If your dog is scratching constantly, it’s not a good sign!
In fact, itchy skin, medically known as pruritus, is one of the main reasons dogs are taken to the vet.
People tend to assume that constant scratching is a sign that their dog has fleas. Oftentimes they are correct, but there are other reasons that a dog may be scratching to no end.
An allergy, dry skin, a yeast infection or their diet can make your dog’s skin itchy. Chemical irritants, plant toxins, insects, parasites and a whole host of other pet health issues may also be to blame.
Irrespective of the cause of a dog’s itchy skin, they will usually exhibit the same signs and symptoms, which include non-stop scratching, rubbing against furniture or carpeting to stop the itching, dry skin, redness of the skin, sores, whining, paw chewing and dandruff, to name a few.
As the constant itching and scratching can lead to hair loss, trauma and severe skin infections, it is recommended to identify and deal with the problem as soon as possible.
To help calm your dog’s irritated skin and stop the constant scratching, you can try some simple and effective home remedies.
Here are the top 10 home remedies to deal with your dog’s itchy skin.
1. Apple Cider Vinegar
Raw and unfiltered apple cider vinegar is one of the best remedies for a dog suffering from itchy skin.
An apple cider vinegar solution can restore the acidic nature of your pet’s skin, kill off pathogens and reduce the itchiness.
- Pour raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar and an equal amount of water into a spray bottle.
- Give it a shake to mix up the ingredients.
- Spray the solution all over your dog’s haircoat.
- Allow it to dry on its own.
- Use this remedy 1 or 2 times a day, depending upon the severity of itchiness.
Note: Dilute the mixture further when using around your dog’s face. Do not apply undiluted apple cider vinegar on your dog’s body, as it can sting.
2. Vitamin E
If your dog is scratching their skin a lot due to dry skin, the solution to the problem is vitamin E.
Vitamin E will provide added moisture to the skin, which in turn will reduce the itchiness. The oil also promotes the growth of new skin and hair in the affected areas.
- Break open 1 or 2 vitamin E capsules and extract the oil. The quantity needed depends upon the size of your pet.
- Rub the oil directly on your dog’s skin, so that it gets fully absorbed into the skin.
- Repeat 2 or 3 times a day until the itchiness has stopped.
Vitamin E can be given orally, too. However, check with your vet regarding the recommended dosage for your specific dog breed.
3. Coconut Oil
Whether used orally or topically, coconut oil may be the answer to your dog’s itchy skin. The high fat content of coconut oil helps keep the skin moisturized and also promotes the growth of healthy skin and hair.
When given orally, coconut oil also helps boost your dog’s immune system.
- To apply topically, add ½ cup of extra-virgin coconut oil with 2 drops of oil of oregano and mix thoroughly. Rub the mixture on your dog’s itchy spots. Do it twice daily.
- To administer orally, mix between 1 teaspoon and 1 tablespoon of extra-virgin coconut oil (depending on the size of your dog) into your dog’s meal. Do it once a day while your dog has itchy skin.
4. Borax and Peroxide Skin Wash
When used properly, a mix of borax and hydrogen peroxide can help deal with the problem of itchy skin in pets.
- Combine 2 cups of 1% hydrogen peroxide and 4 cups of warm water.
- Add 3 tablespoons of borax and mix the ingredients thoroughly.
- Use the mixture to wash your dog’s skin.
- Allow it to dry on the skin.
- Repeat daily for 2 or 3 days.
You can also use this solution to wash bedding, toys and other washable items used by your dog.
For itching skin due to a yeast infection, yogurt is a good remedy.
Low-fat or probiotic yogurt keeps the good bacteria in your dog’s intestines in balance, which in turn helps keep yeast infections at bay. Yogurt also boosts the immune system of your pet.
Plus, when applied topically, yogurt helps soothe the skin and relieve dryness.
- To apply topically, gently rub some plain yogurt on your dog’s skin. Leave it on for a few hours, then rinse it out with lukewarm water. Repeat once daily.
- To administer orally, feed your dog plain yogurt once daily for a few weeks. The quantity depends upon the size of your dog. Use 1 teaspoon for small dogs and up to 3 tablespoons for big dogs.
Note: Only feed plain yogurt with no sugar or additives to your pet.
Being highly acidic, lemon can kill microscopic parasites that lead to itchy skin in dogs. It also helps heal the irritated or damaged skin.
- Thinly slice a whole lemon, including the rind.
- Steep it overnight in a pot of hot water (use 3 to 4 cups of water).
- Use it to give your pet a sponge bath.
- Allow the it to air-dry.
- Do this once daily.
Note: Do not apply lemon juice directly on open scabs, as it can cause a burning sensation.
Oatmeal baths help pets as well as humans dealing with itchy skin.
Oatmeal soothes, nourishes and moisturizes your pet’s skin, which in turn relieves the itchiness and keeps your pet comfortable.
- Add 1½ cups of ground oatmeal to a big tub filled with warm water.
- Add a few drops of lavender essential oil.
- Bathe your dog in the oatmeal bath for at least 5 to 10 minutes.
- Rinse away the oats with warm water.
- Repeat once daily while your dog has itchy skin.
8. Baking Soda
Baking soda is another remedy that can instantly soothe your dog’s itchiness.
It has a soothing effect on the skin, due to its anti-inflammatory properties. Also, it acts as a natural acid neutralizer that helps relieve itching.
- Add 1 cup of baking soda to your dog’s bathwater. Bathe your pet in this water for 10 minutes, then rinse their coat with clean water. Do it once daily.
- For localized itching, prepare a thick paste using equal amounts of baking soda and water. Apply the paste on the affected areas of your dog’s skin. Allow it to sit for 20 minutes, then rinse it off using lukewarm water. Repeat once daily.
Note: Never use baking soda on broken skin or open wounds.
While aspirin should not be ingested by your dog, it can be applied topically to stop itchiness. Aspirin can provide relief from skin redness, itchiness and a burning sensation sometimes caused by constant scratching.
- Take 2 aspirin tablets.
- Thoroughly mix the powder with a small amount of rubbing alcohol.
- Apply it directly on the affected skin using cotton swabs.
- Allow it to sit for 5 to 10 minutes, then rinse it off using lukewarm water.
- Repeat once daily until the itchiness stops.
Neem, also known as Indian lilac, is a natural antiseptic that can help fight skin infections and reduce itchiness.
Neem is also good for your pet’s skin health.
- Boil a handful of neem leaves in a pan of water (4 cups) for 10 to 15 minutes. Once cool, strain the water and put it in a spray bottle. Spray the solution on your dog’s fur and allow it to dry on its own. Repeat once daily.
- Alternatively, mix equal amounts of pure neem oil and extra-virgin coconut oil. Apply it on the itchy spots 2 or 3 times a day.
- Brush your dog’s coat once daily to control and eliminate itchy and irritated skin.
- Bathe your dog regularly to help keep the skin healthy. If your dog hates getting into the water, you can use a dry shampoo.
- Wash your dog’s bedding at least once a week.
- Your dog’s body may be reacting to the grains in the dog food. Try grain-free dog food for a while to see if it lessens or eliminates the itchiness.