Owning a dog is undoubtedly exciting and fulfilling, but it also comes with its own set of hefty responsibilities.
Not only do you have to make sure that your dog is clean and eating well, but also that it is as comfortable and healthy as possible.
One of the most common things for a dog owner to see is their dog scratching their body like there’s no tomorrow. There is no question that irritation or a simple itch can be very uncomfortable for dogs- especially if it is happening everywhere all at once!
While itching and scratching is somewhat normal in canines, it should raise an alarm for you as the owner if it gets to a point where your dog is biting, licking, or chewing themselves non-stop. The danger is that your pup may harm themselves in the process, and that’s something that no dog owner wants to see.
In these situations, the best thing to do is to find out exactly why your dog is itching and then to try to resolve the issue as quickly as possible.
And while you may have questions such as, “Will baking soda help my dog stop itching?” The true answer to that is: It depends! In certain scenarios, baking soda can definitely help to relieve irritation and itchiness by drying out rashes and reducing inflammation, but in others it may be completely ineffective.
Without further ado, let’s jump right into the possible causes of itchy skin in dogs!
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- My Dog Is Constantly Scratching And Biting Himself… Why Is My Dog So Itchy But Has No Fleas?
- Is Baking Soda Good For A Dog’s Itchy Skin?
- Other Home Remedies for Dog Skin Allergies and Itching: What Can You Give A Dog For Severe Itching?
- In Summary
While fleas are without a doubt one of the most common causes of itchiness in dogs, it is by no means the end all be all.
Dogs can also itch if they have an excessively dry or dull skin and coat. A telltale sign of this is if you can see dandruff falling off your dog’s fur, or if you can literally spot patches of dry skin.
A dog can also itch due to being in a climate that is too cold. Additionally, a dog can also start itching if it is washed with a soap or shampoo and is not rinsed thoroughly enough, or if the soap or shampoo has certain components that the poor pup is allergic to.
Dry, irritated skin can also be the result of an insufficiently nutritious diet. A dog’s daily diet should be well-balanced and filled with proteins, healthy fats, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
Certain dog foods- especially those that are cheaper- are filled with low-quality, impure ingredients that cause irritation and allergic reactions in dogs. Therefore, it is extremely important to watch what you feed your dog!
Another reason as to why your dog may be itching could be because of an underlying skin condition. It may be that your dog’s skin is too oily, too dry, or is suffering from infection. Also, it may be the case that your dog is reacting to a specific allergen.
Below are some of the factors that can contribute to a chronic skin condition:
The environment your dog lives in can have a massive impact- positive or negative- on the condition of its skin.
If you reside in a climate or home that has constant low humidity, it is more likely for your dog’s skin to become dry. Skin that is too dry for long periods will logically result in itching!
Environmental allergy is otherwise known as atopy and is one of the most likely to cause irritation for your dog’s skin.
Flea bites can cause major irritation for a poor, infested dog. Bites are extremely itchy, often causing dogs to scratch themselves uncontrollably.
In some cases, a bite can cause a condition called flea allergy dermatitis (FAD). This is where the dog’s body has an allergic reaction to the antigens contained inside flea saliva. Flea bites can lead to severe scratching, licking and biting, often to the point of self-injury.
To prevent fleas from biting your dog, make sure you clean your dog’s environment often. Thoroughly wash and treat the dog’s bedding, blankets, towels, and carpet area.
Also, use a flea treatment and collar such as Frontline or Seresto to break the fleas’ life cycle and to get rid of any remaining fleas that may still be left on the dog’s body.
Human beings can be allergic to certain foods, and this can certainly be true when it comes to dogs as well!
Food allergies occur when a dog’s immune system mistakenly identifies a protein in their food as a threat. The best way to deal with this problem is to remove certain components from a dog’s meals, one by one, until the specific ingredient that is affecting your dog is found.
Always try to provide the most balanced diet that you can for your pup, as nutritious food that is full of vitamins and minerals contribute directly to a dog’s skin and coat health.
Yeast infections are relatively common in dogs, and most frequently occur when the dog’s immune system isn’t able to fight off the Malassezia pachydermatis fungus.
These opportunistic skin infections take place either when a dog is suffering from an immune deficiency and has to take immunosuppressive drugs, or when the area of skin in question produces excessive oils.
