It’s not fun to watch your dog itch and scratch all the time.
We love our dogs, and it can only be disheartening to see them suffer like this. Itching may take a variety of forms — you may see your dog licking its paws as its way of relieving the itch or find it rolling and scooting on the ground and crawling on its stomach.
Just like us, they can also develop itchiness for many reasons, which may include food allergies or environmental causes. It causes discomfort around a dog’s paws, groin areas, ears, and rump.
Well, every dog owner goes through this problem once in a while. The issue is not new, but if you have just recently acquired a dog and are clueless about how to help it, this article will help you.
This guide will teach you how I managed to cure my dog’s itchy skin. Sometimes, you may require a trip to the vet, depending on the symptoms, while at others, it can be treated with homemade remedies.
How Do I Know It’s Time to Visit the Vet?
You may not have to visit the vet just yet.
Mild or occasional itching in itself isn’t a sign of some serious health issue unless it’s accompanied by some other symptoms.
If you start to see symptoms like loss of appetite, depression, restlessness, or itchiness that’s so chronic that it starts to break their skin, you should immediately consult your vet without giving it a second thought. Or even, if the dog is itching to the point where they are finding it hard to sleep at night.
It’s really important to treat the underlying cause of the severe itchiness if you don’t want your dog to develop an open wound or any kind of skin infection. Seek the help of a veterinary dermatologist; they may either recommend medication or medicated bathing products, as they may deem fit.
However, in the case of a not-so-severe situation, you can try your hands in natural ways to treat their discomfort. If you ask me, the homemade remedies did help cure my dog’s itchy skin. And the best part is that you may not even realize that most of these topics are already sitting on your household shelf.
But before you start any skincare regimen for your dog, it’s always nice to consult your vet first.
What Causes My Dog to Itch?
- Food Allergies
- Seasonal Allergies (Known as Atopy)
- Parasites (Fleas, ticks, or Mites)
- Bacterial or Yeast Infection
Even before we move on to discuss how I was able to cure my dog’s itchy skin, it’s important to know what can cause the itchiness.
Having this information can even help prevent itchiness in the first place. But even if you don’t manage to prevent it, it will certainly help you deal with it once it starts.
There are many reasons that cause a dog’s itchy skin, but the two main ones are pests and allergies, both of which can be seasonal. Let’s read about them in detail.
1. Food Allergies
Well, food allergy is not as common as airborne or environmental allergies. It may be rare, but some dogs are actually allergic to their food.
A typical sign of food allergy in dogs involves itching and skin infection all-around their perianal area. Or if you notice the itching is year-round and the dogs are less than 1 year old or are older than 5, the chances are that they have food allergies.
Those kinds of allergies can be treated with incredible drugs, which gives much relief to your dogs. But that’s effective only in the short term. If you want your dog to get rid of the frequent itching, it’s important to find out which ingredient is causing the problem and eliminate it from their diet altogether.
Usually, they are allergic to a protein in their food. And unfortunately, there aren’t any good tests to find out which one. Blood tests are also not as reliable as they should be. But you can ask your vet for help and do the ‘food trial’, which helps identify the protein that your dog is allergic to. This process involves feeding a strict protein diet to your dog for 7–10 weeks and watching its reaction.
2. Seasonal Allergy — Known as ‘Atopy’
If your dog is itching and chewing its feet, chances are that it is caused by atopy.
It means your dog may have some environmental allergies to things like pollen, dander, house dust, etc. It’s the most common cause of itching in dogs.
Dogs need to go outside and exercise, so it isn’t practical to keep them away from pollen completely. But you can always wipe down or wash their feet and underbelly after they come back from outside. It’s a great way to reduce irritation.
The treatment may range from minor to extreme, depending on the seriousness of your dog’s itchiness. A simple combination of oral medications and topical shampoos or sprays might be ideal for keeping the allergy symptoms at a manageable level. But in case the itchiness continues, steroid injections and stronger medications are called for.
Such severe and chronic allergy usually requires an allergy test, which is then followed by allergy shots, as suggested by the vet.
