Dog Shampoo for Itchy Skin [When It's a Problem + the Best Shampoo]

Dog Shampoo for Itchy Skin [When It's a Problem + the Best Shampoo]
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Fleas, allergies, dry skin — oh my! Unfortunately, itchy, dry skin is common for dogs because there are so many reasons they start to scratch. If you notice your dog itching more than usual, you might want to consider dog shampoo for itchy skin. This will provide some relief and may heal certain skin conditions. 


But not all dog shampoos are made for your dog's sensitive skin. Many commercial dog shampoos contain harsh chemicals and other dangerous ingredients that can sting their eyes and worsen dry and itchy skin. It's time to take a closer look at what's causing your dog to itch and what shampoos can help soothe their sensitive skin! 



What Causes Itchy Skin on a Dog?

Itchy skin is quite common for dogs, and there are a surprising amount of reasons for it. It's important to try and pinpoint why your dog is itchy so that you can find a solution quickly and provide your pup some relief. Here are the most common reasons your dog gets itchy skin. 


Bad Diet

If your dog has nutritional deficiencies or dehydration, its skin might become dry. Dry skin leads to cracked, flaky skin. This can become irritating for your dog because it causes the skin to be itchy and uncomfortable. 


Always make sure that your dog has fresh, clean water. Keep an eye on the water dish throughout the day. If you notice hair or other contaminants, replace it with clean water. 


Pick a brand of dog food that has all of the essential things your dog needs each day. This includes a quality protein source, fats, carbohydrates, minerals, and vitamins. Protein and fat are very important for your dog's coat and skin. 



small pup itching on street



Dry Air

You might notice that your dog's itching comes back with a vengeance during certain times of the year, and it could be due to dry air and low humidity. People will often blast the heat in the winter, which dries out the air. This can leave your dog's skin dry and flaky. 


If your dog has dry skin, you might also notice that they instantly scratch at an area of their body that has just been touched or pet. If this is the case, check your pet's coat for dander. Simply part their fur and check for flakes of skin. During the winter (a dry season), avoid heavy brushing and ensure that their skin is not red or irritated after grooming.


If you're using a space heater or other portable heating device, make sure it's not near your dog's bed or favorite areas of the house. Instead, keep your pooch warm by swaddling them in a blanket or purchasing a heated dog bed. Dogs can get cold, too, despite having more fur than us. 


Environmental Irritants

Several environmental irritants your dog may come in direct contact with can lead to their itchy and irritated skin. Some of these common environmental factors include:


  • Dust
  • Mildew
  • Mold
  • Pollen
  • Weeds
  • Lawn fertilizer
  • And many more


Interaction with or repeated exposure to one or more of these irritants can result in contact dermatitis. This condition occurs when your dog comes in contact with these substances and results in an allergic reaction. It's important for you to determine your dog's skin allergies before allowing them to roam and play outside. If you haven't already, take your pup to the vet to help you determine if they have any allergies or not.



A common source of itchy skin for dogs is their food. Food allergies can cause sneezing, a runny nose, and itchy skin. Many pet owners are surprised to learn that their dog has a food allergy if they've been on the same food for years. But food allergies can develop at any time and are often caused by repeated exposure to the allergen. 


Dogs can suffer an allergic reaction to things in the environment, including pollen, dust mites, and mold. Fortunately, these allergies are a bit more predictable. For example, you can expect:


  • Pollen during springtime
  • Dust when cleaning or moving
  • Mold in damp areas



This unfortunately common parasite has a way of finding its way to your dog's coat. Once they jump onto your unsuspecting pup, they will make their way to your dog's skin and start biting. This can cause your dog to have very irritated, itchy skin. 


If you notice your dog constantly itching, use a flea comb to search thoroughly for fleas. Keep an eye on your rug and furniture throughout the home. Fleas aren't always on your dog, and they can lay eggs around the house. 


When you go on a walk with your dog, it's often important to provide them with flea treatment beforehand. Whether you use a flea collar or medication, it can drastically reduce the risk of fleas entering your home.


If your dog already has fleas, you'll need to treat your dog (and home) immediately. Fleas will only continue to spread, even starting to bite you and other family members. Luckily, there are plenty of excellent flea spray options.



