by Cate Burnette, RVT
Expensive clinic visits and high vet bills – not to mention all those costly allergy medications your vet can prescribe – may be the reason why you put off taking your itchy, allergic pooch to the doctor. The constant itching and scratching can lead to hair loss, trauma, and skin infections…and, as loving pet parents, we don’t want to see our fur babies suffer.
There are all-natural, inexpensive remedies available to you, some of them as close as your pantry or refrigerator.
Vitamin E will work on your dog’s dry skin just like it works on your wrinkles. I like to break open a capsule and rub the oil directly on my dog’s dry, itchy areas. Not only does the oil feel good to her, but also the massage action warms her muscles and helps the Vitamin E penetrate faster to problem areas.
Feeding your dog plain, low-fat yogurt keeps the good bacteria in your dog’s intestines in balance and helps keep yeast infections at bay. A little bit of yogurt in your pet’s diet is not only a healthy treat, but can boost the immune system so that skin and ear yeast infections can’t take hold. When my itchy dog was a puppy, I would give her a teaspoon of yogurt daily to help build immunity and prevent diarrhea.
Chamomile tea, chilled in the refrigerator, can alleviate any minor skin irritations when sprayed on sensitive, itchy spots. The chilled tea kills yeast and bacteria on the skin and relieves inflammation. When Stella the Puggle, my itchy dog, starts gnawing on her paws, I like to either spray them with the chamomile or just have her soak her paws in a small tub of the cold tea. Warm chamomile tea bags can soothe itchy, irritated eyes for both you and your dog.
Ground oatmeal, poured into a bath or a shampoo, is an age-old remedy for itching, inflamed skin. You can either use the baby oatmeal cereal found at your local grocery store or grind it yourself in your food processor or coffee grinder. Your dog will love sitting in a warm bath containing oatmeal because it brings immediate relief to irritated area.
Epsom salt soaks and heat packs can reduce the swelling of itchy paws and inflamed sores. A bath of warm water and Epsom salt also speeds up the healing time for any small, open sores, particularly when combined with veterinary antibiotics.
Evening primrose oil, an essential oil,has active anti-inflammatory and anti-itch properties. You can apply primrose oil directly to your dog’s skin to treat dry or itchy skin issues. Likewise, giving your dog evening primrose oil by mouth helps calm allergies and boosts the immune system – and it only takes a few drops on her food or in her water to do the trick.
If you would prefer to buy all-natural remedies instead of making them at home – and I must admit, sometimes it is much easier to go online and push a button than it is to find all the ingredients and actually put something together – then there are all-natural shampoos containing colloidal oatmeal available to help calm your dog’s itchy skin.
Additionally, there are targeted anti-itch sprays made with essential oils and herbs that can focus on specific itchy spots on your dog and bring immediate relief to irritation and inflammation.
Balms made with shea butter and other human grade ingredients specifically work on swollen, inflamed paws, and dry, cracked noses. They provide fast relief for hot spots and insect bites, and yet are non-toxic if your pup decides to lick them off.