3. Parasites — Including fleas, Mites, or Ticks
Most dogs itch a lot if they have fleas. They can get miserable, even with the presence of just 1 or 2 fleas.
The signs of flea allergy include red bumps, hair loss, and extreme itching on the tail-base areas and behind the hind legs.
These are blood-sucking pests, which use dogs as their hosts. They can easily go unnoticed, especially ticks, unless they become large enough for you to spot them and remove them. You can use a flea comb to brush through your dog’s fur and check for any signs of fleas. The most common places where you can spot flea dirt are beds and crates. Or if you notice a reddish-brown color in the water while bathing your dog, it’s because of the fleas.
These insects can do more harm than you can imagine. The best treatment is prevention. It’s easier to keep these pests away than try to clean them up. You’ll find flea and tick preventatives on the market, but they should only be used as your vet recommends.
But if your dog still gets infected, you can use topical medication, sprays, flea and tick collars, or long-lasting shampoos. Just make sure to check with your vet for the correct dosage.
4. Bacterial or Yeast Infection
Another common cause of itching and irritation is bacterial and yeast infections.
Just like us, dogs too suffer from yeast bloom. You can look for the classic sign of yeast infection in warm and moist areas, such as ear flaps, between vaginal areas, or well-licked toes. You can sense the presence of such an infection by the smell, which, let me warn you, is horrible.
The most common way for a dog to get a yeast infection is from sugar. Also, the dry and canned food that we feed our dogs is packed full of carbs, which is just one digestive step from being pure sugar to the body.
But you don’t have to worry much. I was easily able to cure my dog’s itchy skin with an antibiotic prescription. However, consulting your vet before giving any to your dog is preferable.
Besides yeast, there is another fungal infection called ringworm. No, it’s not caused by a worm but by a fungus found in the dirt of your backyard. The good news is that it isn’t contagious. It’s usually not very itchy for dogs, but the sooner you treat it, the better.
Always keep in mind that if these infections are not treated properly and in a timely manner, it can lead to a vicious cycle of itching. That means more discomfort for your dog. And I’m sure you wouldn’t want that.
How Do I Cure My Dog’s Itchy Skin?
We often get worried that our dog’s itching problem will add to our vet’s bill.
But that doesn’t have to be the case every time our dog gets infected. There are many homemade remedies you can try before you have to approach your vet for prescribed medication.
I tried to cure my dog’s itchy skin using these tried and tested homemade remedies, and it worked out wonderfully for me. I thought I would share these with you to save you some trouble. So let us begin.
1. Anti-Inflammatory Addition to Their Diet
Our first instinct when we see our dog itching is that we think it might be the food. So we immediately jump to raw dog food from the processed canned one.
But sadly, sometimes it only adds to the problem and can worsen the situation for our dog. We forget that it could be because of environmental issues, such as pollen or dander.
However, these can be treated by adding food with anti-inflammatory properties to our dog’s diet, as it is great for cooling itchy skin.
One such item is golden turmeric paste, which you can add to its food. It’s highly effective and backed by solid science behind the active ingredient curcumin. Plus, it’s easy to make too.
I’m not sure if you have heard of calendula, but it has the strongest natural anti-inflammatory property and is applied to the skin. You can easily buy it from any local health shop.
There is also cod liver oil which helped cure my dog’s itchy skin. It is said that fish oil is more effective when a dog is suffering from atopy, as well as that it helps reduce the need for steroids.
2. Anti-Itch Spray to Provide Immediate Relief
If you think getting an anti-itch spray is going to add more to your bill, you’re absolutely wrong.
Of course, you can get it readymade from the market any day. But it doesn’t take much of your time if you want to try to make one at home.
There are numerous ways in which you can make anti-spray to bring immediate irritation and inflammation relief.
The most effective solution consists of apple cider vinegar (ACV) and green tea. And here’s how you can make it:
- Take a bottle of organic ACV, and mix half a cup of ACV with half a cup of strong, cooled green tea. Green tea protects your skin against free radicals.
- Add this mix to a full cup of distilled water.