Fleas are no fun, but they aren't the only parasite that can latch onto your poor pooch. Mites are microscopic and can't be seen by the naked eye. But you'll know your dog is infested when you see hair loss, sores, and inflamed skin. This is also known as mange. 


If your dog gets mites, contact a veterinarian immediately. They will have to treat your dog and give them a prescription. Without treatment, dogs with mange can experience severe itching and pain. Some dogs even lose the majority of their fur. 



cute dog laying in grass




As if mites and fleas weren't enough for your furry friend, ticks can also find their way to dogs. Ticks dig into a section of your dog's skin and irritate that area. When you spot a tick, it's very important to make sure that you remove the head and body. Leaving the head in your dog's skin can cause infection and further itching. 



Excessive scratching is one symptom of your pup being stressed. This is especially common in unstimulated dogs left alone for long periods. You can also spot stress-related scratching on dogs that get antsy before a walk.  Use CBD dog treats for anxiety.


To avoid further itching and possible skin damage, make sure that your dog feels fulfilled. Prevent boredom by providing your dog with daily exercise. This can be a simple walk, a beautiful hike in the woods, or playtime in the backyard. Spend time socializing with your pup as well to keep them happy. 


Dogs with anxiety will have compulsive behaviors that are harder to stop. A common compulsion is itching. If you notice that your dog is excessively scratching, causing its skin to turn red or inflamed, contact a veterinarian immediately. Severe scratching can cause severe damage to your dog's skin and coat. 


Skin Infections

Skin conditions can lead to a lot of discomforts, causing your dog to itch as a way to get relief. Some possible skin infections include: 


  • Yeast infection
  • Impetigo


Skin infections can cause your dog to scratch certain areas. They might also start to lick around affected areas for comfort. Some skin infections can even cause blistering, folliculitis, and other painful and frustrating conditions. 


Genetic Disorders

Some conditions that lead to dry skin are genetic. This is often due to dogs with hereditary diseases still being used in breeding pools. 


One example is the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. About 70% of Cavaliers have signs of a condition known as syringomyelia. The signs usually appear when the dog turns six. Syringomyelia affects the spinal cord, causing nerve damage. Whether it's a mild skin tingling or a severe burning, this will cause your dog to itch. 


Hormonal Reasons

Itchy skin often results from hormonal imbalances. One such hormonal disorder in dogs is hypothyroidism. This condition slows down a dog's metabolism and leads to dry, itchy skin. In addition, you'll also see changes to their skin color and texture.


Hormonal conditions such as hypothyroidism can be easily diagnosed with a blood test. Schedule a visit with your vet if you feel your dog's itchy skin results from a hormonal disorder.


Is It Normal for Dogs to Be Itchy? 

If you notice your dog itching behind its ears, there's no need to raise the alarm. Just like us, dogs will occasionally scratch a regular itch. 


When a dog starts licking, scratching, and chewing more frequently than usual, it might have an underlying problem. Keep a close eye on your dog's behavior. If they seem uncomfortable, stressed, or lethargic, your canine companion could be reacting to the frustrations of dry, itchy skin. 



Signs Your Dog Might Be Itching Too Much 

We've all scratched an itch on our head or leg, and dogs feel random itchiness just like us. Additionally, licking their paws for a few minutes after a walk or shaking their head after a nap is normal. But your dog may be itching too much if they regularly rub their face, bite at their paws, or scratch at their body. 


Always monitor your dog's behavior. Some dogs naturally itch more than others. If you notice a change in the frequency your dog is itching, they are most likely dealing with irritation or an underlying condition. See if any specific actions or activities are the cause. You can also check if it happens during certain times of the year. 


If your dog is itching a lot more than usual, set up a vet appointment. Your dog may have a skin condition or underlying health concern that needs addressing. Vets will provide a cause, solution, and treatment plan for your dog's specific needs. 



cute yellow lab in bathtub



What's the Best Dog Shampoo for Itchy Skin?

While you should always reach out to a vet if your dog has skin concerns, you can always soothe your dog in the meantime with some at-home treatments. 


Bathing your dog can be healthy for its skin and coat. If you're looking to give your dog a bath, keep in mind that not all dog shampoo is made equal when it comes to itchy, sensitive skin! Here are some shampoos that are beneficial for dogs with dry and itchy skin. 


