why does my dog scratch his mouth
There are many reasons why your dog may be pawing at his mouth. Often, there is an underlying skin or other health problem which is causing the discomfort. Allergies There are many things that can cause an allergic reaction resulting in skin irritations, peeling, and itching. Your dog may have environmental allergies, such as to pollen or dust mites, or to chemicals, such as the detergent used in washing his bedding. Your dog can develop sensitivities to the plastic of his food or water dishes, or even to the food itself. Allergies to a food ingredient are common in diets that are fed continuously over a long period of time. Contact Irritant A dog s skin can also become inflamed, itchy, and sore when it comes into direct contact with an irritant. This could be a poison, such as those found in cleaning products, or from ingestion of an irritating plant, such as poison ivy or hyacinths. With some irritants, only one exposure may be needed to cause a reaction.
Often, a rash occurs which can leak fluid, develop into blisters, or change color. Dental Problem Often, dental pain, abscesses, and periodontal disease can cause your dog to paw at his mouth, rub his muzzle after eating, or even try to get at his ears. Skin irritation can occur from the pawing and scratching, which can lead to a mistaken case of allergies. Tooth and gum problems also can cause changes in your dog s eating habits, bad breath, drooling, and bleeding gums. Trauma Wounds and injuries to the mouth, tongue, cheeks, or lips can occur that can swell those sensitive tissues. The many foreign objects that dogs eat, such as twigs, can cause cuts and abrasions, or become lodged in the mouth. This will cause your dog to claw at his mouth, cough, or cry out. Even a tough bone can result in mouth and gum damage. If these types of trauma are not treated, they can result in abscesses or infections.
Tumors in the mouth can also cause these reactions, and may affect your dog s normal eating habits. Infections Infections can be caused by bacteria, fungi, viruses, or parasites, such as mites or fleas. These types of infections could cause skin irritations that become itchy, causing your dog to scratch. Sarcoptic and demodectic mange caused by mites both result in severely itchy skin, scabbing, and hair loss. Fleas can cause your dog to scratch incessantly, and can become exacerbated if your dog has an allergy to flea bites. Bacterial infections are common in skin that is being damaged by trauma, such as scratching. Skin Condition There are other conditions which can cause the skin to become irritated and itchy. Tumors, cysts and warts can cause your dog to paw at himself. Hormonal imbalances can induce skin reactions, diseases such as Cushing s disease or hypothyroidism may induce itchy skin.
Cancer and autoimmune diseases, such as lupus or pemphigus, can also affect the skin. Dry skin and dandruff will cause itchy skin as well. Indigestion Dogs with digestive problems, or those experiencing stress or anxiety, can be affected by heartburn or acid reflux disease. The unpleasant burning in the throat and chest can cause your dog to scratch under his jaw. Other symptoms may include an increase in drinking, panting, and eating, coughing, or eating grass.
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