Dogs scratch, itch, and lick, just like us. You might realize that your dog is scratching excessively and wonder whether they have allergies.
We feel powerless seeing our pup scratch and itch all night long and even get scared when we realize they are developing hot spots and irritated skin.
Allergies are common in dogs, and before going to the vet, you should know that there are 21 natural remedies you can give your dog for allergies and itching.
Does my dog have allergies?
If your dog is itching, licking, scratching, or chewing relentlessly, they likely have allergies.
Allergies in dogs are often seasonal or diet-related. Therefore, it might be confusing for us to know where allergies are coming from.
Dog allergy symptoms
Read my list of dog allergy symptoms below to determine whether your dog has allergies. If they demonstrate one or more of the symptoms below, this is a good indication that they have allergies. However, consult a vet if you suspect it could be something else, such as dog mange.
Here are the typical allergy symptoms:
- Licking, itching, scratching, chewing on a specific skin area. It can be the face, ears, base of the tail, armpits, and abdomen.
- Hair loss
- Ear infections (especially if it happens more than once)
- Swelling of face, mouth, ears, or eyes
- Difficulty breathing
- Red, inflamed skin
How to help dog allergies
Since allergies in dogs are relatively common, there are many ways you can treat dog allergies at home without going to see your vet. However, if your dog's condition worsens despite your efforts, you may consider dog allergy medicine.
Keep in mind that medicine will bring unwanted side effects, so I usually recommend natural remedies.
Dog allergies are also referred to as dog skin allergies since they often result in skin irritation. Keep reading to find out which remedies work exceptionally well for skin irritation!
1. Aloe Vera
You can find Aloe Vera gel in most stores. However, be careful if you want to use the aloe vera leaf. The leaf contains saponins, which are laxatives and can make your dog sick. Instead, I recommend buying Aloe Vera gel. When using the gel, only use it on their skin and ensure they don't lick or ingest it.
My recommendation is to apply the gel right before going outside for a walk, as this will keep your dog busy, and they won't have time to lick the treated area. Then, after that, you can apply the gel twice a day.
Aloe is an excellent antibacterial, antifungal, and anti-inflammatory agent. This makes it a great candidate for treating irritated skin and hot spots. The second benefit is that aloe brings an immediate cooling effect which will help your dog relax.
2. Apple Cider Vinegar
While Aloe Vera gel is more of a healing balm, you can use Apple Cider Vinegar as a rinse before treating the area. For example, Apple Cider Vinegar is helpful to rinse your dog's paws and other affected areas such as your dog's ears.
I recommend you get a spray bottle at the store and make the following Apple Cider Vinegar mix:
- 50% Apple Cider Vinegar
- 50% Purified water - this can be from a bottle of water.
Since Apple Cider Vinegar is slightly acidic, you should not use it on open wounds or bites. An added benefit of using Apple Cider Vinegar on your dog is that it also acts as a mild flea repellant.
3. Coconut oil
Coconut oil is finding its way into everyone's pantries. You might already have some at home, and if not, most stores will carry it. Coconut oil brings many benefits to your dog. It contains lauric acid, which decreases yeast production.
Coconut oil is a great topic and supplement for healthy skin and allergy support. Similar to using Apple Cider Vinegar, you will find that it also reduces allergic reactions to fleas.
Coconut oil has antiviral and antibacterial properties that will reduce itchiness and scratching and boost your dog's immune system.
I recommend using it both as a topical and as a supplement: not only will you be able to treat your dog's irritation, but you will also prevent it from reoccurring.
For best results, I recommend pairing it with fish oil. You can use Coconut Oil as a topical in that case and Fish Oil as a supplement. It's an excellent combination for itching!
We happen to sell our very own Coconut Oil and our Wild Alaskan Salmon Oil Formula for Dogs. Of course, you are free to do your research on Google, but I thought I would bring it up if you wanted to check it out.
4. Hypoallergenic Shampoo
Regular bathing can help your dog eliminate some allergens like pollen and grass. In addition, many dog shampoos will have oatmeal or aloe vera in the ingredients, which can help further with irritated skin and allergies.
If your dog suffers from allergies, I recommend bathing your dog at least once or twice weekly until you notice an improvement. You can try to build your itchy-skin combo by spraying Apple Cider Vinegar on your dog first, then bathing them with Hypoallergenic Shampoo and finishing with Coconut Oil. On top of that, you can add a splash of Salmon Oil to their food for total peace of mind.
