Track diet changes.
Did the scratching begin when you introduced a new brand of food? Chicken, wheat, corn, beef, milk, and eggs can trigger an adverse food reaction in dogs. Fish is the top problem for cats.
To identify the cause, your veterinarian will take a detailed medical history, conduct a physical exam, perform a skin test, and take a blood sample to determine your pet's sensitivity to a host of common allergens, including weeds, house dust, and foods.
The easiest treatment option, of course, is not exposing your pet to the allergens triggering the reaction. It's simple: If you know your pet can't tolerate wheat, you eliminate that food from his diet. Short-term remedies include antihistamines and corticosteroids. One long-term treatment is allergy shots, or immunotherapy, which involves injecting your pet with increasing amounts of the allergen to help his immune system develop a tolerance.