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The Essentials

  • Itchy skin in dogs can be caused by a variety of factors — Your dog’s itchiness may be a result of flea allergies, seasonal allergies, or contact dermatitis from other environmental irritants. 
  • Early intervention is key — Canine skin allergy symptoms may vary from mild to severe, and early veterinary intervention is essential to treat more serious conditions.
  • There are a variety of vet-approved home remedies to try — Your veterinarian may recommend regulating indoor temperatures and humidity, administering salmon oil supplements, or switching to a specific dog shampoo.

A quick look at our top home remedies for dogs with itchy skin

  • Omega-3s
  • Dog shampoo
  • Herbal tea bath
  • Oatmeal
  • Moisturizing balm
  • Manuka honey
  • Dietary supplements
  • Dry paws
  • Limit indoor allergens
  • Humidifier
  • Flea and tick preventatives
  • DIY anti-itch spray

If your pup has skin allergies, they might have dry, itchy skin or other uncomfortable symptoms. So as a pet owner, it’s understandable that you want to do everything you can to soothe the discomfort.

That’s why we’ve put together this list of home remedies designed to help your dog’s allergies. Remember, these aren’t replacements for medical treatment provided by your vet. But, you can use this list to talk with your vet about the best ways to soothe the itch and help your dog feel better fast.

👉 Don’t try any of these remedies at home until your pup has received medical care and the approval of your vet!

What causes itchy skin in dogs?

Itchiness in dogs — medically known as pruritus — may be caused by flea allergies, seasonal allergies, or contact dermatitis from soaps and perfumes among other environmental and product irritants. Here are some of the most common causes of itchy skin in canines:

  • Seasonal allergies. Seasonal allergies might be to blame if your pup is itchy at certain times of the year — like the spring or fall. As the seasons change, different allergens are present. For example, if your dog is allergic to pollen you may see more itching in the spring when more flowers are in bloom.
  • Environmental irritants. There are many environmental irritants like dust mites, grass, mold, or chemicals in soaps and perfumes that can lead to contact dermatitis, a term for a dry and itchy skin reaction. Try to limit your dog’s exposure to any irritants. If it’s not possible to completely avoid them, consider protective gear like dog boots to keep their feet protected from anything on the ground when walking outside. Be sure to take them off as soon as your pet comes inside to avoid irritation.
  • Food sensitivities. While it may not seem obvious, food allergies or sensitivities are another cause of irritated skin in dogs. Compared to environmental allergies, food allergies are less common in canines. If you think your dog’s food might be to blame, talk to your vet to determine if you need to do an elimination diet . A surprisingly common food allergy for dogs is actually chicken, but that’s not the only possibility. To avoid accidental exposure to allergens, be sure to read ingredient labels.
  • Flea allergy dermatitis. If your dog has been bitten by fleas recently, they may show signs of flea allergy dermatitis. This is because dogs are actually allergic to flea bites which can make their skin itchy. If you see red spots or have confirmed the presence of fleas on your dog, this might be the cause.
  • Overbathing. Giving your dog too many baths or letting your dog soak for too long is another reason they may have dry itchy skin. Only bathe your dog every 2 weeks or so unless directed otherwise by your vet.
  • Breed-specific predispositions. Some breeds are predisposed to itchy medical conditions such as eczema. For example, dogs with wrinkled skin, such as Shar Pei, boxers, American bulldogs, Boston terriers, and pugs are among the most prone to eczema due to their many skin folds.

Allergic reactions to environmental irritants, food, or other products may appear as a pink/red rash between the toes.

Otitis externa, or inflammation of the external ear canal, is common in dogs with eczema or atopic dermatitis.

An allergic reaction to fleas, which can be caused by a single flea bite, appears as hair loss that can spread all over the body if left untreated.

12 remedies to help soothe your dog’s skin allergy symptoms

Your dog’s skin allergy symptoms may vary from mild to severe, and early veterinary intervention is essential to treat those more serious conditions. Below are 12 vet-approved ways you can help soothe canine itchiness and discomfort from home. 

