This post should be referred to for educational purposes only. I would always advise that you consult your veterinarian to discuss your pet’s health or concerns you may have.
There are a number of reasons why your Cockapoo, or any dog, may scratch itself excessively. A few common reasons are parasites, allergies, or skin infections. It is important to consult your veterinarian should you have any health worries regarding your dog.
I’m sure there have been plenty of occasions when you have given your dog a good old scratch. Getting your nails right in between the fur, while your dog thumps with one of his legs can be quite satisfying for both him and you.
Unfortunately though, for our furry friends, excessive scratching, biting, or licking may be a sign that there is something more going on. It certainly warrants investigating.
Let’s see what it may be…
Table of Contents
Why is my Cockapoo Always Itching?
Pruritus is a medical term used to describe itchy skin.
In veterinary clinics, skin problems are the most common medical conditions treated. And unfortunately, there are many different causes.
One of the most common causes of itchiness in our dogs.
The definition of a parasite is an organism that lives on or in a “host organism” and gets its food from. And for the following parasites, your dog is the “host”.
As a general rule, fleas like to accumulate around the base of the tail. So, in some instances, you may see your dog chewing at its back end or chasing its tail.
Fleas, although tiny, are visible to the naked eye.
To prevent fleas, use a veterinary-approved flea treatment and environmental spray. Put any bedding your dog has access to on a hot wash.
A skin disease caused by the following mites that live on the dog’s skin and hair:
Demodex mites live in the hair follicles or sebaceous glands and the majority of dogs will carry them. They are passed from Mom to puppy, via the muzzle, shortly after birth. Humans can not catch them from canines, but you may be surprised to learn that we do have them in our eyelashes.
Sarcoptes scabiei is an extremely contagious yet superficial burrowing mite and is responsible for one of the oldest known skin diseases. The pinnae and face are affected first then it progresses to the elbows and abdomen. It is transmittable to humans.
There are veterinary-approved ectoparasiticides treatments available to help provide effective protection against both mites.
Poodles are considered one of the breeds predisposed to suffering from allergies.
Canine atopic dermatitis is when a dog has a reaction to an airborne allergen such as pollen.
The different types of allergies are:
- Environmental; allergens – dust mites/plant/grass
- Food; allergens – dairy/fish/egg
- Flea saliva
Your dog’s treatment plan will depend on the allergen he is sensitive to. The main goal is to keep your pet comfortable by decreasing those unpleasant clinical signs such as itching, skin inflammation, and redness.
Bacterial and fungal infections can leave your dog feeling very uncomfortable.
Bacterial infections are the most common type of skin infection, and it may be secondary to an underlying problem such as skin allergies, hormonal disorders, or other internal diseases. It is therefore important that the underlying problem is diagnosed and treated to help control the bacterial infection.
The most commonly infected areas are where the skin overlaps. This includes the facial folds, armpits, groin, and between the toes.
Depending on the type of infection, these ailments are often treated with topical (applied directly to the skin) and oral treatments.
Injury or Pain
Have you ever stubbed your toe or banged your funny bone? Moments like these can sometimes cause us to give these areas a good rub. So, with our canine friends, they may be doing just that, but we mistake it for them itching.
Inspecting your dog regularly will allow you to check if they have any wounds or sore areas.
Is it Normal for a Dog to Scratch a Lot?
If your dog has the occasional scratch, then this is perfectly normal. It becomes abnormal when the frequency increases or the scratching is accompanied by other symptoms.
Do Cockapoos Have Sensitive Skin?
Poodles and Spaniels are susceptible to various kinds of skin infections and disorders.
This yeast infection is most commonly seen in Poodles and Spaniels.
Normal dog skin contains a small number of certain types of bacteria and fungi. It’s when these numbers rise that can cause an issue. Numbers may increase due to an underlying hormonal condition or a warm humid climate.
Commonly affected areas are the face, neck, ears, armpits, groins, and paws. With signs ranging from mild to intense itching, skin redness, greasy exudation, scaling to hair loss.
Topical preparations tend to be the treatment of choice in veterinary medicine and may also include oral treatment.
A skin disorder affecting certain breeds including Spaniels.
Seborrhea is an inflammatory disease of the skin. The outer layer of the skin (the epidermis), the sweat glands (sebaceous glands), and part of the hair follicles are hyperproductive causing your dog to experience either:
Seborrhea Oleosa (greasy skin)
The body produces excessive sebum (fatty lubricating substance) causing the skin to appear greasy. Symptoms tend to be worse in skin folds.
Seborrhea Sicca (dry skin)
Excessive scaling and flaking of the skin; especially over their trunk and in their armpits.
Both forms may leave your dog with itchy, inflamed, and infected skin.
Depending on the severity, topical treatments will be prescribed in conjunction with oral treatments.
Although uncommon, Standard Poodles are amongst certain breeds more susceptible to developing this condition.
