Zack Keithy, our author, has been a certified veterinarian technician for over 6 years (contact him here). The articles written here are based on his expertise and experience, combined with a review by our expert vet reviewers. Learn more about us here.
My dog, Bella, is one of the sweetest dogs I’ve ever met.
She’s always happy to see me when I come home from work and loves to snuggle with me while we watch TV together at night.
But there was a really big problem one time: my dog keeps acting like something is biting her—and it drove me crazy!
I’ve tried everything I can think of to figure out what’s going on and finally figured out why, and in my research, I also found plenty of other potential causes.
Insect bites, dry skin, and allergies may all be the reason why your dog behaves this way. She soothes the itch and the pain in her body by licking or scratching the affected area, and it’s also possible that your dog has a parasitic infestation, like fleas or ticks, which is causing the problem.
In this post, you will learn all the different reasons that can affect your dog this way and how do you stop a dog from chewing itself.
- Reasons Your Dog Acts Like Something is Biting Her
- 1. Allergies
- 2. Parasites
- 3. Dry Skin
- 4. Bites from Insects
- 5. Anal Gland
- 6. Boredom
- 7. Seizures or Neurological Issues
- 8. Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
- 9. Hormonal Imbalance
- 10. Food Allergy
- 11. Bacterial Infections
- 12. Yeast Infections
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
- In Conclusion: My Dog Keeps Acting Like Something Is Biting Her
Reasons Your Dog Acts Like Something is Biting Her
The signs are obvious.
Your dog starts to act strange.
She might start scratching at her ears and shaking her head, or she may start licking or chewing herself.
In the worst cases, she will develop sores that are painful and need medical attention.
Unlike humans, your furry friend cannot speak of what she is going through, and the only way she can communicate for help is through her actions.
Therefore, it is very important to stay alert for any strange behaviors your dog might show.
If your dog is scratching, biting on parts of the body, and shaking her head, allergies might be the culprit.
Your dog scratches continuously in hopes of getting some relief, and this could be a sign that your dog is suffering from canine atopic dermatitis, an allergic skin condition that causes itching and can lead to redness, fur loss, and damaged skin.
The dog breeds more likely to develop canine atopic dermatitis include Golden Retrievers, Labradors, English and French Bulldogs, Beagles, Terriers, Irish and English Setters, Pugs, and several others.
Dogs usually show signs and symptoms of atopic dermatitis between the ages of 3 months to 6 years, as it is not common for dogs over the age of 7 to suffer from this allergy.
There are several symptoms that your dog will show as a sign that she’s suffering from canine atopic dermatitis, and these symptoms include:
- Scratching the affected area
- Biting the skin
- Licking her body, especially her paws
- Rubbing against the floor
- Watery eyes
- Hair loss
- Open wounds and many more
The most commonly affected areas include the underarms, paws, ankles, ears, around the eyes, and the groin area.
To date, the cause of atopic dermatitis is unknown as it is a genetic disease that is predisposed in some dog breeds.
According to experts, a general understanding of the skin and what happens when the skin gets irritated is a simple way of understanding canine atopic dermatitis.
This health condition can be painful and uncomfortable for your dog, so finding treatment for her is vital.
The first step you should take in finding treatment for your dog is to check her properly.
Check her face, ears, paws, hind legs, and stomach and if you see any signs of infection, approach the veterinary doctor immediately for treatment.
Do not ignore the signs as they may lead to secondary infections that might take time to heal.
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If your dog has parasitic dermatitis, you need to know ASAP so you can find treatment.
However, it’s not that easy to spot the symptoms as some of them are mistaken for other diseases.
Parasitic dermatitis caused by fleas, ticks, and mites makes the afflicted area and skin become very itchy.
As a result, the dog will bite, chew, and scratch herself until she bleeds.
You could notice that the dog’s skin becomes red, scaly, and irritated simultaneously.
In most situations, you will likely see flea-related symptoms, such as flea filth or the actual fleas themselves.
