Dogs are active and playful creatures and they have the habit of running and playing around energetically all day. Sometimes, one notices their dogs scratching themselves and this is normal. If it is due to getting dirty or unclean then regular baths are very helpful. But even then some owners notice that their dog is still scratching itself vigorously. There may be many other reasons apart from hygiene that cause the dog to have scratchy and itchy skin. One needs to immediately find out the reason behind this and resolve the issue because a habit like this can have negative side effects. The excessive scratching may cause hair loss or cuts that will lead to an infection. The following article attempts to elaborate on the reason behind such a behavior and how shampoos help with it.
What are dog shampoos?
Dogs also need regular baths and cleaning as they can get dirty while playing or otherwise. Only water is not sufficient to take out all the germs and human shampoos are designed for humans. They will not help but rather worsen the condition because a dog’s skin is very sensitive and the cleansing shampoo should be formulated keeping in mind this sensitivity. Therefore, there are certain cleansing and hygiene products available in the market that are used to bathe the dogs and make them completely clean and germ-free without causing any damage and also keeping their skin and coat, nourished and moisturized. These are known as dog shampoos. They are manufactured by several companies and come in a variety of types to deal with different issues. The broadest classification one can make in dog shampoos is the medicated and non-medicated versions.
Why do dogs itch?
The following are some plausible reasons why one’s dog may be scratching and itching themselves more than usual.
- A major cause of itching is dry skin. If the dog isn’t hydrated enough, it can reflect in its skin and coat. A dog can have dry skin due to genetics or if it doesn’t have sufficient intake of water. This situation needs to be taken care of.
- Dandruff is another reason why the dogs may scratch themselves incessantly. Dandruff is mainly the side effect of having very dry and flaky skin. The slightest touch can trigger another scratching bout.
- The pet foods that are processed are completely deprived of the natural oils that are an essential part of a dog’s diet. Lack of such oils can lead to dehydration and ultimately, dry skin. Nutrition therefore, has a major part to play in the health of the dog’s skin and coat.
- Another common cause for itching is allergies . Excessive scratching and itching is often a symptom of underlying allergies that are acting up. The dog can be allergic to any common substance but one needs to figure out immediately with the help of a vet what it is and take suitable precautions in the future.
- Environmental factors have a major role to play. A low humidity environment can be very damaging to certain dogs and they need extra care in the form of more than usual hydration to keep their skin and coat moisturized so as to avoid itching.
- Infestation by parasites like fleas and ticks can be a cause of major discomfort to the dogs. They need to get rid of the irking sensation and do so by scratching themselves excessively. These parasites need to be removed as soon as possible to stop the itching.
- Sometimes, the cause for the itching may not be something physical at all but completely diferent like excessive anxiety, nervousness, frustration or merely boredom can cause the dog to attack itself viciously. These are the hardest to diagnose.
- Hormonal imbalances can be another cause for the excessive itching that can lead to hot spots. The lack of adequate thyroid hormone and increase in cortisol can have drastic impact on the skin condition.
- The dog may be suffering from pain and trying to draw attention to the hurting area by licking and scratching it again and again as it is causing him physical discomfort.
- Bites from insects or spider stings are some of the other reason why the dog maybe scratching itself. It may be doing so to relieve itself from the painful and stinging sensation.
- Scratching may also sometimes refer to some serious underlying health issues like immune system problems or liver diseases.
How dog shampoos help in handling itching?
The following points elaborate how shampoos help in dealing with itching and scratching problems.
- Baking soda is a mild deodorizer and also helps in soothing the itching sensation. It creates a rich foam that can help in deeply cleansing the skin and coat and hence, removes the germs that cause irritation.
- Aloe vera has soothing properties that helps cool down the dog’s skin providing it instant relief and significantly reduces the dog’s tendency to scratch itself.
- Corn Starch is also helpful to help counter the basicity level of baking soda and keep the mixture in the correct pH range.
- Lemon juice is very effective in removing, reducing and preventing the recurrence of dandruff. Dandruff causes irritation and lemon juice helps in reducing this.
Recipes for homemade dog shampoo for itching
The following are some recipes for homemade itch-relief shampoo for dogs.
Baking Soda and Oatmeal Bath : One needs to grinds the oatmeal into a fine powder. In a bowl, one can mix one part baking soda, two parts of oatmeal powder with three parts of water. This mixture is then applied to the dog and then washed off with cool water as it is more soothing to the skin as compared to warm water.
Anti-Flea Shampoos : As fleas are also a common cause for causing itching in dogs, one can mix one part apple cider vinegar or white vinegar, one part water and one part baby shampoo. This is highly effective in removing the ticks and fleas from the dog’s coat and providing instant and soothing relief in such cases. If the dog’s skin is too dry and sensitive then one can always add two table spoons of aloe vera gel and three table spoons of glycerine.
Shampoo for dry skin that helps soothe the itching : One can mix one part baking soda, one part corn starch and a few drops of essential oils like lavender or tea tree oil. This mixture is used to give dry baths to the dogs and one needs to make sure that no water is used.
Baking Soda and Lemon Juice for Dandruff : One can create a mixture of baking soda, lemon juice, water and vinegar but the only consideration is that the pH of the mixture should be neutral. The quantity can be varied to suit the amount that is required for the cleansing process.
Castile Soap : One can shred the castile soap or take liquid castile soap and mix it with water. To this mixture, vinegar and aloe can be added and used to instantly provide soothing relief against itching and scratching.
The following are some precautions that one should keep in mind while making homemade shampoos for their dogs.
- When using acidic and basic ingredients, one should make sure that the pH is in the recommended range.
- The shampoo should not contain any ingredients that the dog is allergic to.
- One should avoid rubbing or agitating the dog’s skin as this can worsen the condition.
- In case of dry skin, frequent baths should be avoided as this strips the skin of the required moisture.
In the end..
As one can summarize, there can be many reasons for itchy skin, one just needs to correctly identify the cause and make sure to use the correct solution for it. The symptoms like excessive itching should not be left unnoticed as they cause major discomfort to the dog and immediate solution is important for their health. There are so many ways to make effective shampoos for dog itching at home. Try them out today!