Dogs scratch for a variety of reasons ranging from boredom to allergies. A little scratching usually isn't a sign of serious health conditions and can be easily addressed with these natural home remedies for itchy skin. But, if the itching is persistent with excessive licking or chewing, it's time to identify and treat the underlying cause.
Excessive scratching and chewing can cause open wounds and skin infections. Use these home remedies to provide relief from the itch and schedule a visit to your vet for a proper diagnosis. The vet may prescribe medicine for the itchy skin.
Common Causes of Extreme Itching in Dogs
Fleas. Flea bites are extremely itchy. These creatures are extremely small and difficult to catch with our naked eye. Just because you can’t see them, doesn’t mean they are not there. Do not disregard flea bites as a possible cause of your dog’s itchiness.
Food sensitivities. Your dog could be allergic to certain food items. It’s good to discuss this with your vet and change her diet if necessary. Choose a dog food that is grain-free and gluten-free, to minimize the risk of triggering skin inflammation and itch. Some dog foods are formulated to be low in allergen, suitable for sensitive skin like the Big Dog Barf Sensitive Skin Frozen Raw Dog Food. Discuss with your vet and choose the most suitable diet for your pup.
Environmental allergens. Common environmental allergens are mold spores, dust mites or even chemicals from cleaning products.
Skin infections. This can be yeast or bacterial infections. Both can give your dog rashes and extreme skin itching.
How to Stop Itching Skin Naturally
Here are 7 natural remedies that can be easily found in most households.
1. Apple cider vinegar
Apple Cider Vinegar has powerful antibacterial and anti-fungal properties. Combine a mixture of 50 percent apple cider vinegar and 50 percent water in a clean spray bottle. Spray your dog's itchy spots with the solution. Do not spray on your pup’s face and avoid the eyes and nose.
Warning: NEVER use Apple Cider Vinegar on open wounds. It can be extremely painful for your pups.
If your pup’s skin is sore from the scratching, try one of the other remedies below.
2. Epsom salt
Prepare an Epsom salt bath by diluting ¼ cup of Epsom salt into 20 liters of water. Have your pup soak for about 10 mins. Epsom salt bath is safe even for open wounds.
3. Baking soda
Baking soda is another very common item found in the kitchen. Mix one part baking soda and one part water to create a thick paste. Apply a thin layer of this paste to your dog’s itchy spots. Make sure to apply directly to the affected area. Let this paste sit on your pup for about 15 to 20 minutes, and then rinse clean. This remedy is good for small patches of skin irritation.
4. Oatmeal bath
Oatmeal is an age-old remedy for our dry, itchy skin. In fact, most doggy hypoallergenic shampoos include oatmeal as an active ingredient to soothe skin irritation.
Grind about two to three cups of dry oatmeal to a fine powder. Add this to a warm bath and let it sit for 15 minutes. Then bathe your dog with this warm water and oatmeal mixture.
Giving your pup an oatmeal bath can be a messy job. For pawrents looking for a convenient solution, try the hypoallergenic, natural oatmeal shampoo by Earthbath Oatmeal & Aloe Shampoo For Cats & Dogs. All natural and specially formulated to soothe your dog’s itchy skin.
5. Coconut oil
Coconut oil is well known for its antibacterial and antifungal properties. It is also an excellent moisturiser for canines, as the oil gets absorbed easily into the dog’s skin. This remedy is best for dogs with dry skin or fungal infection. Massage the oil into the coat and skin of your dog.
Buy the highest quality, human-branded coconut oil you can find. Look for terms like "organic," "unrefined," or "virgin" on the label. The Sunrise Natural Organic Cold-Pressed Virgin Coconut Oil is a good quality oil that you can certainly use topically on your pup’s skin or added into her diet.
6. Aloe Vera
Aloe Vera is a lifesaver when it comes to sunburn! It reduces redness and draws uncomfortable heat away from the skin. As such, this is a great remedy for doggy hotspots. If you have an aloe plant at home, harvest a leaf and apply the gel to your dog’s itchy hotspots.
Don’t worry if you do not have an aloe plant at home. Here’s an all-natural alternative - no soap, gluten, DEA, parabens, synthetic dyes or perfumes, SLS/SLES, phthalates, or enzymes – the Earthbath Hot Spot Relief Spritz Tea Tree Oil & Aloe Vera Spray For Dogs. Spritz directly on your dog’s itchy hotspots.
7. Herbal salve
Herbal salve is not a remedy that can be easily put together at home, but it is worth mentioning. Done with the right combination of herbs, it is an all-natural, powerful remedy to reduce skin inflammation and itch. If you have access to a holistic vet or a qualified canine herbalist, do consult these professionals for a proper herbal remedy.
There are good quality, ready-made herbal remedy for itchy skin, and one of them is the Farm Dog Naturals RESTORE Itch Relief & Wound Care Salve. This salve can be used on hot spots and rashes to stop itching and prevent excessive scratching and biting. It can also be used on insect bites, scraps and minor wounds to prevent infection.
This is a must-have for pawrents looking for a natural remedy to be included into your doggy first aid kit.
These home remedies for itchy skin are easy and quick to prepare. They are super affordable and a safe way to relieve your dog’s itch. However, they may not solve the root of the problem – the primary cause of the itch. If the itching persists, we highly recommend taking your pup to the vet for a proper diagnosis.
Katherine is a Pet Nutrition Specialist and GDP’s Pet Wellness Advisor. She is committed to helping pet owners make informed dietary and lifestyle choices in nurturing healthy pets. Katherine is also a practicing Nutritional Therapist (human nutrition) and have been helping hundreds of clients to heal naturally with nutrients.