For a pet parent, seeing your dog constantly scratching, licking, biting his skin, or chewing his paws can be cause for concern – especially if you don’t know why it keeps happening. There are many possible causes for itching in dogs which include:
- Parasites such as fleas, mites, lice, endoparasite migration.
- Allergies to parasites, food, contact drugs.
- Infections such as malassezia overgrowth, staphylococcal infections, and dermatophytosis.
- Rare conditions like tumors of the skin, psychogenic diseases and endocrine dermatosis.
Your vet can help you figure out the cause of your dog’s itching, give you the appropriate medications, and help you understand how to prevent future outbreaks.
It may take time before the underlying cause of your dog’s itching is fully treated. In the meantime, there are ways you can soothe your dog’s itchy skin.
Natural Remedies To Help Your Itchy Dog
Always contact your vet if your dog is experiencing unnatural itching.
Inspect Your Dog’s Skin, Coat & Paws
If your dog has been itching more than normal, or is constantly licking an area of his body, inspect his coat, skin and paws.
Sometimes burrs, thorns, grass seed and small sticks can burrow into a dog’s coat or get stuck in between paw pads. Look for visible ticks, fleas, insect bites and other skin irritations. Even if you don’t see any fleas, be sure to check for flea dander, which is often present at the base of the spine, near the top of an infected dog’s tail. Part the fur until you see skin, and look for tiny black specs.
Give Your Dog an Epsom Salt or Oatmeal Bath
If your dog is itching all the time, and nothing looks out of the ordinary after you inspect your pet’s fur, skin and paws, it’s time for a bath!
Plain, cool water is an excellent healing agent and will help you remove invisible irritants from the environment that your pet may have stepped on or rolled in – from dust to pollen, or household cleaners to lawn care granules.
How to Give a Dog an Epsom Salt Bath:
Epsom salts are safe for dogs, and a natural remedy to heal a dog’s itchy skin or open wounds from constant licking. Simply add 1 cup of Epsom salts to approximately 1 gallon of cool bath water. Coax your pet to sit or lie down in the bath for 10 minutes if possible, or drizzle the salted water over affected areas.
Itchy Dog Tip: Avoid warm water – it can intensify the itch!
Try an Oatmeal and Baking Soda Bath for Dogs:
Some pet parents use a canine oatmeal shampoo or leave-in conditioner if their dog has skin allergies. It’s just as easy to create your own mixture at home to soothe itchy paw pads and skin.
Simply grind 1 cup of oatmeal into a fine powder in your food processor or blender (this is known as colloidal oatmeal). Combine with 1 cup of baking soda in cool bath water.
Let your dog’s paws soak in the tub for 5 -15 minutes. Rub oatmeal and baking soda mixture into your dog’s skin and thoroughly rinse with plain, cool water. Repeat daily if needed.
Vacuum your entire house – including your furniture, baseboard cracks, and your pet’s sleeping and resting areas. This will help get rid of the dust, fleas, or mites that could be behind your pet’s discomfort.
Throw away the vacuum bag so pests do not hatch inside. Wash your pet’s pillow cases, throw rugs, and bedding in hot water once a week. Also change the filters of the furnaces, air conditioners, or air humidifiers to help reduce dust and dust mites.
Can Dog Food Cause Itching?
Yes! Dry skin is related to diet. If your dog is itching like crazy all the time, even after a bath or in winter, or gets frequent skin and/or ear infections, it’s very possible you need to address an underlying food allergy.
Switching to a preservative-free, homemade dog food with natural supplements may be the best thing you can do to relieve your pet’s itching and significantly improve quality of life for your dog.
Chews & Filled Kongs
Dog chews like bully sticks, antlers, or horns help your dog keep her mind off her itchy skin and may stop her from chewing or licking herself. Many dogs also enjoy the distraction of spending time digging peanut butter out of a kong.
Remember to contact your vet if itching persists.