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14 Simple and Natural Tips To Help Your Dog Be Less Itchy In the Summer

  • June 20, 2021
  • By MaggieLovesOrbit.com
  • 0 Comments
14 Simple and Natural Tips To Help Your Dog Be Less Itchy In the Summer

Did you know that one of the top reasons for vet visits is allergies?

And did you know diagnosis and treatment continues to elude both vets and dog parents alike?

Here’s the problem all dog owners face when allergies flare up … its VERY hard to figure out the root cause.  

Every dog is different.

And if you do an allergy test, it will typically give you a list of 30 to 50 different things that might be the trigger.   

This means even if you knew what your dog might be allergic, it’s still challenging to manage and get ahead of.  

As a dog mom with a dog that suffers from allergies, this is now my sixth year dealing with her spring and summer rashes.  

I’ve spent hundreds of dollars at various vets who ran all kinds of tests, tried a multitude of products and home remedies, and hours of research to build the best tool kit for my Boston Terrier Maggie.  

Granted, every dog is different, and what might have worked for Maggie may or may not work for your dog. You will have to be the one to do your own research to see what works for your dog.

I’ve opted to go the natural route. Maggie no longer gets Apoquel nor Cytopoint. And I don’t use any flea meds or preventatives.  

Before I dive into my list of simple and natural tips to help your dog be less itchy, let’s look more closely at “Itch” as explained by three veterinarians.    

3 Vets Explain Itch

RAWPETMEDICS provided the most simple explanation in two LIVE videos  You can find them on Facebook, a link to their two videos are here: Video 1 posted March 7, 2021 and Video 2 posted June 15, 2021

What Causes Itch?

  1. Parasites (fleas and mange)
  2. Allergies (allergic to outside stuff, inside stuff, or food)
  3. Infection (as a result of number 1 or 2 – the skin is disrupted by parasites or allergies and then your dog gets a secondary infection because when the skin is inflamed, it gets itchy, red, inflamed, wet, and hot and allows infections to take off. Some dogs can be allergic to just one flea bite, dirt, or scales of the fleas).  

What Exactly Is Happening When Your Dogs Itch?

Itch is the release of histamines. So, for example, your dog could have gotten bit on their flank, but they get a rash on their belly, paws, or face because that’s where the location of their mast cells degranulating are. 

Some dogs have an over-exaggerated response to flea bites, dust mites, grass, and pollen.  

Maggie is one of those dogs. I can tell when she gets bit because she’ll have a bump on her skin that looks similar to my bumps when I get bit by a mosquito. Her test results also showed she was allergic to grass and pollen.  

So now, after six years of battling seasonal allergies, I’ve built a toolkit to help me manage her itch and keep allergies at bay. 

14 Simple and Natural Tips To Help Your Dog Be Less Itchy In the Summer

1. Heal Allergies With Food

Seventy percent of your dog’s immune system is in the gut. And when you fix your dog’s gut, their allergic responses to parasites or the environment evaporate. 

Therefore, feeding a fresh food diet (home-cooked or raw) will help your dog have a healthier biome, allowing them to have a better response against inflammation. 

I fed Maggie and Orbit a home-cooked diet for three years. Unfortunately, their symptoms didn’t entirely go away, so I took the leap of faith and switched to raw this spring.  

I wish I switched over earlier. And I’m happy to report that Orbit’s symptoms are pretty much nonexistent. And Maggie’s gotten a lot better, but she can still break out.

That said, she’s now more resilient and able to bounce back from a rashy reaction faster than she used to.  

I choose not to feed a highly processed kibble diet because I don’t think it’s nutritious. It’s dead food that has been heated six times. It’s got too many carbs and also has carcinogens

We already know that real, whole fresh food is superior to processed food, and if I don’t eat that way, then I won’t feed my dogs that way.  

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2. Repel with Wondercide

I apply Wondercide to both of my dogs every day from June through September. It’s a natural solution that has essential oils. I’ve tried both the lemongrass and rosemary scent and found it to be effective. 

