Common causes of your pet's itchy skin and how to treat it naturally
Scratching, licking, rubbing and biting are signs that your pet may be suffering from itchy skin or skin allergies. It may leave your poor pet feeling agitated and uncomfortable, and if left untreated, their skin condition may get so bad that they start pulling out their fur or develop hot spots (areas of oozing, dry or inflamed skin)! In the medical field, itchy skin is called 'pruritis' which may have a variety of causes, but the good news is that there are various natural remedies that effectively treat your pet's itchy skin and skin allergies without harmful side effects that often come with pharmaceutical medication or products.
Let's take a look at the common causes of itchy skin in pets, and how you can treat it naturally! Say goodbye to your pet's flaky, inflamed and irritated skin, and hello to a healthy, luscious skin and coat!
Common causes of itchy skin in pets
Fleas are one of the most common causes of your pet's itchy skin! These bothersome little critters are exceptionally talented at rapidly multiplying, and just LOVE nesting in your pet's coat, carpets and linen. If you see that your pet is scratching, biting, rubbing, licking or shaking their head, immediately examine their skin and coat to determine whether they're carrying any fleas. You should also examine your carpets and linen! Remember that some pets are allergic to flea bites and even ONE flea can cause an allergic skin reaction! If you have confirmed that fleas have made themselves at home in your household, there are various prescription flea products available, however we recommend natural flea and tick control products, as they are much safer for your pet (Read: harmful side effects caused by prescription flea and tick treatments).
Solution: Prevention is better than cure!
- Keep your dog or cat free from fleas and ticks by washing them once a month with a natural flea and tick shampoo, such as Vondi's Khakibos Natural Pet Flea Shampoo! This Khakibos shampoo can be safely used on dogs and cats and can also be used to wash your pet's blanket and laundry as part of a natural flea control program.
- Use a natural flea and tick spray directly on your pet and in kennels, on blankets and carpets! Vondi's Khakibos Flea & Tick Spray is ideal for dogs and can also be used safely for cats. However, some kitties do not like being sprayed. If your feline is one of them, rather use Vondi's Flea Repellant Powder for fussy felines!
- Diatomaceous Earth is a natural worm and parasite repellent, which is safe for dogs, cats, puppies and kittens! It can be sprinkled over your pet's food as well as the surrounding environment and can also be rubbed into their coat. Not only is Diatomaceous Earth great for naturally treating fleas and ticks, it provides additional health benefits like cleansing your pet's blood, promoting healthy digestion, easing sore joints and strengthening their bones and cartilage!
- Spraying your pet with an organic Apple Cider Vinegar solution has proven to act as a safe and natural flea and tick treatment. The acidic taste is unappealing to fleas and ticks and they will be quick to leave your pet alone! You'll need to make a diluted solution by mixing 1 tablespoon of Apple Cider Vinegar to every 400ml of water, and rinse your pet with it after every wash!
- Did you know that a strong and healthy immune system helps to protect your pet against flea infestations? A dog or cat with a weakened immune system is more susceptible to infestation by all types of parasites, such as fleas, ticks and even intestinal worms! Keeping your pet healthy is one of the best ways to protect them from being attacked by fleas and this can be done by boosting their immune system naturally with Feelgood Pets Immunity & Liver Support. You can also boost your pet's immune system with AllisOne Immuno Synergy, a lactose-free tissue salt.
Other insects or parasites
Besides fleas, there are various other bothersome critters that may be the cause of your pet's itchy skin, such as mosquitoes, mites and lice. Good hygiene, regular grooming, and clean bedding are usually enough to deter an infestation of lice, while keeping mosquitoes at bay can be a bit more challenging, especially during summer (Read: how to effectively and naturally keep mosquitoes at bay).
- Did you know that a strong and healthy immune system helps to protect your pet against parasites such as mites? A dog or cat with a weakened immune system is more susceptible to infestation by all types of parasites! Keep your pet healthy with Feelgood Pets Immunity & Liver Support. You can also boost your pet's immune system with AllisOne Immuno Synergy, a lactose-free tissue salt.
- Spraying your pet with an organic Apple Cider Vinegar solution has proven to act as a safe and natural parasitic control. The acidic components are unfavourable for parasites and they'll be quick to leave your pet alone! You'll need to make a diluted solution by mixing 1 tablespoon of Apple Cider Vinegar to every 400ml of water, and rinse your pet with it after every wash!
- One of the most well-known natural treatments for parasites is Neem Oil, which is used for its strong anti-viral, anti-fungal, antiseptic, antibacterial and anti-parasitic properties! Neem Oil helps in the treatment of many skin conditions, including eczema, psoriasis, dermatitis, ring worm, fungal infections, lice, mites and chickenpox.
Skin infections are highly common in pets, and are always a secondary symptom. Skin infections in pets occur when the skin is unhealthy for some reason (often nutrition-related), and then invaders like bacteria, yeast, and fungus can get comfortable. Common skin infections include fungal infections (e.g. ringworm), bacterial infections and yeast infections, which are more prone to areas such as ears (Read: how to tell if your pet has an ear infection and how to care for your pet's ears), in skin folds and between their paws.
- Routine ear cleaning is very important for pets if you want to prevent ear problems! Use a natural cleaning solution, such as Natura Pet Ear Cleanser, Ear Dr or Sport Swimmer's Ear Drops to prevent and treat ear infections in your pet.