HolistaPet CBD Shampoo

HolistaPet's CBD shampoo is specially formulated with sensitive skin in mind. It's formulated with a soy-based protein conditioner and full-spectrum CBD to help moisturize and condition your pet's coat while being gentle and soothing on the skin. 


CBD is a great addition to shampoo for sensitive skin because of the physical benefits it can provide for your pup. This all-natural compound is a non-intoxicating phytocannabinoid found in the hemp plant that interacts with the receptors in your dog's endocannabinoid system (ECS). 


The ECS is in charge of your dog's overall well-being and balance. It includes all of the major systems in the body, including the nervous, immune, and digestive systems. That means that the CBD reaches receptors throughout your dog's entire body, providing a variety of benefits. These effects include reducing both physical discomfort and skin irritation. 


When rubbed against dry or itchy skin, CBD will target the receptors below the skin. This means that CBD's benefits will be most potent in the area that the shampoo is applied and will help soothe itchy skin. Your dog may feel instant relief when their discomfort is minimized, and their skin feels moisturized and healthy. 


CBD also helps your dog mentally. It encourages mental clarity by relieving negative thoughts and nervousness. When your dog feels calmer, it won't be as likely to partake in destructive, neurotic behaviors. You'll likely notice less itching and scratching when your dog feels relaxed. 


HolistaPet's CBD shampoo for dogs also comes in refreshing scents like Mandarin Berry, making your dog smell as sweet as it looks!


Synergy Labs Medicated Dog Shampoo

This shampoo is fast-acting and beneficial with active ingredients like salicylic acid, colloidal oatmeal, and coal tar. The formula (pH-balanced specifically with dogs in mind) relieves itching and hydrates the skin. It's a natural shampoo that has no dyes or other harsh chemicals. 


While this shampoo is great for dogs who can't stop itching, some owners report that the scent can be quite strong. It's also only able to be used on puppies over 12 weeks old. But if you don't mind your dog smelling a little funky for a few days, Synergy Lab's shampoo may help heal your dog's skin and keep them from itching. 


Pro Pet Works Shampoo & Conditioner

Veterinarians recommend this shampoo because it helps dogs suffering from allergies like food, grass, and fleas. It contains a lot of vitamins and aloe extract to soothe irritated skin. This is why it's a great skin allergy itch relief shampoo. 


It also contains no harsh chemicals, meaning it's gentle on your dog and will soothe sensitive skin. You won't find any alcohol, sulfates, dyes, or fragrances. It's also cruelty-free! Some owners have complained about the lack of lather and the "wet dog" smell it sometimes creates due to an absence of fragrance. 



Ingredients To Look For in Dog Shampoo

There are several natural ingredients in dog shampoos that provide immediate relief and help prevent your dog's skin issues from occurring again. Many happy pet owners have taken to dog shampoos that contain these all-natural ingredients to nourish their dog's skin and keep it healthy.


Here are some natural ingredients you should look for in dog shampoo and why they're so effective at treating your dog's irritated skin:


  • CBD Oil: This all-natural tincture allows your dog to receive the benefits of CBD along with skin-nourishing ingredients to maintain their essential outer layer and keep it itch-free.
  • Coconut Oil: Contains soothing relief and softens skin. Frequent application of this coconut oil can help repair damaged skin.
  • Rice Quat/Plant Protein: This rice-derived compound increases moisture retention to hydrate skin.
  • Oatmeal: Helps soothe dry, itchy skin. Oatmeal is a natural exfoliant and helps cleanse your dog's skin of dirt, oil, and dead skin cells.
  • Chamomile: Contains anti-oxidants to protect your dog's skin from free radicals. This gives the skin a radiant glow and a healthy appearance.
  • Green Tea: Several anti-inflammatory properties of green tea help reduce skin irritation and swelling.
  • Aloe Vera: One of nature's most effective remedies for irritated skin, aloe vera keeps your dog's skin moisturized and free from various skin conditions.
  • Tea Tree Oil: Thanks to its soothing relief, this oil is a staple of several soaps and shampoos. An all-natural shampoo with tea tree oil will keep your dog's skin hydrated and help maintain their skin's natural oils.


