Common Reasons for Dog Itchy Skin and Dog Scratching

Occasional itching and scratching is natural dog behavior. Problems only arise, when our dog starts to itch and scratch with extreme frequency.

Common reasons for extreme dog itchiness include-

  • Allergies,
  • Bacterial infection, or
  • Skin parasites.

The irritation may sometimes cause our dog to rub his nose and body on the rug, on furniture, or even in the mud and snow. These behaviors may offer him some temporary relief, but it may also cause dirt to enter the wound, and further inflame the condition of his skin.

Depending on the cause of dog itchy skin, there could also be hair-loss.

1. Hot Spots

As I understand it, hot spots are caused by bacterial infection on the dog’s skin. It usually starts when a scratch or opening on the skin is exposed to moisture, for a prolonged period of time.

My Husky developed a hot spot last winter, on the lower-inner part, of her back leg. It was raining frequently, and she probably developed the skin infection from exposing a scratch on her leg to water, or from lying on a damp surface. Being a Siberian Husky, Shania likes being outside in the rain. However, we now limit her rain time and make sure to dry her well when she comes in.

With hot spots, it is important to catch it as early as possible. Otherwise, the condition may worsen and spread, when the dog continuously licks or scratches on the infected site. If untreated, the infected area may become painful, may develop pus, and may start to smell.

Luckily, we caught Shania’s hot spot early-on and stopped it, before it was able to expand. We cut away the fur around the spot, and kept the area dry. The most challenging part was supervising my dog, and making sure that she did not lick or bite at the inflamed skin. Sometimes, an Elizabethan collar may be necessary to prevent licking, scratching, and biting.

After a trip outside, we gently toweled-down the area, and then lightly fanned it, until it was no longer wet. Keeping it free of moisture reduced irritation to the skin, which in turn, made it less likely for my dog to continue worrying at it.

If the infection spreads or develops pus, it is best to get treatment from a vet.

2. Food Allergies

With food allergies, the itching and scratching is usually accompanied by loose or watery stool. My Shiba Inu is allergic to wheat, and he used to get really itchy from it.

To identify the source of the allergy, I started feeding my dog really plain meals (boiled chicken and rice); no treats or other types of food. I was also very careful during neighborhood walks, so that he did not slip in a “road-side surprise“.

It may take a few days before the allergens clear out of our dog’s system, and we start to see an improvement. Some dogs may be allergic to poultry, so if the boiled chicken does not help, then switch to an alternate meat source, for example venison or rabbit.

Grain-Free Kibble

I only boil or microwave the meat. Do not add anything else, and absolutely do not use table scraps. Table scraps are usually too rich for dogs, and may contain spices or ingredients (e.g. onions) that are poisonous to dogs. Some dogs may be allergic to multiple common ingredients. My Siberian Husky, for example, is allergic to wheat, oats, and some types of fish.

Once the extreme itching goes away, slowly introduce our dog’s normal food back into his diet, one by one, until we find the problem ingredient.

I start with only 1/4 portion of the first food. If everything goes well, I slowly increase the portion by quarters, after every few days (three or more). If the allergy symptoms do not come back after a couple of weeks, I introduce the next food on my list and so on.

If we are using dry food (kibble), find one that is grain free, and has good protein sources.

Some good kibble brands include Orijen, Blue Wilderness, Nature’s Variety Instinct, and Wellness CORE.

3. Environmental Allergies

Dog itching can also be caused by plants, pollen, or other chemicals.

The best way to deal with environmental allergies, is to keep our dog away from the offending chemicals or contaminants. For example, my dogs often stick their muzzle into holes, bushes, and plants. Therefore, if I suspect outdoor allergens, I try keeping them mostly inside the house for a few days. At the same time, I limit and closely supervise their outside time.

If the itching improves, then my dog is likely allergic to something in the backyard or neighborhood. Once I identify which plant is the source of the problem, I remove it from my backyard and avoid it during walks.

Note that some plants can be poisonous to dogs.

