German Shepherd Itching & Scratching? (Causes & Treatment)

If your german shepherd is itching and scratching then you’ve come to the right place. This article is going to show you the most common causes of itching and scratching in german shepherds and the most common ways to stop them.

But remember, if you do notice your german shepherd itching and scratching then you should take them to the vets as soon as possible. While this article can put your mind at ease, a vet is going to provide the best advice for treatment!

So keep reading to find out everything you want to know.

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The Complete Guide To German Shepherd Itching And Scratching?

Here are the most common causes of itching and scratching in a german shepherd, as well as the best ways to treat and prevent them!

Pests & Parasites

Parasites are one of the biggest causes of skin irritation in german shepherds, and they’re often directly behind why they’re constantly scratching. There are so many different parasites that can infest your german shepherd, so it’s always best to take them to a vet.

However, if it’s one of the more common parasites, here’s a general guide on how to treat them.


At some point in time, your german shepherd is going to get fleas. They’re such common parasites, it’s inevitable.

However, it is up to you to stop them from feeding off your pup for too long, and doing everything you can to prevent it!

If you do notice your german shepherd has fleas, then you should get some flea medication from your vet (they’ll normally point you to the right one. A lot of the over the counter ones aren’t strong enough).

As well as applying strong flea medication, you’ll also need to vacuum your house from top to bottom, clean all your sheets and covers in boiling water, and give your house a thorough clean to get rid of the rest.

Once you’ve done this, you should remove all the fleas from your home. Then you’ll only have to worry about prevention in the future.

(Find out what to do when your german shepherd gets fleas.)


Ticks are another common parasite you can find on your german shepherd, and they’ll need to be removed as quickly as possible as well.

They normally show themselves after they’ve fed themselves enough blood to become plump. And this is normally the point where you’ll get rid of them.

Ticks carry a lot of dangerous diseases, so it’s important that you try to get rid of them as soon as possible. During tick season, you should be actively checking for them to remove any that you wouldn’t normally see. (You’ll need to use a tick remover.)


A less common parasite that can cause itchy skin in german shepherds is mange. Mange is caused by mites that burrow into your german shepherd’s skin. This causes irritation and inflammation, which then makes your german shepherd scratch constantly.

When left untreated, the mange often gets a secondary infection which aggravates the problem even more.

If your german shepherd is suffering from mange, then you’ll need to take them to the vets for treatment. In a lot of cases, they’ll give them an injection, full-body dip, or drugs to help clear the parasites.

But, if the infection is very mild, your german shepherd’s immune system can fight off the mites (as long as it’s strong enough.)

Other Parasites

While these are some of the most common parasites that can afflict your german shepherd, there are also many more than can affect them as well.

So if you’re not sure what parasite or pest your german shepherd has then your best bet is to take them to a vet for a diagnosis.

What’s The Best Way To Treat Parasites And Pests?

The best way you can treat parasites and pests is to prevent your german shepherd from getting them in the first place. And fortunately, most ways of prevention are incredibly easy.

First of all, you should keep your german shepherd away from places or things that are infested with fleas, ticks, and other parasites. Some common places include tall grass, high traffic areas and of course other dogs.

On top of this, you should also use a strong anti-pest medication on your pup as well. Normally, your vet will recommend the one they think is best.

If you do this, you can stop your pup from getting parasites in most cases, and if they do get them, they’re easily treated!


Allergies are another cause of itchy skin in your german shepherd. They can be caused by something in the environment or by the food they’ve eaten. Here are some of the most common causes of an allergic reaction.

Insect Bite

Insect bites cause inflammation and irritation in most animals. You may be thinking of ticks and fleas, but these aren’t the only ones. For example, mosquitoes also bite your german shepherd, especially in areas that are exposed.

Unfortunately, in some cases, there isn’t much you can do for your pup. You can only try to stop the insects from getting to them by using repellants or avoiding places they like to live.


Another less common allergic reaction is to food. If your german shepherd is allergic to food, it can often be their skin that shows symptoms.

The best way to stop a food allergy is to systematically test everything your pup is eating and working it out from there. You’ll need the help of your vet to do this properly.

Once you’ve found what’s causing the allergic reaction you’ll be recommended a suitable food to replace your pup’s current diet.

Some of the most common food allergies in german shepherds include grains, meat, and fish.

Environmental Allergies

Environmental allergies are caused by something in the environment that’s irritating your pup. This is often pollen or dust, but it can be a whole range of things.

If you think your german shepherd is suffering from environmental allergies then your vet will be able to help you find the cause, as well as offering the best treatment and prevention tips.

You’ll often be told to avoid areas that are causing environmental allergies to crop up.

If your german shepherd is suffering from environmental allergies, wiping them down after they’ve been for a walk can often help reduce the severity.

Seasonal & Year-Long Allergies

You may notice that your german shepherd either has seasonal allergies or year-long allergies as well. The time frame your german shepherd has an allergy can often help determine what they’re suffering from. So if you know, you should tell your vet!

How Are Allergies Normally Treated?

Allergies will be treated in a number of different ways. Sometimes your vet will recommend changing the food your dogs eating (even if they’re not allergic to it) for therapeutic benefits.

On top of changing their food, injections can raise their tolerance towards certain allergies. And if they don’t get injections, medication can reduce the symptoms as well!

Lastly, you may be told of preventative measures such as grooming to help you treat allergies.

Dry Skin

You should also check to make sure that your german shepherd doesn’t have dry skin. Spotting dry skin is easy, but finding out all the different causes can be hard.