1. Use salmon oil supplements to add omega-3 fatty acids to your dog’s diet

Salmon oil has many benefits — including keeping your dog’s skin and coat healthy. It’s a great source of omega-3 fatty acids which have anti-inflammatory properties. If your pup has skin allergies ff, try our favorite salmon oil-based supplement: Premium Care’s Omega Chews. If your dog has dandruff, adding an omega-3 fatty acid to their diet is one of the best ways to treat it. Note that it may take 4-6 weeks of use to see results.

2. Use dog shampoos with oatmeal, aloe vera, or chamomile

Your dog needs regular baths with warm water to stay clean. Use this opportunity to help soothe dry skin by using a formulated shampoo. Giving weekly baths can actually cause dry skin and itchiness, so try to bathe your dog at least 2 weeks apart.

Choose a pet shampoo that contains oatmeal, aloe vera, or chamomile as these ingredients help with itching. We’ve rounded up some of the best shampoos for dry itchy skin to help you find the right product for your dog’s allergies and skin type.

To prevent your dog from licking any ingredients, rinse them well after shampooing. Washing all the residue off can also relieve itchiness.

3. Consider an herbal tea bath

If your dog is itchy with patchy, dry skin, consider the anti-inflammatory properties of green, chamomile, or calendula tea to soothe their discomfort. Soak three to four tea bags of tea for five minutes in lukewarm water before placing your dog into the bathtub or, if you only want to target affected areas of smaller, itchy dry patches, steep one or two tea bags in hot water, let it cool and apply the water to your dog’s skin without rinsing.

👉 Note that chamomile, when ingested in large amounts for long periods of time, can lead to a range of medical problems, including gastrointestinal upset and bleeding issues. Aloe vera also contains a toxin called saponin that, when ingested, may cause severe vomiting, diarrhea, and low blood sugar.

4. Soothe your dog with oatmeal

Oatmeal has been known to soothe dry, itchy skin in dogs. Though many dog shampoos already contain oatmeal, you can create colloidal oatmeal or finely ground oats and mix them into skin care products like lotions and creams or even add them to bathwater.

5. Use a balm to moisturize patches of dry skin

Dry skin often causes itching, so when you combine that with allergy symptoms your dog may continue to scratch. This is why you should keep your dog’s skin hydrated. If your dog has only patches of dry skin or hot spots, try a dog balm for the affected areas, such as Natural Dog Company’s Skin Soother.  Avoid using coconut oil as a moisturizer as it may not be the best option for your dog. When coconut oil is used on hot spots, it can cause too much moisture and make hot spots worse.

Though some may use apple cider vinegar for a slew of home remedies, apple cider vinegar is not recommended on raw skin as it tends to be acidic and thus may cause discomfort and further irritation.

6. Try manuka honey to reduce inflammation

Manuka honey may reduce inflammation and help doggie allergies. This is one tasty treat you can share with your pup! Some researchers believe honey contains many types of pollens. If a dog eats the honey, it may help desensitize the dog to certain types of pollen. They may enjoy the sweet taste while their allergy symptoms improve. You can also use manuka honey to treat wounds , but your dog might try to lick it off, so supervise them when using it

7. Use dietary supplements to manage symptoms

If your dog is suffering from allergies, they may benefit from supplements that contain vitamin C, spirulina (another great source of omega-3s), bee pollen, and apple cider vinegar. Like any other dietary supplement you might offer your pup, don’t try one of our favorites without having a chat with your vet first. You shouldn’t combine some supplements and medications, so always make sure the supplement you want to offer will not have any interactions with any meds your dog may be on first.

8. Don’t forget to wipe your dog’s paws after outdoor time

Allergies caused by environmental irritants can lead to inflamed, itchy, pink or red rashes of dermatitis between your dog’s toes, especially during the spring and summer months when sweat combines with environmental irritants like ragweed, grasses, foxtails, or dust mites. Exposure to ice and snow in the colder months can also leave your pup’s paws dry, cracked, and itchy. 

