Skin irritation is one of the most common canine ailments. As a result, dogs develop habits of compulsive scratching, licking and chewing. These behaviors can be harmful and have a variety of causes. Like people, dogs fall victim to an array of specific skin conditions. There are natural remedies and methods to soothe itchy skin and prevent constant scratching.
Causes of Skin Irritation
Allergies, poor nutrition and infection are among the biggest causes of skin irritation in dogs. Household chemicals and trace elements in dust can cause inflammation. The source also might come from certain ingredients in dog food. Dogs catch infections through ingesting bacteria, yeast and fungus. Dry skin also can be the result of a hormonal imbalance. Anxiety and even boredom cause dogs to develop habits of licking and scratching.
Baking Soda Massage
Natural baking soda is an effective remedy to stop itching. Rub baking soda into the dog's coat, working it into the skin. Avoid the eyes and nose because contact might cause further irritation. Baking soda temporarily relieves itching and soothes skin. Use baking soda on the dog's bedding to further neutralize remaining irritants.
Properly cleansing the skin will help clear up irritation. Certain herbs and oils have antiseptic and soothing qualities. Tea tree oil clears allergens off the dog's coat. Apply tea tree oil with a spray-nozzle brush or spray directly on the skin to prevent itching. Tea tree oil must be reapplied every day so allergens don't reappear. Calendula extract is an antibacterial oil found at health food stores. Calendula has similar effects as tea tree oil and is used as an all-purpose skin healing agent.
Dry natural oats are used in skin care products to relieve irritation, itching and compulsive scratching. It's possible to make a natural oatmeal rub for dogs using uncooked rolled oats. Mix oats into a blender to create oatmeal powder. Apply the powder into the dog's fur and massage. Oatmeal also can be used in a warm bath.
Vitamins and Supplements
Skin and hair conditions are the primary signs of vitamin deficiency in dogs. Vitamin E has strong moisturizing properties for dry, flaky skin. Apply a few drops of Vitamin E to the irritated skin or comb through fur with a soft brush. Dogs also can ingest supplements by taking capsules with food. The widely used omega-3 in fish oil can be particularly beneficial for dry skin.
Based in Washington, D.C., Emma Moore is a writer and photographer. Her articles have appeared in various Chicago publications such as “Inside Booster” and “ChicagoNOW.” Moore earned a B.A. in political science from Loyola University Chicago.