Owners don’t like when their dog itch, myself included. After all, itching is the second most common reason people take their dogs to the vet.
The thing is:
Dogs scratch from time to time, sometimes even without any reason.
It’s when the itching starts to cause inconvenience and continuous self-licking or chewing that we know our dog has a problem.
Antihistamines and anti-inflammatory steroids are usually used to treat and manage itching in dogs.
However, there are many other ways to help dogs who suffer from itchy skin naturally and without obvious side effects.
In this post, I’ll walk you step by step on how to stop itching in dogs.
I’ll also talk about the common reasons for dog itch and share easy home remedies you can use to soothe your dog’s skin.
Why Is My Dog Scratching So Much?
Common Causes Of Itch In Dogs
The first thing that comes to mind when your dog itch is fleas. These parasites are extremely common in dogs, and in some cases, even a single bite can cause a reaction as fleas saliva is very allergenic.
Luckily, these insects are easy to spot. If your dog has tiny black dots on his coat, then there are fleas on him. There may not be many at first, so you need to check closely and especially around the tail, tummy, and ears.
Your dog can be allergic to just about anything. I already talked about flea allergy, but other common ones are seasonal allergies, environmental allergies, and nutritional allergies.
These allergies cause mostly skin-related symptoms such as skin inflammation and itchiness, which can lead to excessive chewing, and licking to relieve the itch and a risk for wounds and infections.
Yeast and bacteria can also cause skin problems and itchiness. Yeast infections usually occur in the dog’s ear or paws and some of the common symptoms for it is an excessively oily skin that has a bit of odor, or if your dog is licking is paws obsessively.
Bacterial infection can be caused by parasites, skin damage, poor diet, and antibiotics which disrupts the bacterial balance within the dog’s body. Inflammation, redness, and discomfort are a few of the signs you need to pay attention to.
Dogs also have dry skin, but unlike us, they don’t use moisturizers to relieve the itchiness. The reasons for dry skin in canines are similar to ours and include nutritional decency, using the wrong grooming products, and dry air.
Flakiness and dull coat may hint that your dog has dry skin, but that’s not always the case. Review your dog’s diet, bathing routine, and the humidity in your house to figure out whether their the cause for your dog’s condition.
How To Stop Itching In Dogs
The best way to prevent fleas is to use a flea control product. Yet, you should also take precautions and mow your lawn regularly, as well as avoiding wooded areas, tall grass or bushes while walking your dog.
I use K9 Advantix, it’s a topical treatment that doesn’t enter the bloodstream, but spreading throughout the dog’s body and keeping him pest-free up to a month.
Besides fleas, this product also prevents ticks and mosquitoes, which have the potential to cause itching as well.
Immune System Support
Probiotics aren’t an anti-itch treatment per se, but it can do a lot to help your dog with his infections.
About 70% of a dog’s immune system resides in his gastrointestinal tract, that means that when Fido is ingesting good bacteria, it’s less likely that he will suffer from itching and other skin problems.
You can give your dog plain yogurt as a healthy treat, or buy a probiotic supplement for dogs. Also, look for dog food that includes probiotics for more boost.
Bathing your dog once a week is perfectly fine. In fact, if your dog suffers from allergies, then washing out dust and other allergens from his coat is perhaps what he needs.
To avoid removing the natural oils from your dog’s skin, choose a gentle shampoo made from natural ingredients such as oatmeal to treat that itchiness, essentials oils to repel fleas and Calendula for healing damaged skin.
Sometimes, a simple thing like brushing your dog every day can have a large impact on his skin condition.
Not only regular grooming help gets rid of loose hair, dirt, and dander, but it also helps with blood circulation as poor blood circulation often leads to an itchy skin.
Furthermore, a quick brush each day can prevent knots and tangles, which is very irritating and uncomfortable. Also, wipe down your dog to remove allergens after walks.
Grain Free Dog Food
Food allergy is a common reason for itchy skin that many owners overlook. Corn, wheat, and soy are known allergens. Some dogs may even be sensitive to chicken and eggs.
I advise trying a grain-free dog food for a while, and instead of poultry, get the fish recipe. Not only fish allergies are less common than other meats, but your dog also gets Omega 3 fatty acids such as DHA and EPA which reduce skin inflammation.
In case your dog doesn’t like fish, try a rabbit based dog food which is also less allergenic in most cases.
Natural Itchy Skin Solutions
Almond oil is a great choice for dogs with sensitive skin that tend to be dry, inflamed, and itchy. This remedy has anti-inflammatory properties and it contains vitamin E to help moisten the skin and repair it.
Almond oil can be used by itself on the dog’s coat or as a carrier oil with a little bit of lavender essential oil to soothe skin irritations and also help Fido relax.
For a Lavender Almond massage oil — Mix 2 tbsp. of Almond oil with 10 drops of Lavender essential oil.
