It can be difficult to watch your dog struggle with excessive chewing, biting, scratching, rubbing, or itching of their skin. Your companion’s suffering is sure to be unpleasant for both of you. You may be left wondering, “What could be causing this? or What can I do to help?” To help answer these questions we have done the research for you when searching for the best dog itchy skin home remedy. Whether your dog has just begun to itch or has nearly scratched all its fur off we cover natural anti-itch remedies for dogs in any situation. So, to help us better understand this itchy condition let’s look at what makes dogs itch and find out how to stop the scratching with natural remedies such as CBD oil, coconut oil, or oatmeal for example.
This is one of the main reasons that pet owners take a trip to the vet. Pruritus is the medical terminology vets use to define a dog’s uncontrollable need to scratch, lick, rub, or bite its hair or skin.
Pruritus is a symptom indicating that your dog may have an allergy, infection, or another skin disease. So to be safe, do not diagnose the issue yourself. Make sure you see a veterinarian to pinpoint the cause of the pruritus.
Knowing exactly what is causing your dog’s pruritus is key to solving your dog’s irritation. Let’s look at the various causes of pruritus to get a better understanding of the problem.
Causes & Symptoms Of Itchy Skin In Dogs (Pruritis)
If you notice your dog’s face or mouth swelling from any allergy it can indicate a serious problem. Anaphylaxis is the severe swelling of the eyes, oral cavity, and/or throat due to an allergy. It can be a finding in dogs stung/bitten by an insect (such as a bee sting or ant bite), it can also be seen as a severe symptom of a primary food allergy or environmental allergy (i.e. Atopy). In extreme cases, anaphylaxis can cause the throat to swell so much that it stops the dog from breathing. If you find your dog in this predicament you should seek medical attention for it immediately.
As previously mentioned, it’s important to know the exact cause of why your dog is itching. In some cases, the cause is common and easy to fix like flea bite hypersensitivity or an environmental irritation from an outdoor source. Other causes are more severe and require constant care like mange or acral lick granuloma. So let’s stop scratching the surface and really dig into the different causes and symptoms of pruritus in dogs.
Also known as environmental allergies, atopy, or atopic dermatitis. Atopic dermatitis is one of the most common, if not the number one, cause to your dog’s itchiness. Atopic dermatitis occurs when a pet has an abnormal response to normal items (allergens) in the environment around them, an allergic reaction.
Allergens can come from airborne pollen, house dust mites, mold spores, and even other animals’ dander. Just like humans, dogs display symptoms like an itchy, runny nose and eyes, and sneezing; however, dogs are also different than humans as the main effects of atopy are directed at the skin (body, paws, and ears). These symptoms typically develop at an early age but can develop at any age and are often initially seasonally manifested. Many dogs will develop into a non-seasonal itch cycle after the first year of symptoms.
Hot spots (acute moist dermatitis) from atopic dermatitis can flare up anywhere on the body but most commonly affects the face area around the eyes, muzzle, ears, underarms, paws, groin, and around the anus region.
A skin disease in dogs that is caused by mites. There are two types of mange: Demodectic mange (follicle mites) and Sarcoptic mange (surface mites).
Demodectic mites live in the hair follicles of all mammals, even dolphins! While usually harmless to the host, These mites are transferred from the nursing mother to the puppies as infants.
All dogs have these mites, though in very small numbers as the immune response keeps them under control. Demodex mites are species-specific and will not infest other animals and actually not even other dogs. Demodex mites can become a problem when the immune response isn’t functioning properly. Signs of your puppy may have mange would be lesions that may itch or may not, redness, hair loss, and crusty areas.
Sarcoptic mange (Sarcoptes scabiei var. canis) is a surface-dwelling mite that burrows under the upper layer of skin (epidermis) and lays eggs in the tunnels it creates. This form of mange is very itchy (the actual reaction is from the fecal material the female mite leaves in the tunnels). It can be very contagious, even to humans (zoonotic)! In dogs, sarcoptic mange can lead to extreme itchiness, redness, developing hair loss, crusting, and secondary infection. It is curable and your veterinarian is the best resource for a proper diagnosis and treatment options.
Like humans, dogs can have a bad reaction to something they eat. A food allergy can exude serious symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea, hair loss, itchiness, and skin infection. Your pet may be allergic to common, every day, pet food ingredients.
