a Itching in dogs: 10 best home remedies - The Happy Puppers (Dog care, grooming, behavior and training)

Thursday, August 6, 2020

Itching in dogs: 10 best home remedies

Home remedies to reduce itching (pruritus) in dogs:

As a dog guardian you must have noticed your dog scratching or it himself or herself. It is not an uncommon sight. However, if your dog scratches himself or herself too much, it can be a cause of concern. In this post, I will discuss the factors which contribute to itching and the home remedies you can use to reduce the same in your pup.

Why do dogs itch?

Pruritus or itching, as we commonly know it, is defined as an uncomfortable skin sensation which causes the dog to scratch himself or herself. Itching is just a symptom, it is not the disease or a diagnosis. The most common causes behind your dog itching himself or herself can be allergies, parasites or infection. It can either be confined to a specific area or it can be generalized throughout the body.

Common causes behind itching in dogs:
  • Mites or fleas infestation
  • Bacterial or fungal infection
  • Allergy
  • Insect bite

If your dog’s itching reduces after an antibiotic course, in that case the itching occured due to a microbial infection. 

However, if the itching continues post antibiotic administration, then the most common reason could be allergy. Allergy can either be a food allergy or environmental allergy against environmental allergens like mold, pollen etc. 

If your dog’s itching does not reduce even after a course of antihistamines, such cases will need medical management for pruritus. The most commonly administered medications for treatment of such cases involve essential fatty acids, glucocorticoid, oclacitinib and cyclosporin.

When should you consult your vet?

Mild or occasional itching is not a sign of a serious health condition. However, if your dog shows other symptoms like restlessness depressed mood, loss of appetite or such serious itching that he or she breaks the skin, immediately set an appointment with your veterinarian.

If your dog’s itchiness is mild, then there are natural ways to treat the same at home.

Always consult your weight before starting any new skin care or diet regimen for your dog. Stop the treatment if the symptoms continue or worsen.

What are the causes behind itching in dogs?
What are the causes behind itching in dogs?

Home remedies which can reduce itching in dogs

Colloidal oatmeal baths:

Colloidal oatmeal baths can soothe your dog's itchy skin as it reduces inflammation and washes away the allergen that tends to get trapped in your dog’s fur. You can either buy pre-made colloidal oatmeal or grind sugar free plain oatmeal into a powder for use.

The anti-inflammatory properties of colloidal oatmeal can reduce the swelling and redness. It will also provide some cooling effect to your dog’s uncomfortable and hot skin. Since oatmeal is non-toxic, you don't have to worry about the symptoms worsening.

Apple cider vinegar

I cannot emphasize enough about the important properties of apple cider vinegar (ACV) for your dog. As I have previously mentioned in my blog posts, ACV is a pretty powerful anti-fungal and anti-bacterial agent. It can reduce your dog’s itchiness, provide soothing effect to the skin and prevent fleas infestation. Know the various wondrous benefits of this common kitchen ingredient and how to use it to benefit your dog.

NOTE: Never use ACV on raw or broken skin. It can worsen the symptoms and cause your dog a lot of pain.

Coconut oil

Coconut oil is one of my favorite remedies for treating itching in dogs. Solidified coconut oil has been observed to soothe the discomfort caused by eczema, skin infections, insect bites as well as allergies when properly massaged into the coat and skin of your dog. When shopping for coconut oil, always go for the virgin or undefined or organic coconut oil. To enable coconut oil to heal your dog from inside out and a teaspoon full of the same to his or her diet. Know more about the amazing benefits of this super oil for your pup.

NOTE: Always consult your vet before changing your dog's diet. Initially, add a minimal amount and check your dog's response. In case you do not notice any benefit, or you notice a worsening of symptoms, stop administration of coconut oil immediately and consult your vet.

