It can be cute and silly, but your dog scratching her stomach can also be a sign of a problem. Causes of your dog scratching their stomach range from allergies to OCD. At its simplest, dogs usually scratch their stomach because it itches, but why?
Why is my dog scratching her stomach?
If your dog seems to be constantly scratching their stomach, there’s an issue that needs to be addressed. Of course, the first step is figuring out just what the issue is.
Parasites are a dog’s worst enemy. They invade their fur and bite, causing your pooch to itch. Fleas are the most common pest, but mites and ticks will also leave itchy bites on your canine companion.
Ticks are fairly easy to spot if you do a thorough examination, but fleas and mites are hard to see. You may find small black or brown flecks on their skin, and may see the occasional flea scurrying around in your dog’s fur. However, what typically alerts owners to a flea problem is the scratching.
A dog with fleas or mites will scratch frequently. It may be concentrated in certain areas, because the fleas prefer these. It’s unlikely for the itching to only occur on their belly, however.
Allergies are another common cause of your dog’s stomach itching. There are two main types of allergies. Food allergies are things your dog eats that cause an allergic reaction. In addition to skin problems and itching, your dog may have stomach issues or sneezing.
Environmental allergies are another possibility. Your dog’s belly is the closest to the ground, other than the feet and legs. However, the belly has less hair, and the skin is much more sensitive. Your dog may be allergic to dust, grass, or even the chemicals used to clean your floors.
Skin infections are another potential culprit. Skin infections can be fungal, bacterial, or yeast. A scratch or cut on the belly can provide an opening for infection, but they can also occur if your dog’s skin was irritated due to parasites or an allergy.
Other signs of a skin infection include pus, a foul smell, and redness. Depending on the type of infection, scaly skin and crusting can also occur.
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
Obsessive compulsive disorder, also known as OCD, can also cause your pooch to scratch their belly. It’s the only cause on the list that doesn’t include itching. OCD causes your dog to repeat the same behavior or behaviors, often even when it causes them harm.
A dog with OCD may lick the same area until the skin becomes red or even infected. If your dog is scratching their belly due to OCD, you may notice other compulsive behaviors as well.
These can include spinning or tail chasing, fly biting, and constant or rhythmic barking. You may also notice your dog seeming to drift off and stare into space, or attempt to bite at flies that aren’t there.
How to get my dog to stop scratching her stomach?
When you have an itch, the urge to scratch is maddening. Chances are that you can’t stop yourself from scratching, even though you know it’s not a great idea. Your dog is bound to feel the same way. To get your dog to stop scratching, you’ll need to treat the underlying cause.
If your dog has parasites, you’ll need medication to kill them. Flea shampoos, dips, and powders can be purchased over the counter. You should use a flea preventative on your dog as well, to prevent them from returning.
If mites are the issue, you’ll need to get a prescription from your vet. They can give you a medicated cream or shampoo.
To get rid of parasites, you’ll need to clean your home as well. Wash and dry any cloth items. Flea powder can be applied to carpets and upholstery. Be sure to treat your dog’s bedding.
If allergies are causing your dog to itch, you’ll need to start by identifying the allergen. The best way to do this is by working with your vet. They can perform allergy tests to determine what your dog is allergic to.
Once you know their allergens, you may be able to eliminate them. If it’s a food allergy, you’ll just need to change their diet.
However, if they are allergic to pollen, grass, or dust, it’s impossible to eliminate it completely. Your pooch may need oral allergy medication or a topical cream to treat the allergy.
Skin infections also require veterinary treatment. Your vet can determine the type of infection and prescribe the right treatment. A topical cream will usually be given. You may also need to give your dog an oral medication.
Soothing Itchy Skin at Home
Home remedies are not a replacement for a visit to the vet, but they can certainly help temporarily relieve itching and skin irritation.
Oatmeal baths have a ton of uses, including your dog’s itchy skin. It helps relieve irritation and inflammation while gently cleansing, which can remove any allergens on your dog’s skin.
If you want to avoid the expensive store bought version, you can make your own with plain oats. Just put them in a stocking and toss them into the bath. The advantage to this is you can also rub the stocking on your dog’s irritated areas for extra relief. The stocking prevents oatmeal from getting all over your tub, so cleaning up afterward is easy.
The other option is to purchase baby oatmeal cereal. The oatmeal is cut into fine flakes which absorb into the bath water. Just rinse the tub after the bath.
Apple Cider Vinegar
For fungal or yeast infections, apple cider vinegar can work wonders. Mix it 50/50 with water in a spray bottle, and spray it on the affected area. It has antibacterial and antifungal properties, so it may kill the infection. Apply 2 to 3 times a day until the rash is gone.
