When your dog has allergies, it is not only uncomfortable for them, but it can also be terribly distracting to you, as their owner. You see your pet in discomfort and it makes you crazy. Often called “Canine AD”, Canine Atopic Dermatitis can be caused by a dog’s sensitivity or allergies to the environment around them. Although this is considered a chronic condition (it will most likely never go away), there are many natural remedies to help your dog find relief from the symptoms, such as scratching, and dry, itchy, skin. These remedies are listed below and should be easily applied at home.
As with any pet condition, you might need do a little homework to find the right treatment, or combination of treatments, for your dog. These treatments are a good alternative to traditional medicine and shots, in that they save you money and save your pet from unnecessary and added discomfort. But, be advised that if your dog’s condition worsens, continues unaffected, or if you just need some guidance, you should make an appointment with your vet.
Topical Home Remedies for Your Dog’s Itchy Skin
The most popular way to treat irritated skin with dogs is by using topical treatments. There are some theories about ingestible, or internal remedies, but there are many drawbacks to this route. It can be hard to diagnose food allergies from home without the consultation of a veterinarian, and supplements can be expensive and there is really no guarantee if they will actually reach their destination, or if your dog’s body will absorb it if it does. Therefore, for the sake of this article, the focus will be on topical treatments that are affordable, with ingredients that are easily accessible.
Apple Cider Vinegar
No doubt, you have probably heard all the hype about the millions of uses for apple cider vinegar. This is cheap (from $1 to $5, depending on the size of the container) and naturally soothes skin, while warding off fleas. You can either put a diluted (watered down) 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.
Remember when you had the chicken pox and your doting mother put you in a bath of oatmeal and baking soda? This is another age-old recipe because it is cost effective (about $3 for a large tub), and it works in many situations. The best type of oatmeal to use for this therapy is baby oatmeal (its oats are already ground into a smaller in size), or you can ground the oatmeal yourself in appliances such as a coffee grinder, food processor, blender, etc.
Run some warm water in a tub.
Add one cup of baking soda.
Add one to two cups of finely ground oatmeal.
Mix, and insert dog into the bath slowly.
Gently agitate the water without agitating your dog.
Let your dog soak up to 20 minutes.
Oatmeal is a natural moisturizer that is gentle and safe on the dog’s skin.
Lavender Essential Oil
Like apple cider vinegar, lavender is a natural parasite repellent. According to Dogs Naturally Magazine, lavender is “a great analgesic, antifungal, antihistamine, anti-inflammatory and antiseptic. It can be used topically or in a diffuser”. In other words, it is a pain-killer, wards off potentially harmful fungi, reduces swelling, and disinfects the affected area. When it comes to applying essential oils topically, you want to let one drop of lavender on the dog’s back or neck, much like if you were applying flea medicine (you might want to dilute this for a small dog). You do not need to separate the hair, because oils can be absorbed through the dog’s hair follicles. If you have never used any type of lavender oil on your pet before, you might consider the diffusing method. It is a much gentler approach, and eases your pet into the treatment. A diffuser will dilute the oil on it’s own, and spray a mist in the room. Just make sure that your dog has a way to get away from the mist if he/she wants to. There are all sorts of types of diffusers on the market today, with many different styles.
Dealing with your dog’s atopic dermatitis can be frustrating to both you and your best furry friend. The above tips should help guide you in the direction of healing and happiness for you both. If you love your dog, but do not have truck-fulls of money lying around, these three options might be worth a try. They are all ingredients that many people already have in their cupboards and are extremely cost effective.