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10 brilliant remedies to reduce itching in dogs
10 brilliant remedies to reduce itching in dogs

Green tea and chamomile soaks

Green tea and chamomile are known for their anti-inflammatory and soothing effects in case of humans. However, they have shown to work just as well in case of dogs too. If your dog is suffering from itchy patches of skin, give your dog a bath in green tea or chamomile solution. Fill a bathtub with lukewarm water and allow several tea bags too steep in for at least 5 minutes. Remove the bags and let your dog soak in that water for five minutes. If you wish to provide your dog some immediate relief, steep the tea bag, allow it to cool completely and apply the tea directly onto the affected region.

Aloe vera


You must be aware of the benefits of aloe vera. Aloe vera is not only a pretty powerful healing agent, it can also be used to reduce redness and provide coolness your dog’s skin. You can choose to apply aloe vera directly on the affected regions. Most of the drug and grocery stores sell natural aloe vera. You can also directly harvest it from an aloe vera plant.

NOTE: Do not use aloe vera which contains alcohol. It may worsen the symptoms and cause severe burning sensation to your dog.

Baking soda


Baking soda can also be used to reduce your dog itchiness along with baking. Baking soda can help drive out rashes on skin reduce itching as well as redness and inflammation. To use baking soda on your dog's skin, combine 50% of water and 50% of baking soda to make a paste. Apply the paste on your dog’s skin, leave it on the skin for about 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, rinse out the skin completely. If you wish to make the paste more moisturizing, add a bit of coconut oil to the mixture. In case your dog is suffering from a complete body itchiness, you can add some baking soda to his bath water as well.

Plain (sugar free) yoghurt

Sometimes your dog itchiness can stem from the existence of an unbalanced microflora in your dog's digestive system. Feeding your dog plain, unsweetened yoghurt can restore that gut microflora and reuse the itchiness. This remedy works for dogs who are suffering from hives, allergy or specific type of rashes.

For small breed dogs, add one teaspoon and for large breed dogs add two teaspoons of yoghurt to the diet once per week. This will considerably improve their gut flora and reduce the itching.
I personally favor coconut oil and omega 3 for reducing itching in dogs
I personally favor coconut oil and omega 3 for reducing itching in dogs

Thyme

Thyme is a natural ingredient which contains flavonoids possessing anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Thyme also has anti fungal and antiseptic properties which makes it an amazing home remedy for use in case of skin and yeast infections.

If you notice your dog chewing his/her paws, make an infusion of fresh or dried thyme and apply it to the affected region. Ensure that the thyme gets in between your dog’s toes as well.

Chickweed

Chickweed is an excellent home remedy for treatment of hot spots and itches as it has anti-inflammatory properties. Chickweed gel can be used for topical applications. It has a pleasant cooling effect which can be used to treat minor rashes, eczema or insect bites.

Fish oil

Fish oil have omega-3 fatty acids called DHA and EPA. These fatty acids are extremely helpful in reducing the inflammatory reactions.  They also reduce the production of histamines (released from mast cells and basophils; are the major contributors to the symptoms of allergy viz. scratching and itching in dogs).

A proper balanced diet

Providing your dog, a proper balanced diet with healthy carbohydrates and a lot of omega 3 fatty acids can help soothe and heal the skin from inside out. A lot of dogs are allergic to the common ingredients found in the standard kibble (dry dog food) like turkey, chicken, beef, wheat or gluten. Switching towards fish-based food or food which contains sweet potatoes can reduce the symptoms associated with food allergies. Fatty fishes which are rich in Omega 3 content have shown to reduce information promote the skin health as well as aids in digestion. Always consult your vet before making any changes to your dog’s diet.

Personal experience

Delta has environmental allergy. He also has a very thin fur coat.  Thus, too much scratching leads to the development of bald spots quickly.  For the past 8 months, I have been adding coconut oil and Omega 3 supplements to his diet. These have worked wonders in causing new hair growth and making his fur shiny and soft. 

Conclusion:

Even though all these remedies are not work perfectly for every dog. There is a high chance that most of these remedies would work on most of the dogs. If a specific solution is not effective on your pup, do not hesitate to move on to the next one. Consult your vet before starting any of the above-mentioned remedies. If you find the symptoms worsening, stop administering the remedy immediately and consult your vet.

Thank you for reading.

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