How to Treat Itchy Dog Skin

by Elle Smith, Demand Media

    You know how uncomfortable itchy skin can be; imagine having an itch under a thick layer of fur. Your dog is susceptible to numerous skin conditions, many of them evidenced by incessant scratching. How you treat your dog's skin depends on the severity and underlying cause.

    Items you will need

    • Colloidal oatmeal
    • Allergen-free food
    • Fish oil supplements
    • Flea prevention
    • Diphenhydramine HCL

    Step 1

    Treat your dog's itchy skin naturally by bathing her in colloidal oatmeal, which can be found in commercial over-the-counter products made for babies. Fill a tub with lukewarm water and place one-half packet of colloidal oatmeal in the tub. Place your dog inside the tub and let her sit for up to 10 minutes. The colloidal oatmeal stays suspended in the water to coat your dog's skin more effectively than regular oatmeal.

    Step 2

    Switch your dog's food if you suspect she has a food allergy. Look for symptoms such as non-seasonal itching, rubbing against furniture, chewing, hot spots and ongoing yeast infections in the ears. Most likely, your vet will put your dog on a trial elimination diet to rule out possible allergens, then reintroduce them into her diet to recreate the allergic reaction.

    Step 3

    Add fish oil supplements to your dog's diet. Fish oil caplets can reduce mild itchy, according to Catherine Metry, DVM, but can also cause diarrhea and add pounds to your dog if you give her too much. Speak with your vet about the dosage and supplement that might work best for your dog.

    Step 4

    Keep your dog away from environmental allergens, such as grasses, pollens and insect bites, which can cause contact dermatitis. The vet can prescribe corticosteroids, but avoidance and prevention is the best treatment.

    Step 5

    Examine your dog for fleas or other parasites. Even if you do not see the fleas themselves, keep an eye out for flea droppings which are often visible as tiny black specks in your dog's coat. Ask your vet for the best treatment, which may include either a topical or oral flea killer. Treat your home and yard as well.

    Step 6

    Treat insect bites with an over-the-counter antihistamine, such as Diphenhydramine HCL, under the supervision of your vet. This common medication is safe for dogs, according to the PetInfo website, and can reduce swelling and the resulting itch. Ask your vet if it is safe for your dog. Dosage is typically given at 1 mg per 1 pound of weight.

    About the Author

    Elle Smith has been an advertising professional for more than 25 years. Her work for ABC, CBS and Sony Pictures Television has appeared on radio, on air, in print and outdoors. In addition, Smith has more than 20 years experience in marketing, graphic arts, commercial photography and print production, and is a licensed real estate agent with property management certification in California.