Is your dog’s constant scratching driving you crazy or keeping you awake at night? Excessive itching and scratching is a surprisingly common problem in dogs. Thankfully, there are some great dog scratching home remedies to help your pooch feel more comfortable
It’s not easy to watch your sweet little canine friend itch all day and night long. It’s no surprise that constant itching can make them feel miserable. As their owner, it’s your responsibility to put them at ease and soothe the itch. But first, let’s take a look at what could be causing your dog’s intense scratching.
What causes dog scratching?
Robert Silver, DVM, founder of Boulder's Natural Animal: A Holistic Wellness Center, explains: “Dogs itch for many different reasons, and sometimes, for no reason, and it’s not uncommon for the scratching to seem worse at night when the house is quiet.”
“Every dog’s gotta scratch some time, and that’s completely normal. But when a dog is incessantly licking, scratching, biting and chewing to the point of wounding herself, then scratching becomes a symptom of an underlying pathology.”
If your pup is scratching every once in a while, there’s no need to worry. A little itch here and there is normal, just like it is for us. However, if your dog begins to scratch more than normal, itches excessively or appears uncomfortable, it could be a sign of something more than just a random itch.
The first to be suspicious of if your dog has an increased bout of scratching is fleas. If your pooch has fleas, you’ll probably be able to see little specks of black in their fur or on a flea comb. This is actually flea poop, so you'll need to get your pup treated for fleas ASAP.
But there are many other creepy crawlies which could cause dog scratching, including lice, parasites, ticks, and mites. It could even just be a simple insect bite from being outside in the wilderness.
Another common cause is allergies, which causes similar symptoms to that of allergies in humans - red eyes, a dripping nose and uncontrollable itchiness. The scratching could also be down to a simple case of dry skin, caused by the environment or your dog’s diet.
Dog scratching home remedies
If your dog has started scratching a little more than usual, there are a few home remedies to try out before (or until you can get to) the vet. You’ll be pleased to hear that you might already have some of these in your kitchen cupboard, so they make a great emergency treatment if your pup is feeling uncomfortable.
It’s important to note, however, that if the itching is accompanied by any other symptoms (sickness, fatigue, diarrhoea etc) you should skip the dog scratching home remedies and get straight to the vet for treatment.
Change their diet
Your dog’s excessive scratching could simply be down to a food allergy. And in that case, all you’ll need to do is switch up your dog’s diet. The canned and dry dog food you can pick up in the supermarket is sometimes to blame as it normally contains lots of chemicals, proteins and wheat.
Because cooked meat is a common culprit for dogs with allergens, they often respond well to a simple fish and sweet potato diet. Fish contains lots of omega-3 fatty acids, which can help to ease inflammation, and removing the allergens in commercial dog food might get rid of the allergy altogether.
Use olive oil
Everyone has olive oil in their house, right? Well, the good news is, that it doubles up as an incredible dog scratching home remedy, too! By adding 1 tablespoon of the good stuff, 2-3 times a week to your dog’s food, you’ll be loading them with antioxidants and vitamin E, which can help ease itching and condition their skin.
For instant relief, you can put some olive oil directly on the itchy area of your pup's skin. We’d recommend mixing 10 drops of olive oil into a cup of water and applying it to your the affected area with your hands or a soft brush. Olive oil is amazing for moisturising dry skin and soothing itches. The best part? It can be used as often as needed!
If your dog is really struggling with itchy skin and needs an immediate remedy, an oatmeal bath is one of the best dog scratching home remedies. Blend a cup of plain oatmeal into a fine powder. Next, pour and stir it into a warm bath or large bucket for your dog.
After a 15 minute soak, the itching skin should have cooled down and feel soothed. Afterwards, gently towel-dry your pooch - he will feel a lot happier!
Unsweetened plain or Greek yoghurt is loaded with good bacteria. This can help to ward off rashes, allergies, and yeast infections in dogs. Even if your dog isn’t suffering from itching, it’s a great preventative measure which will only boost their health.
Feed your dog just one teaspoon of yoghurt a week - or two if they’re a particularly large breed. Always make sure the yoghurt you pick is completely free of sugar and any other additives.
Apple cider vinegar
Apple cider vinegar has had rave reviews for human hair and skin, but it’s beneficial for dogs, too! Like all kinds of vinegar, ACV has strong antimicrobial and antiseptic properties which give it a kick-ass ability to kill some types of bacteria and microbes.
The easiest way to apply the vinegar is to fill a spray bottle with half water and half ACV. This will dilute it slightly, as it’s very acidic. Spray on the itchy area every day. If your dog has any open or wounded skin, avoid applying this remedy altogether until the wound has healed, as it can cause intense stinging.
Coconut oil is another product that has become a real hype in the world of beauty. And it's such good stuff, that it also makes an incredible dog scratching remedy. Pure coconut oil is bursting with fatty acids. These can penetrate the skin deeply to rehydrate and moisturise.
Plus, just like ACV, coconut oil has powerful, natural antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. Apply the oil to the affected area with your hands, massaging it in carefully as often as needed.
Try to opt for extra-virgin, pure coconut oil if you can. A big tub fo this amazing stuff will last you months. Plus, you can use it on your own skin and hair, too!
So, those were our top dog scratching home remedies - which one are you going to try first? We'd recommend stocking up on your favourite so you can help out your dog whenever his skin becomes itchy or irritated.
And remember, if the scratching is severe or doesn't improve, head to the vet as soon as you can.
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