Pet owners know all too well the bothersome sounds of their dog scratching and biting their skin. While it’s sometimes easy to dismiss the behavior as normal, in some cases, the dog may be suffering from an underlying skin condition.
Much like a human’s, a dog’s skin can get irritated and dry, causing excessive scratching. This itching can lead to hair loss, skin infections or further irritation. A pup’s scratching can be attributed to bug bites, allergic reactions (environmental or dietary) or dry skin to name a few. Itchy skin is fairly common in dogs. In fact, around 40 percent of all vet visits are for a skin issue.
If you notice your fur friend has been itching more than usual, it’s possible they are suffering from dry skin. It’s always important to get the opinion of licensed veterinarian to get a proper diagnosis. Before you call and schedule an appointment for your pet, try one of these natural remedies to help soothe their skin:
Baking soda can help rid the skin of pathogens causing irritation and also has anti-inflammatory properties. It can also help balance PH levels on the skin. It is suggested to create a paste by mixing 50 percent water and 50 percent baking soda, and then apply to the skin. The paste should be left on for 20 minutes before being washed off. Alternatively, you can try adding one cup of baking soda to the dog’s bath water.
Aloe Vera gel can be used as a topical directly on the skin to promote healing to irritated skin. Be careful not to purchase any type of gel with alcohol in the ingredient list, because it can burn the skin or even make it worse. Make sure to buy a gel free of preservatives, flavorings or sweeteners, and that is safe for human consumption. You can either buy an Aloe Vera plant to cultivate at home or buy a leaf from a local supermarket to use on your pet.
This non-psychoactive oil is known to help chronic inflammation, and can reduce behaviors like obsessive itching and licking. CBD oil can also be used to help fight pain associated with inflamed or irritated skin. There are a few different types of CBD oil for pets on the market including tinctures, dog treats and topicals. When deciding on a purchase, make sure the vendor is reputable and sells high quality ingredients.
Yogurt contains probiotics and helps maintain a balance of good bacteria in the gut. Yogurt can strengthen a pet’s immune system to help prevent yeast and skin infections from happening. If you plan on trying this method, ensure that the yogurt is plain and contains no sugar or additives. Always check the ingredient label before purchasing and avoid anything that lists xylitol, a sugary additive that can harm dogs.
It’s suggested to mix a teaspoon (for a small breed), or about 2 tablespoons (for a large breed) into their dog food a few times a week.
It’s no secret that coconut oil contains a wide array of benefits, but it can also help your pet! It can help relieve some of the itching when applied topically and orally. It can repair damaged skin and moisturize scaly or flaky skin with its antifungal properties. The fatty acids contained in coconut oil helps to strengthen the immune system and fight infection.
Ensure the oil is high-quality, extra virgin and meant for human consumption before using it for your pup. When using it orally, it is suggested to mix a little into your dog’s food.
A Note About Oatmeal
While some pet owners use ground oatmeal to help with irritation, according to Alisha, a 10-year pet groomer and owner of Ooh La La Dog Spaw, “Oatmeal is good for dry skin only, unfortunately a lot of pet parents don’t understand why their dog is itchy. Most of the time it has to do do with diet. So it’s best to be used by groomer only or recommended by a vet who can assess their skin issue.”
We want our fur children to be as comfortable as possible, so it’s necessary to understand when scratching becomes an abnormal behavior. Don’t hesitate to take action if you notice your dog developing a biting or scratching habit, and while there are natural treatments to lessen itching, it’s always wise to talk to a vet to find out the root cause of skin issue.