Home Treatment for Skin Allergies in Dogs
Although it may seem an annoying habit, your dog’s constant scratching and licking may be more than meets the eye.
Such habits are often linked to different dog skin problems.
The same way people suffer from different skin disorders, dogs too have their skin problems. However, unlike people, they can’t tell you what’s wrong.
If you see your dog scratching frequently and licking his skin or fur, you need to look deeper into the problem to know what is causing the itch.
This way, you will be able to know the correct dog skin allergies treatment to administer.
Understanding the causes of allergic skin conditions in dogs will help know the best way to soothe her itchy skin so as to make her feel comfortable again.
Before we delve deep into dog skin infection home remedies, let’s discuss different skin conditions in dogs. As we have already said, once you identify the cause of your dog’s skin allergy, it will be easier to address the problem.
Although the right person to diagnose your dog’s skin condition and disorder is your veterinarian, you should be conversant with the common skin diseases in dogs.
Common Causes of Dog’s Skin Disorders
Just like humans, dogs have allergies too, and sometimes it shows on their skin.
Your dog can be intolerant or completely allergic to her food or even grooming products. Environment factors such as insect bites, dust, pollen, or mold can also be the cause of allergy.
It is, therefore, important to know the ingredients used to make your dog’s foods before switching formulas. This way, you will be in a better position to know the ones that have caused allergies to your dog.
Although this may seem obvious, often, dog owners forget to check under their dog’s coat to see if there is a presence of fleas, ticks, or lice. All these parasites have the potential to cause irritation and itchiness of your dog’s skin.
Flea bites are one of the common causes of skin rashes caused by parasites. The allergic reaction to flea bites is a result of a response to flea saliva called parasitic dermatitis. It causes excessive itching and hair loss.
Tick bites also trigger a similar reaction in dogs as fleas, and it can be hard to differentiate the two.
Fortunately, they have similar treatment. However, if the allergy persists even after treating your dog for ticks and fleas, check with your veterinarian to see if it has mite infestation.
Some dogs may develop sensitivity to lawn grasses, which may cause an itchy sensation.
When moisture gets trapped under its fur, it can lead to the development of skin lesions commonly known as “hot spots.” These are mainly common in dogs with a thick coating.
Environmental factors such as mold, mildew, pollen, and other airborne allergens can also cause itchiness, resulting in hair loss and painful spots. Cigarette smoke and strong perfume scents may cause allergies to your dog as well.
Dogs may get skin infection caused by fungal, yeast, or bacterial infection. A common cause is dermatophytes, a fungus commonly known as “ringworm.”
A common yeast infection called Malassezia Pachydermatis can also cause skin problems.
Although most of these infections are secondary to other underlying health problems, in most cases, vets will prescribe anti-fungal or antibiotics to address this form of skin disorder.
What Are the Common Symptoms of Skin Conditions in Dogs?
- Skin odor
- Scaly or flaky patches
- Thick patches of skin
- Excessively oily or dry skin
- Red patches, spots, or pimples
- Excessive licking, itching, or scratching
- Hair Loss
How to Help
After identifying the underlying cause of your dog’s skin problem, the next thing to do is to look for a remedy. In most cases, home treatment for skin allergies in dogs will be enough to solve the problem.
But as always, if the problem persists, seek the advice of your vet.
Home Remedies for Skin Allergies in Dogs
Feeding your dog a healthy, balanced diet should be the main weapon in your arsenal. Often, dog owners overlook the importance of nutrition in treating different dog skin conditions.
With the right dog food formula and nutrition, your dog will have healthy, smooth skin that can resist environmental allergens.
A dog’s diet plays a crucial role in skin health. However, due to genetics or eating similar foods for many months, most dogs can develop intolerance or food sensitivities.
Skin itches or lesions with red, inflamed ears are common signs of food allergies. A dull, shaggy coat or smelly skin are hallmarks of feeding on an unhealthy diet.
To help you fight seasoned skin infection, feed your dog a healthy dose of these nutrients on a regular basis:
Antioxidants. Antioxidants such as vitamin E will help boost the immune system of your canine friend, and also help protect your dog’s system from cellular oxidation and free radicals. Therefore, go for dog foods that have green leafy vegetables or coconut hemp as part of their ingredients
Essential fatty acids. To have well-nourished, healthy skin with a smooth, clean coat, your dog’s food needs to have high levels of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids. You can find them in fish oil. Fatty acids help prevent dryness, control inflammation, and keep your dog’s skin healthy.
High-quality protein. Proteins such as collagen and keratin act as the building blocks of skin, and thus helps in repairing damaged skin. With time, feed your dog unique protein sources such as duck or venison to reduce food allergy or intolerances to common protein sources,
Probiotics. These help to improve resistance to allergies quickly. Cultures such as Lactobacillus Bifidus and Lactobacillus acidophilus can be given to puppies to make their bodies resistant to most allergies.
Besides, they can be used to treat skin allergies in adult dogs. In addition to treating skin-related allergies, probiotics offer digestive benefits, and also provide an all-around health boost to puppies.
