Dogs can have itchy skin for a variety of reasons, including fleas, mites, allergies, lice, skin infections and whole-body illnesses, according to the Dog Breed Info Center. Excessive scratching of itchy skin can cause it to itch more, and can damage the skin and cause pain. Once you and your veterinarian have discovered the reason for your dog’s itchiness, a number of treatment options are available.
Giving your dog a bath in cool water can calm the itching temporarily while you treat the cause of the itching. Adding colloidal oatmeal to the water helps soothe your dog’s skin, according to the Dog Breed Info Center. After bathing the dog, pat him down gently with a towel, avoiding rubbing because this will intensify the itching.
Certain nutritional supplements can help reduce inflammation on a dog’s skin, relieving the itch. Essential fatty acids such as Omega 3 and fish oil work well on dogs, according to the Healthy Pet Journal. Other types of oil that can relieve itching in dogs include marine oil and evening primrose oil. These supplements can take several weeks to kick in, and so are often used for long-term itching caused by problems such as allergies, according to the Dog Breed Info Center.
Over-the-counter antihistamines such as diphenhydramine, clemastine and chlorpheniramine can relieve itching caused by short-term problems such as insect bites and infections, according to the Dog Breed Info Center. Do not give your dog an antihistamine without first clearing it with your veterinarian. Make sure to ask your vet the correct dosage for your dog and stick to it to avoid overdose or side effects.
You can stop itching caused by allergies by eliminating the cause of the allergic reaction from the dog’s diet, according to the Healthy Pet Journal. Determining the cause of the allergy can take time, and you might need to start your dog on a bland diet and gradually add different types of food until you see the allergic reaction appear. Often, dogs are allergic to ingredients that appear in store-bought dog food, such as grains, chemical preservatives and fillers. Feeding a raw or homemade diet can often stop the allergic reaction.
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Writing since 2009, Catherine Hiles is a British writer currently living Stateside. Her articles appear on websites covering topics in animal health and training, lifestyle and more. She has a Bachelor of Arts in communications from the University of Chester in the United Kingdom.