There are so many different reasons for itching in dogs. Many a times, when you see your dog suffering from intense itching, your immediate reaction is to run to the store and quickly buy a chemical topical treatment to assist in relieving your pet’s discomfort. It is not typically a quick fix and ends up putting bandages on the underlying problem.
The first response is always to see your veterinarian. Getting feedback from a professional on how you can help improve the health of your pet’s skin is very important. Sometimes, several tests are recommended to help alleviate your pet’s reaction. However, note that your job is not yet complete. The action item does not stop after seeing your vet. Let’s start by looking at some of the reasons for itching in pets.
TABLE OF CONTENTA. Fundamental of the skin
- A general overview of the skin
- What happens when a skin is cracked?
- What are the several forms of inflammation?
- Poor Nutrition
- Dry Skin
- Pesticide residue
- Parasite or Flea allergy
- Anti-itch Oil
- Natural Flea and tick control strategy
- Digestive Probiotic
- Anti-itch Pet Shampoo or gentle natural shampoo
- Apple Cider Vinegar Rinse
- Neem and Baking Soda Rinse
- Lavender Oil
- Neem Oil
- Cedarwood Oil
- Babassu Oil
- Baobab Oil
- Olive Oil
- Vitamin E
- Aloe Vera
- Can Itching Treatment also help with hair loss?
- How effective is natural itching treatment compared to man-made itching care?
- What causes scabies in dogs and are they infectious? What are the natural care alternative?
- Are natural oils pore blocking leading to clogged skin susceptible to irritation?
- Is anti-itch oil only applicable to problem skin and can it be applied for general skin maintenance?
Fundamental of the skin
A general overview of the skin
The skin is the largest organ of the body. It helps regulate temperature, provides lining to cover the body tissues, a barrier against entry of bacteria and other harmful organism, chemical toxins, insulates against adverse conditions such as extreme cold or heat, provides sensory sensation and impulses for reaction, waterproof, and has a natural lubricating effect.
Potential Reasons for Your Dog's Itching Skin Condition
We love our dogs, we like to get them yummy delicious food. Unfortunately, many of the pet foods available can trigger allergic reactions. They may be subtle at first but eventually result in itching and severe skin problems. Even though preservation is necessary to keep food consumption safe, the kind of preservative used, the levels and additives present can add more complications to your pet skin issues. Your pet's behavior towards his/her skin can actually reveal some information about the health of your pet. Gut and digestive health is a very important factor that can certainly impact your pet's skin condition.
Yes, pets do not sweat. However, their skin requires a certain amount of care to avoid flakiness and resulting dryness that can lead to pet itching. The change in weather leaves pets prone to skin dryness. Pets are more susceptible to dry skin during cold season. This can lead to itching and even result in other secondary dog skin issues.Most pet’s are covered with hair and fur, and in some cases, you may not really see the dog skin problems until it becomes too late .
Prevention is always better. Making use of natural organic oils and pet moisturizer can help save you the headache that comes from intense itching. Note, that scratching constantly can lead to a secondary skin infection. Imagine, if you scratched and aggravated your skin constantly, it won’t heal quickly. This applies to pets as well.
Apart from the detrimental impact of toxic pesticide on pet’s skin and yours, many people do not realize that it can take some time to completely get rid of the chemical pesticide residue on your pet's skin. This is particularly common with harsh toxic pesticides. Some of these pesticides promise 8 to 9 months of instant relief with no further application. This indicates the binding nature of some of these chemicals to not only the skin but the hair or fur of your pet.
Parasites or flea allergy
Insect bites can activate itching conditions which causes skin damage and inflammation. This type of itch associated with insect bites is called "Pruriceptive Itch". 
Tick and flea are a big issue. It’s amazing that many believe that it’s only important to take care of your pet’s skin with flea and tick product only during warm seasons.
This is not the case. Tick and flea becomes less active during the cold season, but are still present. Flea pupae is known to survive in cold weathers and can be as long as 5 days.
Tick on the other hand can be present, just less active. Note each tick carries its own pathogen and some can transmit lyme diseases. A year round prevention is advised for pet’s skin care.
A quick look into some suggested solutions on how to stop Itchy skin to resolve your dog's skin issues
- Nutrition- Pay closer attention to what your pet is eating. Some people feed raw or homemade food that has provided excellent outcomes for their pet's overall health. While this may not be an option for many, ensure that you pay closer attention to the preservative and additives included in your pet’s food. Certain pet food has come under scrutiny because of the presence of toxic ingredients that has impacted the health of dogs. Not everything that is packaged right is good for your pet. Sometimes a dog can bounce back to health by simply changing their food.
