As a vet, I see dogs with itchy skin almost every day. The underlying causes of itchy skin are varied ranging from food, flea, or seasonal allergies to autoimmune issues; that is why diagnosing a dog with itchy skin should always include one or more diagnostic tests such as a skin scrape to look for potential causes.
Just as there are several causes for itchy skin in dogs, the treatments are varied. Your dog may need a diet change if she is suffering from food allergy, flea preventatives if fleas are the culprit or mange treatment if mites are the problem.
Secondary bacterial skin infections tend to occur as a consequence of the skin damage caused by scratching. Thus, antibiotics along with other specific therapies may be needed. Medical attention is needed in all cases of skin itch and skin disease.
Causes of Itchy Skin in Dogs
- Dry skin
- Fleas and ticks
- Allergies (e.g., food, seasonal, fleas)
- Bacterial skin infections
- Fungal skin infections
- Autoimmune disorders
- Metabolic diseases
Natural Remedies for Dogs with Itchy Skin
Despite receiving adequate treatment, itchy skin is difficult to relieve. More so in chronic cases which can be a real challenge to vets and pet owners. But there are some ways to help your pooch stop scratching.
Aloe Vera. This plant is well known for its ability to sooth skin. You can apply the leaves pulp directly on your dog’s coat to reap the benefits of Aloe Vera. If you do not have access to the plant, gel preparations (if possible 100% Aloe Vera) are a good option too. It is not dangerous for your pet if licked and is an excellent way of relieving the itch.
Oatmeal. Stir finely ground oatmeal with warm water and use it to bath your dog. You can also put this solution in a spray bottle and apply it to the affected skin. Store bought colloidal oatmeal shampoos and lotions are good choices if the majority of their ingredients are from a natural origin.
Witch hazel. This product has a cooling effect which will relieve the itch on your dog. Use a spraying bottle to apply to the affected area various times per day.
Fish oils. Diet supplementation with fish oils can be beneficial in reducing skin inflammation. Fish oils, such as Iceland Pure — All Natural Fish Oils for Dogs & Cats are high in Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids, which are proven to reduce the inflammation and pruritus (itch) associated with skin diseases in dogs.
Calder, P.C. and Grimble, R.F. (2002). Polyunsaturated fatty acids, inflammation and immunity. Eue J Clin Nutr. 3:S14-9.