How to Stop Dog Itchy Skin: Our 7 BEST TIPS for Soothing

Need to know how to stop dog itchy skin fast? There are a few things you can do to help stop your dog’s itchy skin.

From nutrition to dermatitis and parasites, we’ll cover the most common causes of itchy skin on dogs, and what you can do to help them feel better fast.

How to Stop Your Dog Itchy Skin – Fast!

If your dog’s itchy skin is due to fleas or ticks, remove the parasites with a flea bath or remove ticks by hand.

Bathe itchy patches of skin with fragrance-free dog soap, then apply coconut oil to soothe the skin.

Often dogs are itchy from more than one cause. We’ll cover the causes of a dog’s itchy skin and how to soothe itching skin in more detail.

How to Stop Dog Itchy Skin Caused by Fleas

Fleas cause itchy skin for dogs
Fleas, ticks, chiggers, and other parasites cause dreadful itching for dogs and can make them scratch away large patches of fur.

When you notice your dog is itching a certain spot, investigate immediately by parting the fur and inspecting the skin. You may see tiny black fleas crawling or jumping around near the skin.

You may also see tiny spots of blood where your dog has been bitten. These bites are what causes the itching and inflammation on your dog’s skin.

Have your dog lay on his back and inspect his belly, especially in the warm groin areas for fleas or “flea dirt” which is black specks of flea waste.

If you see signs of fleas, bathe your dog immediately with a flea shampoo. This will help to eliminate many of the pests that are causing the itching. Follow all directions on the bottle of flea shampoo.

For preventative care, purchase a flea preventative that can be given to your dog to stop flea invasion from occurring. Talk to your vet about the right product for your dog.

You can help soothe flea bites with a dab of extra-virgin coconut oil or some colloidal oatmeal which you can make at home.

How To Make Colloidal Oatmeal

To make colloidal oatmeal, simply place some oats in a coffee grinder or high-speed blender and blend them until they become the finest powder possible.

Take a small amount of purified water and add the oatmeal powder, one pinch at a time, until the water becomes milky, but does not thicken.

Dab this water onto the dog’s skin in areas where it’s irritated to help soothe the skin.

This is an excellent treatment for human skin, as well, and is found in many soothing skincare products that contain oatmeal.

Stop Dog Itchy Skin Caused by Ticks

For many of us, there is no scarier discovery than a tick on your beloved dog.

While ticks are disgusting and can look scary, knowing how to remove ticks is important for you, your family, and your pets.

If you simply can’t remove a tick or are too scared to remove a tick, call your veterinarian immediately to see if you can have it removed in-office.

We have a Tick Key on hand at all times. We keep them in the car glovebox, hiking packs, and one on each leash. This tool makes it quick and easy to remove a tick with the mouthparts intact.

Before removing the tick, prepare a place to kill it. Place a little rubbing alcohol, or hand sanitizer in a pinch, into a small container or plastic zipper bag.

If you don’t have a tick-remover tool, use fine-point tweezers and grasp the tick as close to the skin and pull upwards with even pressure.

The tick doesn’t have a head to lose inside the body, but the mouthparts can come off and cause trouble later on down the road.

Steady, even pressure is your best bet to get the tick out whole. Simply keep pulling steadily until the tick is removed from the skin, then drop it into the prepared container of alcohol to kill it.

Sanitize the tick wound with an alcohol wipe or spray before comforting it with a salve to help relieve itching.

How to Stop Dog Itching Caused by Allergens

excess scratching can cause infections
Prolonged scratching can cause secondary infections, so call your vet if home remedies don’t fix the itching soon.

Dogs can suffer from allergies just as humans do. Dogs are prone to seasonal allergies, food allergies, and skin allergies called contact dermatitis.

All of these allergies can manifest as itching skin.

The problem is that once your dog begins to lick or scratch a patch of skin, dermatitis becomes worse from the excess moisture that causes the skin to crack and bleed.

If you try the following steps to eliminate allergies but your dog is still biting, scratching, and licking a certain spot, ask your vet for advice.

Your dog may need a prescription steroid cream and a neck collar to allow the spot to heal.

