How do I Stop my Dog from Scratching?

George’s paws become super itchy and red after he walks through freshly mowed grass, and during the spring.  It got to a point where I use to put socks on his paws to stop him from licking between his toes, but that didn’t stop him from staring at them whining. His ear’s also become super inflamed and he will not stop scratching at them, which breaks the skin and leads to bacterial infections. Not a fun cycle.

Why dogs itch?

Dog scratching his ears

Does this look familiar?

  • they have an itch
  • they have fleas
  • they have dry skin
  • they have allergies
  • they have a yeast infection

How to stop your dog from itching?

Fleas and Ticks – During flea season I make sure to scrub George down with this awesome shampoo bar by Wondercide, it is effective against fleas and amazing for dogs with sensitive skin. I use to go to the vet and get the advantage flea and tick drops, but hated how the chemicals just sat on the dogs skin. George had a terrible reaction when he was a puppy, his skin became raw and infected. Since then I have always opted for the shampoo bar.

NEVER use the flea drops by Hartz, the sell them at walmart and I have seen them at the dollar store too. I’ve seen people come into the store where the dog’s skin has literally been burned away by this chemical concoction.

Dry Skin – Somehow your dog isn’t getting enough healthy oils and fatty acids in their diet. Thank fully I have never had this problem with my dogs, but working in the store I have found that certain breeds are at a higher disposition to develop dry skin. Sometimes it can be caused from a dog who has been recently bathed, the shampoo wasn’t washed out fully or they had an allergic reaction to the shampoo. I often recommend they are re-washed with baby shampoo.

If the dry skin is thought to be caused by a lack of oils and fatty acids, adding a few pumps if salmon oil on top of the food clears it up. Also apple cider vinegar in their water helps too. There are tons of different brands of salmon oil out there, make sure you are getting the highest grade you can find, if not human grade. And watch the expiration dates!

Allergies – Allergies can cause massive skin itching problems in dogs, I have seen some come in that are ready to tear open their own skin their are so itchy. Oswald, he is culprit of this when he gets chicken. I’ll find tuffs of his fur laying around the house and I know hes having troubles with his allergies. Unfortunatley curing scratching and itching from allergies is a little trickier, as it could also be environmental as well as food allergies. If you suspect it is food allergies, start your dog on a very limited diet, start off with just basic things. Few days of just one protein, like chicken. If they are okay for a few days, add in a starch like potatoes, if still good add in another protein. If you add something back into their diet and they get an allergic reaction you have found out what they are allergic to! This is also called the elimination diet.

Yeast (fungal) infections – There is this one terrier cross that comes into the store several days a week and he is forever scratching at his ears. The poor thing has a chronic yeast infection in his ears and just as it starts to clear up. It flairs again. Not only is he dealing with the yeast infection, there is a good chance he is suffering from a wheat allergy too. Dogs who’s ears flop over tend to develop ear problems alot more then dogs who have ears that allow for air circulation. When I first learned that some groomers pluck the long hair out of certain breeds ears I was horrified. But the more I researched it, the more it made sense. The hair was trapping all the moisture which is creating a breading ground for the bacteria to fester and spread. If your dog is prone to ear infections, a mixture of apple cider vinegar, water and castor oil can help dry up the ears and start the healing process.

Sometimes dogs just get itches too, just like we do. I wouldn’t be too overly concerned about your dog itching unless there is a clear irritation of the skin, or their scratching is relentless. When George’s ears get bad, at night he drives me bonkers shaking his head constantly. I feel bad for him but there isn’t more I can do for him other then keep them clean and dry while the allergy reaction goes down. There has been several nights I have taken his collar off so his tags would stop waking everyone up.

 

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