5. Vitamin E and fish oil combo
Vitamin E is a beneficial oil when added to irritated skin. The good news is that most fish oils on the market include Vitamin E in their ingredients since it is a natural preservative. Often, you will see Vitamin E under "Mixed Tocopherols."
Fish oil is beneficial to skin & coat and your dog's immune system. There is a variety of products on the market. Pay attention to the name of the fish, if it is even mentioned, and the condition of the fish. For instance, products that simply say "fish oil" or "omega oil." I recommend Wild-caught fish, such as Salmon and Pollock.
While you research this product on Google, you are also welcome to look at our Wild Alaskan Salmon Oil Formula, which is wild-caught and 3rd-party tested. It brings all the Omega 3, 6, and 9 your pet needs to fight off allergies and develop a healthy, shiny coat.
6. Oatmeal baths
I have the solution for you if you would like to try a different option than using a hypoallergenic shampoo while using a household staple. Use blended unflavored oatmeal following this recipe:
- 3 cups of blended unflavored oatmeal
- bathtub with lukewarm water
Let the oatmeal blend with the water, and have your dog stay in the bath for 10 to 20 minutes. If your pup can't stay still, you may spread peanut butter or other spreadable on the bathtub wall to keep them busy! This oatmeal bath will help alleviate the symptoms of dog allergies and also soften and brighten your dog's coat.
7. Immune-boosting mushrooms
Most people are unaware that allergies often stem from a weakened immune system. Therefore, we are tempted to try various topicals, creams, and shampoos to fix the issue when in reality, this issue needs fixing from the inside out.
With a more robust immune system, your dog can fight off allergies before they have time to develop and long before any scratching can happen.
Certain varieties of mushrooms are beneficial in boosting your dog's immune system. Here is a list:
- Turkey Tail Mushroom
- Agaricus Blazei Mushroom
- Shiitake Mushroom
- Reishi Mushroom
- Lion's Mane Mushroom
- ...and more!
When shopping for healthy mushrooms for your dog, you will want to pay attention to the overall blend and its quality. For instance, some blends may be USDA Certified Organic and specifically formulated for dogs. While you complete your research, you are welcome to also look at our USDA Certified Organic Mushroom Blend for dogs and cats. It is a tasty powder supplement you can sprinkle daily on your pet's food. However, since supplements work their magic from the inside, it takes longer to see positive results. You should give this solution 2-3 weeks on average before noticing an improvement in your dog's allergies.
8. Sugar-free plain yogurt
Some yeast infections and skin irritation can stem from your dog's digestive system. Remember how I said you should look for ways to help your dog with allergies from the inside out? You can try feeding small dogs one teaspoon of yogurt and big dogs two teaspoons once a week. Combine yogurt with other tips from this page for the best results.
9. Nose, skin, and paw balms
While you work on helping your dog with its allergies from the inside out, it is still helpful to heal and relieve their irritated skin. For example, if your dog licks his paws or nose a lot, this solution will benefit him. Also, if your dog develops hot spots on the abdomen, this will help.
You can find a variety of nose, skin, and paw balms on the market. I like to say that it is the equivalent of a lip moisturizer because it keeps us from licking our dry lips! And for dogs, it keeps them from licking their dry paws.
While researching these products, look for some common soothing ingredients such as Aloe Vera, Beeswax, Coconut Oil, and Shea Butter. Some balms are USDA Certified Organic, which I favor since this is a balm your dog will most likely try to lick. You are welcome to look at our USDA Certified Organic Balm for Dogs. It has all the benefits and ingredients mentioned above. It also brings organic collagen, which brings excellent skin benefits.
10. Oatmeal paste
If your dog has developed a hot spot and you would like a quick solution that you can make with a pantry staple, then this solution is for you.
Make an oatmeal paste with blended oatmeal and lukewarm water. Mix the quantities to make a spreadable paste: use less water initially, and if too thick, you can always add more.
Apply the paste to your dog's irritated area, cover with a warm towel and let it work its magic for 10 minutes.
You may repeat this process up to three times a day until you notice an improvement.
11. Baking soda
Here is another pantry staple. Using the same method as before with oatmeal: combine baking soda with water to make a thick paste, apply to the inflamed area and let it work for about 10-20 minutes. Rinse off thoroughly afterward.
If you are worried about this blend drying out your pup's skin, add some coconut oil to the mix.