The treatment for parasites will vary depending on the overall condition.
When bathing your dog and you see her skin appearing to be reddish-brown, this might be due to the parasite attack.
The veterinary doctor is the only one who can suggest the best medication for treating the condition, so it’s important to approach them immediately.
Prevention is the best solution, so be sure to keep your home and dog clean, check its coat and poop regularly, deworm, and consider using a flea and tick collar.
Doggy says, you may like this too: Why is my Cocker Spaniel biting?
3. Dry Skin
The itching that results from the dog’s dry skin prompts the animal to scratch, which might result in the dog’s skin drier, and this skin ailment may be brought on by a variety of factors, the most common of which are dry air and fleas.
Simply said, some dogs are more susceptible than others due to the texture and thickness of their coats.
If you notice your dog scratching herself frequently, it’s important to approach the veterinary doctor immediately because this is a cause for concern.
The condition may have a major impact on your dog’s behavior and it’s uncomfortable for her.
The vet will examine and prescribe the best medication that will cure the conditions.
4. Bites from Insects
Your dog might be in for a world of hurt if they come into contact with stinging insects like mosquitoes, ants, bees, wasps, or flies.
Your dog’s reaction to an insect bite will be quick, and it will include a flurry of licking, chewing, biting, and scratching.
Ant bites tend to be generally harmless and often do not have severe systemic consequences.
For bee stings, you have to check if the stinger is still present, and if it is, use a credit card like object to flick it out.
You can then use an ice pack to soothe the area that was stung to reduce swelling.
It should get better in a couple of days, but if not, send your dog to the vet.
5. Anal Gland
There is a good likelihood that your dog has anal gland issues if she behaved as if something had bitten her behind and then scooted across the room on her bottom.
Anal glands, found inside the canine rectum, secrete a digestive-aiding fluid that is passed out with feces, and when an excessive amount of fluid is trapped inside these glands, it causes them to swell.
The issue arises when your furry friend is unable to release her anal gland, resulting in swollen, inflamed, and itchy skin in that area.
You can attempt to express your dog’s anal glands at home, but the best way to treat the anal gland condition is by approaching a veterinary doctor.
They will diagnose the problem and prescribe the best treatment.
Doggy says, consider reading this too: Why is my Goldendoodle biting?
Boredom, worry, and stress may appear as symptoms that mirror actual medical sickness.
If you observe a shift in your pet’s behavior, or if they begin showing new behaviors that are unusual for them, this might be a clue that your dog is bored and needs something to do.
There’s no treatment for boredom.
You can only prevent boredom by fulfilling your dog’s need to have something to do.
Choose a hobby for your furry friend that suits her interest, keep her busy and she’ll be just fine.
7. Seizures or Neurological Issues
Neurological issues or seizures may also be the culprit behind your dog’s behavior.
The cause of this condition is unknown but according to experts, it may be related to kidney failure, brain tumors, or toxins, all these health conditions can be life-threatening, therefore it’s very important to approach the doctor once you notice your dog having strange behaviors.
Neurological issues or seizures can be cured or managed if diagnosed in time, and this is the reason why it is very important to approach the veterinarian in time as they will be able to do some tests and diagnose the extent of the disease.
Doing so will let them prescribe the best medication that will treat or manage the condition.
8. Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
Better known in our circles as Canine Compulsive Disorder or CCD, this is a health condition that occurs when your dog goes through some recurring thoughts and it will have a negative impact on her overall behavior.
Your dog’s personality might change, and since she’s unable to communicate for help, she’ll start acting as of something is biting her and bites herself as well.
The most common sign of obsessive-compulsive disorder is when your dog starts behaving aggressively.
The moment you observe such abnormal behavior in your dog, try to capture the moment on video. This will come in very useful when you go to your vet.
They will also spend some time observing your dog and then they’ll be able to treat her accordingly using medication or modification of behavior, or both.
9. Hormonal Imbalance
Hormonal imbalance is very common, and the most common one in dogs is hypothyroidism.
