Many a pet parent complains about their dogs itchy skin. Itchy skin can result from many factors including the use of wrong bathing products, skin allergies caused due to improper diet, environmental allergens as well as parasites. However, there may also come a time when your dog is always scratching but doesn’t have fleas or ticks. The best thing to do in order to find the cause of itchy skin is to see if anything has changed in the pet’s environment. Perhaps your pet’s food has changed or he has suddenly developed a food intolerance or insensitivity. Depending on the degree or extent to which he is scratching, you may want to have him examined by a vet. Skin issues like ringworm can also cause terrible itch in dogs and sometimes, prescription oral medicines may be the only solution. So let us take a look at home remedies and products to use for your dogs itchy skin along with an effective homemade dog anti itch spray recipe.
Cause and solution for your dogs itchy skin
Fleas ticks and mites
External parasites like fleas, ticks and mites can cause itchy skin. This is usually easy to handle. But you must take several steps. These include:
- Vacuum the house
- Bathe the pet with vet approved anti-parasitic shampoos
- Launder the pet linen, bedding and clothing in hot water and detergent.
- Treat the pet with oral and topical flea/tick/mites medication.
- Use a flea/tick collar
- Repeat the steps every few weeks/months.
Here are some effective flea drops to get rid of fleas in pets.
Dogs often eat mud or grass which can cause worms. Worms can lead to severe skin itching apart from other issues like vomiting, anal itching, scooting, diarrhea, lack of appetite etc. Deworm your pet from time to time. Deworming products are readily available online and offline. Please read my article on deworming dogs to get more information.
If you have been wondering why your dog is always scratching but doesn’t have fleas, then his diet may be to blame. These days, many food brands for dogs are available in the market. Often we are tempted to try out new food which can harm out pets owing to fillers, preservatives and other unnatural stuff in them. Never switch your pet’s food brand without first consulting a vet. Try changing his food to hypoallergenic food or food for sensitive stomach and coat. Hill’s Science diet foods are generally well tolerated and they have helped my dog with itchy skin issues.
Many allergens in your pet’s environment could lead to itchy skin. These include mold, cotton or synthetic fibers, household cleaners and room fresheners, dust, parasites, dander, or even ingredients in his food. Often allergies can cause itchy, watery eyes, poor and dull coat, itchy skin, hair loss, digestive issues and so on. Your pet could be allergic to his shampoo if your find your dog itching after bath. Unfortunately, treating this cause of itchy skin can be harder as it could take days to determine the exact cause of the allergy. You could speak to your vet about breed specific allergies. Fleas can also cause flea allergy dermatitis that could make your pet miserable. In any case, the best way to get rid of this problem is to eliminate the cause first. Bacteria and yeast can also cause dog skin allergy. Treatment usually includes oral medicines like anti-histamines, immunity boosting supplements, dietary and lifestyle changes, and the use of anti itch spray. Avoid using corticosteroid based medicines for prolonged periods as they could have severe unpleasant side effects. I have recommended some of the best anti itch products later in the guide.
Home remedies to use for itchy skin in dogs
Benadryl is anti-histamine medicine which stops the itch. It is useful for temporary relief for dog skin allergies caused by parasites, household cleaners, drug reactions etc. Speak to your vet about how much Benadryl is safe for your pet.
Many pet parents swear by this itchy skin home remedy for dogs. A tablespoon of coconut oil given internally will give your pet a smoother, shinier coat. If the itch is caused by dry skin, feed your pet organic, extra virgin coconut oil daily. You can also use this remedy topically. Massage warm coconut oil on your pet’s itchy areas and hot spots. Wash off with mild shampoo after a few hours. This remedy is beneficial for itchy skin caused by flea allergy dermatitis (FAD) or dry skin in winter as well as food or environmental allergens.
Fish oil supplements
Dogs with dry itchy skin often lack omega 3 essential fatty acids in their diet. This can be countered by feeding fish oil supplements. Use this fish oil dosage chart in order to find out how much fish oil your pet needs on a daily basis. This remedy will also get rid of shedding.
An overgrowth of Candida can also cause dog itch. This can be countered with dietary changes. These include:
- Eliminate dairy and gluten from your pet’s diet.
- Avoid foods with preservatives, soy, corn, fillers, dyes, and chemicals.
- Feed home-cooked diet with the guidelines given in my article on Best Dog Food for Allergies.
- Avoid walking your pet in grassy areas or along trails with flowers, mouldy spores etc.
- Treat your pet for Candida or ringworm using anti-fungal creams and other dog products for itchy skin caused by fungi.
- Change your household cleaners. Use natural gentler and green cleaners.
- Avoid using room fresheners or even diffusing certain essential oils which could cause itchiness in pets. Plug-in automatic diffusers are often the worst offenders.
- Change your pet’s grooming shampoos. Use mild, oatmeal or aloe vera based shampoo for itchy skin.
- Regularly clean the home to get rid of ticks, fleas etc.
- Get rid of fleas, ticks, lice, mange, scabies, mites etc on your pet with vet approved products. You need to reapply or re-administer the medicines every few months.
- Alleviate stress in your pet’s life. Make sure he is not bored since excess scratching can also result from boredom.
Homemade dog anti itch spray
If you love using natural products for your pets’ skin issues, here is a recipe for that. It gets rid of odor, itchiness and also gives them a shinier coat.
- 5 drops each of Lavender and Chamomile oils
- 2-3 drops of Frankincense oil
- 5 oz of Olive or Jojoba oils
- 3 drops of Vitamin E oil
Combine the ingredients in a spray bottle. Spray as required on itchy areas. This recipe is for dogs weighing more than 60 lbs. For smaller dogs, use double the amount of carrier oil in the recipe. This soothing remedy will also treat dog itching after bath.
Best anti itch products for dogs’ itchy skin
Best anti itch dog shampoo
SynergyLabs Vet Formula for itchy dogs
This is a gentle yet fast acting shampoo. It is antiseborrheic and contains colloidal oatmeal among other itch soothing ingredients. The shampoo can also treat fungal, bacterial and other skin infections that cause itch. This is an effective and specially formulated product for dogs.
Best anti itch dog coat conditioner for sensitive skin
ProPet Works oatmeal shampoo plus conditioner
This is a soap free shampoo plus conditioner for sensitive skin and allergies. It has aloe and oatmeal along with natural oils that soothe, nourish and hydrate dry, itchy skin. Use every time you bathe your dog to get rid of itch, fungal and bacterial issues.
Best anti itch spray for dogs
Bodhi Anti itch spray
This is super effective spray that stops itching upon contact. It is specially formulated for canine itchy skin. Use the shampoo for treating skin issues caused by grass, pollen allergies, food sensitivity, fleas, ticks or household cleaners. The spray contains wheat germ, oatmeal, baking soda and is naturally deodorizing as well.
Best anti itch supplement/chew treats for dogs
Zesty Paws Allergy Immune supplement
These chew treats get rid of hot spots and itchy skin. They boost digestive health and build immunity. Zesty Paws supplement for anti-itch contains salmon oil, colostrum and pro and pre-biotic supplements.