There are no easy answers when it comes to itchy dogs.
But there are tools that, when combined with other supportive measures like topical natural skin soothers, can lead to a more comfortable, happy dog.
In my own battle against my dog’s itch, I’ve found several useful tools to help protect him from constant itching and scratching. Maybe one or more of these can help your itchy dog.
Booties can go a long way in keeping your dog from scratching himself to a pulp. A good set of breathable booties can be left on during intense itching. They will not only protect his body from trauma from his nails but will protect the paws from his chewing.
When you can’t keep your dog from chewing his body but don’t want to torture him with having to wear a cone all day, a T-shirt can help. Find one that estimates your dog’s size and make sure it’s not too tight around the armpits or neck. Stretch it out if necessary. If it hangs a little too loosely below the belly, you can tie a knot on the back so he doesn’t trip on it.
Also known as a pet cone (and if your dog could talk, he’d probably have a few choice words of his own), having one of these on hand is an unfortunate necessity for chronically itchy dogs. I’ve tried quite a few types and my favorite is The Comfy Cone, because, well, my dog seems the most comfortable wearing it. It has a more cushiony feel than the others we’ve tried. He doesn’t love it, but he accepts it.
The idea that compression can calm a dog is similar to the concept of swaddling a baby. The ThunderShirt is one of the more well known of these compression shirts and can help calm many anxious and fearful dogs in a variety of situations, including thunder. I have found the ThunderShirt can also help calm a chronically itchy dog that scratches out of anxiety from being so itchy. It’s a vicious cycle, but the ThunderShirt may help break up the pattern a bit.
Bach Flower Remedies
Dr. Edward Bach developed a system of nontoxic remedies in the 1930s that has been used on humans and animals over the years to help unblock emotional issues underlying behavioral problems with the help of flowers. While every individual has different needs, I have had particular luck with Cherry Plum when my dog’s itching gets out of control. It helps him regain that control, and Vervain helps calm him.
Sometimes redirecting where your dog chews can help. Instead of letting him chew on himself, get him something safe and tasty to chew on. My dog is quite fond of lamb and cow ears.
If you have an itchy dog, remember that it’s important to find the underlying cause. In addition to that and skin-soothing remedies, these tools will go far in helping protect your dog’s skin from further damage.
Jessica Peralta has been a journalist for more than 15 years and an animal lover all her life. She has had dogs, cats, birds, turtles, fish, frogs, and rabbits. Her current children are a German shepherd named Guinness and a black kitten named Riot (and he lives up to that name). It’s because of her love for animals that she focused her journalistic career to the world of holistic animal care and pet nutrition. In between keeping Riot and Guinness out of mischief, she’s constantly learning about all the ways she can make them healthier and happier.