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Dog scratching and biting.

Species: Dog
Breed: German Shepherd
Age: 1-2 years
My dog has recently started scratching and biting at himself excessively, I have looked at him with a magnifier and can't see any fleas, ticks, or other insects, he just got bathed and groomed and still does it, what am I missing? thank you!

Related Article: How to get rid of fleas!


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

At this time of year the most common reason for a dog to suddenly be itchy is definitely fleas.

Fleas can cause a dog to be itchy anywhere but here is the most common area that is affected:

where fleas live on dogs

It is really common for a dog to have fleas and for you not to be able to see anything. Sometimes you can see flea dirt. This looks like little black flecks. If you take a piece of this dirt and put it on a paper towel and add some water to it you should get it to make a little red smear.

However, if your dog is itchy above the tail then even if I didn't see flea dirt I would treat for fleas.

Do not buy a flea product from the pet store. They don't work. This has been the worst year I have ever seen for fleas. My thought is that the use of pet store products has created resistance amongst fleas.

These are the products that I find work well...Frontline, Advantage, or Revolution.

If the dog is itchy on the feet then this could be due to allergies. Most dogs with allergies do need to be on medication prescribed by a vet.



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Disclaimer: Although Dr. Marie is a qualified veterinarian, the information found on this site is not meant to replace the advice of your own veterinarian. AskAVetQuestion.com and Dr. Marie do not accept any responsibility for any loss, damage, injury, death, or disease which may arise from reliance on information contained on this site. Do not use information found on this site for diagnosing or treating your pet. Anything you read here is for information only.

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Dr. MarieDr. Marie is a veterinarian who practices in a busy animal hospital in Ottawa, Ontario. She created Ask A Vet Question as a resource for good, accurate veterinary advice online. Dr. Marie treats dogs, cats, hamsters, guinea pigs, and rats. She has been a vet since 1999.

Is an online vet visit just as good as a trip to your veterinarian? No! But, many times, asking an online veterinarian a question can help save you money. While Dr. Marie can't officially diagnose your pet or prescribe medications, she can often advise you on whether a vet visit is necessary. You can also ask Dr. Marie for a second opinion on your pet's condition.