Typically food allergy symptoms appear within the first 6 months to a year of the dog’s life. However, like human allergies, they can manifest at any point in their lifetime. For example, if you switch up your dog’s diet or give it a new kind of dog treat may cause a food allergy to surface.
The proper diagnosis of a primary food allergy is through an elimination dietary trial. This involves feeding your dog a special diet for 8-12 weeks exclusively and determining the response to this diet change (i.e. less itching). This is considered a diagnostic test and is the “Gold Standard” by which primary food allergies are diagnosed. If you think your dog has a primary food allergy, seek advice from your veterinarian.
Your dog may endure this pruritus when they get bit by a flea and are allergic to the salivary proteins in the flea bite. Hot spots, flea dirt, excessive itchiness, hair loss, redness, and skin thickening are all signs that your dog may have fleas. If your dog is constantly biting at its tail it probably has fleas. Aside from those symptoms, the easiest way to know if your dog has a flea infestation is to simply take a closer look at their skin.
Checking for fleas is simple, just part your dog’s hair and examine for fleas. You may also consider investing in a flea comb to comb for fleas. They usually are found close to the skin and like to hang around on a dog’s tummy or back. Be sure to look close, fleas are tiny. Adults are about the size of a speck of pepper. Interesting fact: adult female fleas can lay up to 50 eggs per day! If left untreated, this means a massive flea infestation quickly and can create havoc for you and your dog.
Thinning hair, hair loss, and flaky skin are just some symptoms of hypothyroidism. Hypothyroidism is a glandular complication where the thyroid gland does not secrete enough of the hormone thyroxine. This can arise for many reasons, your veterinarian can test for this condition and determine the best treatment options.
Thyroxine helps regulate a vast amount of functions in a dog’s body such as heart functionality and brain development but it’s mainly known for metabolism and digestive functions because the hormone deficiency causes weight problems.
Many of the symptoms of hypothyroidism in dogs are due to a decrease in metabolism. The appetite may decrease while simultaneously weight gain can occur. They might have a swollen thyroid gland that you can feel on the side of their neck. Middle-aged, medium-sized dogs between 4-8 years are more likely to acquire a thyroid problem.
Yeast infections are fairly common among dogs. A yeast infection occurs when there’s a build-up of the Malassezia species of yeast on the dog’s skin. This is a naturally occurring fungus that is a normal inhabitant in all dog’s skin. Normally it is not a problem, but for dogs however, it is commonly seen as a secondary problem to allergies (food or atopy) as yeast can overpopulate and create an itchy situation.
Along with irritated and itchy skin, a dog with a yeast infection can also carry a foul odor (somewhat sickeningly sweet). This is usually the giveaway symptom to a yeast infection plus all the red possibly greasy spots on your pup.
Also known as acute moist dermatitis, hot spots are wet, red, oozing irritated lesions that your dog will uncontrollably lick, gnaw, or itch at. It resembles an infected open wound that will not heal.
Hot spots occur when your dog is poorly groomed or has allergies to fleas and mites. Other reasons can be due to excessive skin moisture, humidity in the air, scrapes, or from already occurring skin problems.
Natural Treatments & Management Of Your Dog’s Itchy Skin
Some reasons behind your dog’s skin itching with irritation can be more severe than others. In these cases, you’ll want to try everything you can to keep your dog from scratching. The vet might recommend medication, which can be very effective in many cases. However, there are many owners who do not want to use traditional medications (e.g. antibiotics, steroids, etc). So what can you give your dog for itchy skin as a natural home remedy?
Luckily for us, there are many natural remedies that can help provide relief to your dog’s pruritus. If your dog is not on any medications then we suggest that when beginning any of these remedies to start out by applying a minuscule amount to confirm there are no negative reactions. Once you are positive there are no adverse reactions you can increase the dosage size properly.
If a dog is taking an everyday prescription for itchiness their bodies may get used to it. It may become less effective. Instead of solely relying on prescription medications, you can try at-home remedies. They can help speed up your companion’s recovery.
All of these treatments are organic and safe to use. However, if your dog is on a medication, check with your vet to see if it’s okay to use any of these natural remedies simultaneously.
If your dog is scratching like crazy a nice oatmeal bath can help soothe it. Ground oatmeal works best. Simply add some ground oats to some warm water. Let this solution soak on the skin for 10 to 15 minutes. Next, rinse off your dog and it’s best to follow this by using a good moisturizing shampoo.