Like us, dogs may also have a reaction to inhaling certain air allergens such as pollen or mold. However, symptoms usually include nose irritation and frequent sneezing.

4. Skin Parasites

Dog itching may also result from mites, fleas, or other skin parasites.

Our vet can easily diagnose this with a skin scraping. Depending on the parasite and the severity of the infection, different treatments may be appropriate. Ask our vet for the pros and cons of each.

Note that many parasite treatments involve the use of toxic chemicals to kill the mites or fleas.

Some dogs may have a bad reaction to these toxins. Therefore, I ask my vet about possible risks, as well as supervision and after-care requirements. I also get additional information from online sources to fill in the gaps, and provide a more comprehensive picture of available options. If I am still unsure about safety, I get a second professional opinion.

My Husky recently got demodectic mange from her puppy playmates in dog daycare. To treat the skin mites, our vet suggested the use of Goodwinol ointment. This treatment got the mites under control after about one week, but it also caused some vomiting and irritation to the eyes.

Flea and Tick Repellents

There are also some horror stories on flea and tick repellent products. This article has some good information on possible risks.

Since these repellents are designed to kill fleas, ticks, and other skin parasites, they are all toxic to some degree. As such, there is always the possibility that our dog may have a bad reaction.

Flea and tick collars can be especially dangerous because if they are not properly fastened, a dog may chew off pieces, or even swallow it whole.

However, not using flea and tick repellents may expose our dog to skin irritation, as well as dangerous diseases such as lyme disease. Before making a decision, it may be useful to read what the FDA has to say about fighting fleas and ticks.

If we find ticks on our dog, do not try to pull them off with our fingers. This may cause the body of the tick to break off, and leave the head still embedded in our dog’s skin. Embedded tick parts may sometimes cause a skin infection.

One of the best tools for removing ticks easily and safely, is with the Ticked off tick remover.

It may look just like a silly plastic spoon, but it works surprisingly well. Since I got it, I have been able to remove all ticks from my dogs without any problems.


Finally, dogs may also lick themselves as a result of stress, nervousness, or anxiety (e.g. separation anxiety). In these situations, a dog may engage in displacement behaviors such as self grooming, to calm himself down. Over-grooming can cause irritation to the skin and hair loss.

In general, we want to address skin irritation issues as soon as possible. Otherwise, our dog will likely keep licking and scratching at the problem area, and worsen its condition. Excessive licking may cause pain and further irritate the skin, which will encourage even more licking, and so on. If not addressed, this may be habit forming, and lead to Acral Lick Dermatitis.

These are the most common reasons for dog itching, dog scratching, and hair loss. However, there could be other causes, so it is always best to consult with a vet.

When dealing with allergy issues, find a vet who is willing to help us identify the source of the problem. Medication may help in the short term, but for a long term solution, we want to pinpoint the origin of our dog’s allergy, and stop it there.

In this article, we only focus on itchy dog skin. For a broader, more general discussion of dog allergies, check out Allergies and Atopy in Dogs. Dogs may also have allergic reactions to their yearly vaccination shots. This article on Vaccine Side Effects and Risks gives a good overview of possible dangers.

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  1. Sarah says

    I just wanted to share my experience as I scoured sites like this for possible solutions. I have a 4 year old shiba who suddenly started scratching her muzzle, causing hair loss, whisker loss and ooziness/wounds. It would get better and then worse. We took her in for a skin test by the vet and that was clear. Just before we were going to start testing her diet the vet suggested switching our ceramic dog bowls for stainless steel. Apparently cats are commonly irritated by ceramic and we all know how cat like shibas are. It worked!!! It has been a couple months now and I was the stainless steel bowls regularly and her hair is back, whiskers grown back and no more scratching.