Yeast infections mostly affect moist and warm areas, such as in the ear flaps and between licked toes. A yeast infection is recognized by the bad smell it causes in the affected area.
The first step in treating a yeast infection usually involves external, topical treatment with medicated shampoo or ointment. Oral antifungal medication may also be prescribed in more serious cases, as well as antibiotics if there is an associated bacterial infection present.
If your dog is itching to the point where it loses its appetite for food, is scratching itself non-stop, or seems to be in a constantly depressed and lethargic mood, please take it to see the vet as soon as you can.
Persistent itching due to dry skin, allergies, or other surface conditions can lead to scratching, biting and in severe cases, chewing. Itchy dogs are at higher risk of developing infections due to breakage of skin, so the sooner you deal with your dog’s scratchy situation, the better!
It can be- in certain situations!
Baking soda has the ability to reduce inflammation and itchiness when applied to an affected area due to its alkaline nature. There are many other benefits of baking soda as well in terms of its use as an anti-itch skin treatment:
- Zero fragrance
- Non-toxic, so it won’t irritate a dog’s skin (just make sure not to let your dog eat too much of it!)
- Has the ability to eliminate fleas without the use of chemicals.
It is also relatively easy to apply and use. In most cases, baking soda is simply mixed in equal parts with water, and then spread onto the itchy areas and left for around 20 minutes. It can also be added to a dog’s bath water for gentle yet effective cleaning.
Yes, you can sprinkle baking soda on your dog if it is experiencing itchy, dry skin!
In many cases, washing your dog in warm water in an attempt to cleanse its skin can actually add to your dog’s predicament causing more irritation. Giving your dog a dry baking soda bath instead is a mild, yet effective, way to keep your dog’s skin fresh and shiny.
You can give your dog a dry bath by following these steps below:
- Sprinkle a generous amount of the baking soda onto your dog’s fur all over its body.
- Massage your dog’s skin using your fingertips, making sure that all the baking soda reaches the dog’s skin and is not left sitting atop the fur.
- Let the powder settle for around 10 to 20 minutes. This allows it to absorb odor and soothe the itchy skin. Baking soda will absorb oils from the coat and skin of the dog, leaving it cool and dry.
- While you and your dog wait, make sure to reward its patience by giving it plenty of treats!
- After the time has elapsed, brush the baking soda out of your dog’s fur thoroughly. This will ensure that your dog stays clean, shiny, odor-free.
Yes, you can definitely use baking soda to kill fleas on your dog! Baking soda has the capability to essentially dry out the fleas, as well as any larvae and eggs that are on the body.
Used in combination with additional ingredients such as salt, apple cider vinegar, and essential oils, an effective flea-repellent dog shampoo can be created. Just try not to get it into its eyes!
Here’s how to do it:
- Mix together one tablespoon of baking soda, 1 ½ cups of warm water, 1 tablespoon of sea salt, ½ a cup of apple cider vinegar, and a few drops of peppermint oil. Remember that the less water you use, the thicker the shampoo will be.
- Pour small amounts of water on your dog the same way you do during a normal bath.
- Apply the shampoo onto your dog’s coat, making sure you avoid the dog’s face area.
- Massage the shampoo as deeply as you can into the dog’s hair and skin.
- Let the shampoo sit for at least five minutes (or as long as your dog will allow) and brush your dog’s coat to remove any dead skin and hair.
- After at least five minutes have passed, rinse your dog with warm water. An extra step that you can take is to add baking soda to your warm water at this point to really make sure that any fleas and odors are neutralized.
- Dry your dog with a clean towel. Avoid using a hairdryer if your dog has obvious skin irritation as the heat from the hairdryer can make the situation worse.
An even easier way to give your dog a flea-killing wet bath is to simply add baking soda directly into your dog’s existing shampoo. In this case, make sure to use a soap-free shampoo to reduce the likelihood of allergic reactions and irritation occurring.
It is very easy for dogs with white fur to become dirty, and they definitely need extra attention when it comes to cleanliness. Black, brown or grey patches on white fur is especially distinct and noticeable from a mile away!
As a result, many dog owners wonder whether baking soda can do for their dog what it does for their soiled clothing.
And the answer is that it can!
Baking soda acts as a natural bleaching agent, so if your dog’s fur is white and you are looking for a chemical-free way to maintain its color without having to spend more, it may be exactly the solution that you’re looking for.
