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Home > General > Itchy Pet Awareness Month 2024: When It Is & Its Purpose

Itchy Pet Awareness Month 2024: When It Is & Its Purpose

dog scratching

In 2022, Nationwide reported that skin allergies are among the number one reasons why people take their pets for veterinary checkups. Itchy Pet Awareness month, which takes place in August, was conceived by Zoetis as a means of raising awareness of the skin conditions that may affect our pets at some point and encouraging people to seek treatment for their pets.

If you’re curious to know more about Itchy Pet Awareness Month, what statistics have revealed about skin conditions, and signs of skin conditions to watch out for, read on for all the details.


About Itchy Pet Awareness Month

Zoetis has created an entire website dedicated to Itchy Pet Awareness Month. The website is full of resources for vets to use in a variety of ways to help make their clients aware of the skin-related issues that can plague pets, including skin allergies, pruritus, skin and ear infections, and lumps and bumps.1

Resources include a TikTok toolkit, a TikTok guide, virtual backgrounds, posters, screensavers, email signatures, pre-written social media posts, story posts, and gifs. Vets can use these resources to promote their services, grab clients’ attention, and encourage them to bring their pets for a checkup and possible treatment if their skin isn’t looking so good.

black and white cat scratching itself
Image Credit: Opel_pw, Shutterstock

What Do the Statistics Say?

Not only are skin allergies the top reason for vet visits, but Zoetis Inc. data has revealed that 30 million US households have a dog with pruritus, which means to be itchy. It’s not a condition in itself, but rather a sign of skin conditions like allergies and contact dermatitis.

The data has also shown that 7 million dogs do not receive veterinary treatment for allergic itch and that there has been a 40% increase in dogs treated for itchiness in the past 5 years.

In 2021, skin allergies made up the highest number of claims with Nationwide Pet Insurance, and skin infections were number six in the ranking.2 For cats, skin allergies ranked as the 10th most common claim.

Signs of Itchy Skin

If you have a cat, dog, or small animal at home, keep an eye out for the following signs that may indicate pruritus (itchy skin):

  • Excessive scratching
  • Biting or chewing the skin
  • Licking the skin
  • Redness
  • Dryness
  • Scabbiness
  • Greasy skin
  • Excessive shedding
  • Bald patches
  • Visible fleas or ticks
  • Yeasty smell
  • Rolling on the floor
  • Rubbing against things
  • Scooting along the floor
  • Bumpy skin
  • Thickened and/or darkened skin

If your pet is showing signs of a skin condition, don’t wait for it to go away on its own, or try to treat it on your own with home remedies—get them checked out by a vet as soon as possible.

If you have a dog and aren’t sure if they’re showing signs of a skin condition, you can do the “Itching For Help” quiz provided by Zoetis to help you get an idea of whether this might be the case.

Cat scratching chin infested with chin mites
Image Credit: YuryKara, Shutterstock

Causes of Itchy Skin

A number of environmental and medical causes can be behind itchy skin in cats, dogs, and small animals. These include:

  • Allergies
  • Parasites (fleas, ticks, etc.)
  • Mites
  • Skin infections
  • Contact dermatitis (from shampoos, soaps, perfumes, etc.)
  • A low-quality diet
  • Ringworm
  • Injuries
  • Hot spots

PK paw dividerFinal Thoughts

Itchy skin can seriously affect an animal’s quality of life, which is why it’s important to be aware of the signs, whatever the time of year. If you want to help spread awareness and encourage pet parents to keep an eye on their pet’s skin health, head over to the Itchy Pet Awareness Month website and check out their selection of social media resources, posters, and backgrounds.

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Featured Image Credit: schubbel, Shutterstock

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