Ingredients To Avoid in Dog Shampoo

Avoid dog shampoos containing artificial fragrances, harsh chemicals, and other unnatural ingredients. These low-quality components may worsen your dog's itching or lead to other skin conditions.


Here are some common ingredients to avoid in dog shampoos:

  • Artificial Colors: As the name implies, these colorants are not natural. They can lead to organ damage, allergic reactions, and cause birth defects in offspring.
  • Artificial Fragrance: The ingredients of synthetic fragrances are often petroleum-based and can be harmful to your dog's health. Several artificial fragrances have been linked to a litany of health issues along with impaired development and hormonal issues.
  • Formaldehyde Preservatives: Avoid shampoos that contain the following formaldehyde derivatives – bronopol, DMDM hydantoin, doazolidinyl urea, imidazolidinyl urea, sodium hydroxymethylglycinate, and quaternium-7, -15, -31, -61. These ingredients lead to further skin irritation, including burning, blistering, increased itchiness, and scaly, crusty skin.
  • Isothiazolinone Preservatives: Both methylisothiazolinone and methylchloroisothiazolinone are irritants that can cause severe allergic reactions and neurological issues.
  • Paraben Preservatives:  Shampoos containing propylparaben, methylparaben, and butylparaben are stored in the body and produce several long-term hormonal and reproductive issues.
  • Cocamide-MEA: This surfactant contains high amounts of nitrosamines, which produce reproductive and developmental toxicity and are carcinogenic.
  • Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS): This emulsifier is a common component of shampoos and contains many contaminants from manufacturing methods. SLS can cause irritated skin and remain in your dog's system for days.



owner using shampoo on a shaggy dog



How Often Should You Bathe a Dog with Itchy Skin?

Dogs can be bathed once a month or every four weeks. If they become dirty or very uncomfortable, you can wash them every week. However, keep in mind that overbathing can dry out a dog's skin even more, leading to more itching.


You should also check with your vet to see if frequent bathing will irritate your dog's skin condition. Every dog has unique ailments and needs, and some shampoo ingredients might not be best for your particular dog's skin.


When washing your dog, always look for soothing dog shampoo created for sensitive skin. Check for natural ingredients like oatmeal and aloe. These are very soothing and comforting for your dog's dry skin. Also, avoid chemicals and other harsh ingredients that might irritate your dog or add to their discomfort.  


Related: How to Bathe a Dog: A Step-by-Step Guide for Responsible Owners


Preventing Canine Itchy Skin

You can help your pup from developing itchy skin through several preventative measures. Being proactive in solving your dog's skin issues will ensure they have healthy skin all the time. Here are some ways you can prevent itchy skin on your dog.


Dietary Changes

Working with your vet to develop a proper diet can help keep your dog's skin healthy and itch-free. Consult your veterinarian about any dietary issues your dog may have. Allergens hidden in your dog's food can often impact their skin health.


Some common skin allergy-causing ingredients in dog food include:

  • Beef
  • Egg
  • Lamb
  • Soy
  • Wheat


Bathe Normally

Your dog may have irritants hidden in their coat that can be the source of their skin irritations. Maintaining a regular grooming schedule will help your pup stay fresh and clean and rid their sensitive skin and coat of these contaminants. When bathing your dog, it's important for you to use the best dog shampoo on the market formulated for a dog's sensitive skin. With proper grooming, you can help make your pup's itchy skin a thing of the past.


Use Gentle Shampoos

When looking for dog shampoo for itchy skin, avoid products with too many artificial additives. Many dog shampoos contain harsh chemicals and additives that can irritate your pup's sensitive skin. If your dog already has itchy skin, these shampoos can worsen the condition and provide next to no relief for your pup.


However, you can use dog shampoos that contain only all-natural ingredients to help manage your dog's skin issues. These shampoos are typically formulated for sensitive skin and provide many soothing and natural ingredients to help your dog control their skin issues.


Prevent Fleas & Parasites

Fleas and parasites can live in your dog's coat, on their skin, or burrow into their skin. You can easily prevent these nasty infections with regular bathing, veterinary checkups, and medications. If your dog is prone to fleas, you can get them a flea collar to help manage these infestations. But if pests are a recurring issue with your dog, your vet may also prescribe medications or a medicated dog shampoo that can help rid your pup of these pesky critters.


