A dog is arguably the best pet ever. They are cute, fluffy, trainable, and can ultimately save your life. Dogs are the only pets that are always happy to see you. You can pet them, cuddle, groom, and even teach them funny little tricks. From my very biased point of view, since I’m a dog owner, dogs are pets the way God intended.
Every dog owner, including myself, agrees that our dogs are not just dogs, they are valued members of the family. So when you notice your mutt scratching incessantly, it is a matter of grave concern. Sure, dogs have a habit of scratching, licking and biting themselves. So, how do you know when to take action?
The medical term for excessive scratching as a result of persistent itching is Pruritus. Pruritus refers to a condition where your pup scratches, licks, bites, or chews her skin to the point of bruising. Pruritus has two causes; allergies and skin conditions.
Symptoms of Pruritus
- Incessant scratching on one spot or all over the pup’s body.
- Scratching, biting, and chewing to the point of bruising or bleeding.
- Excessive shedding.
- Red patches on the skin.
- White flakes/scales or dandruff on the dermis and coat.
- Persistent licking of the irritated areas.
Causes of Pruritus
Pests like fleas, ticks, mites, and lice may cause your pooch to itch. They embed in the skin and bite which irritates your pooch. Some of these pests are visible, like ticks, but some are too tiny to see, like fleas. Ringworms are also a likely cause of itching.
- Dry Skin
Dry skin is a breeze to diagnose. Just part the fur on your mutt and check for flakes, dandruff, dry, and scaly skin. If a slight touch of the skin results in bouts of spirited scratching, then your pup has the dry skin condition. Dry skin may be as a result of eating processed food or living in an area with low humidity.
An allergic reaction may cause Pruritus. Doggy may be reacting to any of the following things; pollen, mold, certain foods, mite dander, or even grass.
- Medical conditions
Several medical conditions cause irritated skin in dogs. These include:
- Pyoderma, a bacterial infection.
- Cushing’s Syndrome, a metabolic disorder caused by too much corticosteroid hormones.
- Alopecia, hair loss.
- Immunodeficiency disorders.
- Neoplasia, an abnormal growth or tumor.
Another different cause for itching is anxiety. When your doggy is anxious or bored, he may result in frequent biting and licking. This behavior is not a medical condition. Vets recommend spending a little more time with your pooch to reassure them of your love.
Remedies for Pruritus
There are many remedies for a dog’s itchy skin. Some of them are pharmaceutical while others are natural. Pharmaceutical remedies have loads of potent compounds and cost an arm and a leg. It is, therefore, better to employ natural cures for the wellbeing of your dog as well as your wallet. Below are the best home remedies for pruritus.
Epsom salt is a veterinary approved method for treating dry skin, sores, wounds, and general skin irritation. Adding a handful of Epsom salt to your poodle’s bath water soothes and heals abrasions without drying out the skin.
Ocean water works even better than Epson Salt. If you have access to ocean water, soak your cur in it for 10 minutes. It is excellent for treating irritation and dry, scaly skin.
Olive Oil/Coconut Oil
Adding oil to your canine’s diet will go a long way in revitalizing his dry, itchy skin. These oils are natural and healthy without exposing your mutt to obesity. Additionally, they are readily available at grocery stores and supermarkets. Applying a little olive or coconut oil to the affected areas will also bring relief to your doggy.
Yogurt is an exceptional source of calcium. It also contains digestive bacteria like Lactobacillus Acidophilus which have useful probiotic properties. Yogurt aids in the treatment of gastrointestinal issues like diarrhea, irritable bowel syndrome, constipation, and yeast infection. Yeast infection is notorious for causing incessant itching, hives, biting of the paws, alopecia, and dry, scaly skin.
Add a spoonful of real natural yogurt into your pup’s meal. Additionally, you can apply yogurt on the irritated areas. Yogurt provides relief from itching and reduces dry skin.
However, when purchasing yogurt for your furry friend, read the label. Make sure the yogurt is all natural and not flavored. There are loads of sugar in flavored yogurt. Also, avoid yogurt with xylitol or chocolate flavored yogurt. Xylitol and chocolate are poisonous to dogs.
Giving your pooch an oatmeal bath could be precisely what his skin needs. Oatmeal helps relieve itching and dry skin. Get a cup of oatmeal and blend it into a fine powder. Put the powder in doggy’s bath and let him soak in it for at least 15 minutes. Do not rinse. Comb his fur with an appropriately sized comb to get rid of debris and possible pests. Make sure that the oatmeal is without any additives like sugar and fruits.
Vinegar tends to dry out skin. Nonetheless, giving your canine a vinegar rinse is a great way to cure pest bites and itchy skin. Put equal parts of water and vinegar, preferably apple cider vinegar, in a spray bottle and spritz on the affected areas. Vinegar repels fleas and other pests. Do not spritz on open wounds because it may sting.
Baking powder provides relief from itching and other skin conditions. Mix equal parts of water and baking soda and apply to the irritated areas. Alternatively, add baking soda to your mutt’s bath water. This method is especially useful if he is itching all over the body.
Eucalyptus is jam-packed with anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, and antifungal properties. Applying eucalyptus water or essential oil to your mutt’s skin will relieve all dry skin conditions. Eucalyptus has a strong scent that keeps pests off.
Soak dried eucalyptus (2 tablespoons) in 1 liter of boiling water. Let it cool and sieve. Use the water to rinse your pooch then towel-dry him or allow him to air-dry.
If you choose to use eucalyptus essential oil, add a few drops of eucalyptus essential oil to regular dog shampoo and wash your dog as you normally would.
Many dog owners underestimate the benefits of routine grooming. Just brushing your furry friend’s coat every day can save you both a lot of trips to the vet. Grooming the coat removes debris and dead skin which leaves the mane feeling lighter. Frequent baths ensure that the cutis is not conducive for pests.
When washing your pooch, use minimal shampoo and rinse the mane thoroughly. We recommended that you add vinegar to the final rinse to remove all residue shampoo. Any shampoo left in the fur can cause itching and dandruff.
Take the time to learn the nutritional needs of your mutt. Often, we assume that dogs have the same dietary needs we do, and that is not accurate. Learn about the types of supplements your pup must take along with his food especially if his diet is processed dog food. Adding digestive supplements and oils like coconut oil to his food will boost his internal and external health.
Pets, and especially dogs, are a great addition to our lives. They reduce stress and offer companionship. They entertain us, protect us, and dedicate their loyalty to us. It is, therefore, our duty to take care of them. Aside from individual cases, dogs are low maintenance. If you try a little and pepper in some TLC, you and your dog will enjoy many years of happiness. After all, dogs are man’s best friend.