Oatmeal promotes lubrication on dry, itchy areas because of the fats oats contain. Usually, dogs with allergies are in need of these anti-itch bathes regularly to keep a normal coat. Veterinarians typically recommend doing this twice a week for dogs with allergic dermatitis.
Bathing and brushing your dog normally helps with maintaining a healthy coat. However, excessive bathing can dry your dog’s skin out which can cause intensify the itch. Typically a dog should receive a bath no more than once a month to avoid stripping the skin of natural oils. Although, if your dog is struggling with an itchy condition it is ok to give them a bath up to twice a week.
Apple Cider Vinegar & Water Spray
One of the best, apple cider vinegar pretty much helps heal all. When using on your dog’s skin make sure you use a half and half blend of vinegar and water. Vinegar (acetic acid) is most helpful for yeast dermatitis and less effective for bacterial skin infections, however, it can help in either situation.
Vinegar is very strong and you might want to use more water depending on how you feel. Spray bottles are a great way to apply the solution as an anti-itch for dogs.
Generously spray on the solution without drenching your dog. Next, gently massage the solution onto the skin. Avoid using this spray on any open cuts or wounds. If your dog’s paws need the treatment, be sure to soak them in the solution for at least 5 min to be effective. Apple cider anti-itch spray works well for dry itchy skin or poison oak.
Natural Skin Tonic
This is one of the easiest and cheapest ways to help your dog. To create this amazing anti-itch tonic for dogs you will need a lemon, some water, and an applicator that’s good for the dog’s coat (a sponge is best). Slice the lemon thinly, including the rind, and boil the slices. Once boiling, remove from heat and let it steep for about 5 minutes. Let it cool down in the fridge overnight.
This cooling down period allows the healing properties, like d-limonene and vitamin C, to seep out of the lemon. In the morning you can take the sponge and dab it onto your dog’s infected area. That’s it you’re done, just let the solution air-dry. This dog itchy skin home remedy also works well as a deterrent for fleas.
These fatty acids provide natural oils to your dog’s skin. Omega 3 fatty acids are fed orally, usually in a treat form or a straight omega 3 oil. Healthy ingredients such as fish oil, hemp oil, flaxseeds, pumpkin seeds, soybean oil, lecithin, currant oil, and borage oil can be found in some dog foods.
These ingredients are rich with anti-inflammatories, so if your dog has irritated red spots it will help the irritation resolve. These ingredients also help reduce allergies, atopic dermatitis, arthritis, and cholesterol.
We use full-spectrum CBD in all of our products. Full-spectrum CBD is another ingredient rich in omega 3s. We offer CBD pet tinctures that are made with hemp oil which is also full of omega 3 and 6. This is why our products great for reducing swelling and irritations of the skin.
You can use coconut oil on your dog just like you would use it with yourself. Coconut oil is an amazing dog itchy skin home remedy. They can eat it, though careful how much or your dog may develop stomach upset. You can also apply it to the skin and coat of your dog. This way it can help from inside your dog’s body and outside.
In a recent research study, it was found that the endocannabinoid system (ECS) may have an effect on the overall health of your skin. This means that properly maintaining the body’s ECS is a big factor in having healthy skin and avoiding skin conditions like pruritus.
According to the study above, if the ECS is not properly balanced, it “might facilitate the development of multiple pathological conditions and diseases of the skin (e.g. acne, seborrhea, allergic dermatitis, itch and pain, psoriasis, hair growth disorders, systemic sclerosis, and cancer).”
The endocannabinoid system in pets can be stimulated by cannabinoids from external sources, including cannabidiol (CBD).
CBD oil may be effective at reducing inflammation in the skin. Just apply it directly to the skin and observe the benefits! CBD is a great dog itchy skin home remedy.
Keep in mind that the FDA has not yet approved CBD for any medical uses. As such, it is not intended to prevent, treat, or cure any diseases or ailments.
You can use baking soda as an anti-itch solution for dogs. Create a paste by combining 50% baking soda with 50% water. Be careful not to use too much baking soda because it is a base and if the solution is too strong it could damage or burn skin.
Next, take the solution and apply it to your dog’s affected areas for 20 minutes then rinse it off to help soothe and heal their itchy spots. Don’t put this mixture on a cut or lesion that has an open wound. The mixture will only make a bad wound worse because the skin could heal over the infected area.
