A brown puppy scratches his eye while lying on a rocky beach.

Home Remedies for Itchy Skin in Dogs

If your furry companion is constantly scratching and biting at their skin, they may be suffering from itchy skin. This common issue can cause discomfort and distress for your dog, but there are several home remedies you can try to alleviate their symptoms. In this article, the friendly folks at Under the Weather guide us as we explore the causes of itchy skin in dogs, the importance of a proper diet for skin health, natural topical treatments, soothing baths, and when it is necessary to consult a vet. By understanding the underlying factors contributing to your dog's itchy skin and implementing these remedies, you can help improve their overall comfort and well-being.

Understanding the Causes of Itchy Skin in Dogs

Itchy skin is a common problem that many dogs experience and it can be quite uncomfortable for them. There are several factors that can contribute to itchy skin in dogs, and understanding these causes is essential in providing your furry friend with the necessary care and relief.

Common Allergens Affecting Dogs

Allergies are one of the leading causes of itchy skin in dogs. Just like humans, dogs can be allergic to various substances, including pollen, dust mites, mold spores, and certain foods. These allergens can trigger an immune response in your dog's body, leading to itching, redness, and inflammation. Identifying and avoiding these allergens is essential in managing your dog's itchy skin.

If you suspect that your dog has allergies, it's important to consult with your veterinarian. They can help determine if your dog needs allergy testing to pinpoint the specific allergens that are causing the itching. Once the allergens are identified, your vet can recommend appropriate treatment options, such as allergy shots or medication, to help alleviate your dog's discomfort.

Skin Infections and Parasites

In addition to allergies, itchy skin can also result from skin infections or infestations of parasites such as fleas, ticks, and mites. These pesky invaders not only cause discomfort but can also lead to more serious health issues if left untreated.

Regularly inspecting your dog's skin and fur is crucial in detecting any signs of infection or parasite presence. Look out for redness, sores, hair loss, and excessive scratching. If you notice any of these symptoms, it's important to take immediate action. Your veterinarian can perform a thorough examination and prescribe the appropriate treatment, which may include medicated shampoos, topical ointments, or oral medications to eliminate the infection or parasites.

Dry Skin and Environmental Factors

Dry air, harsh weather conditions, and exposure to certain chemicals can strip your dog's skin of its natural oils, leading to dryness and itchiness. Just like humans, dogs can experience dry skin, especially during the winter months or in arid climates.

To help alleviate dry skin, consider providing a humidifier in your home to add moisture to the air. This can help prevent your dog's skin from becoming too dry. Additionally, using gentle grooming products that are specifically formulated for dogs can help maintain their skin's moisture levels. Avoiding excessive bathing is also important, as frequent bathing can strip away the natural oils that keep your dog's skin hydrated.

It's important to note that itchy skin in dogs can have various causes, and sometimes multiple factors can contribute to the problem. If your dog is experiencing persistent itching or if their skin condition worsens, it's best to consult with your veterinarian. They can provide a proper diagnosis and develop a comprehensive treatment plan to address your dog's specific needs.

The Importance of a Proper Diet for Skin Health

Having healthy skin is not only important for humans but also for our furry friends. Dogs, just like humans, can benefit greatly from a proper diet that supports their skin health. A balanced diet rich in essential nutrients is crucial for maintaining healthy skin in dogs.

One of the key nutrients that play a vital role in skin health is omega-3 fatty acids. These fatty acids help to reduce inflammation and promote a healthy skin barrier. They can be found in fish oil, flaxseed, and certain types of algae. Incorporating these sources of omega-3 fatty acids into your dog's diet can help improve their skin health.

Vitamin E is another important nutrient for skin health. It acts as an antioxidant, protecting the skin cells from damage caused by free radicals. Foods rich in vitamin E include nuts, seeds, and leafy green vegetables. Adding these foods to your dog's diet can provide them with the necessary vitamin E for healthy skin.

Zinc is also essential for maintaining healthy skin in dogs. It plays a crucial role in cell division and wound healing. Foods such as beef, chicken, and pumpkin seeds are excellent sources of zinc. Ensuring that your dog's diet includes these zinc-rich foods can support their skin health.

While it is important to provide your dog with a diet rich in these essential nutrients, consulting with your vet is crucial. They can assess your dog's specific needs and recommend the appropriate diet plan. In some cases, your vet may suggest incorporating supplements to ensure your dog is getting all the necessary nutrients for optimal skin health.

Nutrients Essential for a Healthy Skin

A balanced diet rich in essential nutrients is crucial for maintaining healthy skin in dogs. Omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin E, and zinc are particularly beneficial for supporting skin health. Omega-3 fatty acids help reduce inflammation and promote a healthy skin barrier. Vitamin E acts as an antioxidant, protecting the skin cells from damage. Zinc plays a crucial role in cell division and wound healing. Including these nutrients in your dog's diet can help improve their skin health.

Omega-3 fatty acids can be found in fish oil, flaxseed, and certain types of algae. Vitamin E-rich foods include nuts, seeds, and leafy green vegetables. Zinc-rich foods include beef, chicken, and pumpkin seeds. Consult with your vet to ensure your dog's diet includes these necessary nutrients and consider incorporating supplements if needed.