Provide Omega 3 & 6

Omega fatty acids are a great way to improve your dog's skin and coat. Fish oils are a good source of Omega fatty acids. However, a great plant-based source is hemp seeds. Not only are hemp seeds rich in Omega 3, 6, and 9 fatty acids, they're packed with many nutrients, vitamins, and protein to keep your dog's dry skin itch-free and the coat shinier than before. Our CBD oil for dogs contains hemp seed oil as its carrier oil. Adding CBD oil to your dog's daily wellness regimen will provide your dog's skin with the nourishing benefits of CBD along with Omega fatty acids.


Incorporate CBD Into Their Diet

CBD is a great addition to your dog's daily wellness routine. Not only will their overall skin health improve but so will their general wellness. There are several CBD products you can incorporate into your dog's diet that can help alleviate their skin issues:


  • Crunchy Dog Treats: HolistaPet's crunchy CBD dog treats contain all-natural ingredients and help boost your pup's wellness, promote calm, and increase their mobility. Available in three delicious flavors, these crispy snacks are the perfect treat any time of day.
  • Soft Chews: Our CBD soft chews are small, soft-baked treats that any dog can enjoy. These treats are especially good for dogs with dental issues or older dogs with sensitive teeth. In addition to improving your pup's skin, these treats will also aid in promoting calm and improving mobility.
  • Capsules: Hide these predosed capsules in your dog's favorite treat for easy dosing. You can also crack one open and mix the CBD isolate into your dog's food or add it to their water bowl.
  • Oil (Tincture): One of the most versatile ways to provide your dog with the benefits of CBD, you can give our oil to your dog directly or mix it into their food or drink. Our oil is packed with Omega 3, 6, and 9 fatty acids and will improve your pup's coat in no time.


Ingesting CBD will benefit your dog inside and out. But if you want to give your dog a topical product, then use our specially formulated, all-natural CBD shampoo! Our shampoo will ease your dog's skin irritations, improve their coat, keep them calm, cool, and collected throughout the grooming process.


Attention & Interaction

Your dog's itchy skin may be the result of them scratching and gnawing themselves due to boredom. Always make sure to give your dog proper attention and adequate exercise to keep them from getting bored. When dogs have nothing to do, they will often do things they normally wouldn't do, like constantly fussing with their skin to stave off boredom.


Wipe Belly & Paws After Going Outside

When your dog is engaged in activity outside, they may come in contact with several environmental allergens that can stay hidden in their coat and on sensitive parts of their body. These contaminants can lead to severe skin issues if not properly wiped off. That's why you must wipe your dog's coat, belly, and paws after going outside to prevent any resulting skin allergies and issues.



Should I Take My Dog to the Vet for Itchy Skin?

If your dog is frequently itching, biting, or chewing at their skin, it's important to bring them to the vet. The itching could be caused by skin allergies, a skin condition, or even an underlying illness. The vet will determine the cause and find a solution that helps your dog stay healthy and happy. Sometimes vets will prescribe an antiseborrheic medicated dog shampoo if your dog has more serious skin issues.


What Can Happen if You Ignore Your Dog's Itchiness?

If your dog's itchy skin persists, it can lead to self-injury and infections. This is why you should never leave your dog's skin issues untreated. Take your dog to the veterinarian if you see them constantly scratching, rubbing, licking, or gnawing at their itchy skin. If left untreated, your dog's itchiness may open the door to several serious health issues.



Final Thoughts - Dog Shampoo for Itchy Skin

Sometimes itchy skin is just that —itchy skin! It's normal for dogs to have a scratch here and there. But if you notice excessive itching, licking, and chewing, it's probably time to take action! Itchy skin can be caused by environmental skin allergies, pests, or even diseases. Always take your dog to the vet if you believe they are itching more than usual or see flaky, dry skin that won't go away.


Meanwhile, it doesn't hurt to provide them some relief with a dog shampoo made specifically for itchy skin. They often contain special ingredients that soothe and rejuvenate the skin. Others contain CBD, which can help them relax and reduce discomfort! Head to our shop and get HolistaPet's CBD shampoo to provide your pup with the best dog shampoo to calm itchy skin. With this shampoo made from natural ingredients, your pup will say goodbye to their itchy, dry skin and say hello to hydrated, itch-free healthy skin!

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