- You can also add aloe vera and peppermint for an extra cooling effect. That’s completely up to you.
- Fill a spray bottle with the solution, and keep it in the fridge. Spray on the infected area as and when required
3. Shampoo Therapy for Your Dog’s Itchy Skin
First things first, many people believe that bathing your dog will only worsen its skin condition. Many dog owners have shared this concern with me and I would immediately ask them to dismiss this misconception.
Dogs act as a magnet to all the dust, dander, pollen, and more. Giving them a weekly bath is essential to remove these potentially hazardous substances from their body; especially if your dog has allergies.
But it’s equally important that the shampoo you use is natural, hypoallergenic, and moisturizing so that it doesn’t remove the natural oils from your dog’s skin and coat.
Having this in mind, you should consider oatmeal shampoo. A colloidal oatmeal bath seriously helped cure my dog’s itchy skin by reducing inflammation and washing away allergens trapped in its fur.
Colloidal oatmeal is oatmeal ground into a fine powder. You can either buy pre-made colloidal oatmeal or grind plain, sugar-free oatmeal into powder by yourself.
These tiny granules easily absorb water or moisture and then act as a ready-made moisturizer for your dog. Oatmeal is completely hypoallergenic, so it does no harm if your dog licks it.
Remember, the right formula should contain all the important natural ingredients to provide your dog with maximum healing.
4. Make a paste of Baking Soda and Water
Another way how I managed to cure my dog’s itchy skin was by making a paste of baking soda and water and using it as a moisturizer applied to the infected area.
Yes, baking soda — a kitchen staple — can do much more than making your dough rise. When you combine it with water and blend it into a thick paste, it can help dry out rashes, cure itching, and also, reduce inflammation and redness.
Mix half a cup of baking soda with half a cup of water and apply the paste to your dog’s skin. Let it sit there for 20 minutes, and then rinse off completely. You can even add a few drops of high-quality coconut oil to the mixture.
Alternatively, you can also add baking soda to the dog’s bathwater if it’s itching all over.
5. Use Natural Skin Tonic for Your Dog
Fleas are a common sight and can be really itchy. However, you don’t have to use the nasty chemical preventives for fleas every time.
Instead, you can make use of a natural product — lemons. This lemon-based tonic can both repel fleas and work as a skin toner for itchy pets.
This is how you can make it:
- Slice a whole lemon into thin parts, including the rind, and then soak it overnight in a pot of boiling water.
- The cooling water will draw out vitamin C, d-limonene, and other healing ingredients found in the lemon.
- The next day, sponge it on your dog’s skin. Let the solution air-dry.
There’s no harm in using the lemon tonic daily in case of heavy flea infestation.
6. Other Useful Natural Substances
I’m often bombarded by this one simple question — how do I cure my dog’s itchy skin?
Well, I always say that there’s nothing better than natural ingredients to alleviate itching problems.
A few more ingredients that you can try on your dog’s itchy skin are aloe vera and coconut oil.
We all know that aloe vera is a powerful healing agent and it can help reduce redness and inflammation on the dog’s body. Apply it directly to the affected area. Moreover, you can either get the gel from a grocery store or make it yourself at home.
While buying an aloe vera gel, always make sure that it’s alcohol-free — otherwise, it will only worsen your dog’s symptoms and burn its skin.
Solidified coconut oil helps soothe the irritation associated with allergies, bug bites, and skin yeast infection when massaged into the skin and coat. When buying, always go for high-quality branded coconut oil. Look for terms like unrefined, organic, or virgin on the label.
If you want, you can also add it to their food, but always consult the vet before making any changes to their diet.
Conclusion: Take the Right Step!
Prevent it if you can. An itching dog is not a happy dog, and it’s our responsibility to take care of them during their bad times.
No matter what formula or medication you try, keeping your dog clean and limiting its exposure to outside irritants can keep your dog’s itchy skin at a distance. And of course, there’s nothing that can’t be treated with tender care and a vet’s prescription.
Some of the formulas mentioned above did help to cure my dog’s itchy skin. So I hope this article was useful to you, and that you too can save your itchy dog from suffering.