3. Minimize Triggers with Water

We live a very active life, and we go to the beach or trails almost every day.  

Maggie gets a simple water rinse as soon as we return home. This daily practice which takes no more than thirty seconds washes off any pollen or grass that may be on her belly and her paws. 

4. Eliminate All Processed Treats

Treats are a big part of my dog’s life. We train daily, and by eliminating any sort of biscuit, jerky, processed treats, I’ve noticed less itch in my dogs. 

I get two boxes of treats delivered to me every month from Real Dog Box. When I run out, I’ll make my own using a simple home dehydrator.  

5. Reduce Inflammation by Adding Fresh Fish

Omega 3 reduces inflammation. Most people add Omega 3 in the form of oils to their dog’s diet, but I prefer to provide my dogs with Omega 3 from whole food first. They get fed a rotation of:

  • Salmon
  • Sardines
  • Anchovies
  • Smelt
  • Mackerel 

In addition to the fish, I feed I add an Omega 3 supplement from Pawsomely Healthy Dogs. I like this brand because it’s marine sourced, and it’s a powder. Oils tend to go rancid or oxidize.  I wrote an article about Omega 3s HERE.

6. Detox the Gut With Fur

I feed fur at least every other day. The reason behind this is fur massages their intestines as it’s passing through. It also acts like nature’s pipe cleaning bringing any toxins out with it.

This means the small intestine’s surface area is cleaner and has a better ability to absorb the healthier food I’m feeding them. 

I get my rabbit pelts from Real Dog Box.

14 Simple and Natural Tips To Help Your Dog Be Less Itchy In the Summer

7. Feed Antioxidants

Fruit is loaded with nutrients and antioxidants that can help keep your dogs healthy. I rotate the following in their diet. Make sure to pulse the fruit first through a food processor or mash it up with your fork. I often have these items on hand for my smoothies, so it’s effortless to share them with both Maggie and Orbit. A little goes a long way. A serving the size of a teaspoon is all they need in their bowls.  

  • Blueberries
  • Raspberries
  • Strawberries
  • Blackberries
  • Mango
  • Bananas

8. Supplement with Mushrooms

Mushrooms are beneficial to reduce inflammation. I add mushrooms to every bowl and use the Solaris brand from Doctor Harveys. In doing so I’m helping her have a better response towards inflammation as well as helping prevent cancer. Maggie has a benign lump on her shoulder that showed up about a year and a half ago.  

I like this mushroom blend for the following benefits as listed on their Amazon store:

  • Enriched with a variety of organic healing mushrooms to help balance the response of your dog’s immune system, including organic chaga mushroom, organic sheep sorrel, organic reishi mushroom, organic agaricus mushroom, and organic antrodia mushroom
  • Fortified with organic astragalus, a super herb used in traditional Chinese medicine to treat illnesses by enabling your dog’s body to boost its white blood cell count and strengthen its immunity
  • Contains organic wheat grass, that helps to alkalize and detox your dog’s lymph glands and blood cells, thus allowing the body to remove toxins more quickly and efficiently
  • Made from organic turmeric, a food high in anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, with the main ingredient curcumin that has been shown to be helpful in fortifying your dog’s immune system
14 Simple and Natural Tips To Help Your Dog Be Less Itchy In the Summer

9. Supplement with Quercetin

Quercetin is another supplement to help dogs with allergies. It helps to suppress inflammation as well as reduce the amount of histamine released in a dog’s body.  

A safe dosing guideline for quercetin is 5-10 mg per pound of bodyweight, which can be given twice a day. It should be given one hour prior to food or three hours after food.  

Some dogs might feel nausea or have a reduced appetite when quercetin is given on an empty stomach so if you notice these symptoms, give it with your dog’s meals.  

10. Ease Itch With Hydrocortisone

In the event Maggie get’s a rash, I will wipe the affected area down and clean it and apply a hydrocortisone spray. I like the one from Zymox which you can easily buy online or at the pet store.  

