Apple Cider Vinegar
Sure, apple cider vinegar is a tasty ingredient in homemade salad dressings, but did you know it can be used to treat mild yeast infections on skin as well? Simply combine a mixture of 50-percent apple cider vinegar and 50-percent water in a clean spray bottle, and then spray your dogs itchy spots with the solution. If your dogs paws are irritated, you can use the mixture for a nice, relaxing paw soak for up to five minutes. Dont use apple cider vinegar on broken skin, however, as it can cause further irritation. There is not a lot of published research regarding efficacy or safety with the use of vinegar and dogs, and there is the potential for GI upset and enamel damage to teeth if they are fed vinegar, so feeding or adding vinegar to their water is not recommended.
Apple cider vinegar should never be used on raw skin or open wounds—it can be extremely painful for your dog and worsen symptoms. Undiluted apple cider vinegar should never be applied directly to your dogs skin—always dilute with water.
Fish oil, or omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to help improve coat heath and reduce body-wide inflammation. Omega 3 fatty acids are typically dosed via capsules or liquids, have minimal side effects (occasional pets may be more prone to gas or soft stool), and have published data supporting benefits for coat health, joint health, heart, kidney, and brain health.
In contrast to fish oil, while there is some anecdotal evidence for coconut oil use in dogs, there are no research studies backing up the claims of itch relief or improved skin health. Plus, coconut oil and other fatty foods may make some dogs prone to GI upset or pancreatitis if they lick it off their skin, or add unneeded extra calories to their diet.
If youve ever had a sunburn, you know all-natural aloe vera can be a lifesaver. Not only is aloe vera a powerful healing agent, but it can also reduce redness and draw uncomfortable heat away from the skin. You can apply aloe vera gel directly to your dogs affected spots. Most grocery and drugstores sell 100-percent natural aloe vera, or you can harvest it from an aloe vera plant if you have one at home.
Be sure to use an aloe vera gel that doesnt contain alcohol—otherwise, you risk burning your dogs skin and worsening their symptoms.
A pantry staple, baking soda can do much, much more than make your baked goods rise. When combined with water and blended into a thick paste, baking soda can dry out rashes on the skin, alleviate itching, and reduce redness and inflammation. All you have to do is combine 50-percent baking soda with 50-percent water and apply the paste to the itchy areas of your dogs skin. After about 20 minutes, rinse completely. For a more moisturizing blend, add a little bit of high-quality coconut oil to the mixture.
Chamomile and Green Tea Soaks
Chamomile and green teas are well-known for their soothing, anti-inflammatory effects in humans—but they work just as well for dogs, too. If your dog is dealing with hot, itchy patches of skin, try giving them a soothing soak in a chamomile or green tea bath.
Heres how to do it: Fill your bathtub or sink with lukewarm water and let several green-tea bags steep for three to five minutes. Then, remove the tea bags and let your dog soak in the mixture for at least five minutes. If you want to spot treat your dogs skin, steep a tea bag and let it cool completely before applying the tea directly to affected areas.
Oatmeal is non-toxic, so there is no need to worry if your pet licks it off. Alternately, you can purchase dog shampoo with oatmeal as an ingredient, Richter says. Bathing your pet with an oatmeal shampoo has the added benefit of removing potential allergic triggers, like pollen and mold spores, that get trapped in the fur. Lavender, Tea Tree, and Calendula Flower Oils
Feeding a fish and sweet potato diet might help your itchy dog, suggests Dr. Diane Richter, owner of Compassion Veterinary Hospital in Bradford, New Hampshire, who practices both Western and alternative medicines.
She cautions that tea tree oil can be toxic if ingested, so it’s important to watch your dog to make sure he doesn’t lick it off and always dilute it before use. Concentrated tea tree oil can be quite dangerous for dogs. If you’ve never used essential oils on your dog before, consider doing a patch test with a small, diluted drop to ensure he doesn’t have a bad reaction. Aloe Vera
“Dogs manifest itching in a variety of ways,” says Dr. Andrew Rosenberg, a board certified veterinary dermatologist and the medical director of Animal Dermatology & Allergy Specialists in White Plains, New York, and Riverdale, New Jersey. “A lot of times, we’ll just see dogs licking at their paws as their way of relieving itch.” Other not-so-common signs may include scooting, rolling around on the ground, and crawling on their bellies, he says.
Richter says it’s important to use an aloe vera lotion that doesn’t contain alcohol, because it can burn the skin. You can either buy aloe vera from a grocery store or drugstore, or harvest fresh gel at home if you have an aloe vera plant.