A sebaceous gland is a small gland located in the skin and opens into a hair follicle. It is responsible for sebum (oil) secretion which helps lubricate the skin and fur. For some unknown reason, the sebaceous glands are destroyed.
Should the sebum secretion be reduced your dog’s coat may appear dull and in poor condition. Lesions are typically found on the face, pinnae, and tail. Localised alopecia can also be a symptom.
Unfortunately, this condition generally requires life-long treatment. This can be a mixture of topical and oral preparations. Dietary supplementation may be recommended to include omega-3, omega-6, or vitamin A.
How Can I Soothe my Dog’s Itchy Skin?
Once a diagnosis has been made by your veterinarian, it is really important that you stick to the recommended treatment and attend follow-up appointments.
Some skin conditions are for life and require long-term treatment and management to help keep your dog comfortable.
There are a couple of things you could add into your dog’s routine at home to help soothe your dog’s itchy skin:
This will help to remove loose hair, dirt, and dust. It will also aid in distributing natural skin oils which are responsible for making your dog’s coat look shiny.
Adding supplements may help sustain healthy skin and a glossy coat.
Some veterinary-approved products that are available are:
- Yumega oil
- Yuderm oil, food powder, or cream
- Nutramega capsules
My Cockapoo Keeps Scratching his Ears, What Should I Do?
Dogs are more susceptible to ear problems than humans due to the shape of their ear canals.
Make it a habit to regularly examine your dog’s ears to check for the following signs of an ear problem:
- Excessive discharge
- Crust or scabs
Keep a close eye on behavioral changes such as:
- Excessive scratching at the ears
- Head tilt
- Walking in circles
- Loss of coordination or balance
Book an appointment at your veterinary clinic if you notice any of the above.
Ear scratching in your dog could be a sign of the following:
An accumulation of wax, moisture, and other debris in the ear canal creates an ideal environment for the development of bacterial infections.
Unfortunately, in our Poodles, hair can grow deep in the canal. This in turn can cause a build-up of wax thus making Poodles more susceptible to ear infections.
Depending on what your veterinarian diagnoses, treatment may involve medicated ear drops, general ear cleanser with or without oral tablets.
To help prevent ear infections in your pet, it is recommended that you keep their ears clean and dry. Ask your veterinarian about veterinary-approved ear cleansers and how often you should be cleaning them. Gently dry your dog’s ears with a soft towel after contact with water.
It’s important to remember that the eardrum is very fragile and can be easily damaged during ear cleaning.
If the eardrum is ruptured and drops are applied, the drops can easily penetrate the inner ear and potentially cause irreversible deafness.
Therefore, it is always advised to make an appointment at your veterinary clinic. Your veterinarian will do a thorough ear examination, including scoping the ears to check the ear canal is intact.
These little creatures can cause havoc in your pet’s ears, making your dog agitated. It is most commonly seen in puppies and is highly contagious between dogs.
It’s not so easy to spot ear mites, unlike fleas and ticks. Ear mites can cause dry black debris, similar in appearance to coffee grounds.
Thankfully, it is easily treated with topical solutions prescribed by your veterinarian. To help keep ear mites at bay, apply a flea treatment which is effective against killing ear mites.
Why not take a look at our sister article dedicated to Cavapoo Ear Problems.
Why Does my Cockapoo Bite Himself?
Other than the reasons already mentioned, there is an additional reason why your dog may chew himself and it could have to do with their anal glands.
Anal glands are small glands that sit on either side of your dog’s anus. The glands produce a foul-smelling, oily liquid when your dog passes feces. It is one of the ways dogs mark their territory when they go potty.
However, sometimes the glands don’t empty as they should. The most common reason for this is the anal gland duct is blocked. This can lead to pressure building up and leaving your dog feeling uncomfortable.
Research has found that certain breeds are more prone to blocked anal glands; Spaniels and Poodles are included within these breeds.
Anal gland irritation can cause symptoms such as:
- Biting back end or tail
- Scooting bum along the floor
- Chasing tail
- A foul smell
- Abruptly sitting down in discomfort
If you notice these signs, head down to your veterinary clinic to have the glands checked and emptied. This will help to keep your pet comfortable.
How to Prevent Allergies and Itching
Getting to the root of what causes skin conditions can take time.
If the allergen has been identified with diagnostic testing at your vets, it’s advised to prevent exposing your dog to it (as much as is feasibly possible).
For example, a dog with a pollen allergy would benefit from having its paws wiped down with a moist cloth after each walk. For pollen spores that are circulating in the air at home, purchasing an air purifier to remove those spores may also help.
Remember to keep up to date with flea and worm treatment. Use only veterinary-approved products for your dog and the environment.
When to See a Vet?
It’s important to remember that the main goal with our pets is to keep them as comfortable as possible. If your dog is displaying signs of irritation and is stressed by it, seek veterinary advice.
By working together with your veterinarian, you are giving your dog the best chance of an accurate diagnosis. Once this has been found, a treatment plan can then be formulated and help reduce your dog’s irritation.