Dogs and cats lick, scratch, and bite themselves, sometimes incessantly. Their skin becomes irritated, hair falls or is pulled out, and sores develop.
Common reasons are parasites, food allergies or sensitivities, and anxiety or boredom. Pain may be an even more common reason and difficult to detect
Usually other symptoms go along with the incessant scratching, such as irritability, depressed mood, avoidance of touch, hyperactivity, or avoidance of all types of stimulation.
Often the first line remedy offered for incessant scratching, licking, or biting of self is a cortisone injection or cream. This rarely, if ever solves the problem, especially, if the reason is pain.
Incessant Scratching in Dogs and Cats may signal underlying pain.
Dogs and cats don’t have language to tell us about their pain or discomfort. Their way of dealing with any pain is to try to scratch, lick, or bite it away. They’ll literally chew down to the bone in order to rid themselves of pain or discomfort. Not a good survival skill, unfortunately, but its the only tool they’ve got. It works well to rid themselves of bugs and parasites but does not eliminate other sources of pain and discomfort.
I encountered one dog who had been adopted in a state of almost complete hairlessness due to incessant scratching and biting. He was about four years old but nothing else was known about his previous life experience or state of health. The new owners immediately put him on a healthy diet and gave him lots of loving attention.
Even a Healthy Diet did not eliminate the Incessant Scratching.
While most of his hair grew back, he continued to scratch and bite himself, especially on the lower spine near his tail. He was also restless and had difficulty sleeping for any length of time.
Just a few craniosacral therapy sessions with him helped him to calm down and relax. He stopped most of the scratching and biting almost immediately, and over the course of a few months entirely.
Right after the first session, we noticed that his gait had become more balanced leading us to suspect an old injury in his lumbosacral area. As we continued sessions we also noticed “hot spots” on the back of his neck and shoulders, as well as restrictions in his chest.
Moreover, his sleep improved tremendously and while he was still a lively dog, his behavior overall was much calmer and more balanced.
An Injury often causes Pain in other Areas as well.
It’s important to remember that an injury is rarely a local event. injury to one part of the spine often sends ripple effects up or below the point of injury, causing pain, discomfort, and musculoskeletal dysfunction there as well. The entire musculoskeletal frame can be affected by injury to only one small part of it.
The injury heals on the surface but leaves internal scars in the form of connective tissue restrictions in the fascia, ligaments, or tendons. These restrictions put a stranglehold on the structures embedded within it such as the blood and lymph vessels, nerves, and meridians. They also reduce range of motion as the muscle tendons and the ligaments around the joints become distorted.
Craniosacral Therapy and Energetic Unwinding Help The Body To Heal from Old and New Injuries.
Craniosacral therapy and energetic unwinding help the body to release these restrictions, improving the blood and lymph flow, nerve conduction, and energy flow. This translates into reduced pain, improved mobility, and increased energy. In a nut shell, your dog or cat will enjoy greater health and well being.
For another good story on how craniosacral therapy can help animals heal from physical and emotional scars read my blog: Pets or Farm Animals.