What’s Normal When It Comes To Scratching?

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Just how long does the average dog spend scratching each day? We have data based on more than 80,000 dog days of information.

We’ve spent some time here at Vetrax looking at what’s ‘normal’ but when it comes to scratching even our more than 80,000 days of data might not be representative. Here’s the reason why…

First off, let’s consider that fact that this level of data isn’t freely available. Standard ‘activity monitors’ don’t provide data at this level of analysis, so it’s pretty rare to have data on scratching at all.

Our data across dogs of various ages, breeds and genders shows that the mean time spent scratching is about 100 seconds a day. Why do we think that’s information that needs care about how it’s interpreted? Well, many people choose Vetrax precisely so they can track their dogs itching. Our association with Hill’s Pet Nutrition means that for some clients their Vetrax sensor and monitoring comes for free from participating vet clinics while the food continues to be fed and for many pet parents, it’s been a great choice to help them monitor their dog’s skin condition.

As we’re dealing with statistical ‘means’ here, it’s also true that some dogs spend less than 10 seconds a day scratching, while others spend 1500 seconds or more. As we all know, many dermatological conditions are managed, not cured, so it’s about tracking the individual patient’s response to treatment – are they scratching more or less, does medication need to be adjusted to keep things in check, or is the dog having a flare up due to seasonal atopy? What’s ‘normal’ for this dog?  Those are the questions that as veterinarians we really want answered.

So let’s think of our 100 seconds a day figure as a yardstick, rather than a clinical parameter against which we measure ‘normal’. We hope it’s a figure that’s somewhat helpful in your clinic and helps to focus attention on the need to measure the time our ‘derm’ patients spend scratching. After all, what isn’t measured, isn’t managed.

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