Tips to Relieve Itchy Skin in Dogs

Itchy skin in dogs can sometimes be difficult to diagnose. Here's a guide to the different possibilities, as well as some natural remedies.
Tips to Relieve Itchy Skin in Dogs
Paloma de los Milagros

Written and verified by the biologist Paloma de los Milagros.

Last update: 21 December, 2022

Itchy skin in dogs is the second most common reason for veterinary consultation after gastrointestinal problems. The causes of excessive itching are usually related to the presence of parasites, but there may be other cutaneous or psychological foci responsible.

Scratching is normal behavior in animals and humans. However, when it occurs excessively due to prolonged or intense itching, it’s known as pruritus. The latter can trigger, in turn, skin lesions due to the continuous scratching of patients in their attempt to get some relief.

Before administering any treatment, the most responsible thing to do is to try to find the origin of itching in the dog. When this is linked to fleas or ticks, it’s usually easily detectable by the owners, but, if not, a general check-up by the specialist will be necessary.

Causes and treatments of itchy skin in dogs

If parasites are found, the treatment to eradicate the itching will need to start immediately. Good hygiene with frequent washing and brushing according to the requirements of the coat, together with pipettes, collars, or repellent sprays will be key in the whole process and will help to ensure the good health of the animal.

Itchy skin in dogs.

Likewise, if you find ticks on the dog, then you’ll need to remove them with the appropriate methods, and you should go to the vet if you aren’t confident about carrying it out yourself. If the vet confirms that there aren’t any parasites or ticks, then they’ll do further tests in an attempt to diagnose possible allergies or skin alterations.

Some of the factors that can trigger allergies are pollen, grass, shampoos or cosmetic care products, feed, or cleaning products. Therefore, when trying to discover the origin of itchy skin in dogs, it’s crucial to consider think about whether you’ve recently started using a new care product, or have introduced new food into their diet.

Adverse weather conditions can also contribute to excessive skin dryness and consequent flaking. In cases of lack of hydration, veterinarians will recommend specific moisturizers.

Not exposing your dog to sources of intense heat or cold, as well as having a proper diet, are basic but important guidelines in skin care. Yeast infection, which causes itching and bad body odor, or even excessive stress, can also be responsible for itching in dogs.

Natural remedies to alleviate itching in dogs

Although it’s best to visit the veterinarian, some natural alternatives can alleviate itching in pets. The use of essential oils can have antiseptic and antifungal benefits that control or reduce itchy skin in dogs.

Some oil.

These properties can help to reduce inflammation, which is why they’re often included in shampoos, lotions, and other skin care products. Among the most used medicinal plants are basil, chamomile, lavender, rosemary, and tea tree oil.

The application of medicinal plants should be carried out using infusions and a towel. Avoid leaving excess oil, and make sure that the skin receives enough air, as humidity could cause other problems. Oils are applied directly to the affected area, although care should be taken to ensure that the dog doesn’t ingest the components.

The use of these oils doesn’t usually harm the animal’s health, unless it’s allergic to their active ingredients. However, they can cause gastrointestinal disorders if accidentally ingested.

Other solutions include traditional apple cider vinegar, aloe vera or even salmon oil. All of them can be applied in controlled doses in case of mild itching, as long as there are no wounds or irritation from excessive scratching.

The purpose of these is to stop or alleviate itching in its early stages, but misuse can actually increase the symptoms of itching, and so you need to monitor the situation carefully.

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All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

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  • Silver, R. J. (2019). Bark. Vet Advice: Relief For Your Dog’s Itchy Skin. Recuperado de
  • Arellano, D. M., & Chang, D. E. (2017). Infusión de Manzanilla (Matricaria chamomilla) como tratamiento para la enfermedad periodontal canina. REDVET. Revista Electrónica de Veterinaria, 18(9), 1-21.

The contents of My Animals are written for informational purposes. They can't replace the diagnosis, advice, or treatment from a professional. In the case of any doubt, it's best to consult a trusted specialist.