Coconut oil is known for removing the dryness and roughness of the skin. This remedy has antibacterial and antifungal properties and is also an excellent natural moisturizer.
You can apply coconut oil topically to relieve the itching or mix it with your dog’s food to strengthen his immune system, which in turn, can reduce the body inflammatory response.
Here’s a dog treat with coconut already included in it.
Evening Primrose Oil
Evening primrose oil is often used to treat skin disorders, such as dry and itchy skin. This remedy has anti-inflammatory properties and it contains Omega 6 and GLA fatty acids.
You can put Evening primrose oil in a spray bottle and spritz it on your dog. Another way would be to add a few drops of oil to your dog’s food or water bowl.
It’s a good idea to talk with a holistic veterinarian before using this essential oil.
Olive oil is full of nutrients that can be beneficial for itchy skin or skin diseases. This remedy contains polyphenols which have anti-inflammation properties and can help soothe irritated skin.
Take a little bit of Olive oil and massage your dog with it. Additionally, add about a teaspoon to your dog’s food to fight dryness and flakiness.
Omega 3 is probably a good supplement to have even if your dog doesn’t have a skin condition. This remedy has anti-inflammation properties, so it can keep allergies under control and reduce itchy skin.
You can get Omega 3 capsules for dogs and hide it inside canned food or peanut butter, or go for chewable Omega 3 treats. I personally prefer liquid salmon oil because it mixes well with kibbles and can help with dogs who are picky eaters.
Vitamin E isn’t only good for your dog’s coat health, but it also helps with skin allergies and damaged tissues. This remedy has antioxidant properties and it can be used to moisten your dog’s skin and nourish it against redness and itchiness.
If you got a high-quality dog food, it probably has enough vitamin E inside and you don’t need to add more. Instead, take the oil out of a vitamin E capsule and rub it onto your dog’s dry and itchy spots.
Aloe Vera has is one of the most effective treatments for itchy skin and other skin problems. This remedy has antibacterial and antifungal properties which help relieve itchiness and keep skin infections at bay. Plus, this green plant is a natural moisturizer.
You can use real Aloe Vera leaves or store bought Aloe Vera gel and simply apply it to the itchy spot a couple times a day.
Calendula is one of the safest herbs to use on dogs, and it’s used in many dog products. This remedy has antimicrobial properties, and not only it relieves and soothes the skin from itchiness and insect bites, but it’s also good for treating cuts and wounds.
Brew a Calendula tea and wait for it to cool off before putting it in a spray bottle. Then, spritz the liquid evenly across your dog’s coat or soak the tea with a towel and leave in on your dog.
Similar to Calendula, Chamomile is also known to temporarily calm dry and irritated skin. This remedy has anti-microbial properties and it can help heal skin infections, as well as alleviate any skin issue or bug bites when applied topically.
Prepare a cool Chamomile tea, pour it into a spray bottle, and use it on your dog’s coat. If your dog is chewing his paws, you can soak them in the tea for instant relief.
Green tea has many benefits for the skin and it can be very effective in treating skin allergies. This remedy has antihistamine and has anti-inflammatory properties which reduce allergic skin reactions, as well as tannins for the itching.
Simply make a Green tea rinse from a couple of tea bags and use it after you shampoo your dog. You can also use the cool tea bags directly on your dog’s itchy skin.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is popularly used in dogs with itchy skin, and for a good reason. This remedy has antiseptic properties and it can relieve itching caused by dry skin. But make it’s raw, organic vinegar and don’t use it on open wound or cuts.
You can mix half apple cider vinegar and half water inside a spray bottle and spritz it on your dog. Alternatively, use a water and apple cider vinegar blend to rinse your dog while you’re giving him a shower.
Baking soda is a common home remedy for skin rashes and itchy skin. This remedy has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties, which helps relieve itching and prevent further inflammation.
Use a 50/50 mix of baking soda and water to make a paste and apply it to your dog’s affected skin for 10 minutes before rinsing it off. Another option is to add one cup of baking soda to your dog’s bathing water.
Oatmeal bath is a good old soothing treatment for itchy, irritated skin. This remedy softens the skin and helps to lock moisture, as well as protect it from irritants.
You’ll need to use colloidal oatmeal, which are oats that have been grind into a fine powder (you can also make your own at home) and add that into your dog’s bath or mix it with his shampoo.
There are also gentle oatmeal shampoos for itchy skin.
Epsom salt is a natural exfoliant that helps fight skin disorders. This remedy has anti-bacterial properties and it contains minerals such as magnesium and sulfate to reduce inflammation and treat dry skin and open sores.
All you need to do is fill up a bath with lukewarm water, add Epsom salt inside and scrub your dog gently. Alternatively, you can dip a washcloth in a mixture of Epsom salt and water and apply it to your dog’s skin.