12. Food additives
Spirulina is a healthy powder supplement for dogs
Most people only serve their pup kibble, which is fine. However, you may use this opportunity to complement your dog's diet with helpful additives such as lecithin granules, spirulina, kelp powder, nutritional yeast, salmon oil, or alfalfa. These all help with itchiness and provide nutritional benefits.
When mixing dry ingredients with kibble, I recommend adding some water. It will also make it more interesting for your dog!
13. Oatmeal in your dog's food
Oatmeal is an excellent food additive. Cook the oats with water until they have the desired texture, and don't add any sugar or milk. Mix that obtained oatmeal with your dog's food. The recommended amount is one tablespoon for every 20 pounds of body weight.
14. Changing diet
If your dog's allergies are year-round and not seasonal, they are likely to stem from your dog's diet. Look at your dog's current diet and see if it contains any omega-3 fatty acids and healthy carbohydrates. These help soothe and heal skin from the inside out. Adding some fish oil to your dog's kibble or even sweet potatoes can help support your dog's allergies and scratching.
15. Epsom salts
Magnesium-rich Epsom salts have anti-inflammatory properties that you can leverage to soothe your dog's irritated skin. For example, if your dog scratches himself to the point of wounding himself, the Epsom salts will cause any abscesses to open and drain, thus relieving pressure in the wound and allowing healing.
Create a soak for your dog by mixing Epsom salts with warm water and apply the soak on your dog for five to ten minutes, three times a day.
16. Licorice root
Licorice root is different from the licorice candy you eat. Licorice root is a form of cortisone and relieves skin irritation. It is a product you can find in health stores, and some pet supply stores will also carry licorice products formulated for dogs. If your pet is taking any medication, talk to your vet before using licorice root to prevent cross-reaction.
17. Chamomile and Herbal Tea Soaks
Chamomile, calendula, and green tea all have skin-soothing properties.
Make a soak using these tea bags and let the soak apply to your dog's skin for ten to twenty minutes.
If your dog is itchy all over, you can fill up a tub with warm water and let several tea bags soak for a few minutes. Then, remove the tea bags and bathe your dog for at least five minutes.
Quercetin is one of those compounds that give fruits and veggies their color. It is an antioxidant, antihistamine, and anti-inflammatory agent. Quercetin supports your dog's allergies and helps with itchiness by fighting inflammation.
It is a supplement commonly found in pill and capsule form. You may give your dog 5-10 mg per pound of bodyweight of Quercetin up to twice a day.
19. Bromelain and papain
Bromelain and papain are proteolytic enzymes, which means they break down protein. You usually find them in pineapples for bromelain and papayas for papain.
Since they help your dog absorb better Quercetin, they are often sold together. In addition, both bromelain and papain help relieve pain and inflammation.
Since thyme has antifungal properties, you may use it where yeast infections occur, such as between your dog's toes. To apply, simply make an infusion using dry or fresh thyme and soak your dog's paw in the infusion.
Chickweed is another natural remedy with anti-inflammatory properties. It is excellent for hot spots and itches. You will usually find chickweed in the gel form, which makes it easy to apply topically, and like Aloe Vera gel, it has a cooling effect that brings immediate relief to your dog.
My favorite combos to treat allergies and itching
We have covered the many different ways to help your dog with allergies and itching. However, you may still be confused about where to start and which solutions are most effective. So, let me offer my two favorite combinations of solutions based on your situation.
If your dog has dry paws, nose, elbows, or very localized hot spots
If your dog's allergy symptoms are mild and localized, I recommend you try a combination of these solutions:
- Coconut oil: use as a topical on any hot spot your dog has.
- Paw balm: use as a topical on your dog's paws, nose, and elbows.
- Salmon oil: use as a daily supplement to prevent this issue from happening again.
If your dog is itchy all over
If your dog has been itchy for a while and it is no longer affecting just one area of his body, I recommend the following:
- Apple Cider Vinegar rinse + Hypoallergenic Shampoo bath: once to twice a week.
- Immune support with a mushroom blend: this supplement will help boost your pup's immune system to fight off the allergies faster and prevent them from occurring again.
- Salmon oil: use as a daily supplement to prevent this issue from happening again. It will support your dog's hip & joints as an added benefit.
I have included links to the products we sell above, but you are always welcome to look for alternatives. These products have been specifically developed for dogs with allergy issues, which is why they are so effective.
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