Natural Remedies for Itchy Dogs
By Teresa Traverse
We all know the feeling of an itch that won’t go away. Whether it’s due to a bug bite, dry skin, or an allergic reaction, itching can be a real pain. But what happens when your dog won’t stop scratching, licking, or chewing on himself?
“Dogs manifest itching in a variety of ways,” says Dr. Andrew Rosenberg, a board certified veterinary dermatologist and the medical director of Animal Dermatology & Allergy Specialists in White Plains, New York, and Riverdale, New Jersey. “A lot of times, we’ll just see dogs licking at their paws as their way of relieving itch.” Other not-so-common signs may include scooting, rolling around on the ground, and crawling on their bellies, he says.
Allergies are a common cause of itchy skin in dogs, according to Rosenberg. He cites three major allergy categories: environmental (grass, weed, trees, dust, etc.); flea, tick, or bug bites; and food allergies.
Dogs having allergic reactions tend to be itchy around their paws, ears, groin area, and rear ends, he says. With other skin diseases like flea allergies, dogs scratch and bite more on their rump area. Dogs experiencing an autoimmune skin disease or skin infection can be itchy anywhere.
Occasional or mild itching by itself isn’t too serious, but it could be a sign of a more serious condition when accompanied by other symptoms, Rosenberg says. He recommends that pet parents consult their veterinarian or seek the help of a veterinary dermatologist “if there’s itching that’s chronic and the dog is breaking its skin and that results in skin infection. Or if the dog is just uncomfortable, itching to the point where they can’t sleep at night.”
To give your itchy dog some relief, consider these five natural remedies offered by our vet experts. It’s wise to consult a veterinarian before starting on any therapy, Rosenberg advises. “We want to make sure we’re recommending things that are going to help with the individual dog.” If the treatment doesn’t appear to be effective or if the condition worsens, seek professional help.