Itchy skin is linked to behavioural problems in dogs

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There are many factors that can influence a dog’s behaviour and underlying medical reasons are just one.

Now, a new study has shown that itch severity in dogs with Apotic Dermatitis (cAD) is associated with behaviours typically considered undesirable, for example: mounting, chewing, hyperactivity, eating faeces, begging for and stealing food, attention-seeking, excitability, excessive grooming and reduced trainability.  Many of these behaviours provide emotional relief to the dog which is reinforcing and, therefore, repeated.

The study investigated data relating to 343 dogs, and although the researchers could not determine whether itching directly caused these behavioural differences, they concluded the behaviours that were associated with itch severity are of a type that are often considered, by behavioural biologists, to be indicative of stress. 

You can access the paper at: https://www.mdpi.com/2076-2615/9/10/813/htm.

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