Every week, I see dogs presenting for treatment of itchy skin. In this beautiful part of the world we live in, it’s one of the most common problems for pets and their owners. Generally, these patients are itchy because of an allergy such as those to parasites, food, the environment and the complex atopic dermatitis. Regardless of the cause, you can use some of my best tips to help provide relief for your itchy dog.
It’s important to note that the treatment of itchy skin should be multi-faceted. There is rarely a silver bullet or single treatment that will give relief to itchy skin so we need to use a number of methods to find a regime that helps each individual dog. This approach should include grooming, parasite prevention and veterinary care. What everyone with an itchy dog can do from home is to make sure that their pet’s grooming and parasite prevention are on point.
So let’s start with bathing.
Dog’s get dirty! Regardless of the cause of your dog’s itchy skin, it is important to use the right products to clean them. The wrong shampoo will only make an itchy dog, itch more. I’ve seen people wash their dogs with all sorts of things from human shampoo right down to laundry powder (nope, I’m not kidding). Dogs have different skin to humans (and dirty laundry) so they need good quality shampoo to suit.
Dr Zoo’s Natural Dog Shampoo is perfect for dogs with itchy skin thanks to ingredients such as Aloe Vera and Colloidal Rice Bran. While it’s made for the treatment of dogs with itchy skin, I use it as an all-rounder because of its amazing coconut smell. I’d usually shampoo my guy every fortnight but if he had been into mischief in between that I’d use some of the Dr Zoo Dry Shampoo for dogs to soak up some of those sneaky odours and oils.
When applying a dry shampoo, get a nice soft grooming brush like the Bamboo Grooming Brush to comb it through and take the time to carefully inspect for irritated skin and new rashes. Early intervention is always best so get to know your dog’s skin to spot irritations early.
What’s next? Conditioner of course!
Conditioner? For dogs? Yup, its 2021 guys. Moisturise that skin and coat after a bath! Using a conditioner after bathing is even more important for itchy dogs. Conditioner helps to replace the oils that form a protective barrier against bacteria and the moisture prevents flaking which can break down the skins natural defences.
Dogs aren’t humans so make sure you use a good quality natural dog conditioner. The Dr Zoo dog conditioner for dry itchy skin uses edible oils so that, as with their other products, it’s totally safe if they lick it. Cover your pup in this after a bath and simply leave it in.
For dogs with a mild itch, the right shampoo and conditioner can be all it takes. If your dog has sensitive skin that remains red and itchy then it will need further treatment. Regular application of a topical treatment will often be of benefit when there’s a rash on the dog’s belly, armpits and groin. These are the areas more commonly affected by atopic dermatitis and environmental allergies. Thankfully the coat is thinner here which allows us to treat the rash with topical creams. There is a vast array of creams available and the choice can be overwhelming.
Dr Zoo’s sensitive cream for dogs has some of the same calming ingredients as their shampoo and it’s great to have natural products like this because you can use them every day if needed. Often, people find that their dog’s skin flares after contact with plants and grasses when they’re frolicking in the outdoors. If you can avoid these triggers, great! But if that’s not always possible, don’t wait until after the skin has flared up – get into the habit of applying a topical lotion before your dog goes out to play. Just make sure to spot test any new products for allergies as you would do for yourself.
Finally, a note on parasites.
No-one likes to admit that their pet has fleas. You’d be surprised how often I find a single flea or little particles of flea dirt (poop!) on a well-cared for pet and the owner had no idea. If you have an itchy dog, then make sure that you rule out this potential cause and be sure to treat every pet in the house. There are several highly effective flea treatments on the market. Although, the majority of these don’t include a mosquito repellent for dogs. If you’re constantly swatting away pesky mosquitos, then chances are that your pooch is too. The Dr Zoo bug spray for dogs spray is chemical free and safe to use in combination with a good flea prevention.
If you’ve got a dog with itchy, sensitive skin then you will know how frustrating it can be to manage. It’s hard work and as I said, requires the right combination of grooming, parasite prevention and veterinary care. There are a number of reasons dogs itch, so consult your vet for tailored advice and make sure that you are holding up your end of the bargain at home with parasite prevention and good quality skin care products.
Xo Dogtor Andy