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Is your dog’s itchy skin driving him or her bonkers? It might even be getting on your nerves – the scratching, the licking, the chewing. If your dog is itching like crazy it might be driving you both up the walls!
Dogs love a good scratch, but excessive itching can be a sign of an underlying allergy or skin condition. According to the American Kennel Club, there are possibly 43 conditions that can cause excessive itching and scratching in dogs. However, most causes will fall into one of five categories:
- Atophy, an allergic response to normal proteins in the environment, such as pollen
- Food allergies
- Parasite hypersensitivity
- Yeast infection, such as Malassezia dermatitis
- Bacterial infections, known as staphylococcal pyoderma
Since there are so many reasons dogs chew or scratch, you should seek veterinary advice to diagnose the cause of the itching and determine the best treatment plan. Depending on the cause of your dog’s itching, here are some natural remedies to help your pooch.
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Many natural remedies for skin issues are healthy and safe for dogs, and they can provide significant relief from irritation. However, be careful before using natural remedies. You might find suggestions from the internet, such as using essential oils. But some essential oils are not good for dogs. So make sure to ask your vet before treating your dog’s itchy skin, and make sure you treat underlying conditions if you need to. If there is no need for medical treatment, here are some home remedies that are completely safe and can help with itch relief.
Chamomile and Herbal Tea Soaks
Chamomile, calendula, and green tea have properties to soothe and cool irritated skin and reduce inflammation, making them very helpful additions to a dog bath. These soaks are best for dogs who have hot, itchy patches of skin at risk of becoming raw.
To give your dog an herbal tea soak, fill up the tub with warm water and let several tea bags steep for three minutes. Remove the tea bags and let your dog soak in the bath for at least five minutes.
Alternatively, for smaller, itchy patches, steep one or two tea bags in about two cups of hot water. Once it’s cooled down, pour it on your dog’s skin as a quick fix, letting it drip dry without rinsing.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is a natural, safe soother for dry, itchy skin. The antiseptic and antifungal nature of apple cider vinegar makes it a great form of relief from itchy skin. However, if the skin is raw or open in any way, this is NOT a good remedy. Apple cider vinegar will sting an open wound.
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This is a good remedy for a patch of poison ivy, oak, or sumac. To use, mix a solution with half vinegar and half water and soak their paws or other affected areas in the solution for up to five minutes. Or, you can pour the solution into a spray bottle and spray affected areas.
Oatmeal is an age-old remedy for dry, itchy skin. Let your dog soak in a colloidal oatmeal bath. Colloidal oatmeal binds to the skin and forms a protective barrier. It also helps hold moisture in and ease inflammation. Mix the colloidal oatmeal into warm water and let your dog soak. If you can’t find colloidal oatmeal, regular oatmeal is non-toxic, so you don’t have to worry about it hurting your dog as you work to relieve itching and allergy symptoms.
Epsom Salt Baths
Epsom salt – a mineral combination of magnesium and sulfate – is known to relieve the itching caused by allergic dermatitis. Regular soaks in Epsom salt baths may be able to reduce your dog’s itchiness and inflammation. Ask your vet about the exact procedure for soaking your dog in Epsom salts to make sure you’re doing so safely.
Aloe vera can soothe itching skin. Once the itching stops and your dog stops licking or scratching, some skin irritation will also settle. Pure aloe vera gel is non-toxic, so you can support your itchy dog without fear they will lick the area and make themselves sick.
Coconut oil works great for dog eczema and allergic reactions on the skin. It may even relieve your dog from bug bites and fleas. Use human-branded, edible coconut oil labeled as unrefined or virgin to protect your dog. You can rub it on the irritated skin, or you can add a little to your dog’s food to improve their diet. Just be sure to check with your vet before adding an item like this to your dog’s food.
Unsweetened Plain Yogurt
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Plain, unsweetened yogurt provides dogs with many health benefits. For example, some yeast infections and skin irritation can stem from your dog’s digestive system. This remedy is good for dogs who have certain types of rashes, hives, or allergies. Before you feed your dog yogurt, be sure to check with your veterinarian.
Note: Be sure the yogurt does not contain any artificial sweeteners, especially xylitol. Xylitol is highly toxic for dogs.
Excessive itching in dogs is no joke. Many dogs suffer from allergic reactions, itching, intense scratching, and other symptoms. It can be heartbreaking to watch your precious pup struggle with this, and it’s important to get your dog the relief he or she needs.
After consulting with your vet, try some of the home remedies for dog discussed above. Many can be administered with common over-the-counter ingredients. The sooner you get started, the sooner your dog can get back to normal.
Does your dog suffer from excessive itching? What remedies have helped? Please share in the comments below…