The present study was conducted to establish a new mouse model of dry skin pruritus. The rostral back was treated daily with cutaneous application of acetone/ether (1:1) mixture (AE), water following AE (AEW), 1% sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) or tape stripping (TS). On the day after 5-day treatment, although all four treatments significantly decreased stratum corneum (SC) hydration and increased transepidermal water loss (TEWL), only AEW treatment significantly increased spontaneous scratching. An increase in the frequency of TS produced the marked increase of TEWL, without significant effects on SC hydration and spontaneous scratching. In AEW-treated mice, changes in SC hydration and TEWL were marked in the initial 2-day period, while spontaneous scratching increased gradually from 3 days after starting the treatment. The degranulation of cutaneous mast cells was increased by SLS treatment but not by other treatments. There was no apparent difference in AEW-induced spontaneous scratching between mast cell-deficient mice (WBB6F1-W/Wv) and normal littermates (WBB6F1-+/+). Opioid antagonists, naloxone and naltrexone, (1 mg/kg, subcutaneously) significantly suppressed spontaneous scratching in AEW-treated mice. It is suggested that spontaneous scratching of AEW-treated mice is an itch-related response and a useful model for studying the mechanisms of dry skin pruritus.