How To Stop Your Dog From Itching: Dog Itch Relief Explained
It’s not uncommon for dogs to itch and the likelihood that you’ve seen your dog scratching itself or rubbing up against a wall is quite high. However, the issue comes in when the scratching occurs too often or to such a degree that your dog starts to harm itself.
I’ve seen this happen before and it’s not a pretty site. Unlike humans, dog’s often don’t know when to stop and they can cause serious bleeding or wounds when they scratch too much.
Once this starts happening, it’s a hassle not only for the dog (who can’t express the problem to you) but also for the owner, as now you not only have to worry about treating the itch but the wounds or sores that come as a result of not treating the itch.
So, the first key to preventing the issue from getting any worse is to ideally try and identify the source of the itching as soon as possible and try to treat the issue as effectively as you can. However, this is where the real trouble comes in.
In this article, I hope to shed some light on some of the most common causes of itchy skin when it comes to pooches and hopefully, stop your dog from shedding fur, suffering unnecessarily or causing itself harm. So keep reading for more information.
Identifying The Cause Of Your Dog’s Itch
This is easily one of the most challenging parts of treating your pet because unlike humans, dogs obviously cannot describe their symptoms to you, tell you what they ate or point out their allergies to you.
This means that a vet basically has to go over a long list of possible causes for the issue and use his/her medical experience and the power of deduction to try and identify and isolate what could be causing the problem in the first place before the can set about laying out an effective treatment.
And when I say a ‘long list’ of possible causes, I mean a really long list.
Some of the most common causes for itchy skin on your dog is insect bites, fleas and ticks. Because dogs enjoy running around outside and getting dirty, they’re highly likely to come into contact with a host of parasites and insects that can bite and infect your dog leading to itchiness.
If your dog suffers from allergies to these insects or parasites then their symptoms are likely to be worsened as your pet may have an abnormal reaction to the bite. This is best identified by examining the area of the itch and looking for any signs of redness or swelling in the general area or by looking for the formation of hives or bumps on the dog’s face and muzzle.
If this is the case, then you’re going to have to treat the wound with antiseptic agents (or essential oils) and probably put your dog on a light antibiotic course to help fight the infection. One of the other more common causes for itchy skin in dogs is actually something we tend to overlook more often than not – the weather.
If you live in a dry area with low humidity, it’s likely that your dog’s skin will dry out more easily than usual as the natural oils that keep its skin and hair moist and hydrated will evaporate more easily under these circumstances and could result in dry and irritable skin. The same applies to using a blow dryer on your dog – it’s important that you keep the temperature low.
The best way to identify this is by touching your dog’s skin. If it starts scratching immediately then it most likely has dry skin and thankfully, this issue is a lot easier to treat than the next one. This is my personal pet peeve of having a pet and it’s something that even keeps vets up at night. I’m referring to allergies of course.
Many vet’s and pet healthcare specialists have noted that there’s been a rise in the amount of allergy-related issues with regards to dogs and there are a number of suspected reasons as to why this may be.
You may also have to spend a bit more money on medications or special foods from then on as a means of avoiding the allergic reaction or lessening the effects of the issue.
Top Oils For Dogs Itch Relief
As many of you will already know, coconut has become all the rage in the beauty sector for us humans because of it’s tremendous health benefits and the oils ability to heal, nourish and rejuvenate our skin.
However, few realize that this oil is just as good for your dog’s skin as it is for yours and can help to relieve dryness, itchiness and keep your pooch’s coat looking healthy and soft throughout the year.
The oil is also rich in fatty acids and antibacterial properties which are essential for maintaining a healthy coat and keeping your dog’s skin in good condition. This is a much cheaper option than antibiotics or supplements and is a lot healthier too. Plus it great for you and your family as well – an all-round win-win situation.
Chamomile is an excellent source of respite for an itchy dog and goes a step further than simply treating the superficial itchy skin. For use on dogs, I’d recommend sticking with Roman Chamomile oil as it’s more effective than German Chamomile on a dogs tough skin and coat, plus will provide a longer-lasting layer of protection.