When the thyroid gland is inflamed and does not sufficiently produce the thyroid hormone, it affects many parts of the dog’s body.
Skin problems are the most common symptom of hypothyroidism in dogs.
These start from scales to the thickening of the skin, and the condition can also affect your dog’s coat, making her prone to skin infections and colds.
The condition can be detected through annual thyroid tests, and therefore it is important to approach the veterinarian once you notice any signs and symptoms.
Once diagnosed, treatment can help your dog feel better and regain her energy levels.
10. Food Allergy
According to experts, dog food allergies may only affect less than 6% of the canine population.
Since dogs cannot communicate their feelings, it’s up to you as the owner to keep an eye out for any signs and symptoms.
The following are signs your dog is having an allergic reaction to food:
- Itchy skin, (as a result, your dog might act as if something is biting her)
- Itchy paws
- Ear infectious
- Skin rashes, scales discoloration, or hair loss
- Diarrhea, vomiting, or gastrointestinal distress
There’s no known treatment for food allergies in dogs, so the best thing is to avoid certain foods.
Some dogs may require medication to ease the allergy during severe episodes, but most canines can be treated with a hypoallergenic diet.
In general, you should also not modify your dog’s diet too abruptly. Here are some tips on transitioning smoothly.
11. Bacterial Infections
Bacterial infections can affect any part of your dog’s body.
These bacteria usually enter the body through a cut or scrape, or they can also enter through mucus membranes found in their eyes, mouth, and nose.
The symptoms of bacterial infections in dogs include:
- Fever or seeming to be less responsive
- Sudden loss of appetite
The most common treatments for bacterial infection in dogs include antibiotics, topical creams, or lotions with antiseptic in them, which has to be prescribed by a vet.
12. Yeast Infections
Yeast infections, or Yeast Dermatitis, most commonly affect the paw pads and skin folds, which causes irritation to your dog.
Dog breeds that are prone to yeast infections include poodles, basset hounds, English setters, and several others.
Common causes include environments that are too warm or humid, bathing your dog too often, poor hygiene, dirty living conditions, and a weakened immune system.
Yeast infections can be very painful to your dog, as well as itchy.
This can cause them to scratch the affected area or lick it excessively.
The paws may have redness or swelling around the pad of the foot, as well as look like it has been burned by fire.
In most cases, you should take your dog to the veterinarian and they’ll do some tests.
Treatment for the infection will include antifungal drops or ointments, oral antifungal medication in severe cases, chlorhexidine, miconazole, etc.
To prevent it from happening though, you should dry your dog completely after bathing or playing in the water, keep them clean at all times, and brush it regularly.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Why is my dog itchy but has no fleas?
It could be another type of parasite such as skin mites. Your furry friend can easily pick these from other infected dogs.
Why does my dog keep gnawing at himself?
Fleas, mites, and ticks alike might be the culprit. These pests can easily be seen with a visual check or when brushing your dog.
Why does my dog act like she has something in her throat?
There’s a chance that a foreign body is stuck and must be removed. Taking your dog to the veterinarian is the best thing to do if the condition persists.
What do mites on dogs look like?
It’s quite hard to see mites on dogs since they’ll be covered by fur. Mites are microscopic, and even those that grow bigger are barely a millimeter long. If you suspect that your dog has mites, you’ll only be able to observe symptoms.
How much does it cost to treat flea-related problems?
Flea treatment methods vary and because of this fact, the price can vary from $80 to $500 depending on the treatment method used.
In Conclusion: My Dog Keeps Acting Like Something Is Biting Her
Regular grooming and maintaining high levels of hygiene tend to keep skin problems out, and you should also keep a good eye on abnormal behavior that persists.
These are almost always telltale signs that you need to interfere.
You’ve made it to the end, but I hope it’s not the end of our journey. We want to hear your voice! Share your thoughts, problems, suggestions, or anything related to your dog in the comments section. And don’t forget to join our newsletter today too.