Natural remedies for pet allergies and itching
This blog is about pet allergies and itchy skin conditions your dog and cat can be prone to. And what you can do, especially if you prefer natural remedies over medication. There are a few other more serious conditions that need a quick mention, if only to help eliminate them from what could be wrong with your itchy, scratchy dog or cat.
But for allergy symptoms and managing non-severe skin conditions, I am a convert to using natural pet products over medication. Because it worked for my dog. And just like human allergies, I don’t think there is a ‘cure’ as such, just good management of symptoms.
My Itchy Dog Story
A few years ago, my old friend the labrador and I moved to a beautiful coastal town in Northern Ireland. A city dog up to then, she’d never had an allergy or rash or anything beyond a quick morning ear scratch. Within a few months, she was scratching herself silly. And bald, and bleeding in patches.
Off we went to the vet. Tests didn’t show any underlying problem. Clearly I had a dog allergy on my hands. My instinct was that my dog’s scratching was because of the new environment. With new types of grasses and pollens which her skin wasn't familiar with. It was an environmental allergy. I really didn't want to put her on steroids, so I began the search for natural remedies. Unless there was a more serious underlying cause (there wasn’t, thankfully) - then a natural remedy could soothe her itchy skin, and not make her immune system more vulnerable to allergies.
New environments can cause allergic reactions in dogs
I did find some great natural products that eased the itchy skin. She hasn’t had itchy skin condition since that first year. Perhaps a lucky mix of using good natural dog sprays, creams and shampoos, and her skin getting used to the new environment. Sensitive dogs or cats will benefit from natural and organic ingredients, rather than harsh chemicals. Juts like us.
UK Indy Brand Natural Pet Products
K9 Organics is a UK based independent pet care brand. They use only organic and natural ingredients. And have a great range of dog and pet shampoos, treats, and conditioning sprays. They even feature products especially for puppies and older dogs. And they have an organic horse shampoo!
Isabella's Clearly is another small UK maker. Using essential oils, they have a great flea and tick repellent for cats and dogs. (Alongside an amazing skincare range for us humans!). Check our whole natural pet collection for more https://organics.com/collections/pets
Natural Ways To Manage Dog and Cat Skin Conditions and Allergies
Dog and cat skin conditions, itching and allergies are the most common cause for a vet visit. They are tricky things to remedy because it’s almost impossible to be certain about the trigger.
There are two key things to do.
First, identify and act as soon as you notice extra scratching. Left untreated, things can escalate into dog skin infections.
Second, decide on your treatment. A vet visit is a must. Itching may be an indicator of an underlying problem, so eliminate that first. Then, if it’s natural pet remedies you choose, be prepared to try a few different things. With pet allergy and skin conditions, some can be very well managed with an holistic approach with natural treatments and good grooming.
While pet allergies are hard to diagnose exactly, most fall into one of two categories - environmental or food allergies.
Types of dog and pet allergy.
Your vet will call it ATOPY. Your dog or cat reacts with grass, dust mites or pollen, for example. A sort of dog dermatitis. Commonly, you’ll notice the face, chest, belly or feet and legs are the problem areas, as these are mostly in contact with ‘environmental’ triggers. With Atopy, the good news is natural remedies can work as an ongoing defese after your vet has checked for other issues first.
With my dog, I linked her new fondness for scratching down to her being in a new environment - with new types of grasses and pollens which her skin wasn't familiar with.
Your dog or cat could be reacting to something in their diet that’s causing itchy skin. First, have you changed their diet? If so, eliminate whatever is new. Or maybe they’ve developed an allergy to something - maybe because they’re getting older, or their gut is less tolerant. Older dogs and cats can become intolerant to certain ingredients as their gut and digestive system changes. In which case, just like humans, it’s a slow process of trial and elimination. If you stick with it, it can pay off.
One thing to try is slowly move your dog or cat onto natural and organic grade foods. These have less chemical and preservative ingredients. If your pet is a sensitive soul, he’s much less likely to have a skin reaction.
Other dog and pet skin conditions
There are other more severe pet skin conditions to watch out for. Natural remedies can help manage and maybe even prevent these, but most will need a vet’s intervention. Always visit your vet first. Natural pet remedies can help manage and soothe pet skin conditions and allergies, but certain conditions will need medication.
The hair follicles become infected when minor skin conditions are left and get worse, settling into the follicles. It can cause severe skin irritation for your pet and will need vet treatment and antibiotics.
Mostly affects puppies and young dogs as blisters or crusting blisters on the belly. Definitely a vet visit as the dog is young and you don't want more serious skin conditions to develop that might become an ongoing problem.