The best way to give your dog probiotics is to add it to every meal, as directed by the manufacturer.
Coconut oil. This is great for improving the health and texture of your dog’s coat — mix it with your dog’s food. You can opt for dog-specific brands, but human brands will also offer similar benefits. There are also dog’s treats with coconut oil as one of their ingredients.
Yogurt for dogs. Plain yogurt is healthy for your dog, thanks to the live probiotic organisms in it. These probiotics help to keep your dog’s digestive system in balance to help it digest food as required. When the digestive system is working optimally, cases of allergies will reduce significantly.
Filtered water. It is important to ensure your dog is drinking clean water- and plenty of it for that matter. Tap water may contain impurities that may be harmful to dogs and can cause skin inflammation. Therefore, give your canine friend filtered water to help reduce impurities entering its body.
In most cases, feeding your dog healthy, balanced foods will help it overcome allergies and also improve its skin health. Therefore, before diving into intensive treatment, try improving your dog’s diet and see if there will be changes.
Purchase pet food that contains the right combination of all essential nutrients for your dog. Excellent nutrition is even more important if your dog has skin disorders.
Use Grooming Products With Natural Ingredients
In most cases, pet grooming products that most people buy are the main culprits when it comes to causing skin allergies in dogs.
Dyes and ingredients in dog shampoos, conditioners, and other topical products may be potential allergens.
When choosing dog-specific products such as shampoos and conditioners, go for those that are free of preservatives and chemicals.
Natural oatmeal-based dog products are considered gentle for pets with allergies and sensitive skin.
Also, go for products that are labeled organic and also read reviews about products before buying them. Besides, there are known manufacturers that use natural, organic ingredients to make dog products.
The Process of Elimination
To treat allergic symptoms, you need to identify the allergen. Are your dog symptoms new, constant, or seasonal?
If they are new, eliminate any new products or foods that you have introduced to your dog lately since they could be the source of the allergy. If you notice the symptoms subsiding, you don’t need to use any other treatment method.
Constant allergies symptoms and seasonal allergies manifest themselves in certain months of the year. It is hard to use the process of elimination for constant and seasonal allergy symptoms.
This may necessitate you to hire veterinary services to check the cause of the allergy.
Check for Environmental Factors
Your dog may be sensitive to commonly used outdoor or household products. Grasses and plants in your outdoor environment can also cause allergies.
It may seem intensive and time-consuming, but controlling or eliminating environmental factors causing allergies to your dog is necessary.
You can start by eliminating new products. Maybe you have been applying a new pesticide on your flowers or herbicide on your lawn.
If you cannot eliminate these products, restrain your dog indoors to avoid coming into contact with these products. Household cleaners and laundry detergents can also be the cause of allergies.
Therefore, you can change such detergents and use natural-based household cleaners.
Besides, vacuum your house regularly to minimize indoor allergens, and also keep your lawn grass short. When heading outdoors, consider clothing your dog to protect most of its skin from coming into contact with outdoor allergens.
Natural Pest Control
Flea allergy dermatitis, as well as allergic reactions to other insects, can only be controlled and treated by first identifying the type of insect and eliminating them.
Bugs not only cause allergic reactions but can also spread diseases. Therefore, controlling them is a necessity.
If you are in high-insect areas, you can go for the readily available mosquito, tick, and flea preservatives, but keep in mind that they are not natural.
Herbs, essential oils, and spices can all be used to control pests and insects.
You may need to seek the advice of your vet to know the right formulation and holistic approach to pest and insects in your area, and how you can keep your dog free of allergies caused by insects.
Most of the times, you will find them recommending the application of essential oils on your dog’s coating or spraying a product made of specific herbs and spices to keep insects at bay.
Try Apple Cedar Vinegar
Organic and raw apple cedar vinegar can work for dogs that are suffering from allergies.
In case you notice hot spots and itchiness, mix water and apple cedar vinegar in a ratio of 50/50, and apply it to the affected parts of your dog.
You can put the solution in a spray bottle for easy application. The spray is effective at repelling fleas and ticks, which are common allergens in dogs.
You can also use the mixture to clean your dog ears. Due to the acidic nature of the mix, yeast can hardly thrive in the area where it is applied.
However, ensure that the acidity is not too strong for your dog as the suggested 50/50 mixture may not work for all dogs.
Chamomile and Green Tea Bath
These ingredients are well-known for their anti-inflammatory and soothing effects in human.
Similarly, it’s one of the most effective home remedies for dog skin allergies itching. If your dog has itchy patches on the skin, try giving them a chamomile and green tea bath to sooth them.
To do this: fill your sink with lukewarm water and put several tea bags inside for about 5 minutes. After that, remove them and let your pet soak in the mixture for a few minutes. You can also steep a tea bag in water then start applying directly to the affected spots.
Use Aloe Vera
If you have suffered a sunburn, you probably know that Aloe Vera can be a real lifesaver. Apart from enhancing healing, this herb reduces redness and draws uncomfortable heat from the skin.
