Itchy Dog Remedies

Home Remedies for Relieving Itchy Dogs:

For a pet parent, seeing your dog scratching, rubbing, chewing or licking his skin, can be worrying.

There are many possible causes for itching in dogs which include

  • parasites (fleas, mites, lice, endoparasite migration),
  • allergy (allergy to parasites, food, contact drugs,),
  • infections (Malasezzia overgrowth, staphyloccal infections, and dermatophytosis)and
  • other causes (e.g. tumors of the skin, psychogenic diseases and endocrine dermatosis).[1,9]

When you determine the cause you will be successful in treating the symptoms and more easily be able to control the conditions to prevent further out breaks. 

Your vet can help you figure out the cause of the itching and give your dog the appropriate medications. But sometimes, it may take time before the underlying cause of the itching is completely treated and the itching completely goes away.

In the meantime, while your dog is being treated for the cause of his itching, you as the owner can help your dog have some immediate relief from the itching.


Here are some ways to relieve your dog’s itchy symptoms:

Check His Coat:

Check your dogs coat for grasses and burrs that may be stuck and causing the dog to scratch and itch.

One possible cause why your dog is itching is that burrs, thorns, grass seed and small sticks might be stuck in his dog’s coat. Regularly checking his coat carefully when he’s been outdoors, parting the fur will be help the owner see immediately if anything is trapped next to the skin. [3,4]

Bath Your Dog:

A cool bath with either baking soda, oatmeal or epsom salt will provide itchy skin relief for dogs.

  • Shampoo

A cool bath gives an instant, short-term relief from itching caused by allergies. [Hoffman]  Water is an excellent healing agent and is used to remove crusts, scale, debris, and dirt [2]. Give your dog weekly bath in cool water as warm water will only make the itch worse [3,4]. Using some Epsom salts, oatmeal shampoo or baking soda to add to the water will increase the soothing effects. Soak your dog for five to ten minutes to provide temporarily relief that will last from a few hours to a few days [2,4]. After bathing, pat your dog dry with a fluffy towel. Do not use a hair drier unless it is set on a cool setting. Continue the baths for four to six weeks. [3,4]

 

  • Conditioner - Use an oatmeal-containing conditioner

A conditioner containing oatmeal that’s designed to be left on the coat and skin is very soothing to allergic skin. You can use this up to 3x a week after cool-water rinse or oatmeal bath.[7]

 

 

  • Rinse - Add green tea or thyme to bath water

Green tea can help relieve itching. To do this, soak the green tea in hot water, then add cool water to it and apply it to your dog with a sponge. Thyme has antiseptic, antifungal, and antioxidant properties. Owners can add a couple of drops of essential oil to rinse water after a bath.[2] Make sure essential oils are diluted .1 to 1 percent. Do not put undiluted essentially oils directly on your dog.


Apply Soothing Cream or Gel:

Natural remedy for itchy skin in dogs Aloe Vera straight from the plant applied to the skin.

  • Apply cream or gel 

Instead of hydrocortisone, pet parents can use evening primrose oil cream or German chamomile (as 2% cream) to reduce inflammation and reduce the amount of topical corticosteroid used. If your dog has allergies to daisies, ragweed or chrysanthemums, avoid using chamomile. Herbs like aloe vera calendula when applied to the skin can also help relieve itching in dogs with allergies.[2,5]

 

Diet:

Healthy chews like bully sticks, deer antlers and horns can happily occupy the dog and be a welcome distraction from itch skin.

  • Give him something else to chew on

To help your dog keep his mind off his itchy skin and stop him from chewing or licking himself, distract him by giving him some attention. Give him something else to chew, such as a bully stick, antler, horn or a chew toy. [3,4]

 

Food Allergy:

 Eliminating filler, preservatives and chemicals from a dogs diet can help their skin

  • Change Diet

Sometimes, your dog’s itching can be caused by allergy to food. Dogs with food allergies may also have frequent skin infections [4]. Switching to a preservative-free homemade diet with supplements may be of great help to your dog. Primary food allergens for dogs include beef, milk, yeast, corn, pork, turkey, eggs, fish, and wheat. Avoid diets containing the said ingredients if you suspect your dog has food allergy download and consult our free guide to help determine if your dog does have a food allergy. [8]

Shop For Homemade Dog Food Vitamins

 

Fatty acid supplement

Dog supplements for itchy skin fish oil

A natural remedy for itchy dog evening primrose oil supplement.

