Vet-Approved Home Remedies for Dog Itching and Hair Loss

Dr. Simran Mudaliar, BVSc
Authored by Dr. Simran Mudaliar
Dr. Mudaliar a holistic veterinarian specializing in integrative medicine and preventative care. Dr. Mudaliar combines conventional veterinary practices with complementary therapies to promote optimal health for pets.
Dominika Guidoni
Reviewed by a Certified Homeopath, Dominika Guidoni
Dominika has a genuine love for animals and a passion for homeopathy. As a certified homeopath, she helps support the body’s natural processes.

Is your furry friend constantly scratching and licking their paws? It sounds like your dog might be dealing with itchy skin! There's no need to worry just yet.

This article will cover everything you need to know about the causes of excessive itching in dogs and some natural ways to manage skin allergies.

As a bonus, I'll also share a few dog hair loss home remedies that every pet parent should have on their care checklist. Let's start by exploring the main causes of itching in dogs.

Exploring the Main Causes of Dogs Itching

Is your dog itching? Known as pruritus in veterinary medicine, this condition can be caused by seasonal allergies, environmental allergies, or food allergies. Let's explore each of these potential causes.

Atopic Dermatitis

Atopic dermatitis, commonly referred to as "skin allergies" in dogs, is an inflammatory condition resulting from a hypersensitivity reaction. It is considered a cause of itchy skin in dogs under the following criteria:

  • Signs of itching begin before 3 years of age.
  • The ears and front feet are affected.
  • The itching or allergic reaction responds to steroids.

Your dog's hair loss can be seasonal or non-seasonal

Animals with skin allergies typically exhibit a history of scratching, licking, and chewing at their feet and other parts of their body. Atopic dermatitis can be either seasonal or non-seasonal, with common triggers including dust mites, weeds, and grass pollen.

These conditions may also contribute to your dog's hair loss. Since this issue can arise unexpectedly, knowing a few dog hair loss home remedies can be very beneficial for any pet parent.

Flea Allergy Dermatitis

Fleas are a common cause of excessive scratching in dogs. Flea allergy dermatitis is one of the most frequently diagnosed allergies in dogs. This condition occurs when flea bites trigger an allergic response due to the flea's saliva.

Clinical signs can appear within minutes to a few days after the initial flea bites. If not given proper and immediate attention, this issue can eventually lead to hair loss in dogs.

Even if you don't see fleas on your dog, they can still be the source of discomfort. Fleas live in the environment and can transfer between animals, residing in grass and other outdoor areas. Dogs can pick up fleas from dog parks, interactions with other dogs, or even just during a walk.

Remember, it’s the flea’s saliva that causes the allergy, and even a few bites can lead to significant problems. Additionally, your furry friend can be at risk for other health issues like anemia, Lyme disease, and tapeworms from fleas.

Food Allergy as a Cause of Skin Disease in Dogs

Your dog's diet may also be a factor in hair loss.

Adverse food reactions, also known as food hypersensitivity, can lead to excessive itching. This occurs when the body reacts abnormally to certain foods, such as animal proteins, carbohydrates, or food additives. These reactions can be classified as either food intolerances or food allergies.

Only food allergy can make your dog's skin itchy

Here’s where it can get confusing: only a food allergy will cause skin irritation and itching in dogs. This occurs when the dog's immune system overreacts to a food antigen, which can be a commonly consumed food.

In contrast, a food intolerance does not involve an immune response. Dogs with food intolerance are more likely to experience symptoms such as diarrhea and vomiting. Unlike food allergies, food intolerance does not make your dog lose hair.

Is Your Dog Losing Hair? Here are the Symptoms to Take Note Of

Is Your Dog Losing Hair? Here are the Symptoms to Take Note Of - a person with some fur on the hand with a dog on the background showing dog hair loss

There are a number of indicators that can lead to dog hair loss. The following are the most common symptoms of hair loss that dog owners should keep in mind:

Itchy and flaky skin

Hair loss can be imminent if your dog's skin is constantly itching. This may be due to a number of health issues, such as allergic reactions, parasites, bacterial and fungal infections, hormonal imbalances, or poor nutrition.

Itching can lead to dead skin and, consequently, hair loss. Ensuring that your pet has a healthy, full coat involves monitoring their overall skin health as well.

Skin rash

The presence of a skin rash in pets can indicate various underlying issues, ranging from malnutrition to stress and anxiety. Autoimmune diseases, such as lupus and Cushing's disease, may also contribute to this condition. These factors can affect your pet's hair follicles, potentially leading to hair loss.

