Why Is My Dog More Itchy in the Morning? (Vet Explains)

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why is my dog more itchy in the morning

It’s morning, and when you get out of bed, your dog stretches, yawns, and starts to scratch himself crazily. Should you be concerned?

When my pup parents called with questions about morning itching in their dogs, I would reassure them that it’s usually normal but there’s probably a reason. We’d go over possible explanations and things they could try to relieve their pooch’s morning itching.

In this article, we’ll explain why itching in the morning can be normal and what it may mean. I’ll provide a list of possible explanations for the behavior and take time to discuss your pal’s bedding.

Once you understand the possible causes of morning itching, we’ll look at what you can do about it. Finally, we’ll give you some indicators that you should call your vet for help.

So, let’s get started.

Is it normal for dogs to be itchy in the morning but not afterward?

Believe it or not, dogs can wake up and start itching furiously first thing in the morning then barely scratch the rest of the day. Even though this seems odd, it’s perfectly normal behavior. 

However, there may be underlying reasons for the itching. By investigating what’s causing your pup’s behavior, you may be able to help prevent the constant AM itching. Sometimes, it’s as simple as changing or washing the bedding or giving your furbaby a massage. 

It’s normal for dogs to be extra itchy in the morning, but there’s usually an explanation. Try to find out the cause of your pal’s scratching, and you may be able to do something to stop or at least decrease the behavior.

What causes my dog to itch excessively in the morning?

There are several possible causes for your dog’s excessive itching in the morning. Let’s take a look at the explanations for why your pooch is exhibiting the behavior.

They’ve got that tingling feeling

Have you ever had an arm or leg “fall asleep”? When you wake up, the limb feels numb at first then starts to tingle. The same thing can happen to dogs.

If your furbaby sleeps with his body on a leg or paw, that part of their body can go numb due to reduced circulation. As Fido rouses, the affected areas start to tingle and feel itchy. Naturally, your pooch scratches furiously to relieve the funny feeling.

Blame it on the bedding

For dogs with hypersensitive skin, some types of bedding may trigger an allergic reaction. Canine beds can be made from materials that include:

  • Suede
  • Wool
  • Faux leather
  • Polyester
  • Cotton
  • Foam that’s latex or synthetic

These materials aren’t normally a problem, but if your furbaby is itchy, you should make sure that he isn’t reacting to the fabrics. In general all-natural fabrics are less likely to trigger allergic reactions.

Allergens are all around

Even if the bed itself is not triggering an allergic response, there could be allergens trapped in the bedding. If your pooch suffers from seasonal or environmental sensitivities, it’s possible that pollen, dust mites, or dander have collected on the bed. That’s why it’s important to use washable bedding for your pooch and launder it regularly. Of course, make sure the detergents you use are not causing a skin reaction in your pup.

They have the creepy crawlies

Fleas, ticks, or other biting bugs could be lurking where your pup sleeps. Check the bedding and surrounding areas for signs of these parasites. You can also examine your pooch and look for crawling pests or signs of flea or other bites that may be causing the morning itching.

It’s a habit

Believe it or not, some dogs scratch in the morning because they’ve developed a routine. It’s possible that it started with a seasonal allergy or a leg falling asleep several days in a row. But once it’s an established part of the morning ritual, it becomes ingrained in their behavior… Wake up, stretch, yawn, scratch. You get the picture.

Other potential rule-outs

Even if your pup scratches more vigorously in the morning, you should consider other possible causes for itchiness. Some of these may require medical attention:

  • Dandruff
  • A food allergy or sensitivity
  • Inflamed skin
  • Skin infection

There are several potential explanations for excessive itching in the morning. Your pup may have a tingling extremity, be sensitive to the bedding, or be reacting to something lurking in the sleeping area. It can also be a matter of routine for your pooch.

Does my dog’s bed cause her to be itchy?

One of the first things to consider if your dog starts scratching like crazy in the morning is her bedding. Your pooch may be reacting to the fabric or filler. So, whether your precious princess sleeps with you or on your own bed, try to invest in natural materials like organic hemp, 100% cotton, or microfiber. These fabrics are less likely to trigger reactions.