  2. SimSimLoveHusky says

    Hi shibashake,

    Thank you for sharing your experience with us. I have a 4-month old husky boy. I feed him Wellness Core grain-free kibbles. I usually mix the kibble and web food for him in the morning and at night since he loves it so much. Recently, when I refilled his can food, I accidentally purchased the wrong one — bought Wellness can food for puppy instead of the Core grain-free can food for dog and puppy which my husky pup consumes regularly. So now he’s been having really bad diarrhea since Sunday (when he started the Wellness can food).

    I am thinking of to give him plain broiled chicken and rice to him for now until his stomach gets better. But for doing so, can I stop his kibble and wet food completely at once and start the plain home made food right away.. or should I introduce him to the plain home made food gradually in a few days.

    Please advise.

    Thank you so much in advance!

  3. Alisha Papneja says

    I have a 5 month old, female siberian husky. She had been itching way too much so I took her to my vet. He told me that because her anal glands were blocked that why it caused the skin allergy to occur from the back, spreading to the tail and her hind legs and also on her back. Also she kept scratching her face and ears which led to hair loss from those particular area. He prescribed a spray to be used and I have been using it too. But I do not see much of a result of it because she continues scratching her ears and face and also, biting her tail, back, legs and paws. What should I do now?

    • shibashake says

      Is this your regular vet whom you trust?

      If my dog continues to have health issues, then I can continue to consult with my trusted vet to try and identify the true cause of the problems. Alternatively, I get a second opinion from a highly rated vet by looking at reviews from trusted sources, e.g. consumer reports.

    • Anonymous says

      Yes, I consulted another vet about whom, one of my friends told. Heide is fine now. She does not itch a lot now. The vet has told that the itching will get better really soon. Thanks a lot for your help, btw. :)

  4. di says

    Thanks for this in depth info!! I think my dog had a allergic rxn to this new brand of bully sticks tisol started carrying. He’s beem scratching his face alot and i can see that its now pinkish red, my vet appt is in 4 days and im going to try what you suggested to see if there’s an inprovement.

    Also love your blog its the first one i read before i got my shiba and hes now almost three years old!! Glad theres something so informative and straight forward on the web!!

  5. shiba500 says

    Thanks so much for this helpful post. We got our Shiba (mistakenly–didn’t know better) from a pet store. We received the breeder’s information a few weeks after, and the breeder seems to carry 70+ adult dogs and 40+ puppies. Our dog’s been itching and scratching almost chronically.

    We replaced the chicken + duck + grain diet with a grain-free pork diet (Merrick) close to 3 weeks ago, but she’s still a bit itchy. She’s on benadryl and occasional steroid.

    What would you recommend for someone in our situation? How did you figure out what your dogs were allergic to? We’re contemplating getting an allergies test done, but not sure how effective the test is. Congratulations on raising your dogs so well.

    • shibashake says

      When I suspected that my Shiba Inu had food allergies, I first switched him to a bland diet (pain boiled chicken and white rice). No treats or anything else. Some dogs are allergic to poultry, in which case we would need to use an alternate meat source.

      Sephy’s condition improved after a few days, so I knew that I was on the right track. Then, I *very slowly* reintroduced back each item from his regular diet. The symptoms returned after I started reintroducing his kibble, so I knew that the problem was from his kibble. Then, I carefully looked through the ingredients in his kibble and identified the most likely problem ingredient(s). I did more research and picked a new kibble that does not contain those problem ingredients.

      I talk more about what I did with Sephy in the food allergy section above. Here is a bit more on how I pick my dog’s food.

      My Huskies especially have very sensitive stomachs, so I am very careful about what I feed my dogs, and I try to keep to a limited number of ingredients. I also only introduce one new food at a time, so if their poop gets soft or they start showing other symptoms, I know that the new thing does not agree with them. I mostly stick with poultry (because I already know that my dogs are fine with that) and potatoes, with as few additives as possible. I am currently using Wellness CORE regular.

      Note though, that there can be many sources for dog itching, and food allergy is only one possible source.

      So far, I have not needed to do allergy tests on any of my dogs, so I don’t have any first hand experience on those.

      Big hugs to your Shiba girl and please let us know how things go, and what works out best.

