Many dogs and cats lick and scratch as result of itching (also called pruritis). The most common cause of itching is allergies, skin disease, dry skin, external parasites, infections and in rare cases, skin cancer. Elderly pets lick and scratch as they age if any of these conditions occur and can be treated with the help of your vet. It’s important to monitor your pet if they are constantly itching, licking or scratching.
Oftentimes, bathing your elderly pet can help alleviate the symptoms that are causing the itching. However, in some cases, long term antibiotics may be necessary in the case of a staph infection, or a medicated bath might be necessary in the event of fleas. Your vet can help determine what is the root cause of the itching and can help alleviate the symptoms. Prescription allergy medication can also help if it is deemed that your elderly pet is suffering from allergies.
The bottom line there is no need for your pet to lick and scratch, especially if it is on a regular basis and especially if they seem agitated from the itching, scratching and licking. Skin infections are a common cause of scratching and often a month long round of antibiotics can do the trick. You can often see skin infections by looking closely at your pet’s skin; especially if you see dry patches and flaking. Talk with your vet if your pet’s licking, scratching or itching become troublesome for your pet. In time, your pet’s irritation can be resolved and he can go back to living without constant itching and will be more comfortable.