Dogs will scratch, and this is normal. However, what is not normal is when a dog starts scratching uncontrollably. Sudden intense scratching may be a sign of an allergic reaction. It may also be a sign of skin infection, insect bites, or mites. If you notice that your dog begins to scratch intensely and you are far from the vet, there are a few things you can do to immediately help to ease your dog's discomfort.
The First Steps
The first thing you need to do when you notice uncontrollable scratching is to restrain your dog. Once you have restrained your dog, begin checking their skin in the area where they have been scratching. If you see any insects, remove them. Apply a cold compress to the affected area for at least fifteen minutes.
Using an Oatmeal Shampoo
Oatmeal shampoo is perfect to help relieve itching temporarily. If you don't have this shampoo available you can make some very quickly. Get a cup of oatmeal, a cup of baking soda, four cups of warm water, and a teaspoon of dishwashing liquid. Mix all your ingredients together to create the shampoo.
Medicating Your Dog
If your dog's scratching is still intense after doing everything already discussed, you might want to consider giving them an antihistamine. You will need to call your vet to ask them which antihistamine is best and the dosage that you should give your pet. If the scratching still continues after doing all of that, you will need to take your dog to the vet to get a thorough physical examination and to do blood tests.
Preventing Future Itching
Often the cause of extreme itching in dogs is fleas and mites. If you find that your dog is itching because of this, prevention is the best way to make sure that it does not happen again. Your vet can prescribe prescription flea and tick medications for your pet. If your dog's itching was caused by an allergic reaction to something in their environment, remove the irritant. If itching was caused by food, a change in diet will be necessary. Make sure you discuss with your veterinarian how to go about doing this since you don't want your dog to become malnourished in any way.
When your dog starts itching uncontrollably, you must take action immediately before they damage their skin and invite infection. Try the tips outlined here, but if you see no improvement, do not hesitate to take your pet to the veterinarian.