  6. Cassie says

    I have a male husky that was outside for six months before we got our female. Back in the summer she started scratching and biting herself until she started loosing her hair and bleeding. She lost a lot of weight and just looked terrible. Well after spending a lot at the vet and doing two scrape tests we still got nothing. However the mange dip that the vet gave us worked but then it spreaders to my male. We bought our female dog after she was a year old and during the vet visits we found out she had 3 types of intestinal worms! Now our male has it and we have done everything for him that we did for her and nothing is working. He lost all of his hair like she did and lost too much weight. He still scratches and now we have noticed that she is starting to scratch again. What could this be and how do I get rid of this crap?

    • shibashake says

      One of my Huskies also had tape worms and it was very difficult to get rid of. In Lara’s case, she kept getting reinfected because at night, she would hunt for and eat rodents. Some of the rodents have fleas that are infected with tape worm eggs, so Lara would get reinfected. To stop this, we now keep her inside the house at night, and supervise her well when she is outside, so no eating rodents.

      As I understand it, the worms are parasites so they absorb some of the nutrients that should go to the dog, and this could be one of the causes of weight loss. I am not familiar with the other types of intestinal worms, so I would talk it through with your vet. The key to getting rid of the tapeworms with Lara is to kill the existing worms in her body with medication from our vet, as well as prevent reinfection from the environment (in Lara’s case, by stopping her from eating rodents).

      Hair loss and scratching is likely from fleas or mites. This can also be passed from other dogs and other animals. For example, rodents often have fleas, and this can cause itching and hairloss. Fleas can be seen on close examination, so I make sure to get rid of them as early and quickly as possible before they spread. With my Huskies, it was also necessary to eliminate reinfection by carefully managing their environment and activity.

      Mange mites are not visible, but can be identified by the vet with a skin scraping. Based on what I have read, there are two common types of mange – demodectic and sarcoptic. Sarcoptic mange is highly contagious. Here is more on mange –

      I think it is best to talk to a vet about treatment options. Management of the environment and activity may also be necessary to prevent reinfection.

  7. niya says

    hye shibashake it was really nice to read your article and it was really helpfull as well. my dog which is shiba inu has the same same problem past 2years. she is 8+ years old and she did when through alot of difficulties. Actually we stayed at Japan around 7 years and we bought our dog in japan. After that we moved into our country back which is Malaysia now. it already has been 6yesrs we are here..At first she did not have this problem but after the 2nd year we notice that she started to have this skin problems. but that time it was not bad condition. It cured in 2 weeks after we applay her some cream which the doctor gave us. after 2 years later the condition started back.we didn’t know why it happened suddenly .we took her to so many doctors, which some of them didnt know why, some of them gave us steroid when the condition get worst after we stop giving to her. after visiting more Dc to have a check up and we came to know that she had demodex. after knowing that she had demodex, we did a lot of treatment by changing her food, shampoos and so on. We were afraid to visit the Dc knowing thst they might dont know the symptom or what. But 1 months before we went to the doctor back because we didn’t see any changes on her condition which was getting worst. they told us that she doesn’t have demodex anymore but she has a skin problems of fungal infection. last week we took her to different doctor and the doctor give us 3 types of Medicine. Her inflammations all did reduce a bit but i don’t feel satisfied yet. The food thar we are giving is Eukanuba dermatitis FP. I am really worried about her. we are putting her the cone to avoid scratching and licking or bitting her paws. Her condition is really bad. i don’t know what to do with it. Dc advice us to not frequently bath and not give rice and meats. can u please give us some recommendation orvany advice by getting rid of her inflammations all.thank you

    • shibashake says

      With my dog, the first thing that I do is try to identify the source of skin issue. There can be many different causes for skin irritation, so the surrounding context, routine, and environment of the dog are all very important.

      I set up a fixed routine for my dog and I try to identify what has changed when his skin problems *first* started occurring. From there, I try to make a good first guess as to the source of the issue. Then, I carefully test to see if removing the “suspected source” leads to an improvement.

