Free Economy Domestic Shipping on Orders $60+
Why Is My Dog Itching? Reasons Your Dog is Scratching and 7 Natural Ways to Help Them

Why Is My Dog Itching? Reasons Your Dog is Scratching and 7 Natural Ways to Help Them

Why Is My Dog Itching? Reasons Your Dog is Scratching and 7 Natural Ways to Help Them

It’s never fun watching your beloved pet scratch endlessly, trying to get that spot just out of reach (not to mention the hair shed that occurs in the process!).

So, what’s causing this itching? And how can we help?

Dogs itch for many reasons. As with any health condition, it’s always best to identify the cause of the problem first before giving them a treatment. While occasional scratching can be completely normal, more frequent scratching can indicate or lead to a condition that needs to be addressed before it gets worse.

Let’s dive into some of the most common reasons your dog is itching, what you can do to help, and when it’s time to consult their vet.

Why Do Dogs Itch?

It's natural for dogs to scratch occasionally, but frequent or intense itching (a condition known as pruritus) could be a sign of underlying issues. Identifying the root cause is crucial before seeking treatment. Here are some of the most common reasons for itching in dogs:

  • Infections
    Bacterial or fungal infections often lead to itching. Breeds with skin folds, such as Bulldogs and Shar-Peis, are particularly prone to this kind of itching.

  • Allergies
    Just like us humans, our pets can develop allergies to food, environmental elements (like pollen), or contact allergens (such as certain soaps or shampoos).

  • Parasites
    Fleas, ticks, and mites, oh my! These pests are notorious for causing severe itching in our pups. The tricky thing about these creatures is that they may be present, even if they are not visible.

  • Dry Skin
    Dogs can suffer from dry skin, particularly in harsh weather conditions (like cold winters or dry summers). Dry skin can also be caused by their diet or shampoo. The drier their skin, the worse their itching and flakiness.

  • Underlying Health Issues
    Sometimes, itching can indicate more serious health problems, such as hormonal imbalances, metabolic disorders, or autoimmune diseases. 

Diagnosing Your Dog's Itching

If your dog is itching persistently, it's time to consult with a veterinarian. They can perform a thorough examination and may conduct additional tests if necessary. This will help identify the underlying cause of the itching, and your vet can recommend an appropriate course of treatment. Here are some steps your vet might take:

  • Veterinary Examination
    A detailed discussion about your dog's history, diet, and lifestyle helps narrow down potential causes.

  • Skin Scraping Test
    Skin scraping tests help check for parasites. Your vet might take a skin sample for microscopic analysis to determine if pests are causing their itching.

  • Allergy Testing
    Is your pet suffering from an allergy to pollen or a certain food? We can identify specific allergens to avoid through blood or skin tests.

  • Flea Control
    Fleas are a common cause of canine itching. Regular flea prevention is essential, even if you can’t see any fleas.

  • Dietary Assessment
    Some dogs have food sensitivities that contribute to skin problems. An elimination diet is a simple way to determine what foods are causing their issues and create a healthier diet for their unique gut.

  • Skin Biopsy
    In certain cases, a biopsy may be necessary to identify underlying skin issues that are causing their itchy skin.

  • Environmental Assessment
    Your home environment, including cleaning agents and garden plants, might contain chemicals that irritate your dog’s skin. Assessing the products you use in and around your home can pinpoint potential causes of the itching so you can remove them.

  • E-collar (Elizabethan Collar)
    If your dog's itching is leading to excessive licking or biting, your vet may recommend an E-collar to prevent further self-trauma and allow the skin to heal.

  • Prescribed Medications
    For severe cases, your vet may suggest antihistamines, corticosteroids, or specialized shampoos. These medications help manage your pet’s itching and other symptoms, but won’t address the root cause. You may need to update their diet, living environment, and use supplements to restore their health and prevent itching.

How Diet Affects Your Dog’s Skin

As humans, we know that we are what we eat! When we eat a healthy, wholesome, well-balanced diet, we feel good. The same goes for our four-legged friends.

A well-balanced and nutritious diet is essential for maintaining your dog’s overall health – including the health of their skin and coat. Nutrients such as protein, vitamins (especially A and E), and minerals (such as zinc and omega-3 fatty acids) are particularly critical for good skin health.

Omega-3 fatty acids, commonly found in fish oil, are beneficial for skin health. They help reduce inflammation, improve the skin's barrier function, and keep their coat shiny. A lack of omega-3 fatty acids, on the other hand, can result in dry, flaky skin and a dull coat.