Common environmental factors that can cause itchy paws

  • Grasses
  • Ragweed
  • Dust mites
  • Pollen
  • Mold
  • Fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides
  • Ice and snow

9. Remove indoor allergens

If your pup is suffering from allergies, check for culprits within the home. You may need to eliminate:

  • Dust
  • Cigarette smoke
  • Certain cleaning products
  • Chemical fragrances like those found in laundry detergent and scented candles

10. Invest in a humidifier and keep an eye on indoor temps

Extreme heat or cold can also trigger allergy symptoms in pets, so it’s important to maintain the temperature in your home. Another thing to consider is humidity levels. If the air in your home is too dry, it can cause your dog to have dry skin, which can intensify the itching. So invest in a humidifier if you need one. Plus, this can also benefit the humans in your home as well.

11. Keep up with flea and tick preventatives

Since dogs can be allergic to flea and tick bites, it’s important to prevent your dog from bug bites before they start. Chat with your vet about using monthly flea and tick preventatives, which typically come in a topical or an oral form.  It is rare for dogs to be allergic to both forms, so if you notice an allergic reaction to one form of preventative, it is unlikely they will react to the other. 

It’s up to you to make sure you’re administering these treatments as directed. Missed doses can cause the preventatives to not work, putting your pup at risk for bites and the issues that come with them.

12. DIY dog anti-itch spray

One way you can help your dog’s irritated, dry skin is to make a DIY anti-itch spray, either with colloidal oatmeal to soothe inflamed, hot skin; coconut oil for dry and itchy skin; or peppermint, chamomile, and green teas to cool raw, rot skin. You can keep a small spray bottle handy to apply throughout the day.

When should you call the vet?

While these remedies may help your dog feel better,  they’re not going to cure your dog’s skin allergies alone. Your vet may prescribe topical therapy , anti-itch medication (Apoquel , Cytopoint, or steroids), or medication to treat a present skin infection. Give your vet a call or set up an appointment if you encounter any of the following.

You’ve noticed new symptoms — If you’re seeing new symptoms or your dog is showing signs of allergies on other parts of their bodies, it’s a good idea to check in with your vet.

Your dog is getting worse even though you’re following the treatment plan exactly — If you’ve been following the treatment plan you made with your vet and your dog isn’t getting better, or is getting noticeably worse, call the vet ASAP. You may need to change the treatment plan to better help your pup.

You want to try something new or make a change to your dog’s treatment — If you want to try something new, like some of the products we’ve listed in this guide, make sure to check with your vet first. You can use the opportunity to update your vet on what you’re seeing and ask questions, like could there be side effects or how long will it take to see results?

Depending on the severity of your dog’s itchiness, it can take some time to resolve their symptoms. Be patient and work with your vet to come up with a treatment and management plan. Early intervention is key to preventing worsening symptoms.

Frequently asked questions

How can I soothe my dog’s itchy skin?

Depending on the culprits behind your dog’s itchy skin, your vet may recommend specific medications, ointments, balms, or other treatment options. To soothe your pup’s itchiness, you can also consult with your vet about home remedies such as herbal tea baths, salmon oil supplements, or temperature regulation inside your home.

Should you use coconut oil to soothe your dog’s skin?

It’s not recommended. While coconut oil is healing, it can cause too much moisture in hot (or itchy) spots — and do more harm than good. Ask your vet about a more effective moisturizing product that can help your dog.

How can I treat my dog’s skin allergy at home?

You can use shampoos and products to help keep your pup’s skin moisturized and free of allergens. Using an oatmeal bath or other product to help soothe itchy skin can help allergy symptoms. You can also try dietary supplements and remove allergens from your dog’s environment. Remember to check with your vet before using any new products on your dog.

What can I give my dog for itchy skin allergies?

Make sure your dog is getting some type of flea and tick preventative medication to ensure your dog isn’t reacting to bites from these pests. You can also give your dog an omega-3 supplement under the supervision of their vet.

What natural remedy can I give my dog for allergies?

Salmon oil (or omega-3 fatty acids), as well as manuka honey, may help with allergies in dogs. Before adding either of these to your dog’s diet, chat with your vet. Some dogs are allergic to fish (which can make the situation worse) and manuka honey is high in sugar. The sugars may be an issue if your dog is diabetic or overweight and shouldn’t have sugar.

What antihistamines are safe for dogs?

Benadryl and Zyrtec are two options that are safe, but according to our vet team, they are often ineffective. Ask your vet about medication that may be more effective in treating doggie allergies.