      I am very systematic about this, and I test out only one trigger at a time. I describe some of my experiences in the article above, and how I go about testing each trigger for my dog.

      In terms of food, my Shiba Inu is allergic to wheat and my Huskies are allergic to oats and other grains. Therefore, I feed my dogs a grain free diet. Here is more on how I picked my dog’s kibble.

      Sometimes, allergy issues can be from multiple different sources. A dog can also get reinfected with mites and fleas. As a result, figuring out allergy issues can be a challenge and will often require a lot of management and supervision. If I am unable to identify the source of the issue and if my vet is unable to help, then my next step would be to see a dog skin specialist.

  8. Jessie says

    My Alaskan husky had a hematoma after scratching from skin allergies on his left ear about 2 years ago (when we moved him into this house). He was treated, but now he has started recently scratching at his left ear and shaking his head a lot – like his ear is bothering him. The vet could never figure out exactly what he was allergic to, just said a plant outside, could be a neighbors. Any suggestion on what to maybe out on him or bathe him with to soothe his poor ear? It has recently started bothering him now since the seasons are changing. The original incident also happened when the seasons were changing from summer to fall.

    • shibashake says

      My Shiba Inu is allergic to some types of pollen, and he used to get really sneezy when fall would roll around. What helped most is to observe him carefully and try to identify the source of his allergy. I noticed that he mostly sneezed when we went to a particular hiking trail, so during allergy season we would walk in a different location. This significantly reduced his sneezing.

      Allergy issues are usually difficult to solve because it can be a challenge to figure out the source of the allergy. I try to be very systematic about each possible source, and eliminate them one by one, starting with the most likely. For example, if I suspect that it is an environmental allergy, then I may change where we walk, or reduce our outside exercise (while increasing our inside exercise). If there is improvement, then I have narrowed things down to certain locations and can go from there.

      As for treating a hematoma, I would go to a vet for that.

  9. PAHusky says

    Great article! I’ve been through the ringer with my 10yo husky Marleigh now for about a year. It started last June with a few areas on her stomach and has slowly progressed across her entire body. It’s been on her legs, eyes, stomach, tail, parts of her back, ears, paws, you name it she’s had it. We’ve been to three different vets and have gone through more than a few cycles of antibiotics and steroids. We’ve tried every diet under the sun. Any advice??

    • shibashake says

      What did the vets say? What tests did they run? I would consider going to see a skin specialist (animal dermatologist).

      Veterinary specialists are more expensive, but they know a lot more about their area of specialty. We have gone to see two different specialists for our dogs, once for Shania’s leg and another time for Sephy’s tooth. Both of them knew a lot, and were very helpful in working together with us to figure out a solution.

      In terms of allergies, this is what I usually do with my dogs,
      1. I identify which are the most likely sources for the allergy. A vet or specialist can help us with identifying likely sources given our dog’s medical history, environment, and routine.
      2. I usually take an aggressive approach and eliminate all likely sources of allergy from my dog’s routine. In this way, I can quickly restore comfort and skin condition.
      3. I very slowly reintroduce things back one by one to isolate which is the main cause of the allergy.

    • PAHusky says

      Thanks for the reply! All three vets tested for mites, and one took skin scrapings to test for mange, and all tests were negative. We have an appointment with the vet recommended specialist on Wednesday and are hoping for the best. Is it possible it’s not allergy related and could be caused by anxiety/stress?

    • shibashake says

      Based on what I have read, stress can sometimes cause hair loss. Stress can also cause excessive licking and lead to acral lick dermatitis

      When a dog is under significant stress though, there are usually other symptoms (body posture, behavior, etc.) and there is usually something which triggers the stress. Does Marleigh seem stressed? Did something happen last June that may have made her greatly anxious? Are there clear sources of stress still present in her routine?

      Let us know how things go with the specialist. Big hugs to Marleigh. Hope she feels better soon.

