16 Oct, 2023

Here are the best dog supplements for itchy skin

Irina Turcan
Here are the best dog supplements for itchy skin

Being itchy is no fun, and unfortunately it can have a serious impact on your pooch’s quality of life. Luckily, there are ways for you to alleviate their scratching. In this article, we first look at some of the symptoms and potential causes of the condition. We’ll then discuss several of the best plant-based functional foods that make effective dog supplements for itchy skin. These can help to soothe and heal skin irritation and inflammation, leaving your pup happy and healthy!

What are the symptoms of itchy skin in dogs?

It’s normal for dogs to scratch and have itches now and again. However, if your pup is scratching a lot, it may have a negative effect on their quality of life. Plus, chronic itching might itself result in other harmful conditions. As such, it’s important to look out for warning signs that your pup has itchy skin. If you spot any symptoms, you can take steps to both ease them and address the underlying cause. And one way to help is by using dog supplements for itchy skin.

Let’s begin by discussing some of the signs that your pooch has itchy skin. Excessive scratching is the most common symptom, however it’s not the only one. Some of the other physical and psychological indications to be aware of include:

  • Bald patches or hair loss
  • Rashes or red skin
  • Dry or flaky skin
  • Scabs or patches of thickened skin
  • Rubbing their skin against the ground, furniture, or similar
  • Loss of appetite
  • Excessive licking
  • Saliva staining on their coat (when their fur turns brown, orange, red or pink from being constantly licked)
  • Chewing or biting their skin
  • Self-inflicted wounds on their skin
  • Skin infections
  • Restlessness or being unable to settle down
  • Irritability or loss of interest in playing

The type, number, and severity of symptoms your pooch experiences can vary depending on the underlying cause of their itchy skin. Likewise, you might find that your dog is itchy in just one particular spot, or all over their body. Don’t forget that some pups may try to hide their symptoms. So, look out for them scratching when they think you’re not watching before deciding if you need dog supplements for itchy skin!

What causes itchy skin in dogs?

There are several reasons why your dog might have itchy skin, and it’s important to try and figure out what’s causing your pup to scratch. That’s because this knowledge will enable you to help them more effectively, and pick the most appropriate itchy skin dog supplements to treat their condition.

In most cases, itchy skin in dogs is the result of allergic dermatitis, or skin allergies. There are many things your pup could be allergic to. We can broadly divide these into environmental allergies and food allergies. While dog supplements for itchy skin may help with the symptoms of both, to solve the problem, you’ll need to identify the underlying cause.

Environmental allergies could be from triggers such as pollen, dust, mould spores, or grasses. You might notice that your dog only gets itchy during certain seasons, after going outside, or when visiting specific places. Turning to food allergies, you may find that your pooch only gets itchy after eating certain ingredients. The most common ones that pups react to are beef, chicken, dairy products, and wheat.(1)

Itchy skin could also be a sign that your pup has fleas, dust mites, ticks, or other parasites. They can easily pick these up while out on walks, so it’s best to use a preventative flea treatment. In addition to the symptoms above, you might spot small dark specks in your pup’s fur when grooming them. Sometimes you may even see the insects themselves, leaving you in no doubt of the problem!

Finally, certain skin infections and diseases can also cause your dog to scratch. Many of these need to be treated with medication alongside dog supplements for itchy skin.

When to speak to a vet about your dog’s itchy skin

It’s not always easy to tell what’s making your dog scratch excessively. That’s why we recommend you take them to the vet if you notice the type of symptoms described above. They’ll be able to help you work out the underlying cause of your pup’s itches. After that, you can come up with a plan of action to get your furry friend back to full health.

Sometimes it will be sufficient to make lifestyle changes and give your dog supplements for itchy skin to soothe their symptoms. In other cases, prescription medication may be required. This could be to deal with the reason behind their urge to scratch, or a subsequent issue like infection. And of course, if you notice the symptoms worsening, seek further advice from the vet. It’s always better to be safe than sorry when it comes to the health and wellbeing of your pet!

How to treat itchy skin in dogs

Naturally, the best way to help a pup with itchy skin will depend on the reason behind the condition. For example, if your dog is allergic to a certain type of food, then you’ll want to eliminate it from their diet. Likewise, if they have fleas or a skin infection, then you may need to give them medication. Treatments like this tackle the underlying source of the problem. However, dog supplements for itchy skin can be an effective option to ease the symptoms regardless of what’s causing them.

The best dog supplements for itchy skin

Some vets will recommend prescription steroids for itchy skin. The trouble with these is that they can result in several unpleasant side effects.(2) As such, you might prefer to try some more natural dog supplements for skin conditions. Here are some of the most effective options.

Reishi mushroom powder

Reishi is a medicinal mushroom that may support the functioning of the immune system. This is because it contains polysaccharides called beta-glucans, which can activate certain immune cells. The fungus is also rich in secondary metabolites such as triterpenes. These have anti-inflammatory properties, so could help to soothe your pup’s inflamed and itchy skin.(3)

Another reason reishi is one of the best dog supplements for itchy skin is because it can help balance histamine levels. In turn, this may ease the symptoms of allergies. Although there is little research into using reishi for itchy skin in dogs, studies on mice have found it successfully alleviates itching.(4)

Reishi mushroom powder is easy to blend into your pup’s normal wet food. We suggest using 50-100mg per 1kg of their body weight, divided into 2-3 doses throughout the day. It’s wise to take a break for a few weeks after eight weeks of giving your dog medicinal mushrooms. This is to prevent them from developing a tolerance to them or over-stimulating their immune system.

