Author: Patricia Bratianu RN PhD RH-AHG
Watching your dog itch and scratch himself incessantly can be maddening for you and your dog. Let’s explore some of the reasons why he is so itchy and see what can be done to help him.
Sometimes itching is caused by an allergy. It could be an allergy to a food ingredient. Veterinarians recommend high quality foods which list meat as a primary ingredient. You may need to try a few different brands before you find the one that agrees with your pet. Try the various brands or make your own food over a period of a few weeks and see what happens.
Your dog may itch from allergies to non-food substances such as carpet, dog shampoo, or any number of environmental allergens. Try using Allergy Itch Ease homeopathic formula to calm and relieve your pet’s discomfort. Hot spots may be relieved with the following solution: Combine 1 pint of witch hazel with ¼ cup strong chamomile tea. Add 2 oz. olive oil and 1 tablespoon of tea tree oil in a spray bottle. Shake well. Apply as needed to hot spots. Be sure to label the bottle and keep it out of reach of children.
Fleas, mites and ticks cause itching. Incorporate a regular routine of medications, topical insecticides, or flea collars to prevent infestations. Prescription medications may be needed to eradicate scabies and other skin parasites. Check with your veterinarian.
Some pets itch for reasons that experts can't determine. Incorporate some herbs into your pet’s diet that are known to soothe skin irritations as well as support liver and immune health. Chamomile, horsetail and burdock are excellent choices. You may either purchase a commercial product for ease of administration or try to mix whole moistened herbs in with your pet’s food. Generally the commercial products work better because it is often difficult to get a therapeutic amount of an herb into your pet when using whole herbs.
Itching caused by a topical lesion such as ringworm or fungus may be reduced by applying calendula or chamomile ointment. Aloe gel from the fresh leaf of an aloe plant may also soothe some topical lesions. Do not use aloe on deep or puncture wounds, however.
Dry skin can cause pruritus, especially in hot dry climates or in homes with dry heat during the winter months. Try adding a teaspoon of oil to your pet’s food each day. Vegetable oil, such as olive is fine. For more anti-inflammatory effects, try evening primrose or borage seed oil.
Pets that bite and scratch at their rectal area may have internal worms and intestinal parasites. Adding raw garlic to your pet’s diet will help repel worms as well as fleas. A vermifuge should be administered if parasites are present.
Pets may suffer from bacterial skin infections. An antibiotic may be needed if an antiseptic solution is unable to resolve the issue. Consult your veterinarian.
Solving the mystery of why a pet is itching may be challenging. When you succeed, you will be your dog’s best friend.