Is your dog itching and scratching?
The season of itchiness.
You know when your dog starts scratching, licking and chewing because it’s most likely keeping you up at night.
You hear that lick, lick, lick or scratch, lick, scratch, and it’s driving you both nuts!
There are many causes for excessive licking, chewing, and scratching, so we always recommend getting checked out by your veterinarian.
However, we are going to cover 5 ways you can safely provide your pet with more comfort.
What are some of the most common reasons for itchy skin in dogs?
There are many causes of increased itchiness for dogs, ranging from fleas, other parasites, topical irritations to the most common which are food and environmental allergens.
For our natural flea/tick remedies, go to our previous blog post here.
If you have a dog that flares up every season, you are most likely dealing with an environmental allergen.
However, it can be harder to diagnose if your dog has both food and environmental sensitivities. Your veterinarian should be able to help guide you on the different diagnostics we have to figure out the cause of the increased itchiness.
But make sure to check out our post How to Treat Allergies in Your Dog and Cat.
Here are 5 safe natural remedies you can use to help reduce itchiness in your pet:
1) Herbal teas
Chamomile, green tea, calendula, and black tea possess properties that cool irritated and sensitive skin.
Chamomile tea is safe to use also to wipe out those gunky eyes if your dog is battling conjunctivitis. Grab a cool tea bag and use it directly on the affected skin. You can also brew the tea, let it cool and put it in a spray bottle to apply to the skin.
Another way to use tea is to make a tea bath and have your pup lay in it for at least 5 minutes to help calm down irritated skin.
Using tea internally is another great way to introduce the medicinal properties to your pet. By brewing a cup of green tea and pouring it into the food every day can help reduce your pet’s histamine levels. Start with a 1/4 cup and you can always use decaffeinated tea if you’re worried about caffeine effects on your pup.
A 2002 study in American Chemical Society, showcased how the most abundant and biologically active compound in tea, EGCG, blocks a key receptor involved in producing an allergic response in the body.
Because of this effect, green tea can be more effective than Zyrtec over the long term in helping to control allergy symptoms.
Make sure to get organic tea to avoid chemicals. Mountain Rose Herbs is a wonderful company that provides high-quality products and teas for you and your pets.
Fruits and vegetables get their colorful pigments from one flavonoid known as quercetin. This compound is packed with antihistamine, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory properties. It can be effective in reducing itching due to its ability to reduce the inflammatory cascade by preventing the release of histamine.
Histamine is what creates the redness and itchiness your dog feels when their allergies flare up. Because of this ability, quercetin is known as nature’s Benadryl.
Foods that are high in quercetin include broccoli, green apples, berries, kale, spinach, and asparagus. You can add any of these safely into your dog’s food to help increase their quercetin levels.
Usually, the content in these foods is not enough, so you can also supplement quercetin.
These quercetin supplements come in pill and capsule form in many human health food stores.
To calculate the right dosage in milligrams, take the weight of your dog, multiply by 1000 mg, and then divide by 125.
Head here to learn more about quercetin and how to incorporate it into your pet’s routine for better allergy control: Quercetin for Dogs – Uses and Benefits
3) Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fatty acids are essential fatty acids, meaning that the body cannot produce them – they must come from the diet.
Fish oil supplements have two types of omega-3 fatty acids: eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).
These fatty acids are primarily found in cold-water fish such as salmon, tuna, pollock and trout. What’s great about these, is that omega-3 fatty acids can reduce inflammation naturally.
When we think of these supplements, we tend to think of fish oils that are ingested orally. However, we can even use these topically on dry or irritated skin.
Many of our dogs are getting too much omega-6’s in their processed food diets which alters the ideal ratio of omega-3’s to omega-6’s and increases inflammation in the body. This does not mean that omega-6’s are bad, however, it does not optimize your pet’s health when the ratio is off.
Omega-3 fatty acids are helpful for improving the skin barrier to external pollens and irritants while also reducing inflammation.
If your dog has dry skin, they are probably not getting enough omega-3s and this is a simple area to adjust.
One of the good quality brands is Nordic Naturals. They also have a pet brand, which makes it easy to give the correct amount based on your pet’s weight.
You have to be careful with what brand of fish oil you use. There are many that are actually rancid, and you would never know because it’s in a capsule.
Many pet foods also contain omega-3 fatty acids. However, the EPA and DHA present can go rancid very quickly, so the food must be stored properly. If you’ve ever had a weird smell to a bag of dog food, you were probably smelling the rancid fish oil.
Therefore, the best option is to supplement with a quality product like Nordic Naturals at the time of feeding your dog to ensure it is fresh.
To get the supplements we recommend for allergies, head here: Natural Allergy Management
4) Essential Oils
Next up are essential oils which can do wonders for irritated skin.
Lavender, chamomile, and peppermint are very helpful at calming down red, inflamed skin.
Myrrh is also known for repairing damaged skin while also reduce pain if present due to its analgesic properties.
If you haven’t already checked out AnimalEO, you need to do so now! Their formula YeastyBeasty is incredible at healing hot spots and irritated skin.
With essential oils, you need to make sure you are using oils that are therapeutic grade, organic, and contain no artificial fragrances. Make sure you start by diffusing the oils in an open room to allow your dog to leave if they prefer.
If you are using essential oils topically, always test a small area to ensure they do not have a reaction to the oils – remember less is best!
And don’t forget to check out our top essential oils for healing your dog’s skin here: Top 5 Essential Oils To Soothe Your Dogs Skin
5) Real Food
As we discussed above with omega-3 fatty acids, kibble diets are high in carbohydrates and promote inflammatory states in our dog’s bodies.
Our dogs need real foods in their diets!
This can be as simple as adding some of the vegetables high in quercetin into the diet a few times a week or transitioning your dog onto a balanced, cooked diet or a raw diet.
Many dogs need a slow transition to a real food or raw diet, because their microbiome (good bacteria in the gut) needs to adjust to different foods.
Along with real food, we are finding that many dogs are missing certain minerals and vitamins in their diets, even with a balanced diet.
ParsleyPet is a company testing the hair for vitamin and mineral deficiencies. If there is an imbalance present, this may be the reason for your dog’s excessive itching! We can use real foods to improve the imbalances and get your dog right, without lots of drugs with side effects. Check them out here, and use the code Drkatie25 for $25 off your kit.
If you are looking for a few recipes to get your dog off of a kibble diet, get our Personalized Nutritional Plan. You’ll get two recipes formulated for your dog and support to help get them onto a diet to optimize their health.
And as a bonus, if your dog is still suffering from allergies, you’re going into the vet over and over again, trying more and more drugs with no results, reach out.
Chinese herbal medicine is incredible at resolving the root cause of the issue and getting your pup back into tip-top shape! If you’re not sure about Chinese medicine, use our telehealth option to find out more about how your dog can benefit today.
In conclusion, there are many natural remedies to help heal your pet’s itchy, dry skin without having to reach for conventional medications that can lead to unwanted side effects.
Send us a message with what’s worked best for you!
MORE NATURAL PET HEALTH INFORMATION
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*Disclaimer: This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace the advice of your own veterinarian or doctor. The information contained in thenaturalpetdoctor.com is strictly for educational purposes. Therefore, if you wish to apply ideas contained in thenaturalpetdoctor.com, you are taking full responsibility for your actions. Please consult your veterinarian for medical advice for your own pets. Dr. Katie Woodley cannot answer specific questions about your pet’s medical issues or make medical recommendations for your pet without first establishing a veterinarian-client-patient relationship.