If there is an infection, you should take your dog to the vet for proper treatment. You can also use baking soda as a dry bath to deodorize your dog too. From bites and stings to removing a skunk smell, baking soda can help. This is a strong dog itchy skin home remedy.
This is an old anti-itch for dogs remedy. The oil comes from the seeds of the neem tree, which grows green year-round. Commonly, it is used for cooking but it’s proven to reduce inflammations and cure skin diseases. It is also being used in insecticides. You can add a few drops of the oil in the water alongside the dog shampoo during baths.
This is a fast-growing flowering plant commonly found in North America. Traditionally, the roots and leaves of the herbs have served as effective blood purifiers. It works well with treating dermatitis (from excessive toxins) in dogs.
Herbalists use it to effectively treat skin diseases, but it’s also a great anti-itch for dogs. To use this as an application just add 1 tablespoon of Yellow Dock to 2 cups of boiling water. Remove from heat and allow time to cool. Once cool strain out any solids. Apply to your dog after a wash or rinse. Do not rinse out.
Vitamin E Oil
This oil goes directly on the skin to help the irritation. The oil will soothe a dry itchy area and add moisture. It’s not ideal to put into food unless the vitamin e oil is edible and made specifically for pets. This is possibly the best-known dog itchy skin home remedy.
Who knew that you can use yogurt as an effective anti-itch remedy for dogs? Feeding your pup a tablespoon of yogurt twice a day can help stop the itchiness and boost the immune system. It can rid the body of excessive yeast to prevent yeast infections and help the digestive system. Make sure the yogurt you’re feeding your dog is plain and/or probiotic. You don’t want them to get sick from any extra sugars and additives like xylitol.
The health benefits of olive oil are well-known, and you probably have it in your kitchen cabinet. Why not, garnish the dog’s treat with one tablespoon (for a 30-pound dog) of the oil, twice a week. Its collection of antioxidants and vitamins will help preserve a vibrant coat both thick and shiny. Which makes another natural anti-itch for dogs.
Chamomile is a calming tea that can prove quite useful as an anti-itch solution for dogs. It helps to reduce inflammation and has anti-microbial capabilities which can help with a skin infection.
You will want to brew the tea on the strong side. Simply add 4 tea bags or 2 tablespoons per cup of boiling water. Bring the water to a boil then add the chamomile, remove from heat and cover with a lid. The chamomile will steep while cooling down.
Once cool it is ready for your dog. Apply generously with a spray bottle or sponge and let air dry. You can also just soak your dog’s coat and allow to drip dry rather than using a towel.
Chamomile can be helpful if taken orally as well. However, approach this with caution as some dogs can have adverse reactions. We have specially formulated CBD dog treats with Chamomile as an added ingredient. This combo of CBD and chamomile works great for pain and inflammation (two symptoms of itchiness).
Calendula, a botanical of the sunflower family helps aid in pain relief, healing of the skin and has anti-fungal properties. You can use these flowers effectively to help treat different forms of inflammatory dermatitis such as flea bites or eczema.
To make a calendula flower rinse simply bring 1 quart of water to a boil. Combine 1/2 cup of dried calendula flowers with boiling water. Remove from heat and cover allowing flowers to steep while cooling. Once cool your rinse is ready. To use simply fill a spray bottle or use a sponge to apply solution generously to affected areas and allow to air dry.
Epsom Salt Soak
You can also soak Epsom salt or steep the tea in a warm bath. If this is too much for you, there are tinctures available for purchase with droppers for easy application. This is a great dog itchy skin home remedy.
Preparing an Epsom salt bath for your dog is easy, just follow the directions on the package of Epsom salt. About a cup of salts per gallon of water should be efficient. Make sure the water is warm but not too hot for your furry friend. Your dog may resist so be sure to comfort it and reassure it that bath time is good. Make sure to soak your dog for a minimum of 10 minutes then remove them and use a towel to dry.
Best CBD Products for Your Dog’s Itchy Skin
There are many ways you can relieve your dog of excessive itchiness without expensive vet visits and medications. All of the remedies above are organic and natural, many of which you may already have at home. If your dog is having itchy skin or is suffering from skin ailments, these remedies can greatly help. Not to mention, that these natural remedies for dogs with itchy skin can help maintain health now and prevent issues later. Find more info here.