Protein is also necessary for the growth and repair of skin tissues. High-quality protein sources in your dog's diet, such as meat, fish, or eggs, contribute to healthy skin and coat. Diets should be altered to fit your pet’s breed, age, and activity.

Natural Ways to Help an Itchy Dog

When left untreated, itchy areas can lead to hot spots, which are inflamed skin areas from excessive licking or biting. Use these natural tips for healthy home pet care to reduce itching and avoid hot spots:

  1. Give them a soothing oatmeal bath.
    Oatmeal is known for its soothing properties and can be very effective in relieving itchiness. You can either use colloidal oatmeal or grind plain, unsweetened oatmeal into a fine powder. Add it to a warm bath and let your dog soak for 10-15 minutes. This can help calm inflamed skin and alleviate itching.

  2. Brush their coat with coconut oil.
    Rich in fatty acids, coconut oil can be applied topically to your dog's skin to moisturize and soothe irritation. Rub a small amount of coconut oil directly onto the itchy areas, or add a small amount to their diet to moisturize their skin from the inside out. Always use virgin, unrefined coconut oil and start with small amounts to ensure your dog doesn't have an adverse reaction.

  3. Brew chamomile tea for a calming spot treatment.
    Chamomile tea can calm irritated skin. Brew a strong chamomile or green tea, let it cool, and apply it to the affected areas with a spray bottle or a soft cloth. The anti-inflammatory properties of these teas can provide quick relief from itching and redness.

  4. Apple Cider Vinegar (Diluted)
    Need something a little stronger than chamomile tea? A solution of apple cider vinegar and water can help relieve itching and act as an antifungal and antibacterial agent. Mix equal parts of vinegar and water, and apply it to the itchy spots with a spray bottle or cloth. Avoid using it on open wounds or raw skin, as it can sting.

  5. Omega-3 Supplements
    Incorporating omega-3 fatty acids into your dog’s diet can improve skin health and reduce inflammation (which may also help with issues like arthritis). Fish oil supplements are a common source of omega-3s. Consult with your vet for the correct dosage and ensure the supplement is high quality and suitable for pets.

  6. Treat them with high-quality protein.
    Many dog treats out there are full of fillers and carbs with no nutritional value. Instead, treat your dogs with high-protein treats that not only support their energy levels and nutrient needs, but help repair their skin tissues. But before you resort to slices of deli turkey, consider this: many processed proteins are too high in sodium and other additives to be healthy for our pets. Instead, treat them with pure protein treats like Chicken Chips and Turkey Chips.

  7. Boost their immune system with Qi Booster Tincture.
    When your pet’s immune system is run down or weak, it can make them more susceptible to issues like itching and allergies. Qi Booster Tincture uses immune-boosting herbs to naturally restore their defense system and Qi (energy) so their skin heals and becomes more resistant to itching. 

FAQs About Dog Itching

Understanding our dog’s itching isn't always straightforward. Here are some answers to other frequently asked questions that may help you and your pet find a helpful solution to stop the itch:

  • How can I relieve my pet’s itching and discomfort?
    Always start by determining and addressing the underlying cause of the problem. In the meantime, you can maintain your dog’s health and skin with regular grooming, bathing, and a good healthy diet.

  • Does stress cause itching in dogs?
    Yes, stress can lead to itching in dogs. Stress and anxiety can manifest in various ways, and one of the ways dogs may respond to stress is by exhibiting behaviors like excessive scratching or itching. Stress-related itching can be linked to a variety of factors such as behavioral issues, compulsive disorders, or even environment changes.

  • How can I tell if my dog’s itching is serious?
    If the itching is persistent, leads to skin damage (like redness, sores, or hair loss), disrupts your dog's daily activities, or is accompanied by other symptoms (like lethargy, changes in appetite), it's time to consult a veterinarian to make sure there isn’t something more serious happening under the surface. 

Help Your Pet Live Itch-Free

It’s never easy to see your pet uncomfortable. But when it comes to itching, the good news is that there are many things you can do to restore their calm and comfort. By understanding the root causes of your dog's itching, using natural remedies to support them at home, and seeking appropriate care, you can help them enjoy life as their old, itch-free self again.

Shop our Qi Booster Tincture for allergy-related itching, high-quality protein treats, and other holistic wellness pet products today!