No matter how well you know your dog, it's not always easy to tell what's bothering him. Dogs itch, scratch, rub, lick and chew on themselves for a variety of reasons. Only your dog's veterinarian can decipher whether his symptoms call for clinical diagnosis.
Causes of Your Poor Dog's Itching
The impetus for your dog's skin irritation is either a medical issue or an adverse emotional reaction such as stress, fear or anxiety. Common reasons for your dog's itchy skin include external or internal parasites, allergies, infection, separation anxiety stress, a metabolic concern, habitual scratching, incessant licking, or nerves or boredom-related chewing. Topical indicators are skin redness or inflammation, scabs, scaly patches, dry flakiness, balding spots, rashes or discoloration. Once your veterinarian confirms your dog's skin issue is not a sign of something serious, numerous topical creams are available. Get your vet's input regarding which topical formula you should use.
Soothing Creams From Nature
You don't have to trek across weed-entangled pastures or trudge through thick lush forests to find natural anti-itch formulas that work for your dog. The commercial dog care industry provide a variety of all-natural canine itch remedies. Steroid-free creams such as Dermacton or Dr. Rose's Remedies contain unique blends of herbal extracts and an essential mixture of all natural oils, with no petroleum, to relieve the itching for your dog. Whether the source of the irritation is allergies, parasites, heat, stress or infection, these steroid-free creams claim instant relief. Some anti-itch ingredients include calendula oil, olive oil, beeswax, aloe vera, shea butter, vitamin E, eucalyptus oil, melaleuca oil, grapeseed oil, eucalyptus oil and rosemary oil extract. Nonsteroidal creams from nature are formulated with certain oils and extracts to serve as antifungal and antibacterial potions.
Doubling Up to Ease the Itch
Prior to administering a topical anti-itch cream, treat your dog to a warm Epsom salts bath. For skin conditions other than dry, frequent cleansing is beneficial and healing. Soak your pet for 10 minutes in a bath of warm water and Epsom salts prepared according to instructions. For extremely large dogs, warm compresses soaked in the solution will work. The Epsom salts have a drawing effect, pulling the source of the itch closer to the skin, allowing your anti-itch medicated cream to work at peak efficiently. After the bath, antihistamine creams commonly serve as to stop itching and are easy to use. Antihistamine creams typically do not blend into the skin, leaving a greasy area where applied. An anti-scratch cone, Elizabethan collar or taped gauze giving full coverage minimizes your dog's ability to reach the affected area.
All Purpose Anti-Itch Cream for Dogs
For the relief of minor itching on your dog, veterinarians recommend hydrocortisone. This creamy formula is derived from a group of adrenal gland hormones called corticosteroids. Corticosteroids fight inflammation and the accompanying itching that follows. Use hydrocortisone anywhere on your dog except for his eye area and exposed mucous membranes. Hydrocortisone creams are available in single-use saturated pads making them easy and readily available for use. Hydrocortisone-formulated creams are used for insect bites, scratches, sun burn, rashes or any obvious skin discomfort with your dog. Cream formulas are advantageous for applying to smaller, delicate areas such as ears, the chin, the nose or anywhere precision is needed.
- ASPCA: Pet Care Skin Problems
- First Aid Companion for Dogs and Cats; Amy D. Shojai and Shane Bateman
- Janie Airey/Digital Vision/Getty Images