- Anti-itch oil – Use anti-itch oil to care for your pet’s skin. Not only is this a fantastic choice to take care of dryness but it also helps with skin repair and improves your pet’s general skin health.
- All year prevention control - Use natural flea and tick control spray as an all year prevention remedy. This will ensure that you don’t take a chance on potential flea pupae or tick entry into your home.
- Adding digestive Probiotic- This will help aid in not only food digestion but will build natural nutrients that will prevent your pet from inflammation responses such as allergies.
- Use supplements- Supplements are necessary in your pet’s diet. Adding supplements such as fish oil, kelp or flaxseed seed to your pet’s food will help boost your pet’s health.
- Use mild and gentle balance natural shampoos- Using less harsh shampoo such as sulfate free and mild coconut derived ph balanced shampoo will not only moisturize your pet’s skin and coat but can improve your pet’s skin. Some shampoos contain essential oils that will provide added skin protection. These essentials will help maintain healthy skin and prevent itching or infest problems.
- Applying occasional apple cider vinegar rinse into your pet’s bath protocol- Note that vinegar acidity kills bacteria. You can make a 50/50 mixture of water and apple cider vinegar. Transfer to a spray bottle and apply to your pet’s skin.
- Brushing- If your dog has lots of hair or fur, do a more frequent brushing. Apply a non-fragrance detangler to ease brushing. If just medium hair, brushing with no topical application will do the job. Brushing will get rid of dead hair,typical skin allergens that may have accumulated which can be responsible for itching, infections due to fungal deposit.
- Neem leaf powder/Baking Soda Mixture-Prepare a paste using 25/25/50 mix of Neem leaf powder, baking soda and water. Apply all over pet’s skin and leave for at least 10mins before rinsing. Neem leaf is an exceptional anti-inflammatory powder which is great for both dog and cat’s skin health.
What are some of the amazing essential oils that helps with itching? Remember, never apply concentrated essential oils directly on a pet’s skin. Here is a breakdown of some of the individual natural oil ingredients remedies:
Lavender oil is a calming and soothing aroma-therapeutic oil. It is useful because it contains anti-bacterial, anti-septic and anti-inflammatory properties. It also aids in the reduction of redness and swelling. It’s a highly recommended oil which helps relieve itchy skin. It can be used in combination with other plant blends to make an even more effective anti-itching agent.
Neem oil is one of the most powerful oil for troubled skin. Particularly, it has strong anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory properties. It is useful in the relief of itchy skin, dry skin, eczema, scabies, burns, rashes, dandruff, insect bites and fungal skin infection. Neem oils comes from the seed of Azadirachta, a plant indigenous of the indian subcontinent. It contains a unique component of the fatty acids, palmitic acid, oleic and linoleic acid. It also has a diverse blend of natural 17 amino acids and about 4 natural tocopherol components from the neem seed.
Not all cedarwood oil are created equally.Cedarwood oil has a woodsy and uplifting aroma. Cedarwood has anti-fungal,anti-septic making it a great ingredient. It’s a known repellent but can also boost hair strength and skin surfaces.
This undiscovered gem is fantastic for skincare. It has a similar fat composition like the coconut oil. However, it is a lighter oil that does not have the potential greasy effect associated with coconut oil. Babassu oil is known to boost skin elasticity and firmness. It also does not clog pores. Babassu is identical to both coconut and palm kernel in terms of lauric acid content. In the traditional medicine of north brazil, babassu derived products are mainly used as anti-inflammatory agents. [3,4]
Baobab oil is an excellent moisturizer. It’s considered a superfruit because of the numerous beneficial ingredients. Baobab has a diverse content of natural vitamins. It absorbs easily into the skin with no greasy feel. Like babassu oil, it is a non-clogging oil which is also rich in omega fatty acid. It helps relieve itching, dryness,eczema and many skin conditions. Baobab is indigeneous to the African countries, Madagascar and Australia.
This is also another great moisturizer. Loaded with natural anti-oxidant, it helps revitalize the skin and provides additional skin moisturizing balance.
Vitamin E ( Tocopherol) helps to prevent free radical oxidation. It also helps provide a protective medium to boost immunity and provide anti-flammatory properties. As a result, it helps with itching especially when blending with other essential and carrier oils.
Aloe vera is another remedy for itchy skin. When you slice aloe vera, it has a sticky consistency. Apply to the affected area. Sometimes, aloe vera can be itchy on direct application to the skin for some people. Check a small area on the skin to check for reaction. If no reaction, use as often as possible. Aloe vera has been used for many decades and is known for its gentle properties on skin.