If your pooch isn’t allergic to the bedding materials, the problem could still be in the bed. Dust mites, dander, and allergens that float around the house can settle on sheets, comforters, and dog beds. Because of this, you should wash the bedding frequently. Just make sure the laundry solutions aren’t irritating to your pal’s skin.

Dog bedding can be the cause of your pup’s itching, and it should be one of your first considerations. Try to use natural fabrics and materials because they’re usually less likely to cause allergic reactions. Also, make sure to clean bedding frequently.

What can I do about my dog’s excessive itching in the morning?

If your pooch gets super itchy in the morning, you don’t have to watch them scratch furiously. There are some things you can do to help your furbaby find relief,

Wash the bedding regularly

There’s something about fresh, clean sheets, right? The same goes for your pooch. Whether your dog sleeps with you or on his own bed, you should be washing the bedding frequently. It helps to minimize allergens and other potential irritants like mites, mold, and bacteria.

Brush your pup every day

Daily grooming can help minimize itching because it loosens and removes loose hair and skin. When you brush your dog, it can also feel like a backscratch.

Massage your pal’s skin every week

Really? Yes, giving your pooch a weekly massage helps stimulate the skin glands to release natural oils and sebum. These substances help to moisturize and protect the skin which in turn reduces itching.

Add skin-supporting supplements to the diet

Give your pooch supplements that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants to help support skin health. 

Give your furbaby a colloidal oatmeal bath

Take a cup of finely-ground oatmeal and dissolve it in your pal’s bathwater. The natural chemicals in oatmeal help to soothe and protect itchy skin.

Apply a homemade anti-itch spray

You can create a variety of remedies with products around the house. Here are two examples:

  • Vinegar and water – One popular one is a 50/50 mixture of apple cider vinegar and water. Mix the ingredients and use a spray bottle to apply it to your pal’s itchy skin. 
  • Baking soda and water – You can also create a solution of baking soda by mixing 2 tablespoons with a cup of water. Spray the mixture on your pooch’s irritated skin to relieve itching. 

Rather than letting your dog scratch, you can find some ways to help him find relief. Some things you can do include regular brushing, a weekly massage, keeping the bedding clean, providing nutritional supplements, and treating your dog with something to soothe the skin.

When should I see a vet for my dog’s itching?

You may be able to resolve your dog’s excessive itching by following one or more of the above recommendations. But what if the itching continues or gets worse? How do you know when it’s time to call the vet?

Indications that you should bring your furbaby to the doctor include:

  • Signs of an allergic reaction such as swelling, hives, or reddened skin.
  • Your dog never stops itching. If the scratching goes on and on, you should talk to your veterinarian. There may be an underlying condition that requires attention. 
  • There are changes in the skin such as a black pigment or thickening of the area. These can be indicators of infection, mange, or other issues. 

Summary: After you’ve exhausted your resources to no avail, you should schedule an appointment with your veterinarian to see if there’s an underlying condition. Additionally, any time you see an allergic reaction or abnormal skin changes, call your vet.

Final Woof

It can be normal for dogs to be itchier in the morning than the rest of the day, but there’s usually an explanation for the behavior. One of the first considerations for morning scratching should be your dog’s bedding, but it may also be related to the way he sleeps or something in the environment. And some pups are habitual scratchers.

If your pooch seems super-itchy in the morning, you can try some things to help relieve his discomfort. Try brushing your pup’s coat daily and washing his bedding regularly. You can also offer weekly massages and nutritional supplements along with anti-itch remedies. If your pooch continues to scratch despite your best efforts, has abnormal skin changes, or shows signs of an allergic reaction you should call your vet for help.

Photo of author
Dr. Libby Guise earned her DVM from the University of Minnesota in 1994. After working in private practice in Wisconsin for two years, she joined the USDA as a Veterinary Medical Officer. In 2011, Libby came home to focus on raising and teaching her adoptive daughter. She lives in Wisconsin with her daughter, husband, and two furbabies: Charis, a lab-mix rescue pup, and Chesed, a Springer Spaniel.

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