Reasons Why Your Labrador Is Constantly Scratching (Plus Treatment and Preventive Options)

It can be tough to see your Labrador constantly scratching, especially when you don’t know what you can do about it.

There are a lot of possible reasons behind a Labrador Retriever constantly scratching. So determining what could be the cause will be a process of elimination.

This article will go through the different reasons why your Labrador is constantly scratching.

We’ll also talk about the possible treatment methods and how to prevent them.

Let’s dive into it.

Potential reasons behind your Lab constantly scratching

First off, scratching does not only refer to the literal scratching of the skin. It could also include licking, biting, or even dragging themselves across some surfaces.

Itchiness is a type of discomfort that you don’t want your Lab to go through.

Since it is a symptom of so many things, it can be difficult to pinpoint the direct cause of a Labrador constantly scratching.

This section will detail the potential reasons why and how to tell which specific reason causes your Labrador Retriever to be constantly scratching.

1) Stress

First off, try to determine if your Labrador has been under a lot of stress lately.

This could include anything from moving homes to having a sudden change in routine.

Itching, in this case, is not prompted by an actual physical itch but can be due to compulsion.

Consequently, it is possible that your Lab is always scratching because they are feeling anxious.

For stress-induced scratching, try to give your Lab some time to adjust to the situation and make them as comfortable as possible. This could make the scratching go away after some time.

If it does not seem to get better, then stress may not be the reason behind your Lab constantly scratching, so you should try consulting your vet.

2) Fleas (and other parasites)

Fleas and other parasites like mites are usually the first things to be eliminated when examining why your Lab puppy is scratching a lot.

The good thing is that fleas are easy to eliminate. There are specific flea shampoos that you can use to take care of the flea problem.

You can also wash your beddings and your dog’s beddings to get rid of any eggs or fleas that may have homed there.

You can also talk to your vet about the best way to deal with fleas on your dog.

Aside from that, there are specific combs available for getting rid of flea eggs in your dog’s fur.

3) Dry skin

Another reason why your Lab is scratching a lot is dry skin.

Fortunately, dry skin is quite easy to treat and manage. You will notice if your Lab is suffering from dry skin if their skin looks caked and crackled.

For instance, if you part your dog’s fur, and it looks like there’s dandruff underneath. This may mean that your Labrador scratches all the time because of their dry skin.

Dry skin can happen in places where the humidity is not enough. This could occur especially in seasons of low humidity.

Apart from that, dry skin could also be caused by a weak diet that does not have enough nutrients to nourish your Labrador Retriever’s skin and fur.

4) Compulsive behavior

It is also possible that your Lab is scratching a lot because they are feeling irresistibly itchy, and so, they do it excessively.

You can tell that it’s a compulsive behavior if: 1) your Labrador has been scratching themselves a lot over the course of a few weeks; 2) they have been losing fur; and 3) they have been itching at basically the same spot.

5) Allergies

Allergies are very difficult to diagnose and treat purely because there are so many possibilities.

In fact, allergies are usually the last option explored because of how difficult it can be to diagnose them.

For instance, canine atopic dermatitis affects around 10% of dogs. It is also a hereditary syndrome, according to this study.

Allergies could be anything from the food that your Lab eats to the grass that they play on. The possibilities are virtually endless.

There are even Labs which are allergic to fleas! That makes the problem of fleas even more difficult to tolerate.

6) Boredom

Labradors are a dog breed that are historically used to getting a lot of regular exercise.

Hence, if your Labs aren’t getting much activity, this may lead them to look for other things they can do.

7) Something is stuck on its fur

It may also be the case that something has gotten stuck on your Labrador’s fur that may cause them to want to scratch it until they urge to itch goes away.

Common food allergens for Labrador Retrievers

Here are some of the common allergens in food that can result in a Labrador itching:

  • Rice
  • Wheat
  • Corn
  • Soy
  • Beef
  • Eggs

These are only the very common ones and do not nearly quantify or represent the possible allergens that your Lab may be allergic to.

One of the methods to determine the allergen responsible for the scratching is to slowly rotate through the common food allergens and see which ones are safe for your Lab.

A common treatment for Labrador allergies is immunotherapy. However, this course of treatment can be expensive. Anti-inflammatory medications are also usually given to alleviate symptoms.

Common examples of such medications are Steroids and Cyclosporine.

Is there something I can do to reduce Labrador severe itching?

Yes, of course.

Although there are a lot of reasons that can cause your Lab to want to scratch themselves all the time, you can rely on a few tried-and-tested recommendations to manage the problem.

Things you must consider when it comes to a Labrador constantly scratching

If you’re trying to figure out what you can do for your Labrador Retriever that scratches all the time, try to consider the following factors:

1) When your Lab first began scratching themselves

If your dog is not the type to always feel itchy, and you noticed that they suddenly began doing so, you may need to think back to when they started.

It may be possible that your dog actually has an injury or something got stuck on its fur.

So, make sure to consider what transpired during the time when your Labrador started scratching themselves.

2) When your Labrador scratches themselves

You can also determine how you can most effectively address your Labrador Retriever’s constant scratching if you take into account the specific times that your dog tends to feel itchy.

This is because timing can have something to do with your canine problem.

For instance, if your Lab usually scratches themselves when you are about to go to work, then it may be that your canine buddy is just feeling separation anxiety.

From there on, you can then assess what you can do to help your Lab not feel very anxious.

3) How often does your Labrador Retriever scratches themselves

The frequency of your Labrador constantly scratching can also affect what you can do to address the problem.

For example, if your dog rarely scratches themselves, then it is probably not a huge problem that you will have to mull over.

However, if they do it a lot, then things like rashes, fleas, or injuries could be the reason behind it.

What can you do about your Labrador constantly scratching?

Just because a Lab puppy is scratching a lot does not necessarily mean that you have to take your canine to the vet. However, if it is already recurring, you may need to.

To give you an idea of the things you might need to do about the scratching, check out our list of tips below for dealing with a Labrador Retriever constantly scratching.

1) Eliminate fleas or other parasites.

The first step to take is to eliminate the possibility of fleas or parasites. Once you have confirmed the presence of parasites in your homes and your Lab’s fur, you need to get rid of them.

What you need to do is clean out your beddings first and make sure that they are all free of fleas or mites.

Afterwards, you can then clean your floors and try to get all the places that you can and ensure that your home is properly cleaned.

You can call a professional to help you get rid of the fleas in your home as well.

You may also call your vet to see if they can recommend a flea treatment and preventative for your Lab.

2) Ensure proper nutrition.

Part of the reason why your Lab’s skin itches is dry skin, which may happen because of the lack of nutrients in your Lab’s diet.

For instance, if you give them commercial food, it may not have the quality nutrients that are needed to give their skin and fur the boost they need.

To avoid this, you could contact your vet to see if the food you are giving your Lab is sufficient or if you need to change things up for the well-being of your Lab.

3) Eliminate possible allergens.

Eliminating allergens will be difficult when you don’t know what they are. It could be just about anything inside or outside your home.

But, you can begin with your Lab’s diet and go from there. Try to avoid common dog allergens for a while as you await a diagnosis.

Just be patient and try to avoid any food or contact items that your Lab may be allergic to.

4) Take your Lab to the vet.

Regardless of what’s causing your Labrador Retriever to consistently itch, it is crucial that you seek veterinary attention when you observe your Labrador constantly scratching.

Never give them any medication without your vet’s medical and professional advice.

Otherwise, you may end up unintentionally causing adverse reactions to your Lab.

Authored By

John Lab

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