Itching can be distressing to a Belgian Malinois. While mild itching is common and usually harmless, its frequency and intensity raises concern.
It is helpful to understand what causes itching in your Belgian Malinois and when to seek medical attention.
We outline the potential causes of Belgian Malinois itching as well as what to do and when to seek help.
Why is my Belgian Malinois so itchy?
A Belgian Malinois itching a lot can be due to an underlying medical issue which includes allergies, parasites, skin infections, dry skin, and hormonal imbalance. Occasional itching is normal, however, excessive itching is a cause for concern. It can be a sign of a health issue that requires prompt attention.
Normal itching vs excessive itching
Itching, or scratching, is a natural behavior for dogs, including the Belgian Malinois. It serves several purposes, such as cleaning the skin, removing irritants, and responding to minor discomfort.
However, there is a clear distinction between normal itching and excessive itching, and understanding this difference is important to know how to care for your.
The difference between normal itching and excessive itching is the frequency, duration, and intensity of the itching as well as the behavioral changes.
Normal Itching is usually short-lived and infrequent, less intense doesn’t lead to significant skin damage or hair loss and dogs with occasional itching typically maintain their regular behavior, playfulness, and appetite.
In contrast, excessive itching is characterized by frequent and persistent scratching, licking, or chewing that lasts for an extended period, which can lead to skin damage, hair loss, sores, and even infection.
Excessive itching is also accompanied by changes in behavior, such as restlessness, discomfort, or even aggression, as they try to relieve their discomfort.
Common causes of excessive itching in a Belgian Malinois
Belgian Malinois excessive itching can be caused by allergies. Allergies are a common cause of itching in the Belgian Malinois and many other dog breeds.
Allergic reactions occur when the immune system overreacts to certain substances, triggering various symptoms, including itching.
A Belgian Malinois may lick, nibble and scratch excessively if they are experiencing allergic reactions to things like food, environmental allergens, or medications.
Parasites: Fleas, ticks, and mites
A Belgian Malinois’s itchiness can also be due to parasites. Fleas, ticks, and mites are common parasites that can infest your dog’s skin and cause intense itching and discomfort.
Flea bites can cause severe itching, redness, and even allergic reactions in some dogs. If your Belgian Malinois is constantly scratching and biting at their fur, fleas may be the cause.
Ticks are another common parasite that can cause itchiness in Belgian Malinois. These arachnids attach themselves to your dog’s skin and feed on their blood.
Mites are microscopic parasites that can burrow into your dog’s skin, causing a condition known as mange. Sarcoptic mange, also known as scabies, is caused by Sarcoptes scabiei mites, while Demodex mites are responsible for Demodectic mange.
Both types of mange can result in severe itching, hair loss, and skin infections. If you notice your Belgian Malinois scratching excessively and developing patches of hair loss, mites may be the underlying cause.
When your Belgian Malinois starts incessantly scratching and biting at their skin, it could be a sign of a skin infection. These infections can be caused by bacteria or fungi, and they can be quite uncomfortable for your dog.
Some common bacterial infections include pyoderma and folliculitis.
Fungal infections in Belgian Malinois are typically caused by yeast or fungi that thrive in warm and moist environments.
These infections can occur in areas such as the ears, paws, or folds of skin, where moisture tends to accumulate. Common fungal infections include yeast dermatitis and ringworm.
A Belgian Malinois’s itchiness can also be due to dry skin. A common cause of Belgian Malinois’s dry skin is insufficient water intake. If your Belgian Malinois is not getting enough water, their skin may become dry and flaky.
This can be especially problematic during the hot summer months when dogs are more prone to dehydration.
Winter weather can also lead to dry skin in Belgian Malinois. The cold air, coupled with indoor heating, can strip the skin of its natural oils, leading to dryness and itchiness.
Additionally, the low humidity levels during winter can further contribute to moisture loss, leaving your Belgian Malinois’s skin feeling dry and uncomfortable.
Giving your Belgian Malinois too many baths can lead to itching and skin irritation. While baths are essential for maintaining your dog’s hygiene, overdoing it can strip their skin of natural oils and disrupt the balance of their skin’s pH levels.
Without an adequate supply of sebum, the skin can become dry, flaky, and more susceptible to irritation and itching. When the skin pH becomes imbalanced, it also leads to skin irritation, redness, and itching.
Hormonal imbalances can lead to various skin issues in Belgian Malinois, including itchiness. When the body’s hormone levels are not properly regulated, it can affect the health of the skin and coat.
Hormonal imbalances can be caused by conditions such as hypothyroidism or Cushing’s disease.
