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5837 Nolensville Pike, Nashville, TN 37211

615 • 333 • 3655


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Itching? Scratching? Pets Get Allergies Too

Nashville pet owners - Does your cat or dog itch constantly? Obsessively lick paws or scratch certain areas? Have you noticed a foul odor on their skin or ears, balding spots or discoloration?

Occasional pet itching is common - especially for dogs. Frequent itching may be a sign of skin disease or allergies and can cause hair loss or skin damage. Plus, it can be an annoyance to you, even keeping you up at night. If not addressed early, your pets may have a harder time battling this issue and it can be harder to treat and control.

Common Pet Allergies:

  • Flea allergy

  • Food allergy

  • Contact allergy or contact dermatitis

  • Atopic dermatitis (a chronic itchy skin disease associated with environmental allergens)

Our veterinarians will examine your pet to make a diagnosis and develop a treatment plan.


Flea bite hypersensitivity causes severe pet itching. Even one flea bite can cause pruritis (itchy skin) with the hind end affected most often. Fleas and flea feces that contain your pet’s blood are not always visible to your eye. We recommend year-round flea prevention and, if needed, medicated flea baths to limit fleas on your pet and stop their itch.



In about 10% of cases, a food trial will be recommended to determine if your pet has food allergies. Pets will be fed a diet with one protein and one carbohydrate for 10 weeks. No other foods or treats are allowed. If symptoms disappear, food allergies are likely to blame.

Contact Dermatitis

Allergic contact dermatitis is rare but occurs when a pet’s skin overreacts to molecules in the environment such as nickel, rubber, wool, dyes and chemicals.

Atopic Dermatitis

A common pet diagnosis is atopic dermatitis, a chronic inflammatory skin disease brought on by environmental allergens such as grass, mold, pollen or cigarette smoke.

Talk to your veterinarian about skin and blood tests for dermatitis.  A referral to a veterinary dermatologist might be recommended. In a skin test, a small level of allergens is injected under your pet’s skin to test for reactions. In a blood test, your pet’s blood will be analyzed for which specific allergens could be causing the reaction.

Pet Allergy & Itch Treatment

Once the pet allergens have been identified, we can develop a plan to eliminate the source of the allergy in your pet’s environment and treat the skin.

Options for pet allergies and itch relief include:

  • Antihistamines

  • Anti-itch conditioners

  • Cyclosporine therapy

  • Essential fatty acids (such as Omega 3)

  • Hypoallergenic diets

  • Immunotherapy

  • Injections such as Cytopoint

  • Oral steroids in low doses to treat sporadic outbreaks

  • Prescriptions such as Apoquel

  • Topical steroid sprays

*** May only - Purchase Bayer Essential Fatty Acids Free Form Snip Tips or any DVM Pharmaceutical product and receive a HyLyt travel shampoo for FREE.  Rebates available. 

Talk to your Southside Animal Hospital veterinarian about your pet’s itch issues and how we can provide relief.


Want to take a quick 6-question quiz to learn more about your dog’s itching AND help military, police and service dogs?

Each time the quiz is taken, Zoetis will make a donation to K-9 Courage™ Program.  K-9 Courage provides healthcare assistance to retired military and active police dogs as well as active service dogs that assist veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress. Once admitted into the program, each dog receives a $300 credit every year for the rest of its life to help cover veterinary expenses like wellness and emergency visits, vaccines, prescription medications, food and treats.

Take the Itch Instinct Quiz



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Southside Animal Hospital © 2019
5837 Nolensville Pike,
Nashville, TN 37211
615 • 333 • 3655
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Hospital Affiliations:

Southern Veterinary Partners
American Animal Hospital Association Tennessee Veterinary Medical Association

Southside Animal Hospital! © 2016
5837 Nolensville Pike,
Nashville, TN 37211
Veterinary Website Design by Cheshire Partners