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  • Writer's pictureBear & Kind

10 Natural Remedies for Itchy Dog Skin

We've all been there... you hear a quiet whimper and look over to see your dog scratching himself into a frenzy. You look through his coat... no signs of fleas. Hmmm... Why is my dog so itchy all of a sudden?

There are a number of common causes for itchy skin in dogs. These include:

  • Fleas or Parasites

  • Allergies

  • Bacterial or Yeast Infection

  • Dry Skin

  • Anxiety

  • Skin Condition (eg, Atopic Dermatitis)

It’s important to identify the cause of the issue prior to treatment to prevent ongoing symptoms. Consult your vet for a diagnosis so that the root cause can be addressed. There are many things you can do at home to prevent skin issues. Regular brushing and a natural shampoo will help, but the biggest preventative measure you can take is feeding a fresh diet. Talk to a Canine Nutritionist or Holistic Vet to learn more.

For short-term relief of symptoms, here are 10 natural remedies you can use at home to treat an itchy dog.

1. Chamomile Tea

Chamomile tea is widely known for its soothing and calming properties. It contains compounds that have anti-inflammatory and hydrating properties that are commonly used to soothe skin allergies, insect bites and all manner of skin irritations. It reduces swelling and adds moisture to relieve irritation and dry skin. It’s also known for its mild sedative effects. If your dog's itching is caused or exacerbated by stress or anxiety, chamomile can help to reduce their urge to scratch excessively. Chamomile also has antimicrobial properties that can support healing of minor cuts, scrapes and irritated skin. The tea can be used to cleanse the skin of dirt and debris while also helping prevent infection.

Allow the chamomile to soak in a cup of boiling water for at least 10-15 minutes. Cool and apply as a compress, rinse or spray to calm itching.

2. Baking Soda

Baking soda, or sodium bicarbonate, is anti-inflammatory so it reduces redness and swelling, while its moisturising properties help to alleviate dry and flaky skin. It's a gentle exfoliant and cleanser which helps remove dirt, flaky skin and allergens from the scalp which can relieve itching caused by dry skin, contact allergies and other skin irritations. It is also a mild antiseptic which can help prevent infection. For dogs with skin issues caused by pH imbalance, baking soda can also help by restoring the natural pH of the skin.

Add a tablespoon to warm bath water and dissolve. Allow your dog to soak for a few minutes to gain the maximum benefit. Alternatively, apply direct to the skin as a paste and leave for a few minutes. Do not apply to wounds or broken skin as this will cause further irritation.

3. Honey

Honey is a natural humectant, which means it can help the skin to attract and retain moisture. It also contains antioxidants that reduce inflammation and is highly effective in soothing irritated skin. The natural enzymes and acids in honey have antibacterial and antifungal properties, which can aid in preventing and treating skin infections caused by bacteria or fungi... making it a powerful healing agent.

Apply honey directly to the skin where it’s needed. You can also add it to your dog’s meal for additional health benefits.

4. Aloe Vera

Aloe vera has cooling, hydrating and anti-inflammatory properties that can help alleviate itchiness and discomfort associated with a number of different skin irritations. It also contains compounds that promote wound healing and tissue regeneration and can be applied to minor cuts, abrasions, and other skin irritations to help prevent infection and encourage healing.

When using aloe vera gel on your dog's skin, it's recommended to use pure aloe vera either straight from the plant, or in gel form without any added ingredients. You can apply a thin layer of aloe vera gel to the affected areas and gently massage it in. Pure aloe vera juice can also be used as a rinse, added to shampoo, or in a spray bottle to soothe the skin.

5. Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple Cider Vinegar is a powerful anti-inflammatory and astringent which reduces swelling, redness and discomfort. It’s also slightly acidic and can help restore the natural pH balance of the skin. Apple cider vinegar has antimicrobial properties that can help combat bacteria and fungi that can contribute to skin irritations, infections, and itching. It’s also your go to remedy if your dog is constantly licking and chewing his skin. The strong vinegar taste and scent can deter dogs from excessively licking or chewing at itchy areas.