It’s important to note that while hormonal imbalances can contribute to itchiness in Belgian Malinois, they are not the sole causes.
When to Consult a Veterinarian
While occasional itching is normal for dogs, persistent or severe itching in your Belgian Malinois may be a cause for concern. It’s important to pay attention to your dog’s behavior and look out for any additional symptoms that may accompany the itching.
If your Belgian Malinois is constantly scratching, biting, or licking their skin to the point where it becomes a persistent issue, it’s time to seek professional help.
Your veterinarian can help determine the underlying cause of the itchiness and provide appropriate treatment.
In addition to persistent itching, additional symptoms that indicate the need for a veterinary consultation include:
Red, inflamed skin: If you notice that your Belgian Malinois’s skin appears irritated, red, or inflamed, it could be a sign of an underlying issue that requires medical attention.
Hair loss: Excessive itching and scratching can lead to hair loss in your Belgian Malinois. If you notice patches of missing fur or thinning hair, it’s important to have your dog evaluated by a veterinarian.
Sores or scabs: Continuous scratching can result in sores or scabs on your Belgian Malinois’s skin. These open wounds can be painful and prone to infection, so it’s crucial to have them examined by a professional.
Changes in behavior: If your Belgian Malinois seems unusually irritable, restless, or lethargic, it could be a sign of discomfort caused by the itching. Behavioral changes should not be ignored and should be addressed with your veterinarian.
Presence of foul odor: Persistent itching can sometimes lead to secondary skin infections, which may emit a foul odor. If you notice an unpleasant smell coming from your Belgian Malinois’s skin, have it checked by your veterinarian.
Belgian Malinois itching: Prevention and Treatment
Taking preventive measures and providing proper treatment is crucial for addressing itchiness in Belgian Malinois. Presentation involves:
Regular grooming plays a vital role in maintaining the overall health and well-being of your Belgian Malinois. By grooming your dog on a consistent basis, you can help prevent itchiness and keep their skin in optimal condition.
Brushing your Belgian Malinois’s coat helps to remove loose hair, dirt, and debris, which can contribute to skin irritation.
Additionally, regular grooming allows for early detection of any abnormalities, such as skin infections or parasites.
When grooming your Belgian Malinois, pay close attention to their skin and coat. Use a gentle brush or comb suitable for their hair type to prevent any unnecessary discomfort.
If you notice any redness, inflammation, or unusual lumps, it is important to consult your veterinarian for further evaluation.
Use a hypoallergenic or medicated shampoo recommended by your veterinarian for bathing your dog. Avoid over-bathing, which can strip natural oils from the skin.
Also, rinse your dog thoroughly to remove all shampoo residues.
Flea and parasite control
Use vet-recommended flea preventatives regularly to keep fleas and ticks at bay. Treat your home environment for fleas and maintain regular tick checks when necessary.
Proper nutrition is essential for maintaining the health of your Belgian Malinois’s skin and coat. A well-balanced diet that includes essential nutrients, such as omega-3 fatty acids, can help promote healthy skin and reduce the likelihood of itchiness.
Omega-3 fatty acids have anti-inflammatory properties that can help alleviate skin irritations and reduce itching.
Consult with your veterinarian to determine the most suitable diet for your Belgian Malinois. They may recommend high-quality dog food that contains the necessary nutrients for healthy skin and coat.
They may also suggest adding supplements rich in omega-3 fatty acids to further support your Belgian Malinois’s skin health.
Medications or treatments
In some cases, additional medications or treatments may be necessary to address itchiness in Belgian Malinois. If your dog’s itching is caused by allergies, your veterinarian may prescribe antihistamines or recommend allergy shots to alleviate their symptoms.
For more severe cases, corticosteroids or immunosuppressive drugs may be prescribed to reduce inflammation and control itching.
If your Belgian Malinois is suffering from a skin infection, your veterinarian may prescribe antibiotics or antifungal medications to treat the underlying cause.
It is important to follow your veterinarian’s instructions carefully when administering any medications or treatments to ensure their effectiveness and your dog’s safety.
Monitor allergic reactions
Be vigilant about your dog’s response to various foods, environmental changes, or new products. Note any potential allergens or irritants and discuss them with your veterinarian.
Takeaway: Belgian Malinois itching
Excessive itching is a symptom of an underlying problem. Consult your veterinarian for a comprehensive evaluation and a tailored treatment plan.
Early intervention can help identify and address the root cause of your Belgian Malinois’s itching, leading to a happier, healthier, and itch-free dog.
For more information on Cane Corsi and other dog-related topics, be sure to check out our guide on the Belgian Malinois: a guide for owners.