Home Remedies for Scratching Dogs

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It is distressing and frustrating to see your dog constantly biting and scratching at itchy skin. He can really do himself some damage the traumatized skin can become infected and this can make the itching even worse. Severe skin itching and inflammation will need to be treated by your vet. Its important that you find out the reason for his itching so you can have it managed properly.

If your dog is only scratching a little and youd like to manage it at home, then here are some suggestions that can help.

  1. Stay on top of fleas. These are the most common cause of itching in dogs. You may not see any fleas on him but its still worth using a reliable insecticide. Some dogs have flea allergies and even one bite can make them itch for quite some time.
  2. Be careful with what you wash your dog with. Some shampoos are very drying and will strip the natural oils from his coat. Ideally, wash him as little as possible, and use a soap free shampoo. Oatmeal has been shown to ease itching in dogs so you may want to use an oatmeal based shampoo. Follow this with an oatmeal conditioner for longer lasting relief.
  3. A physical barrier can stop your dog doing too much damage to his skin. Soft booties can stop him licking and chewing between his toes. For itching on the body, you can use an Elizabethan collar. This is a large round collar that prevents him from biting at his skin; its commonly used by vets after surgery to stop dogs pulling at their sutures. The main disadvantage of this method is that it doesnt stop the itch. Your dog still feels miserable but he cant do anything about it. You shouldnt use a barrier on its own but its a handy way to stop your dog scratching while your other treatments are taking effect.
  4. Have a chat to your vet about using an antihistamine when the itching is severe. They will probably want you to come in for an examination but they may then be comfortable with recommending it for a few days from time to time when the itching is particularly severe. Not all dogs respond to antihistamines so it may not work on your four legged best friend. However, its safe so it might be worth a try.

Keep in mind that these home treatments should only be used for mild itching when your dogs skin isnt broken or too inflamed. If youre in any doubt, have your vet check his skin to make sure youre doing the right thing, and that no other treatment is needed.

Susan Wright DMV is a dog expert, a vet and a freelance writer. Susan is able to share her expanded knowledge by writing articles on a variety of topics including health conditions as they relate to dogs.

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