There are numerous reasons why your doggy may be scratching and before looking to treat the issue it’s important to understand what you’re dealing with. The below 4 point list is not exhaustive but may help you assess what’s going on:

  • If dog is licking, biting or chewing at his paws excessively then suspect a yeast issue. Yeast most often affects paws, ears, groin, belly and armpits and occurs more in humid environments
  • If your dog is suffering with pimple-like spots, open sores or appears to be shaking his head a lot then you may have a skin infection on your hands
  • Dandruff could be to blame if your dog presents with large flakes on his fur, or if his fur is thinning over time
  • If itching is linked to warmer weather or is all year long then allergies could be what your dog is suffering with

Before rushing off to the vets I would recommend trying some holistic treatments at home. Combating health issues with natural foods, supplements and home-based care is, in my opinion, always preferable than pumping your pet up with pills and antibiotics from the vets.

Under or Over Bathing Your Dog

How often and with what you bath your dog is an important contributing factor to the overall health of their coat and skin. If you wash your dog too often you may be contributing to the problem as many shampoos (doggy or human) are chuck full of synthetic ingredients which strip your dog’s skin of natural oils which results in dry skin and … you guessed it: lots and lots of itching!

For dogs prone to dry skin I would suggest that bathing once a month is enough (unless they have rolled in stinky stinky stuff!) To this end I would add that if you have a dog who loves to roll in yukies, and you are combating a dry skin issue, then you could always pop a light weight jacket on him when going out for those walks which end up in a shower. No dodgy smells to deal with and no extra showers either – just more laundry loads,  no big deal 🙂

The best type of shampoo to use on dogs with dry skin is a natural one containing Colloidal Oatmeal. Bio Groom do a natural shampoo which is available on Amazon for just £6.49. If you can follow this up with moisturizing rinse then even better! Think of it as a conditioner treatment for your hair, it’s basically doing the same for your dog’s skin. Finally, give your dog a good brush daily to stimulate his body’s natural oils and help keep his skin in tip top condition (again, just like you would do for your own hair, or by body brushing before a shower).

Diet Deficiencies

For optimal coat and skin health, your dog needs essential fatty acids in their diet. Omega-3 (typically found in fish oil) is a terrific source of fatty acids and a lack of them is an extremely common cause for flaky dry skin. Good news though, because the cure is so simple! Simply try adding fish oil to your dogs diet (1 teaspoon per day). PetAmazed Best Salmon Fish Oil is easily available on Amazon and though not particularly cheap it’s worth it in my opinion. A word of warning: make sure to use the oil up within its shelf life, out of date oil should not be fed to your pets.

Why should you add oil to your dogs diet?

Many processed dog foods are heated to such high temperatures that any fatty acids they may contain will no longer be active (i.e. of any use!) once they make their way to your dogs bowl. Supplements work best when given over a long duration; and because it can take a few months to properly get into your pets system, and actually begin to work on supporting the skin and healing it, don’t give up if you don’t see results in a couple weeks.

Egg-tastic!

The mighty egg: in its tiny shell the egg is a great source of:

Vitamin A

Vitamin B12

Riboflavin

Folate

Iron

Fatty Acids

Selenium

Eggs help prevent itchy, dry and flaky skin and provide a thriving home for hair follicles, along with giving your dog’s coat a nice shine! The additional fat, protein and vitamins may be just what your dog needs in addition to your new bathing and oil supplement regime, so crack a raw egg into your dog’s food bowl a couple times a week (shell and all) and let him lap the goodness up. Warning: too much raw egg could cause an upset stomach so keep it limited to two or three times a week.

Benefits of Turmeric for Dogs

I can’t stop promoting the benefits of turmeric for dogs and therefore need to list it here as another option to try when looking to address the cause of the itchy flaky skin. If you are interested in giving your dog turmeric then check out my blog post on Golden Paste available here.

  1. Anti-inflammatory
  2. Antibacterial
  3. Protects the liver from toxins
  4. Assists in detox
  5. Promotes heart and liver health
  6. Reduces blood clots that can lead to strokes and heart attacks by thinning the blood
  7. Promotes digestive health
  8. It can help prevent and even treat cancer
  9. Offers allergy relief
  10. Helps prevent cataracts
  11. Has been used in the treatment of epilepsy
  12. Natural pain relief
  13. Natural treatment for diarrhea

Home-Made Itchy Dog Spray

You could also try making your own home-made ‘anti-itch’ spray. With just three ingredients, this DIY solution could not be easier! If you cannot get your hands on a dog rinse then you can spray this on them instead.

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My 6 Point Check List to Treat Your Dog’s Dry Skin

  1. Brush your dog daily
  2. Add essential fatty acid supplements to your dog’s diet (fish oil, coconut oil on its own or via Golden Paste)
  3. Bath only once a month where possible and use an oatmeal shampoo
  4. Finish your dog’s bath with a moisturizing rinse
  5. Make your own home-made itch spray
  6. Antihistamines (if severe)

If your dog’s coat is no better within a month to six weeks then the cause is probably not nutritional and you may want to investigate with your vet for another potential underlying problem.

Update: A holistic pet group recently recommended Dermacton as a great product for itchy dogs …

DERMACTON: STOPS ITCHING FAST  …. CALMS SORE SKIN  …. NATURAL & STEROID FREE!

I haven’t tried it on Grizzle myself but because of the rave reviews I thought it worth a mention here. Available from Aromesse Natural Healthcare (online) you are able to stock up anywhere in the world – UK shipping is free if you spend over £30. The range includes a cream a spray and a shampoo.

If you try it please let me know what you think in the comments below.