s food or something in their environment.

Unfortunately, these animals tend to be chronically itchy, and really make a mess of their skin. And, that can allow secondary infection with bacteria and yeast to occur. 

These infections must be appropriately addressed with medical treatment, or you’re never going to get that itching under control. 

Once you’ve ruled out parasites and secondary infection, the next thing to consider is could your pet have a food allergy? 

If you think this is the case, you need to speak to your vet about how best to manage it. 

The most typical allergens are beef, chicken, dairy and wheat

 

What is atopic dermatitis?

After ruling out a food allergy, if your pet is still itching, and it’s in the typical locations of the ears, between their toes and their belly, then a diagnosis of atopic dermatitis may be reached. 

These atopic animals often have multiple allergies, and it’s thought to be a genetic problem, linked to a defective skin barrier. 

There is no cure for atopic dermatitis, it is a life-long condition. But it is a condition that can be managed, by using specific medical treatment, specialised diets and regular parasite prevention

 

What does it mean if my pet’s scratching their ears?

Animals which shake their head or scratch their ears will typically have an ear disease. 

This is one of the most common reasons why pets are taken to their vets, and it can make your animal’s life a misery. 

Often, people assume it’s a straight-forward ear infection, but generally there’ll be a reason why. 

Certain breeds are prone to ear disease, such as your Spaniels with big, heavy ears. Young animals like puppies and kittens will be more prone to ear mites, which causes intense itchiness of the ears. 

Finally, underlying allergies are another reason why dogs will scratch and scratch at their ears. 

 

What does it mean if my pet’s chewing their feet?

Animals which lick their feet – especially after a walk – may be suffering from a contact allergen. 

For example, if your dog walks through grass and they’re allergic, pollen will irritate between their toes.

As they lick that area, they’re driving the pollen deeper into the hair follicles, which actually makes the problem worse. 

It’s a really good idea to get into the habit of washing your pet’s paws after they’ve been for a walk if this is the case. 

 

How Itch can help your pet

Fleas are a nuisance, and they do make our pets itchy. But in addition to this, the worst-case scenario is that your pet may be flea-allergic. 

These animals are intensely itchy, they will pull out their fur, their skin will look red, they’ll be prone to secondary infections and sores. 

If this is the case, you must take your pet to the vet for some additional help. 

Here at Itch, we have a range of supplementary treatments which can help with many of the conditions we’ve talked about.  

We have Itch Omega, Itch Skin & Coat Treats and Itch Ear. If you want to add these to your subscription and you need some help, please get in touch.