If your dog is scratching maniacally and you’ve already ruled out fleas and ticks as the issue, what could it be that is making your dog itch so much? There are a number of reasons dogs scratch like there’s no tomorrow, and once you can pinpoint the culprit, you can make efforts to alleviate your dog’s discomfort.
Where is your dog scratching? Are they constantly itching their groin (licking or biting), their feet, scratching their armpits, rubbing their rump against the carpet, trees, or your furniture? Are they rubbing their face and ears on your carpet? Does your dog get up and move constantly like they’re getting away from something or uncomfortable? If your dog is exhibiting this type of behavior, they possibly could have fleas or ticks, but likely you have already tried to remedy this condition and they are still biting and scratching or licking.
If your dog’s skin is hot to the touch in vital “hot spot” areas, like the rump, armpits, ears, or neck, you may have a dog with dry skin or allergies. For dry skin, you will notice the skin becoming oilier than usual, ample shedding, and flaking of skin when you brush your dog. For allergies, you have many culprits to consider- weeds or flowers in your yard, the type of food you are feeding your dog, or household cleaning supplies. An allergic dog will often acquire small bumps under the skin that will make you think they have ticks at first, and upon closer inspection it’s just raised skin. In both allergy and dry skin dogs who are itching, they often emit a foul odor in their fur, particularly a sour odor in or near their ears and on their neck. It’s a distinct sour odor accompanied by oily fur. Their skin may also be hot to the touch, or a darkish pink in color.
For dry skin dogs, try adding olive or salmon oil to their diet, and bathe your dog in cool water with a sensitive skin shampoo or baking soda (add a cup of uncooked oatmeal for moisturizing and relief) once a week to battle their dry skin which occurs most often in summer hot months. Brush your dog regularly to get rid of excess fur and flaking skin, and you can also apply a homemade skin relief spray of aloe and orange peel mixed with water and brushed into their fur for relief. Boil orange peels on the stove in a cup of water until half the water is gone, allow to cool, and pour the liquid (minus peels) into a spray bottle. Add 3 tablespoons of pure Aloe Vera to the mixture and fill the spray bottle with water. Shake well and apply to the dog’s coat. Brush your dog to make sure the mixture gets to the skin.
Aloe helps ease the burning itch and irritation of their skin, and the oils in the orange help to hydrate and moisturize their poor fur and coat the skin with healthy oils. Both these additives in the spray work to regenerate the skin and bring it back to health. If your dog has open sores from scratching, forgo the orange and just use Aloe spray. Make sure your dog is unable to lick at the spray as it will cause stomach upset.
For allergy dogs, try to think when your dog first started scratching. Was it when you switched dog food brands, or when you put in a new air freshener plug in in the home? Was it right after your garden started to bloom, or right after you changed detergents in your home? Food is the largest culprit, as dog foods with high amounts of corn gluten can cause an allergic reaction. Often, simply changing your dog’s food to a more organic or higher protein dog food that does not have corn or wheat gluten can alleviate your dog’s irritation. If your dog is sneezing or has a lot of mucous in the eyes or nose, your yard may be to blame. Inspect where your dog goes most often in the yard, and either move your dog’s potty area to a different area of the yard or quarantine off your garden or bushes that your dog frequents most.
You can treat an allergy dog much like a dry skin dog for temporary relief, with the cool baths and oil spray to relieve their itching, and adding healthy oils to your dog’s food for healthy skin and coat. However, eliminating the allergen is the best way to go.
If you are unsure of what is making your dog itch, take them to your vet for a physical and possibly an allergy test. Inform your vet of when your dog began itching, methods you’ve been using to alleviate itching, the type of flea meds you’ve been using, the food your dog eats, and whether or not your dog goes outside and the type of plants you have in your yard. With information and inspection, your vet can help you alleviate your dog’s irritation and pain and give your poor dog some relief.