- Ensure your pet is consuming a healthy, organic diet so that they're getting the nutrition their body needs in order to prevent skin infections (and other diet-related health issues). Did you know that most pet foods and snacks are full of preservatives, colourants and other chemicals which may harm your pet's health AND the planet? That's why we have put together a selection of natural and organic food and snacks that are good for both your pets AND Mother Earth too!
- Give your pets daily supplements that will boost the functioning of their skin and coat. Skin & Coat Tonic improves skin functioning, relieves itching, treats skin infections and boosts your pet's overall health.
- Did you know that a strong and healthy immune system helps to protect your pet against skin infections? Keep your pet healthy with Feelgood Pets Immunity & Liver Support. You can also boost your pet's immune system with AllisOne Immuno Synergy, a lactose-free tissue salt.
Ann Wigmore, the founder of the Ann Wigmore Natural Health Institute Inc. in Puerto Rico, wisely said, "The food you eat can either be the safest and most powerful form of medicine, or the slowest form of poison." Essentially, your health is linked to the quality of your diet, and the beauty of nature is that natural medicine and healing lies within the food that Mother Earth provides! Most store-bought pet food and snacks do not provide sufficient nutrition for our pets, and are usually processed and filled with harmful colourants, chemicals and preservatives. The cause of your pet's itchy skin could in fact be caused by allergic reactions to the food they're consuming, or their system is just not being nourished enough by store-bought pet food (Read: how to tell if your pet is allergic to their food)!
- Grandma Lucy's Artisan Chicken is a natural dog food that's healthy and completely chemical-free! Replace your pet's store-bought food with Grandma Lucy's Artisan Chicken, which contains human grade chicken, fruit and veggies and is minimally processed, resulting in a delicious meal that is good for your dog!
- Avoid treating your pets to unhealthy snacks, even when they beg for it - yes, their oogly eyes ARE difficult to resist! We've put together a selection of natural and organic treats and snacks that you can feed your pet without guilt, because they're healthy and delicious at the same time!
Animals experience allergies just like humans do (from pollen, grass, pollution, dust etc.), except they're more likely to show symptoms such as dermatitis or skin inflammation, rather than the upper-respiratory responses people experience. It's difficult to diagnose allergies in pets without taking them for blood tests, and almost impossible to completely cure them once the allergy has set in. However, there are various natural allergy support products that are extremely helpful in managing your pet's allergic reactions!
- Use a safe and effective natural remedy for itchy skin in dogs and cats, such as Allergy Itch Ease, which soothes skin allergies in pets, stops constant scratching and helps to heal inflamed skin and hot spots. Use along with AllergiClear Pets! While Allergy Itch ease reduces itching and soothes the skin, AllergiClear Pets will help to control the allergic reaction and act as a natural anti-histamine.
- Use a natural eco-friendly chemical-free shampoo & conditioner for dogs with allergic itchy skin conditions, which helps to soothe their itchiness and leaves them smelling wonderful!
Many people ask us whether stress, anxiety and depression can cause their pet to compulsively scratch, bite, rub and chew on their fur and skin. The answer is yes! In the same way that people who suffer from mental health issues often develop compulsive behaviour (hair twirling, nail biting, skin picking, etc.) to help soothe their emotional upsets, pets can also scratch and bite themselves to relieve stress – even if it hurts!
- If the cause of your pet's stress, anxiety or depression is clear, try your best to eliminate the problem. For example, if your pet is bored or suffering from separation anxiety while you're away at work, provide them with a variety of interactive and stimulating toys that will keep them entertained and occupied (view toys for dog and toys for cats) while you're away.
- Some pets suffer from chronic stress, anxiety or depression. The reasons may vary but include past abuse, trauma, or big lifestyle changes such as a new baby or moving into a new home. PetCalm is a homeopathic remedy that quickly calms anxious, stressed and highly strung pets and helps them cope during times of stress. Organic CBD Oil is also a fantastic natural remedy that reduces feelings of anxiety and improves behavioural problems in pets!
Cushing's Disease (also known as hypercortisolism or hyperadrenocorticism) happens when your pet’s body makes too much cortisol, a hormone produced by the adrenal glands. Cortisol is responsible for helping the body cope with stress, control weight, regulate blood sugar levels, fight infections, among other important bodily functions. Cushing's Disease can be difficult for a vet to diagnose as it carries a lot of symptoms associated with other diseases. Symptoms of Cushing's Disease in your pet include increased thirst, increased appetite, frequent urination, skins infections, a pot belly, hair loss, lethargy, and thinning and itching of skin.
- Endocrine diseases are serious and require veterinary treatment, so always have your pet examined when unusual skin issues or other symptoms arise! If you suspect your pet may be suffering from Cushing's Disease, your vet will usually test your dog’s blood and urine, followed by a hormone screening test. They could also perform an ulltrasound on your pet to see if there's a tumour on the adrenal glands. Based on their findings, they will decide what treatment plan to put your pet on.
- Cushex Drops is a natural, effective remedy to support adrenal health in dogs and cats! It also helps to reduce the symptoms of Cushing's Disease, and return your pet's adrenal glands back to healthy functioning.
- It is also good to remember that dogs and cats who are medicated with cortisone may develop Cushing's as a side effect. This makes it even more important to treat conditions such as allergies and arthritis naturally, rather than resorting to cortisone as a first choice. It may work in the short term, but long term side effects can affect your pet’s health!
If you have any questions about your pet's health, please contact us for FREE advice. We're always happy to hear from you!