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Itchy, Itchy, Scratch, Scratch: Natural Home Remedies for Dogs With Allergies
By Darlene Stott
Published: 06/11/2017, edited: 09/07/2022
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When your dog has allergies, it is not only uncomfortable for them, but it can also be distracting to you, as their owner. You see your pet licking, scratching, and biting their feet, limbs, and tail and you feel helpless in your efforts to stop the itch. Often called “Canine AD”, Canine Atopic Dermatitis shows itself in the form of scaly, dry skin, scabbing of the inflamed area, and hair loss. Your dog may have ear infections and be rubbing their face and eyes. Secondary infection can set in if your pooch digs and scratches too hard, and this can lead to more pain and a long recovery period.
Your dog may be allergic to something in their environment such as pollens and grass, or cedar chips in their bedding. Contact allergens can cause skin reactions, too, and can be products like the carpet deodorizer you use or medications like pyrethrins in flea collars. An allergy to an ingredient in your dog's food can cause symptoms like diarrhea along with skin issues. Flea allergy dermatitis is another instigator of inflamed itchy skin.
Allergies can be managed but not cured. Your veterinarian can help to determine the cause of the allergies and prescribe ways to deal with them, but sometimes you may need a little extra help with calming the itch. There are many natural remedies to help your dog find relief from the symptoms. These home-based treatments are designed to work alongside the protocol that the veterinarian has put in place for your furry companion. Continue to follow your vet's instructions and discuss the use of these suggested remedies as an aid in itch relief.
Apple Cider Vinegar
No doubt, you have probably heard all the hype about the millions of uses for apple cider vinegar. It is not expensive and naturally soothes skin, while warding off fleas. You can either put a diluted solution in a spray bottle and spray it on your dog’s skin or put a couple of cups into a warm bath for your pet. This type of vinegar does have a bitter smell to it, so if you take the bath route, you might want to rinse their fur after they have had a good soak. When using the spray bottle, part the hair on the affected area, trying to avoid spraying the fur.
Vitamin E and Fish Oils Combo
Vitamin E is known to be a beneficial oil when applied to the human skin. The same properties are found when used on itchy canine skin. Break a capsule open and apply directly to the inflamed area. You can also add a capsule to your dog's food at mealtime as a supplemental way to add nutrients to their diet and boost their immune system. Many pet parents will include fish oil blends, too made from cold water, wild-caught, oily fish. A capsule with a blend of sardines, anchovies, mackerel, and herring is supposed to be one of the top mixes for calming the skin and reducing the effects of allergies. Salmon, pollock, cod liver, and krill oil are other fish oil supplements to try.
Oatmeal is a natural moisturizer that is gentle and safe on your dog’s skin. An oatmeal bath can often give a dog with itchy skin immediate relief. Blend a cup of oatmeal in the blender until it becomes fine like a powder. Add it to your furry companion's bath; pour the water over them (avoiding the eyes and face) for ten minutes. If your dog wants to lay down in the tub for a good soak, allow them to but supervise them. Rinse out the oatmeal preparation and gently towel them dry.
Every dog loves a treat or a change in flavor at mealtime. Add a tablespoon of this tasty food to your dog's meal to help build an immune system that can fight off yeast and bacteria. The yogurt you buy for this purpose must be plain, free of xylitol or other sweeteners, and be probiotic. Dogs can handle yogurt well, unless they have an intolerance to lactose. Start slow, adding a small amount per day. If your dog has diarrhea after trying the yogurt, look for another way to benefit the skin.
Chamomile is sometimes used by veterinarians in the treatment of inflammatory bowel disease. It is administered orally to relax muscles and prevent spasms. As well, chamomile tea has healing properties when applied to the skin as a spray. Boil the tea and let it cool in the refrigerator. Gently spray inflamed areas of your dog's itchy skin for immediate and cooling relief. For irritated paws, let your dog rest their feet in a bowl of cold tea.
Epsom salt is not really salt. This healing compound is a mineral combination of sulfate and magnesium. Used for healing wounds, they also relieve the itch of allergic dermatitis. A canine who loves baths can soak for five minutes twice a day in a tub of water mixed with 1/2 cup of Epsom salts. If your pooch is not a fan of the tub, soak a washcloth with the mix and hold it on the inflamed area for soothing and healing.
Coconut oil is full of good fats that can benefit a pup in many ways. Not only is the oil used as an oral supplement for metabolic function and bone health, but it also can be used as a topical aid to itchiness. Massage the oil into your pet's skin for relief from hot spots that can develop due to constant licking and biting at the skin. Using the oil as a lotion can also soothe inflammation and soothe sore footpads.
There are several beneficial additives that you can safely put in your pet's food. Occasionally a vet will recommend that a dog who typically eats kibble be given moist dog food as a way to add water to the diet. Adding lecithin granules, spirulina, kelp powder, nutritional yeast or alfalfa to the wet food can aid in the reduction of itchiness and at the same time, provide nutritional additions to your dog's dish. Speak to your vet or a trained canine nutritionist about how you can use these products to help your companion.
Dealing with your dog’s atopic dermatitis can be frustrating to both you and your best furry friend. There are other tips you can try as you work toward a comfortable and happy life for your dog. Keep their skin clean and free of debris. Have them wear doggy booties and a sweater if environmental allergies are evident. If the weather is too warm for a coat, wipe them down with a damp cloth when they come in.
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