Make a paste with baking soda and water and apply to the area of your dog’s fur that has darkened. Let it sit and dry, and once it has, brush it off or wipe with a wet cloth. Chances are that you will be amazed by the result!
You don’t need to take your dog to the vet every time it itches. If you do, you might as well set up camp there for the long-term!
If you have established that your dog’s itchiness is not severe and is something that you can deal with at home, you can try the following remedies for quick and effective relief:
Mix 50% water and 50% apple cider vinegar in a spray bottle, and spray the itchy areas of the dog. This is a great home remedy for ear infections in canines.
Just make sure that you do not spray any open wounds, however!
Apple cider vinegar is an antifungal and antibacterial remedy which can help with a dog’s skin condition by killing any nasty microbes that may be present. You can also use this mixture for your dog’s paws if they are itchy by directly soaking them for a few minutes.
When applied on itchy, burning skin, aloe vera gel is an amazing healing agent which eases redness and cools uncomfortable heat. It also has potent antifungal properties.
Apply the substance generously over your dog’s hot spots or dry skin areas and let it sit for as long as possible.
You can easily purchase aloe vera from your closest grocery store or drug store, or right here on Amazon as well.
Oatmeal is one of the best home remedies for cooling your dog’s itchy skin as it has the ability to reduce inflammation and remove allergens from the surface.
Simply crush up a cup of oatmeal and pour it inside your dog’s bath water. Let your dog soak for up to 10 minutes to allow the substance to work its magic. Once your dog has come up, you will notice visibly reduced swelling and redness on your dog’s skin!
Another great thing about oatmeal baths: Even if your dog licks or eats it, there’s no concern at all! Completely non-toxic, there will not be any negative effect on your dog’s health.
If your dog is going through an especially itchy period, you can add chamomile or green tea to their bath. Both teas ease itching and by soothing the inflammation present.
Pour warm-to-hot water into a basin and let several chamomile or green tea sachets rest in there for about 3 minutes. Once the water is a comfortable, cool temperature, remove the tea sachets and let your dog soak in the water for about 5 minutes.
Calendula oil is very commonly used as a topical anti-inflammatory and antibacterial solution for skin conditions. It also has very mild antiseptic effects, and has been clinically proven to accelerate wound healing.
To use calendula oil to heal and soothe your dog’s skin, simply rub a generous amount on your fingers and apply it directly to the affected areas.
Coconut oil will help to soothe the itchiness on your dog’s skin when massaged on the affected areas. It contains an abundance of medium-chain saturated fats that have the ability to reduce inflammation and irritation as well as prevent growth of harmful bacteria.
Where possible, always try to use virgin or unrefined coconut oil as these are the highest quality and purest forms available. Apply the oil while chilled and solid for maximum positive results.
While not an exact home remedy per se, the power of a balanced diet should never be underestimated! Just as humans need a variety of nutrients to stay healthy and glowing, so do dogs.
Make sure to provide your dog with a balanced diet by including a wide range of ingredients such as Omega-3 essential fatty acids, fruits, vegetables, and collagen. These ingredients and nutrients will help to soothe and heal your dog’s skin from the inside out!
So, will baking soda help my dog stop itching?
It can and will, under the right circumstances! Due to its nature as an alkaline substance, baking soda has the ability to soothe skin inflammation and itchiness when applied to affected areas.
It can also resolve scratchiness caused by fleas since it will effectively dry out the critters and their eggs– especially when it is combined with other ingredients such as salt, apple cider vinegar, and peppermint oil.
However, baking soda isn’t the only anti-itch solution by any means. There are plenty of other remedies for itchy canine skin available that you will likely find lying around your home, such as coconut oil, calendula oil, green tea, aloe vera, and oatmeal.
Finally, dialing in other aspects surrounding your dog is just as important when trying to maintain optimal skin and coat health. Always make sure that your dog’s living environment isn’t too cold or dry, and that it is receiving well-balanced and nutritious meals every day!
Heather Abraham is an owner of two dogs, one cat, a leopard gecko, and a parrot (who her dad still cannot teach bad words to), and an avid blogger. From the time she was a young girl, she always felt a connection with pets. She brings her love of every type of pet to you, with information on animal nutrition, medication, toys, beds, and everything else in between. Along with newly-on-board veterinarian DVM editor Elena, she puts pups first while offering other various fun tidbits along the way.