Pet owners should not ignore skin rashes in their animals. Such rashes can strip your dog's hair of natural oils, leading to bald spots and other skin problems. Prompt attention and care can prevent these issues and ensure your pet's health and comfort.

Fungal infection

Fungal infections are closely linked to skin health in dogs and can lead to excessive hair loss if not promptly and properly addressed. The onset of such infections can be indicated by thinning hair and irritated skin. Proper grooming and regular monitoring of your dog's coat health are crucial in preventing these issues.

Ensuring your dog is regularly groomed and checking for any signs of skin irritation or hair thinning can help detect and address fungal infections early. This practice is crucial for maintaining both the skin and coat health of your pet.

Additionally, using natural home remedies like lemon juice and apple cider vinegar (ACV) can help tackle these problems. To use ACV, mix it with water in a 1:1 ratio and apply it to the affected areas.

Lots of dead hair

Some pet parents tend to overlook excessive hair loss, mistaking it for normal shedding. However, if you notice more hair falling out than usual, it could be a sign of an underlying issue that may lead to significant hair loss in dogs. It's essential to check for any signs of skin conditions with the help of your vet or a pet wellness expert to maintain your dog's hair health.

Regularly inspecting your dog's coat and consulting with professionals can help you address potential problems early, ensuring your pet stays healthy and comfortable.

Malnutrition

Did you know that a healthy diet can significantly promote hair growth in dogs? Your pet's food can greatly influence the health and fullness of their coat. A balanced diet, enriched with beneficial additions such as fish oil supplements, can make a substantial difference.

Ensuring your dog receives a diet rich in essential nutrients, including omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil, can help maintain a healthy, shiny coat. Consulting with your vet about the best dietary options for your pet can further enhance their overall health and appearance.

Underlying health issue

Allergic reactions, parasites, bacterial and fungal infections, and hormonal imbalances can impede hair growth and lead to hair loss in dogs. As a dog owner looking to maintain your pet's healthy coat, it's crucial to stay vigilant and ensure your canine companion is not suffering from any illness or disease.

Dandruff

If you notice dandruff on your dog’s hair, address it promptly to prevent potential hair loss. Dandruff can cause significant itchiness, leading your dog to scratch and possibly inflame their skin. To manage this, use appropriate grooming tools such as a fine-toothed comb and hypoallergenic shampoo. Ensuring you have the right grooming products on hand will help maintain your dog's coat health.

By keeping an eye out for these symptoms, you can help ensure your dog's coat remains healthy and full. If you notice any of these signs, consult your veterinarian for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan.

Natural Remedies for Allergic Dermatitis in Dogs

When dealing with dog skin problems, a multi-modal approach is best. This method involves using various products and remedies, each serving a different function, to comprehensively address skin health.

For instance, combining medicated shampoos, topical treatments, dietary supplements, and regular vet check-ups can help keep your dog's skin healthy and itch-free.

Zumalka Skin Support

If you're a pet parent with a dog suffering from a skin allergy, you'll appreciate SKIN SUPPORT. This all-natural, homeopathic tonic includes extracts designed to support the skin barrier, nourish the skin, and reduce inflammation caused by allergies.

What are the key ingredients of Skin Support?

  • Rutin Flower Bud: Acts as an anti-inflammatory and neutralizes free radicals.
  • Burdock Root: A natural antioxidant that protects and revitalizes the skin barrier.
  • Vitamin E: Nourishes and hydrates the skin.
  • Biotin: Strengthens the skin barrier.

Every ingredient in SKIN SUPPORT works in unison to help your pooch overcome their skin condition. Discover the benefits for your dog and support their skin health with Zumalka Skin Support today!

Zumalka Skin At Peace

Discover SKIN AT PEACE, our top-selling homeopathic product that nurtures a healthy skin barrier from within. This tonic is packed with remedies designed to combat dry skin, provide essential moisture, and calm irritated skin, delivering comprehensive support for your dog's well-being.

So what does each ingredient of Skin At Peace do?

  • Graphites 30k, Petroleum 30k, and Natrum Muriaticum 30k: Work together to alleviate itching, and treat dry, cracked skin, and eczema.
  • Rhus Toxicodendron 30k, Dolichos Puriens 30k, and Urtica Urens 30k: Soothe itching, redness, and blistering skin.
  • Solidago 30k: Promotes skin detoxification from harsh environmental chemicals, enhancing skin vitality.