Always dilute apple cider vinegar to avoid irritation (never apply to open wounds). For a rinse or spray use a 50/50 mix of apple cider vinegar to fresh water. Apply the diluted solution to a small test area first. For an added soothing effect, you can dilute with chamomile or green tea instead of water. If you are doing a paw or bath soak add one cup of apple cider vinegar to a basin or tub.

6. Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is rich in fatty acids that can help moisturize and hydrate dry and flaky skin. It also forms a protective barrier on the skin's surface, which can help prevent moisture loss and shield the skin from external irritants. It has anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties that can help reduce swelling, and combat bacteria and fungi infections on the skin.

Apply to the skin as needed, add to shampoo and to your dog’s meals to support skin and coat health.

7. Oatmeal

Oats have natural soothing and anti-inflammatory properties that can reduce swelling and provide relief from various skin irritations such as allergies, insect bites and rashes. The natural fats in oats help moisturize and hydrate dry, flaky skin, contributing to relief from itching. Oat-based treatments also create a protective barrier on the skin, which can help prevent further irritation and moisture loss.

Oatmeal baths or poultices can also be beneficial for promoting wound healing and tissue regeneration in minor cuts, scrapes, and irritations. To make an oatmeal bath for your dog, grind plain, unflavoured oats into a fine powder using a blender or food processor. Add a cup of oatmeal powder to warm water in a bathtub or bucket. Stir well to ensure even distribution. Allow your dog to soak for 10-15 minutes then gently pay dry with a towel.

To make a poultice, mix with water to form a paste and apply to the skin. Leave the poultice on for a few minutes before wiping off with a damp cloth. Bear + Kind's There There Pet Soothing Skin Soak contains organic oatmeal, calendula and marshmallow root to soothe itching and discomfort and moisturise irritated, dry skin.

8. Calendula

Calendula contains fatty acids which help to moisturise and hydrate dry and flaky skin, contributing to relief from itching. Its anti-inflammatory properties help reduce swelling caused by itching, insect bites, or minor skin irritations. Calendula also promotes wound healing and tissue regeneration and contains antimicrobial properties to help prevent infections in broken skin.

Use as a tea to rinse or spray the affected area. Calendula is also very effective in a balm. Bear + Kind's There There Pet Soothing Balm contains organic calendula, marshmallow root plus carrot and hemp seed oils to soothe and heal skin irritation.

9. Yogurt

Yogurt's moisture content can help hydrate dry skin, potentially reducing itching. It also has a cooling effect on the skin and is effective in soothing irritation. The probiotics found in yogurt also have anti-inflammatory effects, which can help reduce redness and swelling associated with itchy skin. Yogurt contains live cultures of beneficial bacteria that can promote a healthy balance of gut flora. Many skin issues are caused by gut imbalance so improving gut health through probiotics is important as a preventative measure. A healthy gut also contributes to a stronger immune system, improving the body's ability to combat skin issues as well as many diseases.

Use on affected skin to cool and soothe irritation. For added soothing power combine with a teaspoon of honey and leave for a few minutes before rinsing or removing with a damp cloth. Add to meals to support a healthy gut balance and immune system.

10. Banana

Banana is widely used by humans to nourish and moisture the skin and add softness and strength to hair. It has very similar benefits for dogs. The natural oils and moisture in bananas can help moisturise dry and flaky skin while its anti-inflammatory properties reduce redness and swelling to cool and soothe irritation. The gentle texture of banana pulp can be used to cleanse the skin, removing dirt and debris without harsh abrasion.

To use fresh banana for your dog's itchy skin, you can mash a ripe banana into a paste and gently apply it to the affected areas. Allow it to sit for a short time before rinsing, or you can let your dog lick it off if they choose to. Try adding yogurt and honey to make a nourishing skin or coat mask. Bear + Kind's Shiny Happy Pupper Shiny Coat Mask contains banana puree and coconut milk to soften and add shine to the coat, while moisturising and soothing the scalp.

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