It's frustrating to have an itch that won't go away. When your dog is scratching and can't get relief, a trip to the vet is warranted. Once the cause of your dog's itching is known, you'll know which homemade remedies you can use to treat your scratchy pup.
Give Him a Soak
If it's your dog's feet that are itching, experts noted in The Doctor's Book of Home Remedies for Dogs and Cats recommend a soak in Epsom salts. Put only enough cool water in the bottom of a tub to cover your dog's feet and pour in a few cups of Epsom salts, allowing them to dissolve. Stand your dog in the water and keep him there for at least five minutes but no longer than 10 minutes. Don't let your dog drink the water -- the salt can have a laxative effect. Remove him from the tub and dry his feet with a towel, patting gently and taking care not to rub so that his feet don't become irritated again.
Treating for Fleas
Fleas are a common cause of scratching in dogs. If your dog is afflicted with the troublesome little parasites, there are a handful of things you can do to get rid of the fleas and alleviate your dog's itching. First, wash your dog's bedding at least once a week. When you bathe your dog, put a couple of drops of eucalyptus oil in his shampoo to drive the fleas out and keep them away. And when feeding your dog, put some brewer's yeast and garlic in his food. Not much of either additive is necessary. Most dogs actually like the taste, but the fleas won't enjoy it at all.
Another helpful hint from The Doctors Book of Home Remedies for Dogs and Cats comes from Veterinarian Steven A. Melman, who encourages pet parents to supplement their dogs' diets with essential fatty acids and vitamins to calm itchy skin. Omega-3 fatty acids act as an anti-inflammatory as well as promote moisture in your dog's skin and give his coat a healthy shine. Vitamin supplements are also effective in alleviating itching and helping the skin to heal. Vitamin E is an anti-inflammatory and can be given internally or rubbed topically on problem areas. Vitamins A and C are good for your dog's immune system and will work to relieve allergies and assist the skin in healing. Check with your vet on dosages for your dog.
Oatmeal soothes itching in animals just as it does for people. Give your dog an oatmeal bath by either adding colloidal oatmeal to the bath water or putting regular oats in a sock and tying it over the bathtub faucet. As the water fills the tub, it will be strained through the oatmeal. In addition to the oatmeal, make an after-shampoo rinse for your dog with green or chamomile tea or with dried yellow dock herb. All three will be effective in cooling and soothing your dog's irritated skin.
- The Doctors Book of Home Remedies for Dogs and Cats; Editors of Prevention Magazine Health Books
- Dog Health Guide: How to Treat Dog Skin Itch
- Natural Dog Health Remedies: Natural Itch Relief for Dogs
Elle Di Jensen has been a writer and editor since 1990. She began working in the fitness industry in 1987, and her experience includes editing and publishing a workout manual. She has an extended family of pets, including special needs animals. Jensen attended Idaho and Boise State Universities. Her work has appeared in various print and online publications.