Fatty acids found in either marine oils, evening primerose oil, and flaxseed oil can be very effective for easing itching [2,5]. Essential fatty acids supplements containing omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids not only are responsible for the shine of the coat hair and the smooth texture of the skin but also reduce itching in some pets. [6,7,10]

Over the counter Antihistamines provide itchy dog relief

  • Over The Counter Antihistamine 

Antihistamines are most effective for easing short-term itches i.e. a flare up of hives or insect bites.  Oral antihistamines ok for dogs include clemastine (Tavist), chlorpheniramine (ChlorTrimeton)  and diphenhydramine (Benadryl). Your vet will tell you what dosage to use.  [3]

Wear a Shirt:

Simple home remedy for dog scratching put a Tee Shirt on the dog to protect the skin from their nails.

  • Use T-shirts to prevent scratching

When your dog scratches his itchy skin, the scratching will cause the skin to break and possibly causing another infection. Let your dog wear a stretch baby suit or a T-shirt to protect his skin from his claws.[3,4]

  • Use cones to prevent the dog from biting themselves. 

Pollen:

Source of itching and scratching in your dog may be seasonal environmental allergies from pollen.

  • Keep A Calendar of Symptoms

Allergens, such as pollen and mold spores can cause allergies to sensitive dogs. Make a note of when your dog has an allergic reaction and cross reference it with seasonal information i.e. are pollen counts high? 

Regular exercise helps release nervous energy so the dog will not be so focused on chewing at its itchy skin.

  • Regular Exercise

Dogs need regular walks—at least 20 minutes twice a day—as well as lots of play time and regular company. By keeping him busy, he will have much better things to do than scratch. [3,4]. If you don't have the time to walk your dog consider hiring a dog walking service or sending them to a play group.

Environmental:

How to help an itchy dog remove all possible sources of the itching -eliminate dust mites in air filters by replacing filter.

  • Clean the house

Cleaning your entire house (vacuum), including your furniture, baseboard cracks, and your pet’s sleeping and resting areas will help get rid of fleas, mites, and dust that could cause your pet’s allergies. Throw away the vacuum bag or the pests can hatch inside.[7] wash your pet’s pillow cases, throw rugs, and bedding in hot water once a week [4].  Also change the filters of the furnaces, air conditioners, or air humidifiers to help reduce dust and dust mites.[4]

Flea Allergy:

  • Eliminate the fleas

Fleas can cause a condition called flea allergy dermatitis or also known as flea bite hypersensitivity. When fleas bite, they inject their saliva which contains substances (histamine-like compounds, enzymes, polypeptides, and amino acids) that induce hypersensitivity. This causes the dog to have intense itching, become restless and uncomfortable, spending much time scratching, licking, rubbing, chewing and even nibbling at the skin. [1]

 

Resources:

​​References: 

  1. Aeillo, Susan E (ed.). The Merck Veterinary Manual, 11th edition and online content. www.merckvetmanual.com, 2012.
  2. Fougère, Barbara. The Pet Lover's Guide to Natural Healing for Cats & Dogs. Elsevier Health Sciences, 2006
  3. Hoffman, Matthew (ed.). Dogs: The Ultimate Care Guide: Good Health, Loving Care, Maximum Longevity. Rodale, 2000.
  4. Hoffman, Matthew; The Editors of Pets: Part of the Family. Vet On Call: The Best Home Remedies for Keeping Your Dog. Rodale, 1999.
  5. Messonier, Shawn. 8 Weeks to a Healthy Dog. Rodale, 2003.
  6. Pinney, Chris C. Guide to Home Pet Grooming. Barron's Educational Series, 2005.
  7. Shojai, Amy. The First Aid Companion for Dogs & Cats. Rodale,  2001.
  8. Stein, Diane. The Natural Remedy Book for Dogs And Cats. Potter/TenSpeed/Harmony, 2012.
  9. Tilley, Larry Patrick and Smith, Francis W.K. The 5-Minute Veterinary Consult: Canine and Feline, 3rd ed. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2004.
  10. Wanamaker, Boyce P. and Massey, Kathy Lockett. Applied Pharmacology for Veterinary Technicians. Elsevier Health Sciences, 2009.