Summer can be an especially uncomfortable season for our canine companions who are prone to itchy skin. Whether due to skin allergies, fleas, or other irritants, it's not uncommon for dogs to develop itchy skin during the summer.
So what are the best ways to soothe itching skin? Fortunately, there are some natural and over-the-counter options that you can use to help your itchy dog feel more comfortable this summer.
In this article, we'll outline some of the most effective ways to support healthy skin and reduce your dog's itching and allergy symptoms.
Why Does My Dog Have Itchy Skin In the Summer?
As with humans, the summer months bring a variety of environmental allergens, such as pollen, that can cause a dog's skin to become itchy. Even things like a dog's diet can contribute to itchy skin if your dog has certain food allergies.
To make matters more complicated, during the summer, higher temperatures mean more humidity. Humidity tends to worsen itchy skin, especially for dogs prone to skin conditions such as hot spots.
What are hot spots?
Hot spots, or acute moist dermatitis, are a common occurrence in dogs during the summer months. They appear as inflamed, red patches on the skin and are often caused by continued scratching and licking of an area.
Hot spots can be painful for your pup and usually require immediate attention. If left untreated, skin issues can quickly grow larger and become very uncomfortable for your pet.
How Can I Tell If My Dog Has Itchy Skin or Skin Allergies?
If your dog has itchy skin, there are a few signs that will be able to tell you. For example, if you notice your dog excessively licking or scratching itself, this could be an indication that it is suffering from itchy and irritated skin.
Additionally, if your pup rubs its face on the carpet or furniture more than usual during summer months, this could indicate an allergy flare-up
Benefits of Using Remedies For Your Dog's Itchy Skin
The most important benefit of using remedies for your dog's itchy skin is that they can provide immediate relief.
These remedies are often designed to soothe and calm skin while also addressing any underlying causes of the dog's itching too. Additionally, home remedies typically won’t have the side effects associated with many typical medications, making them a safer option.
Itch Relief Remedies for Your Dog's Skin
Apple Cider Vinegar Spray
Apple cider vinegar is an age-old remedy that can help soothe itchy skin. You can make your spray by diluting white or apple cider vinegar with water and spritzing it on affected areas. It may sting slightly, but the acidity of the vinegar will help to reduce inflammation.
Apple cider vinegar works because it helps to reduce itchiness by restoring the skin’s pH balance and reducing inflammation. The acidity of the vinegar disrupts the itchy cycle while also helping to soothe any discomfort caused by scratching or licking irritated skin.
Oatmeal is one of the most popular treatments for dogs with itchy skin due to its anti-inflammatory properties. To give your pup an oatmeal bath, mix 2-3 cups of oats into warm water and let them soak in it for at least 15 minutes.
Oatmeal has a neutral pH of around 7, which helps to soothe skin and reduce inflammation. It’s also packed with antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and other compounds that help to lock moisture into the skin—allowing raw skin to heal faster.
Fish oil supplements contain omega-3 acids which are great for helping dogs maintain healthy skin and coats. Be sure to consult your vet before giving your pup any new supplements.
What Other Supplements Help Reduce Itchy Skin and Seasonal Allergies?
Aside from omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil and flaxseed oil supplements, other supplements you may want to consider include vitamins A, C, and E, as well as zinc.
For example, Vitamin E helps strengthen cell walls, reducing inflammation and irritation associated with allergies or other skin conditions.
Vitamin A on the other hand promotes skin health and keeps your pup’s coat looking healthy and shiny. It does this by promoting the production of healthy oils and sebum which help keep the skin balanced and moisturized.
Coconut oil is another natural remedy that can help soothe skin irritation, thanks to its moisturizing and anti-inflammatory properties. You can apply coconut oil directly onto dry skin or add a spoonful to their food for added benefits.
Coconut oil has medium-chain fatty acids that work to reduce inflammation and irritation while also helping to keep skin hydrated. It’s also packed with antioxidants that help protect against further damage from free radicals.
Aloe Vera Gel Rubs/Sprays
Aloe vera has a lot of superpowers, including the ability to cool irritated skin. Aloe vera is popular amongst pet parents because of how versatile it is; it can be applied directly to the area or used in a spray form.
If you choose not to purchase pre-made aloe vera sprays, you can make your own by mixing aloe vera gel with warm water and spraying it on affected areas.
Over-the-Counter Itch Relief Remedies for Dogs This Summer
Antihistamines and Steroids
If your pup’s itching is severe and not responding to natural home remedies alone, you can try some over-the-counter (OTC) medications. Antihistamines such as Benadryl, Zyrtec, or Claritin can help reduce allergy symptoms in dogs and provide relief from the itchiness.
Additionally, steroids like prednisone are sometimes prescribed to reduce swelling and inflammation associated with allergies. Be sure to consult your vet before using any OTC medication on your pup.
Shampoos & Conditioners
If your pup has any skin irritations or infections, you can also try shampoos and conditioners that are specifically designed for itch relief.
These specialized products are often formulated with ingredients such as oatmeal, aloe vera and tea tree oil to help soothe irritation while also moisturizing the skin. Look for ones specifically designed for pets and be sure to follow the instructions carefully.
If your pup’s itching is caused by a fungal infection, you may need to consider an anti-fungal medication. Again, be sure to check with your vet before administering any medications and follow their instructions closely.
Anti-fungal medications are designed to reduce fungus growth, which can be the cause of itching in dogs. By reducing the growth of these fungi, they will help soothe and calm the dog's itchy skin. Additionally, these medications may also reduce swelling and inflammation associated with allergies or other irritants.
Topical Insect Repellents & Oils
If your pup’s itching is caused by insects, topical insect repellents can also help to relieve itching. Insect repellents usually contain essential oils that act as a natural deterrent for fleas and ticks and other biting insects.
Additionally, some of the oils like eucalyptus, peppermint, or cedarwood may also be beneficial in soothing skin irritation associated with skin allergies or with insect bites.
Additional Tips for Managing Dog Itching This Summer
Avoiding Allergens & Irritants
It’s important to identify any potential allergens or irritants that may be causing your pup’s itching. This could include things like dust, pollen, grass, fleas and certain foods.
If you can identify what is causing the itching, you can then take steps to reduce their exposure and provide relief from itching!
Regularly grooming your pup is always important, but during hot summer seasons, grooming should be at the top of the list.
This will help to remove any dead skin cells, dirt and other debris that may be irritating. Additionally, brushing will also help distribute natural oils throughout your dog's coat that contribute to good skin health.
Giving your pup regular baths is essential for keeping their skin healthy and itch-free. Using the wrong shampoo can cause dryness in your dog's skin. With that being said, make sure to use a shampoo specifically designed for dogs as they are formulated differently than human products.
Also, always remember to rinse thoroughly, as any leftover residue can irritate your dog’s skin.
Keeping Dogs Cool and Hydrated
No one likes being itchy and hot. Keeping your pup cool in the summer heat is essential for managing itchiness. Make sure to provide plenty of shade and give them access to water at all times.
Additionally, you can purchase cooling mats or bandanas that can help keep your dog comfortable on hot days.
Itching can be highly uncomfortable for dogs and can lead to further skin complications such as infections or severe allergic reactions. If a skin condition is left untreated, many owners can expect to encounter further medical complications and expensive vet bills.
By using the above-mentioned natural remedies and OTC medications, you can help soothe your dog's dry skin and provide relief from itching.
If you’re worried about your pup’s itchiness or think it may be caused by something more serious, always consult a vet first. With proper care and attention, you can ensure that your pup gets through the summer months with comfortable and happy skin!