We discussed itchy skin in a previous article, and here at Barkin Bistro, we want to give you as much information as possible to help your pup. It is a big subject and can be caused by many things, from food to environmental issues. If you already have your pup on a fresh raw diet and are still having problems, here are some natural remedies you may find helpful.
Fish oil is known to be good for the skin, is full of omega 3, and can be added to your pup’s diet easily. The best omega 3 for dogs with itchy skin is sardine, and it is cheap and easy to find from the supermarket or your local fishmonger – adding a couple per day is a great way to help; tinned sardines in olive oil are also good but not as good as fresh! Some dogs prefer fresh, and some prefer tinned!
Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCTs) are isolated from coconut oil and digested differently from other fats. MCTs are easier to digest than LCTs (long-chain triglycerides. There are numerous benefits that MCT oil may offer, and here are a few:
- Skin health
- Brain health
- Improved digestion
- Antimicrobial and antibacterial
- Reduce inflammation
- Lower blood sugar levels
- Helps with seizures
- Reduce yeast in the body
Using a small amount of this oil to start with in your pup’s food or rubbing it into dry areas of the skin can help a great deal. If you have any concerns, it is always worth speaking to your holistic vet before adding MCT oil.
Very simple and easy to use, but do wear marigolds folks! Nettles can be picked and boiled to make a nettle tea and is often very effective at reducing itch in dogs. The common garden nettle is free too! Nettles can inhibit the key inflammatory occurrence of seasonal allergies and itching in dogs and reduces histamine activity. Think of it like a natural antihistamine. Try to pick the nettles where foxes have not been, as they may be a little smelly! Wash before using too!
Nettles can also be made into cubes by boiling them down with water until they become a thick green soup – freeze them into ice cubes and use them when necessary. Nettles are also full of
- Vitamins A, B complex, C, and K
Nettles can be dried and added to food and the seeds are also very effective. A food you can also share with your pup and makes wonderful soup for humans too!
Golden paste is made from Turmeric, an ancient Indian spice and medicinal herb that comes from the ginger family. The root stalks are bright yellow or orange and have an incredibly high concentration of curcuminoids that provide multiple health benefits for dogs.
Golden Paste combines turmeric, coconut oil, and ground black pepper and is a powerful anti-inflammatory. Check with your vet before giving to some pups as it has been known to clash with some drugs used for blood thinning and diabetes. As a warming spice, it may not be best for dogs who always want cold places to be.
Aloe Vera is a powerful plant that contains enzymes that help itchy dogs and can reduce inflammation. Aloe Vera barbadenis is the most common and safest plant to use. DO NOT USE IT ON PREGNANT OR LACTATING BITCHES.
Aloe Vera has the ability to heal inside and out as it is antiseptic, anti-inflammatory and a natural painkiller. Important to make sure the plant or juice you use is 100% organic and has NO added ingredients.
It also contains:
- 20 amino acids that include 8 of the essential amino acids needed for helping an itchy dog
- Vitamins A, C, E and B12
- Folic acid
Dogs can get itchy feet for several reasons. First of all, the salt on our roads by gritter lorries to reduce ice can irritate dogs’ feet and skin and even cause burning to their pads. The chemicals are toxic to dogs if they lick their feet. Road salt is a mixture of sodium chloride and grit which can cause dryness, cracking, and burns to your pup’s pads. Garden chemicals can irritate your pup’s feet too, so make sure you use natural products which will also help the bees survive.
It is a sad fact that we cannot avoid walking in fields that have been sprayed with chemicals, but try to make sure you avoid them at times of the year when fields are being sprayed. Wiping your pup down with a damp towel when home may help reduce any toxins being absorbed further into the skin.
Dogs who have itchy feet can often benefit from foot soaks made up of ACV (Apple Cider Vinegar) with The Mother (the bits that float around in it), some Himalayan salt, and a couple of drops of lavender oil, mixed with some boiled, cooled water. Making up a simple solution like this and keeping it by your door in a convenient container is an excellent way of removing any nasties your pup may pick up on their feet after a walk. Simply dunk their feet in the solution for a minute or so and dry them with a towel. Never use it on broken skin as it can be painful and cause irritation.
Calendula oil is a natural oil extracted from marigold flowers and is often used as a complementary treatment. This wonderful oil is also simple to use and can be very effective for an itchy pup. Calendula oil is also:
It simply is rubbed onto your pup’s skin where it looks sore and can also be used in teabag form by popping a couple of tea bags into hot water, allowing it to cool, and rub it in. We do find that the oil is easier to use and more effective.
Another very safe and natural remedy is lavender oil. Check your pup doesn’t mind the smell first as some dogs are not keen. It is rare to see, but some pups can have allergic reactions to lavender pollen and the essential oil – here are a few things to watch out for:
- Runny nose
- A rash where the oil was applied
- Red eyes
Use a good quality, organic if possible, lavender oil which may be diluted in a carrier oil, such as almond oil. Cheap oils should always be avoided as they are often full of other ingredients which may be harmful to your pup. Starting with a small amount for a dog with itchy skin can be very effective and lavender is another wonderful natural remedy that is an anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antihistamine, and a pain reliever, plus it is very effective for healing burns.
We would suggest 10 drops of lavender oil to 1 oz of almond oil as a starting base., mixed and made up in a dark bottle to ensure it stays fresh.
A great product even if your pup smells like your Granny’s knicker draw!
Green Tea and Chamomile Tea
Green tea and Chamomile teas are well known for their soothing properties in humans and can work well on our pups too. They both share anti-inflammatory effects and are easy to use.
The best way to use them is to put water into your bath or sink with between 2-5 green tea or chamomile tea bags. Let the tea bags steep for around 5 mins and make sure the water is not too hot. Pop your pup in the bath or sink and let the tea bags do their magic for 5 -10 minutes depending on how much your pup enjoys being bathed.
Green tea is also full of antioxidants to boost your pup’s immune system, plus it reduces inflammation in the liver and gastrointestinal tract which helps with gut health, and as we all know this is essential for good health.
We are all likely to have this in our pantry and this does a lot more than making your baked goods rise folks! Baking soda can help:
- Alleviate itching
- Reduce redness
- Relieve inflammation
- Dry rashes
To make a simple paste, combine 50% baking soda with 50% water. Apply the paste to any itchy areas of the skin for approximately 20 minutes. Rinse well when finished and if you need a little more moisturising you can add a little MCT or coconut oil.
As with all things, if you have any concerns about any of the above suggestions, it is always worth checking with your vet. We rarely hear any problems, but of course, as we know every dog is different and your pup comes first.