    • PAHusky says

      Sooooo it turns out the specialist was able to find a mite! I think that’s good news that we were able to track down the cause, even if a little disconcerting we weren’t able to find until now. We’re trying another cycle of higher mg steroids, another round of antibiotics, a weekly injection, and some more shampoo. Hopefully this clears it up and she can have a comfortable summer, but I’ll be sure to report back in a couple weeks! Thanks again!

  10. Ralph says

    4 years ago I adopted a three year old Siberian female husky named Yoka. She is the loveliest companion one could imagine and seems in excellent condition. Lately she is scratching a lot and it has become worse over time. I checked on flees but nothing. There is no excessive hair loss and I cannot find any irritated skin or hot spots. I have not changed her diet which is basically meat and rice. However she keeps being a cuddly dog and seems not to be bothered with the scratching I am a bit worried. The vet gave her a shot but it doesn’t seem to help at all.
    Anyone any ideas?

    • shibashake says

      What did the vet say? Did the vet think it was some sort of contact allergy?

      Where is she scratching – all over or just in specific areas? Has she gone to any new environments? Has anything changed in her routine?

      Has there been any changes in coat quality? Is there any skin dryness? Is she shedding? What is her grooming routine like? Any changes there – shampoo used, frequency of baths?

    • Ralph says

      The vet just said that it was probably an allergy. The scratching is all over and even as such that she scratches her back against the underside edges of the pool table.
      Nothing in her diet, routine or environment has changed.
      Her fur coat is in perfect condition and, as said, there is no abnormal hair loss. I brush her about daily. As she never is smelly I bath her about once every two months during november-april. The rest of the year she swims with me in the sea after which I hose her with tap water, sometimes with a little shampoo. Her skin looks good; no dry spots, no red spots, nothing. And it is easy to check as she frequently lays on her back, same as your dog does on one of the photos.
      The other two dogs around the house are my mother’s boxer and pointer, my mum lives next door, these two do not scratch more than normal.

    • shibashake says

      Hmmm, it difficult to say with allergy issues. My *guess* is –

      1. It could be a dietary issue. The allergy could just be showing up now.

      Please note that food allergies may show up in dogs at any age.

      The ASPCA article above has some good general information on dog allergies.

      2. It could be from the swim. There is a lot of stuff that goes into the sea nowadays.

      When my dog has allergy issues, I usually try to eliminate the most likely sources and then see what happens. If I think it is from his walks, I will stop that briefly, and replace it with inside play and exercise. If I think it is from his food, I will switch him to a bland diet, etc.

      It is probably best to work together with your vet on this.

      Hugs to Yoka. Let us know how it goes.

    • Ralph says

      Thanks for your reply.
      I can hardly imagine it would be because of swimming in the sea. There is hardly any industry at this part of the coast and this season she has not been in the sea yet, so last time was back in October.
      I will start a hydrolyzed protein diet this week and hope that helps starting to find the cause.


  11. Barbara says

    Does anyone know if it is possible for a dog to be allergic to spiders, we have hundreds in our garden it seems to be the last thing we have not kept her away from to determine her terrible skini irritation. Babs

    • shibashake says

      I believe so. Some types of spider bites can cause an allergic reaction in some dogs.

      Insect bite allergy is the exaggerated inflammatory response to the bite or sting of an insect. Arachnids such as spiders and ticks, and Insects including fleas, blackflies, deerflies, horseflies, mosquitoes, ants, bees, hornets and wasps, and arachnids such as spiders and ticks can cause an allergic reaction in sensitive dogs.
      ~~[VCA Animal Hospitals]

  12. Angelique says

    Hi i found this site and it seems very interesting … I have a 3 month old siberian husky named shieba ( with a coinsidence) :) .. Today we just had an accident and i really need a help, i left her home alone and somehow she was able to open the bathroom and she grabed hair gel, bath sponge, hair removal cream , powder and some tishues, i called my vet and she told me to observe her and to inform them if i see some reaction like bad smell from her mouth. Now i’m noticing that she does not have the bad smell but she’s sneezing a lot and she looks itching her neck.. Right now is very late in malta as i can’t contact again and i’m looking forward for some help.. Thanks a lot and pls help :/