Other Dog Hair Loss Home Remedies You Should Know About

Omega-3 and Omega-6 Fatty Acids

I've found that dogs with itchy skin benefit significantly from supplementing with oral omega fatty acids. In particular, salmon and most fish oils work best, unlike flaxseed or coconut oil.

So, why are omega fatty acids great for dogs with skin problems? Omega-6 fatty acid (linoleic acid) helps maintain the structural integrity of the skin barrier by locking in hydration, improving the overall sheen and quality of your dog's coat.

Omega-3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA) enhance skin health by encouraging the production of anti-inflammatory chemicals. These chemicals reduce inflammation associated with skin allergies, thus relieving your dog's itching.

Incorporating omega fatty acids into your dog's diet can significantly improve their skin health and comfort.

Colloidal Oatmeal Rinse

If your dog is itching and you want to help relieve it, consider using a colloidal oatmeal rinse. While the exact science behind its effectiveness is not fully understood, some scientists believe that colloidal oatmeal helps decrease the synthesis of prostaglandins—chemicals responsible for inflammation. This reduction in prostaglandins can help alleviate inflammation and itchiness.

Try a colloidal oatmeal rinse to soothe your dog's itchy skin and provide relief from discomfort.

Japanese Mondo Grass Plant Extract Topical Therapy

Opthyrium is an all-natural extract derived from Japanese mondo gras. Widely used in cosmetics, it contains a high concentration of natural fructosans. These compounds strengthen the skin's barrier, hydrate, and protect the healthy bacteria on the skin's surface. This makes Opthyrium a must-have for dogs suffering from skin allergies or irritation.

Incorporating Opthyrium into your dog's skincare routine can provide essential support for their skin health, alleviating discomfort and promoting a stronger, healthier skin barrier.

Cytopoint for Dogs

When dogs scratch their skin in response to an allergen, the skin releases proteins that signal the brain, further triggering the need to itch. This process is known as the "itch cycle." As dogs continue to itch, they break down their skin barriers, which can lead to secondary bacterial skin infections.

Cytopoint is an injection that works with the body, not against it. It tells the dog's immune system to block and neutralize the proteins causing itching, thus breaking the cycle.

A vet's perspective:

I have a small terrier named Marley who used to suffer from severe skin allergies caused by a weed called wandering dew. Every year, Marley would break out in severe rashes, leading to secondary bacterial skin infections. However, ever since I introduced Cytopoint and omega fatty acids into her routine, she has not had another allergic reaction in over two years.

Ceramide-Based Products

Ceramides are a type of fat naturally found in the skin and are crucial for maintaining the skin barrier's integrity. When combined with phytosphingosine, a natural amino alcohol, ceramides can help reduce itching, repair the skin barrier, and provide antibacterial effects.

Ceramide-based products are available as sprays, lotions, and even conditioners for dogs. They're perfect for any pet owner looking to treat itchy dog skin naturally.

Conclusion

If your dog is itchy, it's best to consult with your veterinarian about how to break the itch cycle. Excessive licking and scratching can damage the skin barrier, allowing bacteria to cause secondary skin infections, often requiring oral antibiotics.

It is important to break the "itch cycle."

To avoid the need for antibiotics, breaking the itch cycle is crucial. This can involve various treatments, such as medicated shampoos, topical ointments, natural dog hair loss home remedies, or injections like Cytopoint.

Do you have a question about your dog scratching themselves raw? Let me know in the comments below, and let's work together to find a solution for your furry friend.

 


About the author

Dr. Simran Mudaliar, BVSc
Dr. Simran Mudaliar, BVSc

Dr. Simran Mudaliar BVSc is a New Zealand-based veterinarian specializing in holistic medicine and preventative care. She is passionate about educating pet owners on natural and comprehensive pet health.

Dr. Mudaliar integrates conventional veterinary medicine and surgery with complementary and alternative therapies to maintain long-term optimal health for her patients. She addresses a wide range of issues, from basic veterinary care to chronic conditions.

In addition to her clinical work, she mentors new graduate veterinarians and consults in holistic veterinary medicine and nutrition.

Dr. Mudaliar began her education in Zoology at Guelph University, Ontario, Canada, and completed her degree in Veterinary Science at Massey University, New Zealand.

In her spare time, she enjoys hiking with her husband, baby, and dog named Marley.

Read the complete profile of Dr. Simran Mudaliar, BVSc (Veterinarian) here.


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