Despite the name, it's a very itchy fungal infection easily identified by reddish ring shaped patches on the skin. It’s easy to treat with topical creams. But highly infectious! So keep Fido away from other animals until it's treated - and wash all bedding and your own hands when treating the areas. Generally keeping your pet’s skin in good health will help them fight off any bugs. Good natural shampoos and spray conditioners all help.
Again, fairly easy to treat with topical cream from the vet. (The animal version of Canesten!). It’s found in the warm damper skin areas of your dog or cat. So ear canals, groin, between the legs and chest or belly, or perineum area. Try to avoid it by always drying off your dog’s coat if wet, paying attention to these areas. And keep your dog’s skin in good condition with good conditioners and omega 3 & 6 oils in his diet.
Ticks and Fleas
Little biters! Flea saliva infects the bloodstream causing severe itching. Ticks can cause the same problem, but they need removing completely from the dogs skin by prising the entire tick body out. Vets will prescribe regular flea and tick treatment (every 3 - 6 months) and it’s important to keep this up to date, But there are really effective natural flea and tick repellants in sprays, creams and shampoos that will deter the little biters from your dog or cat. They use essential oils that fleas find disgusting (but happily, usually smell pretty good to us!)
This is severe and caused by mites. The main culprit is Sarcoptic mange caused by sarcoptes mites. Horribly itchy condition usually first seen on the dog’s ears. Symptoms of mange include hair loss on the face and legs, along with severe itching and redness around the affected areas.
Because it’s severe, get vet treatment quickly to soothe your dog's itchy skin. Good flea and tick preventions will help prevent mange too, but you can help holistically manage your dog's skin to stay healthy and mite free with natural dog skin sprays and shampoos.
This itchy, flaky dog skin condition is not as severe but just as irritating for your dog as it is for us humans. But it’s one condition you can get natural with. There are some great natural remedies that you can and should use as part of your pets ongoing grooming routine. Think of it as good natural dog skin care!
I’m also a believer in good fatty acids and Omega 3 and 6 for generally helping dog and cat skin conditions (and human ones!). My girl gets a tin of mackerel or sardines twice a week which really helps dry skin in dogs and gives her coat and amazing shine. Good quality natural dog treats and food will include fish oils or omega 3 in the ingredients.
This is an underlying and serious condition. So if dog or cat skin conditions aren’t healing with medicine or natural remedies, it's important to check for lupus - an auto-immmune disease.
‘Holistic’ Natural Dog Skin Care
When you can eliminate the above as the reason why your dog or cat is itching and scratching so much, we're down to how to manage allergies and give your pet relief from itchy skin, blisters, rashes, redness, inflamed scratchy bits.
I now give more attention to my dog's overall grooming. Using non-chemical, natural shampoos and conditioning sprays for example, have improved her overall coat and skin health and condition. And helps her resist the environmental allergic reactions and itchy skin problems so common in dogs.
Good brushing and getting rid of dead hairs, especially underneath the top coat really does help. Get a really good dog comb that gets deep into the coat https://www.dogowner.co.uk/choosing-the-best-dog-grooming-brushes-their-uses/
With good natural shampoo and brushing, there’s less build up of dead skin cells and debris in the coat. Good quality natural shampoo or spray won't strip the coat of its own protective oils.
Home-made pet skin remedies with natural ingredients
Some pet owners swear by home made natural remedies for dog itching and less severe skin problems. Gentle and natural ingredients like lavender and green or camomile tea can be soothing for pet skin conditions. Use them as a spray for your dog’s coat, diluted with water.
We all know the miracle of healing soothing aloe vera, which can be applied directly.
And organic coconut oil can help nourish and soothe dry itchy pet skin conditions. Colloidal oatmeal as a paste can be applied directly to heal problem skin conditions https://www.vetinfo.com/using-oatmeal-paste-for-dogs-dry-skin.html
Itchy Dog Skin. The conclusion.
Keep an eye on your pet. They can't tell you how they feel. Get expert vet advice to eliminate more serious conditions, and don’t leave it too late. If your beloved dog or cat has a serious issue, take the vet’s advice and use the medication.
But for dog and pet allergies and skin itches, use your instinct sensibly. How’s your grooming routine? What has changed in your pets world? Can you identify it? Could a natural treatment work? If it can’t harm them, try it! Especially for pet itching.
But be prepared to do some research and try different products to find the right one for your itchy dog. All dogs and cats are different!
I hope this blog is a good start to helping you help your best itchy four legged pals.
Happy grooming, bathing, combing and natural doggy skin care.
Fran P ( Mina's human)