If your Labrador has been itching itself a lot you might want to know why and what you can do about it.
In this post, I will show you a number of reasons why it might be itching itself and what you can do about it.
So, why does my Labrador keep itching itself? Possible reasons are that it has allergies, fleas, it is a compulsive behavior, anxiety, something being stuck in its fur or it could have just been itchy at the time.
There are actually a number of reasons why your Labrador might be doing it and it could be due to a combination of them. However, there are a number of things you can do about it, depending on the most likely cause.
Why your Labrador keeps itching itself
Below, I will show you a number of reasons why your Labrador might be doing it and what would make them more likely to be the main reason.
It could be the case that allergies or a rash could be causing your Labrador to itch itself. Allergies can be caused by things such as shampoo, other dogs, pollen or household chemicals (source).
It would be more likely that allergies or a rash are the cause if it started doing it after something happened that might have caused it to get allergies or a rash. Examples could be using a different shampoo or a harness that rubs its skin.
It could also be being caused by fleas. This would be more likely if it has been itching at random areas on its fur, it has started doing it suddenly and if you have found fleas around the house.
If fleas are causing your Labrador to itch itself, it would help to talk to your vet about what you should do to get rid of the flees.
It would also help to eradicate fleas from your home by doing things such as:
- Washing the bedding with hot soapy water
- Vacuuming the carpets and throwing the bad
- Applying an environmental flee control
- Applying a spray, pellet or non-toxic treatment for the yard
- Treating your Labrador with a monthly preventative
The issue could also be that it is a compulsive behavior. This is where it has an irresistible urge to itch itself and it does it excessively. This would be more likely if it has been doing it a lot over the course of a few weeks, it has been losing fur and if it itches more at the same spot. In this case, the best option would be to get help from a vet.
Labradors are a breed that is meant to get a lot of exercise on a daily basis. If your Labrador is not getting much exercise it could be causing it to behave abnormally and to look for other things to do.
Generally, it is recommended for them to be getting at least an hour of exercise per day as healthy adults. If your Labrador is not getting that much, it would help to make sure that it does, by walking it yourself or getting a dog walker to do it for you.
Sometimes, dogs will also start scratching themselves when they are anxious. Things that might cause it to get anxious would be if someone moved away recently, another pet died or if you recently adopted it.
It might also be the case that it has separation anxiety. This is where it does not like being left alone and being left alone causes it to become anxious. This would be more likely if it itches itself and it shows signs of being anxious when you are about to leave home.
It could also be the case that it has been doing it due to an injury. This would be more likely if it has started doing it suddenly, it has been itching the same spot and if you can see things such as a cut. In this case, the best option would be to take it to a vet.
There is something stuck in its fur
It might also be the case that there is something stuck in its fur. This would be more likely if it itches at the same spot and if you can see that its fur looks sticky.
It was just itchy
It could be the case that it was just itchy at the time. This would be more likely if it only itches itself occasionally and it does not do it excessively.
Things to consider
Below are some things to consider when trying to figure out why your Labrador has been itching itself.
When it first started itching itself
If it did not always itch itself like it has been, it would help to consider what else happened when it first started doing it since an event might have caused it to start.
If it did start itching itself suddenly, it would be more likely to be due to things such as an injury, something being stuck in its fur, something making it become anxious, fleas or allergies. It would help to consider what else changed at around the same time that it started doing it.
When it does it
It would also help to consider if there is a certain time that it tends to do it more since the timing could also have something to do with it.
For example, if it does it more when you are about to leave home it could be a sign that it is because it has separation anxiety.
How often it does
How often your Labrador itches itself will have an impact on the most probable causes of it itching itself.
If it rarely does itch itself or if it’s a puppy and it just did it once then less likely to be a problem and it was probably playing.
If it does it a lot then it would make it more likely to be due to things such as a rash, fleas, compulsive behavior or an injury.
How to get your Labrador to stop itching itself
Below are some things you can do about your Labrador itching itself.
Take it to a vet
If you cannot figure out why your Labrador has been itching itself, it seems to be injured or it has been doing it excessively the best option would be to take it to a vet. By doing so you will be able to get expert advice tailored towards your particular Labrador.
Give it exercise
If your Labrador is a healthy adult, it would help to make sure that it is able to get the recommended amount of daily exercise so that it is fully stimulated. Generally, it is recommended for them to get at least an hour of exercise per day as healthy adults.
Avoid negative reinforcement
Negative reinforcement is where you inadvertently reinforce bad behaviors by rewarding them.
Instead of giving your Labrador things it wants when it itches itself, try to redirect its focus when it is about to do it and to reward it when it behaves the way that you want it to.
Make sure that it is not due to shampoo
It could be the case that the shampoo you use on your Labrador is causing it to be itchy. This would be more likely if it only itches itself when you have recently put shampoo on it. In this case, it would help to change the shampoo and to use shampoo on it less often.