There are many reasons a dog may scratch, we must consider a number of factors including the frequency, duration and location of the scratching. In many incidences the first thing to rule out would be the presence of external(fleas) or internal(worms) parasites, sometimes when the weather changes, we can see an increase in flea activity due to us turning up our household heating and the environment temperature increase tricks the lava/pupa stage of the flea into thinking it is now the warmer months. If you have treated both your home (93% of the flea life cycle takes place in the environment) and your dog for both internal and external parasites and are happy this is not possible the next area you may wish to consider is a contact allergic reaction. This can be seen for instance if the dog has laid on a freshly cleaned floor or bedding has been washed and once the dog comes into contact a reaction has been seen. Full anal glands can also cause a dog to scratch/nibble and should be checked by a veterinary surgeon or veterinary nurse. Your dog may also have an intolerance to a particular food – such as chicken or egg. Certain breeds may have a predisposition to allergies and this is something we would encourage you to discuss with your Vet. To investigate this theory further you could carry out an elimination diet - this would involve selecting a single protein food (e.g. Suffolk Duck) and feeding only this exclusively for 6 weeks during this time all food and treats should be duck only to ensure that your dog is receiving a true single protein diet. Often treats have a mixed protein source and include ingredients such as chicken digest. There is also the option for your vet to conduct an allergy blood test for Food and Environmental factors such as pollen or grasses. To obtain a true refection with these tests the dog needs to have experienced all four seasons in the year so are often carried out once the dog is a year old.
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