As a veterinarian with years of experience, I often come across owners who are concerned about their dog’s skin health.
From itchy, irritated patches to balding spots that aren’t healing correctly, these problems can be distressing for both you and your furry friend. While it’s always best to consult with a professional, there are some vet-approved home remedies that can help treat mild cases of dog skin diseases and possibly save you a trip to the clinic.
In my practice, I have seen the positive effects of these 13 home remedies on dogs suffering from various skin conditions. Implementing these solutions can relieve your pet and help prevent further complications. Of course, monitoring the progress and reaching out to your vet if the situation worsens or persists is essential.
- Adopting home remedies, such as herbal tea soaks and oatmeal baths, can alleviate mild dog skin conditions.
- Incorporating dietary changes and supplements, like omega-3 fish oils, helps support your dog’s overall skin health.
- Consult with a veterinarian if your dog’s skin condition worsens or doesn’t improve with home treatments.
How can I treat my dog’s skin disease at home?
1. Herbal Tea Soaks
In my experience as a vet, I’ve found herbal tea soaks useful in providing temporary relief to dogs with atopic dermatitis; in fact, I’ve even used them for my own dog! Chamomile and green tea, in particular, have soothing properties that can help cool irritated skin and reduce inflammation.
To create a soothing soak for your dog, simply steep several herbal teabags in a tub of lukewarm water for about three minutes. Remove the tea bags once the tea has infused, and let your furry friend soak for 5-10 minutes. Just make sure the water is at a comfortable temperature for them!
For smaller itchy patches, I recommend steeping one or two tea bags in about two cups of hot water. After the tea cools, pour it gently onto your dog’s skin and let it air dry without rinsing.
I’ve had good results from this easy home treatment – it can provide immediate relief for an itchy pooch. However, keep in mind that herbal tea soaks are just a temporary solution. They don’t address any underlying causes of discomfort, such as allergies or infections. If your dog suffers from persistent skin problems or severe symptoms like open wounds, it’s important to consult with a veterinarian for proper diagnosis and treatment. In those cases, herbal tea soaks can still be a helpful addition to the recommended treatment plan for short-term relief.
2. Oatmeal Bath
An oatmeal bath works wonders for dogs experiencing allergic dermatitis, red skin, rash, or bumps. With its anti-inflammatory properties, oatmeal can help soothe your dog’s irritated skin. I’ve seen countless dogs with skin issues benefit from oatmeal baths before, so it’s worth a try for your dog.
To create an oatmeal bath:
- Grind oats into a fine powder using a blender or food processor.
- Fill your bathtub or sink with warm water and add the ground oatmeal until the water turns milky.
- Place your dog into the tub, allowing them to soak for about 15 minutes.
- Lastly, rinse them off with warm water.
Try making an oatmeal paste by mixing equal parts of ground oatmeal and water for localized irritations. Apply this paste to the affected areas, leave it on for 10 minutes, and rinse with warm water.
If you’re looking for an even simpler, more effective oatmeal bath product, I recommend trying Burt’s Bees Oatmeal Shampoo. It’s pH-balanced, cruelty-free, and convenient for regular use.
3. Sugar-Free Plain Yogurt
Did you know that sugar-free plain yogurt can be beneficial for dogs with skin irritation, allergies, and yeast infections? I’ve seen some great results from owners introducing yogurt to their dog’s routine.
Packed with probiotics, yogurt helps prevent skin diseases and improve digestion. Unsweetened yogurt also aids in preventing fungal skin infections, including yeast infections. If your dog is frequently scratching their ears, the culprit might be a fungal infection.
To help your pup, consider giving them a spoonful of yogurt weekly mixing it into their food. Small dogs should have one teaspoon, while bigger dogs can have two teaspoons.
However, if your dog doesn’t like yogurt or has a dairy sensitivity, probiotic supplements like Purina ProPlan Probiotics serve as an excellent alternative – I’ve recommended these to many owners now, and they can work wonders for dogs with digestive issues and itchy skin.
Incorporating sugar-free plain yogurt or probiotic supplements into your dog’s diet can lead to better gut health, reduced skin irritations, and a happier canine companion. This simple addition can make a noticeable difference to your dog’s well-being.
4. Coconut Oil
Thanks to its anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties, coconut oil can be great for treating various dog skin issues. I’ve seen it work wonders on rashes, allergies, yeast infections, and even insect bites in my practice as a veterinarian. It creates a barrier that locks in moisture, preventing dryness and itching.
Applying coconut oil is simple! Just massage it gently into your pup’s fur and skin and let it soak in. Do this 1-2 times per week, and you’ll soon notice a significant improvement in your dog’s skin health.
5. Play and Exercise
I can’t stress enough the importance of keeping your dog engaged with play and exercise during their skin flare-ups. Not only does this help to reduce excessive scratching and licking caused by skin discomfort, but it also improves their overall health.