Roman Chamomile is rich in antibacterial properties and also has strong analgesic qualities which can help to relieve the pain associated with insect bites or infected wounds and ultimately help to ease your dog’s scratching before it causes any further harm.
Oils To Avoid Using On Dogs
While a lot of praise can be given to essential oils and their healing benefits with regards to their ability to heal and treat a wide variety of ailments that may affect your pooch, the truth is that not all of them are safe for general use on your dogs and even when using oils that are deemed safe (such as the ones listed above), it’s imperative that you follow a few basic guidelines.
For instance, it’s imperative that you always dilute an essential oil in a suitable carrier oil before applying it to the surface of your dog’s skin. And it goes without saying that you should be checking with your vet before going ahead!
This is the best way to ensure that your dog doesn’t suffer from a drastic negative reaction and can increase the oil’s effectiveness.
Some essential oils to avoid using on your dog are tea tree, oregano, wintergreen, and thyme because they have been noted as having drastically negative effects on the health of a dog and can affect its respiratory system, cause inflammation and general skin irritation as well as leading to infections and swelling.
It’s also imperative that you use essential oils in very light doses and avoid coming into contact with your dog’s eyes or other sensitive areas like the groin or anus as this can cause discomfort and irritation.
Other Natural Itchy Dog Remedies
One of the easiest ways to help treat your dog’s itchy skin is also one of the most common ways – simply giving your dog a bath. However, I wouldn’t recommend making the water too hot, as this can strip the natural oils from your dog’s skin and lead to dry and irritable skin. So lukewarm water and no shampoos!
Try and stick to natural oils or even just a nice, gentle scrub to get rid of any parasites or bacteria on the surface of the skin.
However, if you notice that this hasn’t worked after a day or two, using a combination of essential oils and a chemical-based anti-flea or tick shampoo is the highly recommended as the sooner you get rid of this parasites, the sooner your pet will be free of itching and discomfort.
Apple cider is also a wonderful natural treatment and can be used to help reduce the effects of sore, itchy or uncomfortable skin as well as keeping ticks and fleas at bay.
Simply mix half a bottle’s worth of apple cider vinegar with half a bottle’s worth of warm water to make a simple spray that can be used throughout the year to both keep your pooch smelling better, looking healthier, itching less and staying obedient at a fraction of the cost of most conventional pet hygiene sprays.
After spraying it’s also important that you brush your dog regularly so that you help to get rid of any excess oil, dirt, grime and parasites that may be lingering on the surface of your dogs skin. This also helps to regulate your dog’s oil production and will ensure that your pooch’s skin is always balanced and in good condition – much like brushing our own hair as humans is important for maintaining a healthy oil balance.
But these are just some of the cheaper and quicker options available to you as a pet owner. The internet is loaded with creative, healthy and natural alternatives for you to experiment with – so be sure to do some research before you spend all that money on a pharmaceutical or conventional dog product.
No one like an itchy dog – they’re annoying and it’s painful to watch your beloved pet in agony, unable to express the issue. So the sooner you locate the source of the problem and begin treatment, the better.
A clean dog is a healthy dog and a healthy dog is a happy dog. While you should necessarily bath your dog too often once a month or every two months is a great way to ensure that their coat stays clean and fresh and that their skin is maintained and balanced so as to assure that they don’t start to itch.
Identifying your dog’s allergies is also important for ensuring their long-term health and being able to prevent your dog from falling ill as often as possible is the best way to ensure they become strong and save yourself a heap of money as well.
Essential oils are your friend here – so don’t be afraid to get a little creative and try concocting a few of your own DIY shampoo recipes or mixtures as a means of keeping your dog’s coat smelling and looking amazing, as well as nurturing your pooch’s skin health.
They’re cost-effective, reliable and healthy alternatives to the expensive medication you’re going to encounter at the vet, so do your research and try them out as a possible first step towards treatment before falling back on pharmaceutical products. You and your dog will be grateful for the results.