10 Best Home Remedies for Itchy Dogs
Before getting into our list of home remedies for dog allergies, let's first talk about some common allergens for dogs and what an allergy is.
An allergy, defined by VCACanada is; “a state of over-reactivity or hypersensitivity of the immune system to a particular substance called an allergen. Most allergens are proteins from plants, insects, animals, or foods.”
Common allergens come from:
| Common allergy symptoms are:
And while every dog is different because where some may have a flea allergy, others have a food allergy - we have compiled a list of soothing home remedies for itchy dogs.
Oatmeal Bath to Soothe That Itch
You read that correctly, an oatmeal bath is an immediate soothing relief to dogs with skin allergies. This can be especially helpful for dogs who have allergies to grass or pollen and have been outside walking around. A quick foot bath with a non-toxic and natural ingredient will have your pup's nerves calmed down. Oatmeal contains two chemicals - avenanthramides and phenols - both of which have anti-inflammatory properties.
DIY Oatmeal Bath
- You want to find organic and non-GMO oatmeal so there are no extra additives or sugars.
- Blend a cup (or more, if needed) until it becomes a smooth powder.
- Mix it with water or coconut oil until it is the consistency of shampoo and massage it into your pet's coat.
You can also add epsom salts, which have anti-inflammatory properties, and baking soda, which also has anti-inflammatory & antiseptic properties to help with itchiness and odor control.
You can also add the mixture into a bath or basin and let your pet soak their feet for 5-10 minutes
*DO NOT USE THIS IF YOUR DOG HAS A YEAST INFECTION - Moisture will breed bad bacteria and allow infection to grow quickly - see Apple Cider Vinegar below for a soothing yeast remedy
Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar, also known as ACV may taste sour, but it has three powerful healing properties that are beneficial to your dog's skin and gut. ACV is an antimicrobial agent (both antifungal & antibacterial) and has been shown to restrict the growth of toxic bacteria like yeast, E. coli & staph infections. You can also use it to help manage urinary tract infections.
Make sure you are using raw, organic, unfiltered apple cider vinegar. Organic ACV will allow you to avoid pesticides and other toxic chemicals that are used in commercial farming.
If your dog is suffering from a yeast infection you can use apple cider vinegar as a rinse for your dog's feet (a common area affected by allergies) or it can also be applied topically. Diluting it 50/50 with water and putting it in a spray bottle makes for easy application, especially if there is an ear infection - another hotspot for allergies.
We can’t forget about adding ACV into your pet's diet. Although you will have to dilute it, it has properties that help increase their stomach acid levels which result in better absorption and helps promote healthy bacteria in your dog's digestive tract
*Do not use ACV on open wounds as the vinegar will cause burning*
*Remember to dilute ACV with 50/50 water*
Aloe vera, a gel that grows out from a succulent, jam-packed with antibacterial, antifungal, and anti-inflammatory properties that aid in relieving irritated skin. This specific property is an active protein known as 14kDa, it harbors the powerful properties you see above. If you have ever had a sunburn then you know that aloe vera is a good friend to have around as it removes the heat and the itch from your skin. The same effect is had on dogs and is ideal for treating hot spots and sunburns (yes dogs can get sunburns too).
Chamomile is a natural herb, well-known for its soothing and anti-inflammatory properties. Safe to use both topically to help calm inflamed skin and internally to soothe inflammation in the bowels.
Applying topically: fill your tub with lukewarm water and place a handful of tea bags in the water. Let the bath steep for 3-5 minutes.
Remove the tea bags and soak your dog in the bath for 5-10 minutes.
You can also make a small batch in a cup and place it in a spray bottle for easier application to small inflamed areas.
Green tea has many healing properties such as being an antioxidant & an anti-cancer agent. Green tea impedes several tumor types including many cancers and the list is not a short one.
- Stomach cancer
- Gallbladder cancer
- Prostate cancer
- Uterus cancer
- Lung cancer
- Colon cancer
- Rectum cancer
- Intestine cancer
- Pancreas cancer
You can apply it both topically and internally but the body absorbs its healing properties the best internally as green tea catechins become concentrated in the liver and digestive tract of dogs.
Dried green tea is most commonly offered to dogs by being mixed in with their food.
Coconut oil is high in saturated fats and medium-chain triglycerides - we call these “good fats”. Since coconut oil is a medium-chain fatty acid when directly absorbed it metabolizes into utilizable energy in the body which helps aid with physical and digestive issues. Some of the issues coconut oil can help with are;
- Aiding digestion
- Soothing inflammation
- Fights bacteria and fungi
- Helps dry skin and hair
- Revives your dog's glossy coat
You can use coconut oil from your local grocery store but make sure it is unrefined or virgin coconut oil.
Topically and internally this oil is beneficial both ways and easy to apply since it's so tasty.
Topically: You can apply coconut oil straight onto the wound or inflamed/dry skin and let it soak in, try to keep your dog from licking it so that the coconut oil can work, but don’t be too alarmed if they try.
Internally: You can add coconut oil straight into your dog's meal and even make fun frozen treats with them!
Omega-3 fatty acids have amazing inflammatory properties and provide optimal nourishment to your dog's skin & coat. Omega-3’s come in the form of salmon oil, krill oil, hemp oil, flaxseed oil, and cod liver oil. Asides from a beautiful, shiny coat. The anti-inflammatory properties are important for dogs during allergy season as they help decrease symptoms such as itching and scratching, this is also beneficial as it helps the body retain moisture and hydration
The easiest way to administer omega-3s is by adding them to your pet's diet.
A powerful antioxidant such as Vitamin E helps fight off free radical damage and works to keep the immune system in peak condition. Due to its antioxidant and moisturizing properties, Vitamin E is also known for its benefits in aiding skin issues such as hotspots, calluses, and dry skin.
Most foods already have Vitamin E mixed in with it, so we recommend massaging Vitamin E oil into your dog's coat.
Probiotics are “good bacteria” that are put back into your dog's gut to help balance out the “bad bacteria”. Since your dog's GI tract contains approximately 70% of the immune system, it would be foolish to ignore this form of home remedy. Probiotics offer many health benefits, especially when it comes to dry skin and other allergy symptoms. Making sure your dog has a healthy and strong immune system is vital to aiding dogs who suffer from allergies.
You can add probiotics right into your pet's food.
A Balanced Diet
Feeding your pet a 100% natural limited ingredient pet food full of omega-3 fatty acids & healthy carbohydrates can make a big difference in their overall allergy symptoms. Gently cooked moist diets like ours avoid certain common allergens present in processed pet food because artificial additives & preservatives are needed to keep those foods shelf-stable. Adjusting their diet can also be helpful for environmental allergies, like allergies to pollen, dust, or dirt. Boosting your dog's immune system by giving them a diet full of ingredients with anti-inflammatory properties can make a big difference.
Thankfully fresh food doesn’t need preservatives because it’s meant to be refrigerated and fed within a few days or frozen for longer storage.
Elimination diets usually begin by feeding one source of protein which could be a novel protein (a protein that your pet has never eaten before). Most vets recommend a homemade diet because it’s easy to control and confirm all the ingredients that are going into your pet's bowl.
In conclusion, dog allergies are no joke - and while these remedies can be helpful in a pinch or for allergies that are starting to arise we recommend getting your pet the relief they need by speaking with your vet to make sure your pet's allergies are properly diagnosed.