Foods to Avoid for Dogs with Itchy Skin

Itchy skin can be a common problem in dogs, and certain foods can trigger allergies or sensitivities, exacerbating the issue. If your dog is experiencing itchy skin, it is important to be mindful of their diet. Avoiding certain foods can help reduce the risk of triggering an allergic reaction.

One common culprit is wheat. Wheat allergies are relatively common in dogs and can cause skin irritation and itching. Soy and corn are also known allergens for some dogs. These ingredients are often found in lower-quality dog foods and can contribute to skin issues. Artificial additives, such as preservatives and food colorings, can also be problematic for dogs with sensitive skin.

Opting for high-quality dog food that is grain-free and contains limited ingredients can help reduce the risk of triggering an allergic reaction. Grain-free dog food eliminates wheat, corn, and soy, making it a suitable option for dogs with itchy skin. Limited-ingredient dog food focuses on simplicity, reducing the chances of exposure to potential allergens.

It is important to note that every dog is unique, and what works for one may not work for another. If you suspect that your dog's diet is contributing to their itchy skin, consult with your vet. They can help identify potential food triggers and recommend an appropriate diet plan to alleviate your dog's discomfort.

Natural Topical Treatments for Itchy Skin

Herbal Solutions and their Benefits

Natural herbs such as chamomile, calendula, and aloe vera have soothing properties that can alleviate itchiness and inflammation. These herbs can be used topically as a rinse or incorporated into homemade sprays or ointments. Always dilute herbal solutions appropriately and consult with your vet before using them.

Chamomile, known for its calming effects, has been used for centuries to treat various skin conditions. It contains compounds that can reduce redness and irritation, providing relief to itchy skin. Calendula, also known as marigold, has anti-inflammatory properties that can help soothe irritated skin. It is often used in natural remedies for eczema and dermatitis. Aloe vera, a succulent plant, is well-known for its cooling and moisturizing effects. It can help relieve itching and promote healing of the skin.

When using herbal solutions, it is important to dilute them properly to ensure their effectiveness and safety. Different herbs may require different dilution ratios, so it is crucial to follow the recommended guidelines. Consulting with your vet is essential, as they can provide guidance based on your dog's specific needs and any potential interactions with other medications.

Homemade Ointments and Balms

You can create homemade ointments and balms using ingredients like coconut oil, shea butter, and essential oils. These can provide moisturizing and soothing effects for your dog's itchy skin. Ensure that the ingredients you use are safe for dogs and consult with your vet for specific recommendations.

Coconut oil, with its antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties, can help reduce itching and irritation. It forms a protective barrier on the skin, locking in moisture and preventing further dryness. Shea butter, derived from the nuts of the shea tree, is rich in vitamins and fatty acids that nourish the skin. It can help relieve itching and promote healing. Essential oils, such as lavender and tea tree oil, have been used for their soothing and antiseptic properties. However, it is important to note that not all essential oils are safe for dogs, and proper dilution is crucial to avoid any adverse reactions.

When creating homemade ointments and balms, it is important to consider the specific needs of your dog's skin. Some dogs may have sensitivities or allergies to certain ingredients, so it is always best to consult with your vet before trying any new remedies. They can provide personalized recommendations based on your dog's condition and help you create a safe and effective topical treatment.

Soothing Baths for Itchy Skin Relief

Safe Ingredients for Dog Baths

When bathing your dog with itchy skin, choose gentle and hypoallergenic shampoos that contain soothing ingredients like oatmeal or aloe vera. These ingredients can help hydrate and calm irritated skin. Avoid using products with harsh chemicals or fragrances that may exacerbate the itching.

A Dalmatian scratches at its neck while sitting on a grassy lawn

Techniques for Bathing a Dog with Itchy Skin

Bathing your dog properly can significantly improve their itchy skin. Use lukewarm water and gently massage the shampoo into their coat, taking care to avoid excessive scrubbing or scratching. Rinse thoroughly to remove all traces of shampoo, as any residue can further irritate their skin. After the bath, pat your dog dry instead of vigorously toweling them off.

When to Consult a Vet for Itchy Skin

Recognizing Serious Skin Conditions

While home remedies can be effective for mild cases of itchy skin, certain situations require the expertise of a veterinarian. If your dog's itching persists or is accompanied by severe redness, swelling, hair loss, or open sores, it may indicate an underlying skin condition that needs professional attention. A vet can diagnose and prescribe appropriate treatments.

Professional Treatments for Persistent Itchiness

In cases where home remedies are not sufficient, a vet can recommend additional treatment options such as prescription medications, allergy shots, or specialized shampoos. These treatments target the root causes of your dog's itchy skin and provide relief from persistent symptoms.


By understanding the causes of itchy skin in dogs and implementing various home remedies, you can help alleviate your furry friend's discomfort. From identifying common allergens to providing a proper diet and using natural topical treatments and soothing baths, there are several steps you can take to improve your dog's skin health. However, it is important to consult a vet if the itching persists or worsens, as they can provide professional advice and administer appropriate treatments. With care and attention, you can help bring relief to your dog and restore their overall well-being.

> Shop Allergy Solutions < 

Every Sale Supports a Shelter Pet. Learn More. 

Created in Vermont. Learn More.

Written by: Min Lee

If you suspect your pet is sick, call your vet immediately. For health-related questions, always consult your veterinarian, as they have examined your pet, know the pet's health history, and can make the best recommendations for your pet.