14 Simple and Natural Tips To Help Your Dog Be Less Itchy In the Summer

11. Keep Their Nails Short And Clean

Dirty nails can lead to an infection if your dog is scratching their skin raw with them.  

One time we went for a walk on the beach, and seaweed had washed up onto the shore. It wasn’t the pretty single strands; it was mounds of smelly seaweed that had beach flies over it.

Maggie walked over the seaweed and got bit by a few of these beach flies. Unfortunately, her nails were dirty from being outside, and her rash quickly got infected.  

I’ve since learned to wipe her nails clean with these Dechra wipes that disinfect and clean.

14 Simple and Natural Tips To Help Your Dog Be Less Itchy In the Summer

12. Prevent Infection With Medicated Shampoos

I turn to topical treatments first if Maggie gets a rash. 

Different active ingredients do different things. Some ingredients dry pustules, some disinfect, while some cool the skin down. 

I wrote an article about it here. You’ll have to look at your dog’s rash and figure out which product will work best for you. 

If Maggie gets rashy, she tends to get red bumps that can easily get angry and inflamed if I don’t treat her.

In her case, I use one of three medicated shampoos depending on her rash:

13. Dose Zyrtec in Emergencies

A few summers ago, Maggie broke out in hives. The first time the vet gave her a shot. The second time the vet told me to go to the drug store and buy Benedryl or Zyrtec and dose Maggie with half a pill. I did so, and her hives went away within the hour.  

I’ve kept Zyrtec on hand, and on a few occasions each year on a very itchy day, I’ll give her half a pill in the evening before bed so that she’s not scratching and itching in the middle of the night.  

14 Simple and Natural Tips To Help Your Dog Be Less Itchy In the Summer

14. Keep A T-Shirt On

On days when the pollen count is high or when Maggie seems more sensitive, I’ll put a simple T-shirt on her.

Doing so helps minimize her contact with the grass, which she loves to sunbathe on.  

These shirts on Amazon fit her well, hold up in the washing machine, and came at a price that was didn’t break the bank. 

When To Go To the Vet

In some cases, your dog’s itch may be making them miserable, or their rash is out of control. In this instance, you should go to your vet. Sometimes your vet might prescribe a Cytopoint shot to give your dog an itch-free month while you figure out a better diet to feed.  

Final Thoughts

Allergies are difficult to diagnose and treat. It’s a long guessing game to identify the true trigger and then another thing to stay on top of it.

Remember what might have worked for me might not work for your dog.  

It’s essential to keep a diary to understand track what your dog is encountering and how they react to any treatments you apply.  

No matter your natural approach against allergies monitor their: 

  • Skin
  • Coat
  • Eyes
  • Stool
  • Energy
  • Behavior

At the end of the day, your dog’s health markers will give you a clear indication of whether or not you are on the right path.  

Let your dog and their health determine what’s best for them.  

Thank you for reading this far, dear friends. To your own dog’s health and happiness. Best of luck in your information-seeking journey.

Stay steadfast and curious as you research and form your own opinions on what’s best for YOUR dog.  

Are you a Boston Terrier Owner?  Then join this Facebook group

responsible-boston-terrier-owners-facebook-group

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Hannah Zulueta and her two dogs Maggie and Orbit

Hello, my name is Hannah and learning about Boston Terriers and canine nutrition has become my life’s work. 

First and foremost I am a dog owner, a Boston Terrier breed enthusiast and a seeker of the truth.

I started this blog because there isn’t enough space to write on our Instagram.

My mission is to equip Boston Terrier owners and dog owners alike with the knowledge I have so that your dog will live a longer life and better health.

I have two dogs.  Maggie is my socially awkward one; which I find highly relatable because I am completely out of place in large groups myself.  And Orbit is the freebird. She used to have terrible allergies but since she started eating fresh food she’s been symptom free.

You won’t read about cats here… but you will get a fairly large dosage of articles dedicated to the Boston Terrier.   Read more about us. 

By MaggieLovesOrbit.com, June 20, 2021
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