Itchy skin is often dry skin. Coconut oil is an excellent dog safe moisturizer. Just rub coconut oil on the area twice a day to soothe the itch and moisturize the skin. It also has antibacterial and antifungal properties, but it isn’t as strong as apple cider vinegar.
Aloe vera is a beloved human home remedy, but it’s not a good idea to use it on your dog’s skin. It’s safe for topical application, but dogs love to lick. Aloe is poisonous to dogs. When applied to their skin, there’s a risk of them licking it off and getting sick.
You can combine any or all of the remedies above to ease your dog’s itchiness. You’ll just need to apply them in the correct order. If you do an oatmeal bath, apply apple cider vinegar or coconut oil after the bath. Do not apply coconut oil and apple cider vinegar at the same time. It’s best to wait a few hours between applications for best effect.
Why does my dog scratch her belly on the carpet?
Your dog can scratch her belly on the carpet for a few reasons. Surprisingly, not all of them have to do with her stomach itching.
The first and most obvious reason your dog may rub their belly on the carpet is to scratch it when it itches. Even humans will occasionally use the carpet as a way to scratch. If your dog is rubbing on the carpet to scratch an itch, it’s likely their belly will be red or have a rash.
Dogs love marking everything with their scent. Their most famous method for doing this is by peeing on things, but it’s not the only way. They can also mark with their poop, or the glands in their anus.
In addition to these methods, some dogs will simply rub their body on the object to leave their scent behind. Dogs use scent marking as a way to lay claim to what they consider theirs. This can include carpet and other parts of the home, their favorite toys, and even their owners.
Covering Their Scent
Dogs will also rub their belly on the carpet to cover their scent. In the wild, dogs will often roll in foul smelling substances to cover their own scent. This is their way of hiding themselves from predators.
Your pampered pooch doesn’t have to worry about being lunch for a predator, but the instinct is still present. Your dog may roll in poop or even road kill, much to your dismay. Your carpet has a much better smell, but the motivation is the same. They are trying to cover their scent with another.
Your dog may simply have a case of the zoomies. In the classic version of the zoomies, your dog will take off running as fast as they can, just to zoom. They may also chase their tail when they have the zoomies.
However, the zoomies can take other forms as well, including rubbing themselves on the carpet. Its a way to expend energy. If you have a high energy pooch, this may be the reason why they are cuddling with the carpet.
This is similar to the zoomies, but not quite the same. Your dog may rub against the carpet as a way of showing that they want to play. If their tail is wagging and they are watching your reaction to their behavior, there’s a good chance this is the reason.
Your dog may be using the carpet the same way a child uses a blankie. After all, it smells like their favorite person. You walk on the carpet often, leaving your scent behind. This can be highly comforting to your dog, particularly when you aren’t there.
It can also remind them of grass. If your dog went to the park and had a great time, they may rub on the carpet the same way they rubbed themselves on the grass.
Why is my dog’s stomach red?
If your dog’s stomach is red, it’s likely skin irritation or rash is to blame. This is caused by many of the things that cause itchiness. Skin infections, allergies, parasites, and excessive licking due to OCD can all cause redness on your pooch’s tummy.
Why is my dog’s stomach enlarged?
An enlarged stomach can be a sign of a serious medical issue, or simply a sign they ate too much.
Bloat is the definition of a canine emergency. It’s caused by excess gas in the stomach. The dog can’t vomit, poop, or pass gas, which causes increasing stomach pressure and swelling. If not treated, it can be fatal in a matter of hours.
Symptoms include pain, stomach swelling, and gagging or retching without vomiting.
If your intact female dogs stomach keeps growing, she may be pregnant. Dog pregnancies last about 8 weeks. Their belly will get visibly larger during the last half of their pregnancy. If they had a heat cycle a month ago or more, you may need a doggie pregnancy test.
Dogs of any age can get worms, but they are particularly concerning in puppies. Puppies are small and their systems are developing. Worms can quickly overwhelm their system, causing their stomach to swell.
Other signs of worms include visible worms in poop, weight loss, and a cough. Worms can be treated by prescription worm medication.
Trauma or Tumor
If your dog has recently experienced trauma, such as getting hit by a car or having a fall, this could cause their stomach to swell. Bruising, swelling, and internal bleeding are possibilities, so they need an immediate checkup.
Tumors are rare, but can also cause your dog’s stomach to grow.
The most benign and amusing reason your dog’s stomach could be enlarged is simply overeating. Just like people, a dog who eats too much will need to “loosen their belt”. The swelling should go down after their food is digested.
This is very obvious in puppies. In fact, it’s easy to tell if a young puppy has eaten recently, because their belly will be full and round.