Don’t limit your dog’s exercise to just walks. Activities like running, fetching, and playing with other dogs are all great distractions. Every minute your dog spends playing is a minute their skin can heal – free from aggravation.
It’s important to note that playtime and exercise won’t directly cure your pet’s skin problems. However, they contribute significantly towards effectively managing symptoms at home by distracting your dog and promoting mental well-being and physical fitness.
6. Medicated Shampoos
Got a stinky, itchy, or irritated pup? Medicated shampoos can be a lifesaver. They contain antiseptics and drying agents that clean and soothe your dog’s skin. I often recommend these shampoos to treat bacterial skin infections, and they usually contain antibiotics and antifungals.
Before you lather up, trim any hair around the problem area, which helps the shampoo reach the skin and work its magic. And don’t forget to follow the directions carefully. In addition to shampoos, remember to regularly brush and trim your dog’s coat and keep their bedding clean.
However, when it comes to shampoos, don’t overdo it – too many baths can strip your pup’s skin of natural oils, making the problem worse.
One medicated shampoo I personally recommend is from Virbac. Not only does it help with dry or smelly fur, but it also promotes your dog’s natural skin defenses. Remember, if you notice negative reactions, like more scratching or redness, stop using the shampoo and consult your vet.
7. Diet Changes
As a veterinarian, I’ve seen many cases of food allergies in dogs, which can be addressed by making appropriate diet changes. Opting for a higher quality, well-rounded dog food can make a huge difference in your pet’s skin health.
Sometimes, common ingredients in commercial dog food like chicken, beef, wheat, or gluten might be causing food allergies, leading to skin issues. In such cases, I often recommend an elimination diet under my guidance. This involves removing potential allergens from your pet’s meals one by one until improvement is noticed.
To do this, start your dog on a hypoallergenic diet and feed them nothing else for 4-6 weeks; if their skin symptoms improve, then voila – they likely had a food allergy.
Remember, a healthy diet can strengthen your dog’s immune system and alleviate skin problems. So, always pay attention to what you’re feeding your furry friend!
8. Vitamin E Oil
I often see dogs with dry, flaky skin or dandruff as a veterinarian. In those cases, I recommend gentle, natural remedies like Vitamin E oil, as this helps replenish moisture and promotes skin repair. Here are a few ways to use Vitamin E oil for your dog’s skincare needs:
- Direct application: Clean affected areas properly and apply the oil directly for targeted relief.
- Bath time boost: Add a few drops to your dog’s bath water to provide an overall soothing effect.
- Oil combo: Combine Vitamin E oil with coconut oil for enhanced benefits.
I’ve personally used products like the Zesty Paws Vitamin E and Aloe Vera Shampoo and Conditioner and have seen great results.
9. Flea and Mite Treatments
Mite infestations and flea dermatitis are two of the most common skin issues I see in dogs and, thankfully, some of the easiest to treat.
Providing your dog with effective and reliable flea and mite treatments is crucial to keep them itch-free, here’s how to implement these treatments:
Choose reliable veterinary-strength products: Avoid using cheap and substandard flea treatments, as they might exacerbate your dog’s skin irritation. Opt for high-quality products for optimal protection from fleas, mites, and ticks.
Keep your home and outdoor environment clean: Regularly clean your dog’s bedding and maintain a clutter-free outdoor area to prevent the risk of infestations.
Regularly groom your dog: Grooming your dog can help detect early signs of fleas and mites, making it easier to address the issue before it worsens.
Here are some flea and mite treatments to consider:
- Oral medications such as afoxolaner, fluralaner, and lotilaner.
- Preventative flea and tick treatments like spot-ons or collars containing sarolaner.
- Lime-sulfur dips for mite treatment.
Preventing flea, tick, and mite invasions in the first place is much simpler than treating them. If you suspect your dog has a flea or mite infestation, don’t hesitate to consult your local vet. They can recommend the best course of treatment and advise on preventing future infestations.
Benadryl can be an effective option to help manage dogs’ itchy skin, which could be triggered by contact dermatitis, allergic reactions, or irritants like flea bites. When used at the recommended dose, Benadryl can reduce itching and scratching for your dog, promoting the healing process and improving their comfort level.
However, there is a slight caution here – although largely a safe medication, you should always consult with your veterinarian before administering any medication to your pet. Each dog is unique, and some may have adverse reactions to certain medications depending on factors like age and underlying health conditions.
To administer Benadryl, a general guideline is 1 milligram per pound of your dog’s body weight, given every 8 hours. Still, it’s crucial to consult your veterinarian for the appropriate dosage, taking into account your pet’s specific health considerations.
Too much Benadryl can cause complications like lethargy, irregular heartbeats, or even seizures. When giving Benadryl to your dog, use plain, unflavored versions without added decongestants that could potentially harm pets.
In my own experience, Benadryl has been a helpful option for dogs with itchy skin. However, it is essential to work closely with your veterinarian when introducing an antihistamine like Benadryl into your dog’s routine.
