A certain level of scratching and licking in dogs is quite normal. In fact, dogs lick as a way to communicate affection. Scratching can indicate dry skin which is quite straightforward to treat. On the other hand, we can’t simply dismiss scratching. A number of serious health conditions start with this seemingly innocent symptom.
If left unattended, it can lead to hair loss, foul odor, and secondary infections.
When itching is accompanied by bumps on dogs’ back, it can be a sign of skin allergy, bites from parasites, or both.
Causes and Signs of Allergies on Dogs
Allergies in dogs can be caused by:
- elements from the environment
- parasites that live on dog’s skin
Food allergies normally present as dermatitis and stomach upsets.
Environmental and parasitic allergies, on the other hand, mainly present as dermatitis.
Dermatitis is a skin condition that includes pruritus, swelling, hives, lesions, scabs, hot spots, and bumps on dogs’ back.
Environmental Allergy or Parasitic Allergy
Distinguishing between environmental and parasitic allergies is pretty simple. Both types of allergies will both show as dermatitis, except that in parasitic allergy you’ll find the parasites or their bite marks.
The external parasites shouldn’t be too difficult to find.
When you part your dog’s fur, look for the pests behind and inside the ears, or dig beneath the thick coat.
Fleas love warm moist areas behind the ears.
Mites will most likely be in clusters inside the ear. Ticks are very visible, but they’re always on and off your dog.
You may want to check them in other hiding places, like your couch or carpet.
A Closer Look at these External Parasites
Fleas are athletic show-offs and will be jumping when disturbed. They leave red tiny bumpy bite marks which are usually clustered on the legs and groin area.
Aside from the annoying dermatitis, fleas can also cause dogs to suffer from anemia and tapeworm. No wonder they’re called pests.
Ticks are yet another type of bloodsuckers that can hitch a ride on your dog’s luxurious coat. After ticks take their fill, you can feel them by the hand as soft and bulgy bumps on your dog’s back, belly or face. Once engorged, ticks usually drop off and hide elsewhere, returning only to feed again. You’ll recognize the bite mark by a red halo around a red center.
Dogs sensitive to tick saliva may develop dermatitis from these bites.
Ticks can be carriers of Lyme disease, too, which is another reason to dislike these critters.
Mites are not only the smallest of the three, but they’re also very tiny that they cannot be seen by the naked eye. In their smallness, mites can burrow on the skin or hide inside the ears of your dog and lay eggs there. The worst cases of dermatitis are those caused by mites. They are characterized by severe pruritus, weeping wounds, crusty skin, and massive hair loss.
When your dog shakes its head violently or bites its tail nuts, the chances are high that it’s got mites.
There’s no shortcut to treating a parasite infestation. If your dog is diagnosed with either of the mentioned pests, you’re in for the long haul.
The most urgent thing to do is to provide your dog with instant relief.
- Bathe it with shampoo that repels fleas, ticks, or mites, whichever is the case with your dog.
- Apply anti-allergy and pain-relieving medication. Your vet may prescribe antihistamines or hydrocortisone to reduce allergic reactions.
- Treat secondary infections with antifungal or antibacterial creams. This will aid in drying up the wounds and hasten skin recovery.
Remove parasites from your dog’s skin.
- There are special combs or tweezers for removing ticks, but they won’t work for fleas and mites which are so much smaller.
- Use drugs that disrupt the life cycle of parasites and repel them for good. These are usually drops, but you may also try oral medications, collars, powder, or creams.
Get rid of the parasites from their habitat.
- Some parts of your home have become the parasites’ home, too, so find these areas. Clean, spray, bomb, and fog their habitats.
- Vacuum regularly to finally eliminate eggs and larvae that can possibly start another wave of infestation.
Bumps on dogs’ back aren’t always innocent
There’s no need to be an alarmist, but it pays to be more mindful of the first signs of pruritus. Never ignore minor itching or pimple-like bumps on your dog’s back. Removing a couple of ticks before they can multiply will no doubt spare you a lot of trouble and your dog from unnecessary suffering.