Top 10 Tips for Itchy Dogs Before You Call the Vet Part 7/10: Best Dog Shampoo for Itchy Skin
While the majority of itchy dogs is a result of food sensitivity, seasonal or contact allergens (usually pollen) can also be a problem for dogs, particularly for dogs with a shot immune system. In this way, it seems that most dogs suffering a lot of food sensitivities, dogs whose immune systems you can expect to be fairly beleaguered, suffer environmental antigens such as pollen the worst of all. The two are rarely separate. In our experience, healthy, robust dogs suffer contact allergens significantly less. Either way, if you suspect seasonal / contact allergens in your dog, bathing them regularly is a very good idea. If you have been looking for the best dog shampoo for itchy skin, below is what I recommend, starting as always with stuff you have around the house.
Sometimes the best dog shampoo for itchy skin isn’t even a shampoo…
For contact allergen reactions, you can’t beat removing the issue at hand. This can be something as simple as a wipe of the face with a wet cloth (if that’s the area your dog is scratching) or wash of the paw (should they be at their feet a lot after a walk in grass) in clean, cool water. Wiping or washing after every walk is important. Yes it can be very time consuming and not always possible but getting on top of the issue for a good month while you get the diet right and pop in a few natural additions gives the body the best chance at healing. It’s hoped and in fact, expected that over time you will have to do it less and less.
To jazz this simple approach up, add a green tea bag (and a peppermint one too, should you have it handy) to the bucket of water you are using (or simply follow the water wash with a spritz of anti-itch spray discussed in Part 4).
During the trouble season (May-September in the Northern Hemisphere), you should aim to bathe the dog after every walk where he might be exposed. While it’s not always possible and it initially sounds like a lot of trouble, this pays dividends over time. You would expect, as we get everything else sorted (a diet that works, natural additions to reduce inflammation), his issues will be considerably less next year, if there at all.
The best dog shampoo for itchy skin…
You can turn the brilliant homemade anti-itch spray above into a shampoo by mixing it with some pure, organic castille liquid soap (mix in the ratio 1 for 1, available in all healthy stores) and give them a nice, cooling bath. You can add anything you like into these baths, anything thought to work (just read the back of natural-anti itch products and steal their ideas, much cheaper when you make it yourself). Ideas include chamomile and lavender as they’re so effective at soothing itchy skin.
Or you could try an oatmeal bath. The science is strongly behind the use of oats and many dog owners testify it makes the best dog shampoo for itchy dogs, albeit a gloopy mix! A review of the scientific literature describes oats as containing a whole host of tried and test theraputic phytoconstituents such as avenanthramides, an indole alkaloid-gramine, flavonoids, flavonolignans, triterpenoid saponins, sterols, and tocols. Altogether, this results in oats displaying different pharmacological activities from antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and even antidiabetic to wound healing and immunomodulatory. It is why so many “soothing” shampoo products are oat based. Use oats in the bath or simply make a thick stodgy poultice and place it on the affected area for as long as they don’t lick it off. Just use the real thing. If worried about all the gloop, fill a sock with dry oats and tie it off, like a huge teabag!!
If you want to buy a product, the best dog shampoo for itchy skin is Soa+ Itch Be Gone or any soap high in sulfur…
There are loads of natural soap-type products that might help alleviate his itch. They’re popping up all the time. They’re always based on the same principles, the same anti-inflammatory herbs mentioned above and in our spritz, sometimes oat-based and are always high in sulfur, which is brilliant for itchy skin. One of the most popular products in this regard is SOA+ ITCH GONE. Originally used for horse circles as you can see from the wrapper it is used in any animal suffering itch. In our experience, this has perhaps a 50% hit rate (which is great considering most of these pet owners do not understand the implications of feeding their pet the wrong food every day so any remedy is really up against it) so in my opinion, it’s well worth a go after you’ve tried a couple of the above first.
It’s hard to find a source of Soa+ Itch be Gone in the UK so I found a very similar product handmade in the UK called Attis, with possibly even more fancy bits in it. Its ingredients are similar to Soa+’s above but also include Coconut Oil, Sulphur powder, Neem Essential Oil, Eucalyptus Essential Oil and Aloe Vera gel.
More from the Itchy Dog series…
Itchy dogs part 10: Is your dog stressed?!