    • shibashake says

      Hello Angelique,

      How is Shieba doing? From what you describe, it sounds like skin irritation, likely from the gel, cream, or powder. I would be most concerned about her eating some of the stuff, and having that cause physical issues. Was there a lot of gel, cream, or powder left when you got home? Was most of it on the floor? Do you think she ate a lot of it or was she mostly just playing with the stuff?

      When in doubt, I usually bring my dog in to see the vet just to make sure that everything is ok.

      Hugs to Shieba. Hope she is feeling better.

    • Anonymous says

      Shieba is doing fine thanks and yes i took her to the vet but everythig is ok till now. :) i don’t think she ate a lot of cream etc i dont think she stupid enough to mix the taste material with something delicious :) … Thanks for your response and time again :)

    • Anonymous says

      Hi today shieba took some chicolates with hazel nuts and coconut and i took her to the vet co he told me to take her as soon as possible , he gave her an injection to vomit and she did, an he told that the injection in it self has tranquilizer too , but now it had pased nearly 2 hrs and she kept crying since and she ‘s like without any health :/ is that a problem?

    • shibashake says

      Hello Angelique,

      When it comes to health issues, I find that it is best to consult with my vet. They know my dog’s medical history, general physical health, etc. I give them a call, tell them the symptoms, and see what they say. If they are unavailable, and the condition seems serious, then I take my dog to the emergency vet.

      Hugs to Shieba. Hope she is feeling better.

  13. says

    my 7 months female siberian husky got allergies legs now now chest wats the best care and medicine for my husky name kayla i buy dog flea and tick powder and soap for her allergies not effective to kayla pls help

    • shibashake says

      There can be a variety of reasons for skin allergies and hair loss. First, I try to identify the cause of my dog’s allergy. Once I identify the cause, then I can come up with an effective treatment or solution.

      To do this, I take my Sibe to the vet, to rule out skin parasites, and get my vet’s advice on next steps.

      Next, I may look at other contributing factors, for example examine my dog’s diet, stool, and routine. These will indicate whether the cause is dietary or environmental in nature.

  14. Anonymous says

    hi.. I have a 6 month old female husky. And I noticed that there are red markings just below her mouth and near her eyes. Is it an allergic reaction? There is a construction site near our place and dust are every where and we leave our dog all day outside our house. Are her red markings because of this? Should I take her to the vet?? by the way i love all your articles. I’m a first time dog owner. <3

    • shibashake says

      Congratulations on your new Husky.

      What kind of “red markings”? Are they little dots? Is there hair loss? Does she try to scratch the area frequently?

      For health issues that I am unsure of, I usually take my dog to the vet, especially if it is causing discomfort or irritation. Otherwise, I end up worrying myself silly anyway :); so better to be safe and catch things early.

    • Anonymous says

      Thank you for responding… :)

      I just found out what those red markings are.. and its a sunburn! I live in a tropical country and its summer now. Which means it’s super hot. Do you have any suggestions on how can I prevent it from spreading all over her body? and how can I treat those sunburns? Thanks in advance :)

    • shibashake says

      Ah, it is good that you have figured out the cause.

      My Huskies also have a lot of fur, and because of that, they heat-up really quickly during hot weather. Here are some of the things that I do to help my Sibes stay cool during the summer months.

      They usually prefer to stay inside the house, when it is hot outside. When they do venture outside, I make sure they have a ready supply of clean, cool, water, and that there are many shady spots with free air-flow.

      As for sunburns,

      light colored animals can get sunburned just like people. Encourage them to stay in the shade and ask your veterinarian for a recommendation on sunblock for your pet.

      The Veterinary Specialty Hospital of San Diego (VSH)

      Here is another article on dogs and sunburn –

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