If you want to treat the spots on your dog, you can apply Aloe Vera directly to the areas, but beware not to use a gel containing alcohol- otherwise, you may burn your dog’s skin further, and worsen his symptoms.
You can find Aloe Vera in most groceries and drug stores or harvest some from your back yard if you have them.
Colloidal Oatmeal Baths
Using a colloidal oatmeal bath is an effective way to soothe your dog’s itchy skin by fighting inflammation, and washing any allergens that could be trapped in the fur.
You can find a colloidal meal as pre-made where oat is ground into a powder then boiled to get colloidal, or you can use grind plain.
Oatmeal boasts anti-inflammatory properties that can ease itchiness, redness, and swelling for your dog. The good thing with oatmeal is its non-toxic nature; therefore, you don’t have to worry about what could happen if your dog licks some.
Baking Soda and Water
Most dog owners ask, “Will baking soda help my dog stop itching?
The simple answer to this is yes.
Baking soda can do more than just making your baked goods rise. When you combine it with water and then blend it into a thick paste, you can use it to dry out rashes on your dog skin.
The mixture is also effective at reducing inflammation and reducing redness.
Combine 50% baking soda with 50% water and apply the paste to dog skin. Don’t forget to rinse the areas after 20 minutes.
You can try adding a bit of high-quality coconut oil to the mixture for a moisturizing blend. If your dog has body wide itchiness, add some baking soda to his baths.
Now that we have discussed the home treatment for skin allergies in dogs let’s discuss how to keep your dog away from allergens.
How to Prevent Skin Allergies in Dogs
There are several things you can do to help prevent skin allergies in dogs;
Avoid walking your dog in pollen-filled areas
Pollen can cause allergic reactions to your dog, and thus you should keep your dog away from the pollen-filled environment. Pollen levels are typically high in the early morning hours and late afternoon.
Therefore, if possible, avoid walking your dog out during that time. Also, stay away from parks and fields that have plants that release pollen.
After outdoor activities, wipe your dog’s body and paws with a hypoallergenic fragrance-free grooming product or a moist cloth.
This will help remove most of the pollen and other allergens that might have stuck on your dog’s skin and fur without having to give her a full bath.
Focus more on the paws, as they have sensitive skin that is often affected by allergens.
You can soak your dog’s paws in apple cider vinegar to remove the allergens she may have collected in her runs.
Mix 1 part apple cider vinegar and 2 parts water.
Also, you can have your dog wear boots to keep her paws from coming into contact with irritants, and tracking them into your indoor environment.
Keep your indoor air clean
If you have an air conditioner, ensure that its air filters are effective by regularly changing them when they outlive their usefulness.
This way, you will cut down airborne allergens coming from your open windows and doors. Running a dehumidifier or air conditioner will help reduce moisture from the air, making it harder for mold to grow in your house.
Also, keep your basements, laundry rooms, and basements closed to prevent your dog from spending a lot of time in there.
Most of the times, these areas are damp, and thus susceptible to mold growth, which causes skin and respiratory allergies.
Besides vacuuming your house once a week, clean your rug and curtains regularly to keep dust and pollen at bay.
Keep dog’s bedding clean
Over time, your dog’s bedding can collect allergens.
It is, therefore, important to keep them clean by washing them in hot water every week.
Avoid washing them with heavily-scented detergents as they can cause allergies. Also, make sure the soft toys your dog plays with are washed regularly as well.
This might seem obvious, but if your dog has sensitive skin that is allergic to many environmental factors, frequent bathing and grooming will give her the much-needed comfort.
One of the most soothing ingredients you can use is oatmeal. It will not only help to relieve the itching, but also make your dog’s skin feel softer.
Depending on your dog’s susceptibility to environmental factors as well as the environment she spends most of her times in, you can consider bathing her once or twice a week.
Combing and brushing will also help straighten up her coat, and also help remove dead skin to give room for new growth. Besides, it helps to remove allergens that have stuck on the fur and skin.
So, When Should Your Call Your Vet?
The good news is that mild or occasional itching should not scare you.
In most cases, it isn’t a sign of a serious skin condition.
However, if your dog starts to show other symptoms such as hair loss, restlessness, depressed mood, or having prolonged severe itchiness that makes her break her skin when scratching, then you need to talk to your vet ASAP.
In that case, the vet can diagnose the cause of her chronic itchiness to ascertain the underlying problem and advise on the best treatment for the condition.
Depending on the cause, your vet can recommend an over-the-counter medication, prescription, or bathing with medicated products.
In this post I have highlighted some of the precautions you can take to keep skin allergies at bay.
You will find out that most of the above home remedies to dog’s skin itches and allergies as well as precaution measures I have discussed here, will be enough to curb your dog’s skin allergies.
Before diving into more intensive treatment, I recommend that you try the above home remedies and see if they work.
However, if even, after administering most of the above home remedies your dog doesn’t seem to improve, then you may need to discuss pharmaceutical approaches with your vet.