Common questions on Dog Itching
Q. Can Itching Treatment also help with hair loss?
A. Yes, itching treatment can help with hair loss, particularly when using natural treatment. Many plant based oils contain anti-bacterial, anti-septic, anti-fungal, and anti-inflammatory properties which helps heal problem skin surfaces enabling the regrowth of hair. Example of oils that can be used include neem oil, cedarwood oil and lemongrass oil.
Q. How effective is natural itching treatment compared to man-made itching care?
A. Natural oils provide a more effective way of caring for itchy skin because of the many nourishing, rejuvenating and medicinal beneficial attributes they possess. You can find a plant based oil with several healing renewing qualities but it is difficult to find a man-made itching product that replicates these multiple benefits as exhibit by a single plant.
Q. What causes scabies in dogs and are they infectious? What are the available natural care alternative?
A. Scabies is caused by infestation of mites which burrow beneath the skin. Scabies is highly contagious and is also transmittable to people who come in contact with infested pet.
For natural remedy, Neem oil and Tree tea oil are proven to treat scabies. Typical prescribed medicated treatment include permetrin, lindane, eurax,sulphur and ivermectin in a carrier petroleum based product. Unfortunately,some of these treatment contain harsh toxic chemicals even though they do kill mites. The itching can still persist for several weeks even after these prescribed medication application.
Neem oil is a phenomenal oil that cures scabies. It does not have a very pleasant smell but with the right mix, it is very manageable and works wonders on an inflamed skin. Neem leaf is also an excellent combination with neem oil for an excellent and healthy skin. Neem oil can be used in several items making neem body oil, neem balm, neem oil-tumeric-tree tea oil paste, peppermint and neem leaf soap with neem oil.They are all very effective application with no seen negative effects or side effect even after used in a study.
Two researches were done to demonstrate the effect of neem on scabies.
i) A study found that with 97% of cases were cured within 3-15 days of treatment after evaluating 814 people. In this case, neem was mixed with tumeric before it was applied. No toxic or negative side effect were observed. 
ii) A study was done in Egypt using neem extract in a shampoo. They observed hair loss, inflammation and wounds from the mite infestation prior to the study. Within 14 days, out of 10 dogs, 8 were completely cured and only a very small amount of mites were found in 2 dogs. No side effects or negative reaction were observed in the study.
Q. Are natural oils pore blocking leading to clogged skin susceptible to irritation?
A. Not all oils are pore blocking. Some oils provide a barrier of film which seals and fills up pores with little pockets of dead cell buildup. As a result of this, the lead to poor overall skin health. The choice of carrier skin oil for pet matters since it acts as a driving vehicle to transport medicinal compounded complexes. Essential oils contains a unique complex of natural compounds which can improve the skin. Lighter oil absorbs very nicely into the skin, provide moisture without clogging the skin and mitigate the probability of secondary skin issues.
Q. Is anti-itch oil only applicable to problem skin and can it be applied for general skin maintenance
A. Even though plant based oil have attributes like anti-fungal, anti-septic, anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory, they also possess excellent benefits like moisturizing, regenerating, nourishing. By application of these oils on a maintenance basis, you ensure the proper chemistry of the skin is maintained, help restore and even improve the health of skin-hair and coat Interface.
- Carl Potenzieri and Bradley J. Undem, "Basic Mechanisms of Itch", Divisionof Allergy and Clinical Immunology, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD 21224, USA,Clin Exp Allergy. 2012 January ; 42(1): 8 19. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3170689/pdf/nihms294337.pdf
- Diedhiou Djiibril, Faye Mamadou, vilarem Gerard, Mar-Diop Codou Geuye, Sock Oumar and Rigal Luc, “Physical characterisitcs, chemical composition and distribution of constituents of the Neem Seeds(Azidirachta Indica A juss) collected in Senegal,Revised July 18th2015, vol. 5(7),52-58, July 2015
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- Baatile M. Komane, Lize Vermaak, Guy P.P Kamatou, Beverly Summers, Alvaro M Viljoen, "Beauty in Baobab: a pilot study of the safety and efficacy of adansonia digitata seed oil, vol 27 no 1 curitaba Jan/feb 2017. www.scielo.br.
- Charles V, Charles Sx, " The use and efficacy of Azadirachta Indica ADR ('Neem') and Curcuma Longa ('Tumeric') in Scabies. A pilot Study. Trop Geogr Med.1992 Jan 44 (1-2):178-81
- Abdel-Ghaffar F, Al-Quraishy S, Sobhy H, Semmler M. "Neem seed extract shampoo, Wash Away Louse, an effective plant agent against sarcoptes scabiei mites infesting dogs in Egypt." Parasitol Res. 2008 Dec;104(1):145-8. doi: 10.1007/s00436-008-1172-4. Epub 2008 Sep 4.
- Dr Peter Abraham, "How the body works", Bright star publishing, 2007.