  • Switch your dog to hypoallergenic food for a few months to see if the skin clears up. Many dogs are allergic to ingredients in dog food that makes them itchy.
  • Stop using scented products on your dog. Just like humans, many dogs have sensitive skin that flares up from fragrances in soap and shampoo. Use an unscented or hypoallergenic shampoo to wash your dog.
  • Launder your dog’s bedding with scent-free detergent. Often dog bedding is filthy which causes them to itch from bacteria, parasites, dirt, and allergens in the bedding.
  • Buy your dog a new bed. If you can’t wash your dog’s bedding, buy a new, washable bed so you can keep it clean in the future.

When Should I Call The Vet for My Dog’s Itchy Skin?

Most of the time your dog’s itching problems will diminish with the easy fixes we outlined above.

However, if the itching is making your dog irritable, causing bleeding or open wounds, or doesn’t go away, call the vet.

Itching can be a sign of a deeper illness that can’t be fixed with skin-deep remedies.

Your dog may also need treatment for a bacterial skin infection or need a steroid cream to soothe and heal the skin.

If you notice your dog licking wounds or infection caused by scratching, read our related article, Why Do Dogs Lick Pus? to learn more about the behavior and how and why you should stop it.

Can Apple Cider Vinegar Relieve a Dog’s Itching Skin?

Apple cider vinegar is an inexpensive, all-natural solution for a number of dog problems, including itchy skin caused by allergies.

When applied topically to your dog’s skin, apple cider vinegar will help to soothe and relieve itching while restoring the skin’s natural pH balance.

It also has antibacterial and antifungal properties, which can help to prevent infection in any open wounds caused by scratching.

To use apple cider vinegar as a dog itch remedy, mix one-part vinegar with one part water in a spray bottle and apply it directly to your dog’s itchy areas.

You can also add a cup of apple cider vinegar to your dog’s bathwater, but carefully keep the vinegar water out of their face and eyes.

Can Organic Coconut Oil Soothe Dog’s Itchy Skin?

Organic extra-virgin coconut oil is nice for soothing and softening dry, itchy skin caused by contact dermatitis. We like to dab it on little bites and scrapes to help soothe the skin.

Be aware that your dog may also like coconut oil. If he insists on licking it all off he may make the irritation worse. If this happens, discontinue using coconut oil.

Make a Soothing Bath To Calm Your Dog’s Irritated Skin

probiotics can help soothe a dog's skin
Probiotics ease and improve GI tract function which can help soothe inflamed skin.

Green tea and chamomile tea are anti-inflammatory teas that can help mellow your dog’s mood and soothe irritated skin.

Use any combination or a single tea to make a refreshing spa for your dog.

Fill your bathtub or sink with lukewarm water and steep several tea bags for three to five minutes.

Put your dog in the water and gently swish it over your dog’s fur, allowing it to soak through to the skin for at least 5 minutes.

Alternatively, you can steep the tea in a mug and then apply it as a compress or dab it on with a cotton ball.

Always make sure the tea is at room temperature before applying it so you don’t burn your dog.

Give Your Dog Probiotics To Soothe Itchy Skin

You may be surprised to learn that your dog’s skin problems may start in his gut. Those with celiac disease know very well how something in the gut can cause severe eczema.

The same can happen to your dog.

If your dog is struggling with a bacterial imbalance in the GI tract, probiotics may help to heal the gut and soothe skin inflammation over time.

Look for a refrigerated dog probiotic and give it according to the label directions.

Some probiotics are pills that need to be given in a pill pocket (or slice of hot dog), and some are sprinkle-on or a paste that is mixed with food.

It can take several months to see improvement from the inside out, but if your dog is suffering from other signs of GI distress like diarrhea, constipation, or frequent vomiting, then a probiotic may be in order.

Final Thoughts

If your dog is scratching his skin raw, he’s probably feeling pretty miserable. Scratching can lead to secondary infections that make things worse.

The best thing to do is soothe the skin using a home remedy and try to eliminate possible pests or allergens that may trigger the itching.

If home remedies and thorough cleaning don’t solve the problem within a couple of weeks, a vet may need to diagnose a deeper problem that requires prescription medication or cream.

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Jesse Hopping, CCDT

Jesse is a natural-born dog-lover certified dog trainer (CCDT), dog foster, and former volunteer at Richmond SPCA and surrounding dog shelters for over 10 years. Her pack includes a Bernedoodle and 3 Boston Terriers. She’s sipping caramel coffee and watching her pack play in the sun when she’s not writing blogs. Jesse has her Certified Dog Trainer designation from CATCH Canine Trainers Academy since 2018 and and majored in English from the University of Virginia.

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