Lays down, scratches. Stands up, chews her paw. Sits down, sighs and stares at you, waiting for you to do something that eases her discomfort.
It’s a familiar picture to anyone who’s dealt with an itchy dog. While there are many reasons a dog might itch—from allergies and autoimmune issues to a bug bite—the immediate problem at hand is that your dog can’t stop scratching and chewing, and is pretty much miserable. No one wants to see that.
With my own dog’s extensive skin problems, itching has pretty much been a way of life for several years. While dealing with the larger underlying issue has been key in cases like his, equally important is keeping him as comfortable as possible not only for comfort’s sake but to prevent injury he can easily inflict on himself with aggressive chewing or scratching.
To that end, here are 6 natural skin soothers that helped ease the itch for my dog.
Nature’s Specialties Wham Anti Itch Spray, which is antimicrobial and antifungal, has helped with my dog’s itching from allergic flareups and yeast overgrowth more than any other product we’ve tried—and I’m not exaggerating when I say I have a cabinet full of products. It contains tea tree oil, aloe vera, salicylic acid, vitamins A, D and E. I’m also a fan of that same company’s Aloe Veterinary Cream, which I have found useful for dry, itchy skin. You can also use fresh aloe vera topically if you know how to cut it to avoid using the yellowish aloe latex layer between the skin and the inner leaf juice (which is the part you do want to use). That latex portion can be very irritating and create a strong laxative effect when ingested. Though most commercial aloe products remove the latex, you can purchase a food grade one or avoid using whole leaf products just to make sure.
Make sure to get alcohol-free, vegetable glycerin-based witch hazel to avoid the isopropyl alcohol used in many witch hazel products. This type of alcohol is toxic when too much is ingested (and if your dog is anything like mine, he will definitely want to lick it). Put some of the witch hazel on a cotton round and place it on the itchy spot.
Apple Cider Vinegar
If you think your dog is itching as a result of yeast overgrowth, you can try a 50/50 solution of apple cider vinegar sprayed or dabbed on the itchy spot. Start with a small area first to make sure your dog doesn’t have a negative reaction. If the skin is too irritated or has an open wound, don’t use the mixture because it will sting.