Health Topics  >  Skin and Coat  > Itching and Scratching

How to treat an itchy dog with home remedies

Depending on the cause of your dog’s itchiness, your vet will determine the right treatment and recovery plan. Without knowing the source of the problem, any over the counter treatments or home remedies will only help alleviate the symptoms and not resolve the issue.

Because there are so many possible causes (with some of them being quite difficult to diagnose), treating itching can be an annoying and time consuming process. It is important to discuss with your veterinarian their treatment plan and your expectations.

Some things you can do to in the meantime to make your dog more comfortable include:

  • Add omega-3 to your dog’s diet, but not too much or it can cause diarrhea.
  • Give your dog a bath using cool water and an aloe and oatmeal shampoo. Generally speaking, you only want to bathe your dog once a month, as frequent bathing will strip their skin of oils and may make the itching worse.
  • Apply a cone/e-collar to prevent them from further damaging their skin from the licking, chewing or scratching.
  • Apply a gym sock (gently with first aid tape) to their back paw to help prevent nail trauma from scratching.
  • If you have any parasite prevention from your vet, apply it to cross fleas off the list.
  • Antihistamines can be effective for alleviating itching in some dogs (but contact your vet first for the correct dose).
There are many possible causes for a dog's itchiness, but any type of home remedy should be addressed with a vet first to ensure there are no harmful ingredients.

There is a wealth of information online about other home remedies for itchiness. While there may be anecdotal evidence that these work, most of these are not supported by peer reviewed studies.

It is understandable that you may want to try some of these, but be sure to do your research by asking a vet, who can help ensure it doesn’t contain any ingredients that may harm your dog.

For example, tea tree oil can be toxic when ingested, so make sure your dog is not licking themselves. You’ll also want to test the product by applying it to a small area on your dog to see if there’s a reaction. Avoid applying home remedies on any open sores or wounds. Finally, it’s important to recognize when it is time to book an appointment at your veterinary hospital.

Pro Tips: 

  • Unless otherwise instructed, don’t bathe your dog more than once a month.
  • Use a cone or socks to prevent your dog from causing self-trauma from scratching
  • Unless otherwise instructed, do not apply remedies to open wounds or sores.
  • If using a home remedy, check with your vet first and test it on a small area of your dog’s skin.