Why is My Dog So Itchy?

on January 03, 2022

why is my dog so itchy

Itchy, flaky or irritated skin are common problems for dogs. While some breeds are more prone to skin issues, itchy skin can affect dogs of every breed, age and fur (or hair) type.

So first, some good news: skin issues for dogs are often treatable. The sooner you address your furball’s itchy skin, the more likely you are to treat it with simple solutions. What’s more, often you can treat dog itchy skin at home.

It’s important to note, however, if your dog has severe or persistent skin issues, you should consult a veterinarian. Also, if any itchy skin remedy causes increased irritation, discontinue use and consult with a veterinarian.

What Causes My Dog to Itch?

Itchy skin comes from an increase in histamines and other substances from the immune system. Why does your dog’s immune system cause this reaction? Just like the human immune system, allergies cause a stress response in dogs.

Dog allergens get inhaled or absorbed through the skin, through the respiratory tract or through the gastrointestinal tract. An allergen is not normally a toxic substance; they are often benign (not harmful) substances your dog’s body is reacting to as if it were a toxin.

Signs of allergies in dogs include more than just itchy skin (pruritus). They may also have signs of:

  • Inflammation
  • Redness (erythema)
  • Dry, flaky skin
  • Swelling (edema)
  • Irritation in the nose (rhinitis)
  • Asthma

Still, itching is the most common sign of allergies in dogs. Commonly affected areas include ears, face, feet, front legs and abdomen. Symptoms may occur year round, or only seasonally. Secondary reactions from itching can occur, which might include hair loss, infections and wounds. Wounds and infections in dogs should be treated by a veterinarian.

Veterinarians believe that dog allergies are the result of a natural predisposition. But you can still do something about your dog’s itchy skin!

Common Irritants for Dogs (and Their Skin)

So what is it that is bothering your dog? Sometimes, it’s difficult to pinpoint the cause of the irritation. However, there are some common irritants and allergens for dogs, which include:

  • Fleas, mites or other insects
  • Skin parasites
  • Pollens
  • Molds
  • Other environmental stressors, like pesticides used on grass
  • Perfumes
  • Petrochemicals
  • Food allergens

If your dog has seasonal skin irritation, it may be a sign of environmental allergies. If, on the other hand, your dog has year-round itchy skin, it might be from something else on the list.

Are There Home Remedies for Dog Itchy Skin?

Yes, if your dog has itchy skin, you can try some things at home.

First, look for potential environmental stressors. If your dog rolls in grass or if your environment has lots of pollen, you may try walking at a different time of day or a different route. If you use perfumes or petrochemicals in the home, you can try phasing those out.

Secondly, be sure to check for fleas, insects or parasites. Pets in the same household may share irritants. Your vet can do a skin swab to check for parasites.

You may also try switching to a hypoallergenic food, in case your dog has food allergies. Hypoallergenic foods also often contain extra omega fatty acids (good fats for itchy dog skin), B vitamins and antioxidants. Of course, always change foods gradually, to avoid gastrointestinal distress for your pet.

Beyond these simple changes, what can you do for your dog’s itchy skin? Try home remedies, including:

  • Oatmeal baths - Oatmeal moisturizes, helps replace good oils in the skin, and can be soothing for dogs with itchy skin.
  • Coconut oil - Coconut oil is naturally anti-inflammatory and can soothe irritation for some dogs.
  • Apple cider vinegar - ACV is also naturally anti-inflammatory. Diluted with about half water, it can help soothe flaky, itchy skin.
  • Doggy CBD - CBD for pets works both internally and externally. When taken internally, it can help reduce inflammation and restore homeostasis.

Note: do not apply topical remedies to broken skin. Apple cider vinegar, especially, would hurt your dog if applied to broken skin.

If your dog has persistent skin issues and these remedies don’t work, consider immunotherapy. Not all vets offer immunotherapy for dogs, but recent research indicates it may reduce allergic reaction in even severe cases.

Natural Remedies for Dogs with Itchy Skin

At Bad Dog CBD we specially formulated our best-selling Oatmeal Anti-itch CBD Dog Shampoo as a natural remedy for even some of the most persistent itchy skin. 

Dog shampoo for itchy skin combines the soothing and healing powers of two highly effective ingredients: colloidal oatmeal (2%) and CBD (500 mg per bottle). What’s more, ingredients like natural vegetable oils, such as coconut oil, boost the power of this dog shampoo. 

Combined with oral CBD, these remedies stand the best chance of naturally relieving your dog baby’s itchy skin.

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