& Itch Relief
Itch Relief DIY
Itching and skin conditions can be caused by many things: environmental allergies, food intolerances/sensitivities, fleas, and food allergies. Itchy dogs with more than three bowel movements per day are more likely to have an adverse reaction to food. 
If environmental allergies are the cause it can help to wipe your dog often with a wet towel, give them a foot bath, and regular baths with a dog shampoo to remove allergens from their skin and coat. (avoid oatmeal shampoos) Giving Your Dog a Foot Bath https://www.homeskooling4dogs.com/bathes
Seasonal allergies are classified as grasses, weeds, trees, molds, fungi – especially yeast, pollen, etc. Usually, first indications are incessant paw licking or inflamed, reddened paws and ears. Wiping or rinsing the paws should reduce these signs. If these problems persist, it could be a food intolerance instead.
Wipe or Soak? By W. Jean Dodds, DVM
Paw soaks are actually recommended at least once per day if your dog does not wear booties outside.
Some people actually have a little “dog paw soaking factory” that the dogs walk through then they walk on a towel or rug, or they use a paw plunger that will squeegee off the excess water and debris.
Below are a couple of ideas we thought were interesting. We understand if paw soaking doesn’t work for your household or lifestyle and will give tips on wiping as well.
Dr. Dodds and Hemopet prefer (especially for white and light-colored pets) a green tea bag poultice, solution, or wipe. Tea of a variety of types can be used as the tannins and polyphenols are antioxidant, anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory.
Dr. Karen Becker uses povidone iodine (betadine), which is an over-the-counter topical antiseptic meant to reduce the number of microorganisms on the skin. Several of our readers use this method, too. Dr. Becker suggests:
A couple inches of water
Enough povidone iodine to change the color to iced tea
Soak for 2-5 minutes
No need to rinse
“According to board-certified veterinary dermatologist Dr. John Gordon, dust mites are the most common environmental allergen in skin-allergy tested dogs. "A veterinary university study that evaluated the presence of house dust mites in pet beds found a significant increase in the amount of house dust mite allergen collected in pet beds older than one year," he says.2 And this was the case no matter the type of bed or how it was cleaned.”
Some dogs are hypersensitive (allergic) to a single flea bite which can result in itching and suffering from flea allergy dermatitis. If this is the source you will need to eliminate fleas from your environment. https://www.homeskooling4dogs.com/fleas-ticks
It’s possible that your dog has a food allergy, but food intolerance or sensitivity is more common than a food allergy. Food allergies reflect a more immediate immunological response whereas food intolerances/sensitivities build up over time with exposure to offending ingredient(s). “the body produces the antibody IgE to fight off a food allergy and reacts immediately and violently (anaphylaxis). However, these types of true food allergies are rare. Typically, testing for food allergies involves either a skin prick test or a blood test.” Allergy reactions show up in allergy blood test as antibodies (IgE and IgG).
Food intolerances/sensitivities can manifest in gastrointestinal issues, chronic itching, chronic gas, chronic skin, and ear and foot infections. Food intolerance/sensitivity is done by testing a dog’s saliva for a differing set of antibodies (IgA and IgM). I have used the NutriScan test on both of my dogs and plan on testing all future dogs to be proactive with health issues.
Food intolerances/sensitivities to a main ingredient like chicken or lamb, or something small in the food like salmon, menhaden, or herring oil, peas, lentils, quinoa, etc.. This is one reason to rotate regularly what we feed dogs. It is essential to identify and eliminate any food from the diet that can create intolerance. NutriScan takes the guesswork out of rotating and eliminating differing foods through food trails. I have used and recommend food sensitivity & intolerance test from NutriScan. With the NutriScan kit you collect saliva with a small cotton dental rope. You can do this at home or at the vet’s office. Then ship the kit back to Hemopet for testing.
Safe alternatives to start with
Herbs for Pets: The Natural Way to Enhance Your Pet's Life - Greg L. Tilford
Make a rinse out of any of these by making a strong tea. (The stronger the better)
Peppermint tea (4-8 tea bags)
Green tea (4-8 tea bags)
Nettle tea (4-8 tea bags)
Thyme (¼ - ½ cup)
You can make a tea rinse with each of these or combine them.
Heat 1 quart of water to a boil and turn off.
Add 4 – 8 tea bags (peppermint, green tea, nettle and/or ¼ - ½ cup of thyme)
Let tea bags and/or thyme steep in water until cool.
Pour over dog your dog's body (not on the face or head)
Let drip dry, do not towel off
Apple Cider Vinegar Tea Body Rinse
This body rinse can be useful to restore skin pH, soothe itchy skin, calm rashes and welts, and has some added benefits for keeping biting flies, fleas and gnats at bay.
Mix the following ingredients together in a bottle/jar with cap and shake well before use:
Apple Cider Vinegar: 1/2 cup
Brewed Green Tea (cooled): 1/2 cup
Distilled Water: 1 cup
Apply to clean skin and coat, massage, rinse, and pat dry.
Video here: https://www.facebook.com/PlanetPaws.ca/videos/1011100385631510/?t=0
Coconut oil has antimicrobial, antifungal and antibacterial properties, and can have profound benefits for your dog's skin health, digestion, brain function, nutrient absorption and thyroid function. Coconut Oil for Dog's Skin and Health https://healthypets.mercola.com/coconut-oil-for-dogs.aspx
Natural Skin Tonic – This lemon-based tonic not only repels fleas, it works as a general skin toner for itchy pets. Thinly slice a whole lemon, including the rind, and steep it overnight in a pot of boiling water. The cooling water draws out d-limonene, vitamin C, and other healing ingredients found in the whole lemon. The next day, sponge it on your dog’s skin and let the solution air-dry.