To check for dry skin look, through your dog’s fur, at the base of the follicles. If you notice that there’s dandruff in their fur or their skin seems flakey, then there’s a strong possibility it’s dry skin. On top of dandruff, look for areas where the skin looks cracked, which is another common sign.

And most importantly make sure you don’t ignore dry skin. It can often be a symptom of something serious, so you should take your dog to the vet to get them checked.

Some of the common causes of dry skin include the following.

(This can also cause your german shepherd to lick and chew their paws.)

The Environment

If you live in an area that isn’t very humid, then their skin will dry out much easier. You can often use a humidifier in your house to help alleviate the symptoms, as well as adding more essential fatty acids into their diet. (One great way to get fatty acids into your german shepherd’s diet is by giving them eggs.)

Hormonal Problems

Hormonal problems can also result in dry skin as well. If your german shepherd has an issue with their thyroid, or too much cortisol is being released into their bloodstream, then it can often result in dry skin.

On top of dry skin, you may also notice bald spots and skin infections as well.

Poor Diet

A poor diet can also affect your german shepherd’s skin. Your dog needs fatty acid and oil in their diet to help keep their skin moisturized. Unfortunately, though, some dog foods remove a lot of the oil from their food to help it stay preserved for longer.

When this is the case as well as dry skin you may also notice that your german shepherd’s fur looks a bit lackluster.

The best way to combat the effects of poor dog food is obviously to swap to something that’s better for them. As well as this, you can also start giving your dog probiotics.

With probiotics in their diet, they’ll be able to absorb any oil in their diet much easier!

(Find out the best food for german shepherd puppies.)

Boredom And Anxiety

Itching and scratching can often be caused by boredom and anxiety.

The most common cause of boredom is when your german shepherd is left on their own too long. And the most common causes of anxiety include times when they’re left on their own or when they hear loud noises constantly.

In either case, sometimes this can lead to excessive itching and scratching. You may also notice that they constantly lick the same area, or chew it as well.

If you think boredom and anxiety are the cause there are a few things you can do. The first thing you can do is spend more time with them as this can sometimes reduce their anxiety.

Taking them for long walks and giving them lots of exercise also works. Because they’ll simply be too worn out afterward.

You can also train them to pick a chew toy over scratching.

And most importantly, take them to the vets to find out the most suitable options for your pup!


When your german shepherd repeatedly scratches the same area, it could be because they’re in pain.

You should inspect the area they scratch to look for any wounds. Sometimes it can be as simple as a thorn being stuck in them. While other times it can be something more serious.

In either case, if you notice anything that’s causing them discomfort make sure you take them to the vets right away.

If you notice scratching occurs most around the joints, then it could be a sign of dysplasia.

(One extremely common cause of dysplasia in german shepherds is elbow dysplasia.)

Bacterial Infections

In some cases, the scratching can be caused by a bacterial infection as well. Normally you’ll notice a sore or open wound in the area if this is the case. And in more extreme cases, there may even be a bad smell, hair loss, and discharge.

When your dog is suffering from a bacterial infection, there’s nothing you’re going to be able to do. Instead, you’ll need to seek treatment or antibiotics from your vet.

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Ear Infections

When it’s your dog’s ears that are constantly being scratched then it could be an ear infection. This is more likely if they get wet a lot. When all of the water doesn’t come out of your dog’s ears, it provides the perfect breeding ground for bacteria.

If you think your german shepherd is suffering from ear infections then you’ll need to get antibiotics for them.

You can help limit the number of ear infections your german shepherd gets, by making sure they’re dried thoroughly after swimming and letting them give their head a good shake.

(Find out how to clean your german shepherds ears.)

Interested In Training Your German Shepherd The Right Way?

If you haven’t trained your German Shepherd properly, then this is the perfect time to start. Whatever bad behavior your shepherd has, whether it’s barking at night or other bad behaviors, using the right training program is the key to having an obedient and happy pup.

The training program I love and highly recommend is Brain Training For Dogs.

With Brain Training For Dogs you’ll save yourself a ton of time and effort. Instead of banging your head against the wall trying to figure out why your dog won’t listen, you’ll follow a path that has been tried, tested, and most importantly, that’s given proven results. Not to mention the fact, you’ll be able to fit the course around your schedule, not fit your schedule around a trainer or obedience class.

So instead of worrying about whether they’re going to be well-behaved or not, you’ll only have to worry about how much fun you’ll have with them!

And in most cases it’s still going to be:

  • Cheaper than hiring a professional.
  • Cheaper than replacing everything they might break.
  • And definitely cheaper than a lawsuit against you, if they decide to bite someone.

Just imagine how great it will feel to finally be able to trust your German Shepherd completely and never worry whether they’ll be naughty or not. Instead, you’ll have the peace of mind that you have a well-behaved pup, and the boundaries you set for them, will always be there, EVEN IF YOU’RE NOT. 

And the best part is it also has a 60-day money-back guarantee! So there’s no reason not to give Brain Training For Dogs a try!

So if you’re tired of your dog’s bad behavior, or how they react around other people and pooches, then give it a try! You’ll be amazed by the results!

(You can also check out a full review here, to learn exactly what the course has to offer!)


Now you should have a better understanding around all the reasons your german shepherd may be itching or scratching. The most important thing you can do before anything if you see this happening is to make sure that you’re taking your pup to the vet.

Taking your pup to the vet is going to give you peace of mind surrounding exactly what is going on, as well as helping your german shepherd feel better quicker!

If you liked this article make sure you check out the rest of the website. Otherwise have a great day!

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