If you’ve got a dog with skin allergies or seasonal or chronic itching, you likely know how irritating it can be to listen to constant scratching and chewing. If you’re like us, you’re also more concerned with the clear discomfort your pooch is experiencing and want to do everything in your power to help them.
Your first step should be to visit your vet. If there is a serious issue that’s causing your dog’s itchiness, they’ll be the best resource for figuring out what it is and how to cure it. However, if your pup has less severe itching or you know the cause, you may want to resort to more natural solutions. Below you’ll find nine natural home remedies for dog skin allergies and itching that can safely ease your dog’s itching and help reduce scratching and biting without chemicals or medications.
1. Apple Cider Vinegar
The first natural home remedy probably won’t require a trip to the store for ingredients because apple cider vinegar is a common household product.
According to Medical News Today, apple cider vinegar’s acidity can provide relief for itchy skin, as it’s a natural antiseptic. To take advantage of its healing properties, mix one-part raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar with one-part warm tap water. Add this mixture to a spray bottle, and spray your pup’s fur and skin where you notice the itching is worst.
Make sure to avoid getting this mixture in your dog’s eyes and ears. Always avoid open sores as well, as apple cider vinegar can cause burning if applied to cuts or exposed sores. Comb through your dog’s fur carefully with your fingers at the sites of itching, and spray wherever you can confirm there are no sores or cuts from scratching or biting.
2. Oatmeal Bath
Oatmeal is another common ingredient for itch relief, and you probably remember getting soothing oatmeal baths when you were younger and had chickenpox. This remedy can also help reduce your dog’s itchiness.
To use oatmeal most efficiently, you’ll want to use a grinder or pestle and mortar to reduce about two to three cups of dry oatmeal to a fine powder. Add this to a warm bath and let it sit for 15 minutes. You can then use this warm water and oatmeal mixture to bathe your dog, paying particular attention to their problem areas.
According to health experts at WebMD, “colloidal oatmeal” — which you’ve just made by grinding regular oatmeal into a powder — can be used to ease itching caused by a variety of problems. An oatmeal bath for your pooch is safe, non-toxic, and creates a protective barrier over their skin that will help reduce itching no matter what the cause.
3. Coconut Oil
Coconut oil has many uses in cooking, cleaning, and even in beauty products, and now you can also use it to help ease your dog’s itching!
Any coconut oil you buy can be kept in the fridge or a cool place in your home so that it remains solid. Once or twice a day, scoop out some coconut oil, rub it between your hands for a few seconds to warm it up, and then massage into your dog’s skin. This can be placed directly onto particularly itchy areas for the most effectiveness, and you can repeat as needed, as it’s totally safe and non-toxic.
This research paper on topical itch relief concludes that coconut oil is a natural anti-inflammatory and antibacterial, and it can help aid in soothing your dog’s skin from a variety of problems that cause constant itching.
4. Epsom Salt Bath
Epsom salt baths are used by humans all the time to relieve itching and topical pain and even speed up healing of cuts and abrasions, so why not offer the same kind of relief to your pooch?
To prepare this bath, add about a quarter cup of Epsom salt for every five gallons of warm water, and have your dog soak for about 10 minutes. Make sure the affected areas are submerged in the Epsom salt bath or use a cup or bowl to continuously pour the bathwater over the areas that seem to be giving your dog the most trouble.
The health benefits of soaking in Epsom salt have been clear for decades, and this article from Healthline.com specifically states that Epsom salt baths are great for reducing itching. Perhaps the biggest benefit of using this method is that it’s safe to apply Epsom salt bath water even to open sores or cuts from scratching, and it won’t cause your pooch any harm or pain in the process!
Chamomile is known to be a soothing tea ingredient, and this Healthine.com article suggests that it can limit itching and soothe and cool irritated skin.
There are two ways to go about using chamomile to help ease your dog’s itching. The first is to submerge about five or six chamomile tea bags in warm bath water for around 15 minutes. Remove the tea bags and let your furry friend soak in the water. You can help reach affected areas by scooping up some water and rinsing their irritated skin that isn’t submerged.
Another option is to buy some chamomile essential oil, add five to ten drops to two or three cups of water, and use a spray bottle to apply to your dog’s itchiest areas once or twice a day. Make sure not to get this spray in your dog’s eyes or ears, as it can cause irritation.
6. Aloe Vera
Aloe vera is used by humans all the time to reduce itchiness and pain associated with sunburn, and it can be used for your dog’s skin as well, regardless of the source or underlying cause of itchiness.
Aloe vera can be purchased in gels that are easy to apply, or it can be harvested from an aloe vera plant if you have one at home. Simply apply the gel or juices from an aloe vera plant leaf to your dog’s itchy areas of skin. If you do choose a gel, make sure that it’s 100% aloe vera and doesn’t contain any alcohol. Some aloe vera products designed for human use have alcohol in them, and this can exacerbate itchiness rather than soothing it.
This research study notes that aloe vera is a good cure for skin ailments and itchiness and that common aloe vera gels can act as a natural anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial as well.
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7. Baking Soda
Baking soda is another very common household product that you probably have in your pantry or cabinet, and you can easily repurpose it to help reduce your dog’s itching from skin allergies or other ailments.
Mix together one part baking soda and one part water to create a thick paste, and then apply this paste in a thin layer to your dog’s itchy skin. Make sure to rub the mixture in through your pup’s fur to get it directly on the affected area. Let this paste sit on your pooch for about 15 minutes, and then rinse clean.
This article from the University of Wisconsin’s School of Medicine and Public Health suggests that baking soda can naturally reduce itching and skin irritation, so this is a great home remedy for those who have the ingredient at home and are looking for a quick fix!
8. Proper Diet
Some skin allergies in dogs can be caused by their diet, even if they’re eating commercial dog food on a regular basis.
While dogs survive mostly on protein, they can be allergic to specific sources of protein, including fish, chicken, and even beef. You can consult your vet to find out what your dog may be allergic to in their food, or you can try different commercial foods designed specifically to alleviate itchy skin and allergies.
You might also like: Best Dog Foods for Allergies – Reviews & Top Picks
9. Vitamin E
Vitamin E is often one of the first things we think of for topical application on irritated skin, and it’s safe and effective for treating your dog’s itchy skin as well!
Vitamin E oil is available at most health stores, pharmacies, and even grocery stores, so pick up a small bottle and apply a few drops of pure vitamin E oil to your dog’s itchy skin. Massage the oil in for the best results. Alternatively, you can add a few drops to a spray bottle with a cup or two of warm water, shake, and spray onto any affected areas. Shake regularly during application to make sure the oil mixes with the water, and always make sure to avoid spraying the mixture into or near your dog’s eyes or ears.
We may often think vitamin E oil is best for moisturizing skin, but this article published on WebMD suggests that it can also reduce itching and decrease irritation.
Although a vet visit should be scheduled to rule out any major problems, skin irritation in your dog can be common due to a variety of reasons. If your pup suffers from seasonal allergies, dry skin, or regular itchiness, use one of these natural home remedies to provide them some relief and soothing comfort. You can try each of these out to find the most effective method, or you can combine a few of these anti-itch remedies for the best results.
Featured Image Credit: schubbel, Shutterstock