11. Omega 3 Fish Oils
Omega 3 fish oils are one of those staple supplements I recommend to most of the owners I see in the clinic – I’ve witnessed countless dogs suffering from skin issues improve dramatically after the introduction of Omega 3 fish oils into their diet.
These essential fatty acids possess powerful anti-inflammatory properties that can help alleviate symptoms related to various canine skin conditions, such as dry and itchy skin. Incorporating fish oils benefits the problematic areas and promotes general wellness in dogs. It works by nourishing their coat and improving overall skin health from within.
These oils bolster the integrity of cell membranes, strengthening their natural skin barrier against allergens and irritants. Consequently, dogs experience reduced itching and scratching, enabling faster healing of open sores or wounds.
I’ve found that dogs with a robust immune system fare better in dealing with recurring or chronic skin issues, such as contact dermatitis. Omega 3 fish oils provide additional support to the immune system, helping canines tackle these challenges more effectively. Incorporating Omega 3 fish oils into your dog’s diet is hassle-free. I recommend adding it directly to their food daily, using either commercially available liquid forms, capsules, or specific omega-3-rich foods like sardines.
I advise using a product specifically formulated for dogs to ensure you use the correct dosage; too much could lead to diarrhea.
12. Aloe Vera
Aloe vera has soothing properties, which can help alleviate itchy skin and promote healing of open sores or wounds caused by excessive scratching. Components like acemannan in aloe vera have anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties, making it perfect for reducing inflammation and preventing further infection.
Remember to use pure aloe vera gel without additives that could worsen your dog’s condition. Before applying aloe vera on your pet’s skin, gently clean the area with warm water. Apply a thin layer of the gel directly to the affected areas and let it dry naturally. I recommend repeating this process two to three times daily until your canine friend’s condition improves.
However, it’s important to note that while aloe vera is beneficial for external use on dogs’ skin, ingestion could cause gastrointestinal upset. This is due to aloin, a component found within the leaf’s outer rind, which is toxic when consumed in large amounts by dogs.
I’ve seen many dogs benefit from aloe vera, and the easiest way to apply it is with a product like the Aloe Vera Ear Cleaning Wipes by Pet MD.
13. Baking Soda
Baking soda is one of the most effective and budget-friendly remedies I recommend for skin issues. It has anti-inflammatory properties that reduce redness and soothe irritation, making your pet more comfortable. Its mild antiseptic qualities also help prevent infection in open sores or scratches.
Here are a couple of ways you can use baking soda to treat your dog’s skin conditions:
- Dog Soak: A baking soda bath can provide immediate relief from itching and discomfort. Just add one cup of baking soda to warm water in a tub and let your furry friend soak for 15 minutes before rinsing thoroughly. This method is great for overall itchiness and can offer a relaxing experience for your pet.
- Paste Application: To treat specific areas on your dog’s skin, mix equal parts of baking soda and water to form a paste-like consistency. Gently apply it on the affected spots, avoiding sensitive areas like the eyes or inside ears. After about 20 minutes, rinse off using lukewarm water. This targeted treatment can be helpful in addressing localized issues.
In my experience treating dogs with skin conditions, I’ve seen the benefits of baking soda firsthand and my colleague swears by it’s use with her dog. Incorporating it as a home treatment can save time and money while also providing much-needed relief for your beloved pet.
How to Treat Dog Skin Disease at Home – Where to Start
So there you have it: 13 effective solutions that you can try at home to treat your dog’s skin disease. But where do you start?
This will depend largely on what symptoms your dog is showing and how bad they are. For itchy skin, you might want to start with an oatmeal bath or aloe vera gel and be sure you have ruled out any fleas or mites by giving your dog an anti-parasite treatment.
Omega-3 oils, vitamin E, or coconut oil would be good choices for dry, flakey skin or dandruff. For red, inflamed skin where there might be an underlying allergy, start with a diet change or a medicated shampoo.
These solutions may offer short-term relief but don’t forget the importance of professional veterinary care for persistent or severe skin conditions. So, if your dog’s skin problems don’t improve despite your best efforts, don’t hesitate to consult with a professional.
What can I give my dog for skin disease at home?
You can try oatmeal baths, coconut oil, and vitamin E oil for skin disease at home. However, always consult with your vet first, as each dog’s situation may vary.
Can I treat my dog’s rash at home?
If your dog has a mild rash, you can try treating it with chamomile tea soaks or oatmeal baths. These can help soothe irritation and redness. But remember, if your dog’s rash is severe or isn’t improving, contact your vet for a proper assessment.
How can I treat my dog’s atopic dermatitis at home?
Dealing with atopic dermatitis can be challenging for both you and your dog. In my experience, using medicated shampoos specifically designed for this condition can help, along with dietary adjustments as recommended by your veterinarian. Keep in mind it’s essential to follow your vet’s advice and monitor your dog’s progress.