Sea buckthorn oil and powder

No list of the best dog supplements for itchy skin would be complete without sea buckthorn. This tiny berry is naturally rejuvenating thanks to its high levels of phytonutrients like omega-7 fatty acids and beta-carotene. It’s additionally rich in linoleic acid and palmitoleic acid, both of which support the health of the skin.

Sea buckthorn may help to reduce inflammation and boost hydration.(5) This means it can nourish the skin, plus soothe and heal skin irritations like dry paw pads and itchiness.

Sea buckthorn dog supplements for itchy skin are available in both oil and powder form. If using oil, feed your pup 20 drops per 10kg of body weight up to twice daily. For the powder, blend ⅛ to ¼ of a teaspoon per 5kg of body weight into their wet food. You can do this once or twice a day.

Milk thistle oil

Milk thistle is perhaps most famous for its beneficial effects on the liver, but it’s also rich in vitamin E. This is a potent antioxidant, meaning it protects your pup’s cells against the damage caused by free radicals. That includes their skin cells, which is why the oil is on our list of dog supplements for itchy skin. On top of which, milk thistle oil has anti-inflammatory properties. Consequently, it can be useful in soothing certain dermatological conditions – particularly those caused by an allergic reaction.

You can feed milk thistle oil to your pup neat. We recommend giving them one teaspoon (5ml) per 10kg of body weight, up to twice a day.

Chia seed oil

Another fabulous oil to consider when looking at dog supplements for itchy skin is chia seed oil. These small but mighty seeds are great plant-based sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which are important for skin health. Omega-3 can help to reduce inflammation and restore the skin’s moisture barrier. As such, the oil could be effective at soothing your pooch’s dry and itchy skin.

Just like milk thistle oil, pups can take chia seed oil neat. One teaspoon (5ml) per 10kg of body weight up to twice a day is sufficient.

Aloe vera

The aloe vera plant is a wonderful home remedy for skin irritations like sunburn. And happily, it’s also one of the more effective supplements for dogs with itchy skin. Aloe vera gel can work to cool inflamed skin, reduce redness, boost hydration, and promote healing. This is in large part due to the plant’s high levels of the acemannan polysaccharide, which has anti-inflammatory properties.(5) Moreover, aloe vera is antibacterial and antimicrobial, further helping to improve skin health.

Unlike the other dog supplements for itchy skin on this list, you apply aloe vera to your pooch topically. Just make sure that you don’t use a product that contains alcohol, as this can burn your pup’s skin. If you’ve got an aloe vera plant at home, you could even harvest your own!

Safety considerations when using dog supplements for itchy skin

Pup experts generally consider all the dog supplements for itchy skin mentioned above to be safe for our canine friends. However, there are still some safety points to bear in mind before using them.

First, no dog supplements for itchy skin should be thought of as a replacement for professional veterinary care or medicine. We always recommend taking your pup to the vet if they’re experiencing any of the symptoms discussed above. That way, you can figure out what’s causing your pooch to scratch and how best to tackle the issue.

Likewise, check with a vet before giving your dog food supplements for itchy skin. This is particularly true if they have another health condition or are on medication. This is to help ensure they don’t experience any interactions or side effects.

Similarly, just as dogs can be allergic to certain foods or environmental triggers, they may also be allergic to supplements. Keep an eye on your fur baby so you’ll be able to spot any negative change in their health or behaviour. If you do, stop using the supplements and take them to the vet straight away.

Bear in mind that dog supplements for itchy skin might not be suitable for all pups. For instance, you shouldn’t give them to puppies, or dogs who are pregnant or nursing. That’s because there has not yet been sufficient research into the safety of functional foods for these groups.

Finally, take care not to exceed the recommended dosage when using dog supplements for itchy skin. This will vary according to factors like the size of your dog, and should be stated on the product packaging. If you’re unsure of how much to give your pup, just check with a vet.

Other ways to help soothe your dog’s itchy skin

Giving your dog supplements for itchy skin is not the only way that you can soothe their scratching. Here are some other tips and tricks you might like to try:

  • Wash your dog’s paws after walks to remove pollen and other allergens
  • If your pup gets hay fever, try to figure out if it’s tree, grass, or weed pollen that they’re allergic to. Then plan your walking routes to avoid the worst spots for that type. Coastal areas tend to have lower pollen counts than inland locations, so beach walks are ideal if possible!
  • Use an air filter in the house and vacuum regularly to get rid of allergens in your home
  • Choose hypoallergenic foods if your dog is sensitive to certain ingredients
  • Give your pet regular preventative flea treatments
  • Wash your pup’s bedding frequently
  • Add green tea or chamomile teabags to your pooch’s bath to ease inflammation and soothe itching
  • If your doggy has sensitive skin, try not to use strong detergents or similar cleaning products that may cause a flare-up
  • Use a shampoo specially designed for dry and itchy skin when bathing your pooch
  • Give your pup an oatmeal bath to reduce inflammation and irritation. All you need to do is grind oatmeal into a powder, then mix it with water to form a paste. Gently rub it into the affected area, leave it for 5-10 minutes, then rinse thoroughly. Oatmeal isn’t toxic for dogs, so it’s ok if your pooch eats some!