Compulsive Scratching and Itching in Dogs: Reasons and Solutions

Compulsive Scratching and Itching in Dogs: Reasons and Solutions

Dogs may suffer from scratching or itching issues at any point during their life. Such compulsive behaviors are quite common in dogs and have a variety of reasons. If you find your dog scratching his ears all night or itching like crazy, then it is time for you to take some immediate measures. Although in many cases, the cause of such behavior is not that serious, an on-going itching or scratching will most probably make your dog feel miserable or develop an uncomfortable ''hot spot'' in areas of their body.

Several factors may lead your dog to continuous scratching and itching all day and night long. For example, the presence of parasites on your dog's skin, like fleas or ticks may be responsible for your dog's constant scratching. Even excessive boredom or anxiety may cause your dogs to respond in a physical way, just like human beings compulsively bite their nails or twirl their hair. However, in most cases, the two major causes of scratching and itching in dogs are dry skin and allergies.

Reasons that Cause Dry Skin

Dry skin can be a real challenge for both dogs and their owners. There are many different factors that can make the skin feel dry, including infections, systemic disorders, or even the wrong choice of harsh soaps and poor nutrition. The variety of causes for dry skin may make diagnosing a skin condition or skin disease, like an infection from parasites quite tricky. Here are the most common reasons that can make your dog's skin appear dry, flaky, or itchy.


The appearance of dry and itchy skin may be a sign of parasites causing mange, or it could even indicate that your dog has lice. Several types of parasites, including canine scabies, may be responsible for your dog's itchy skin and constant scratching. Unfortunately, diagnosing parasite infection is not easy for a dog-owner. Although ticks are often visible to humans, other parasites like fleas will normally go unseen. A visit to your vet is the first step in order to determine the type of skin condition your dog currently suffers. If needed, the vet may refer you to a specialist dermatologist.


Apart from parasites, bacterial or fungal infections may also, cause your dog to feel itchy. Vets are responsible for diagnosing skin infections in dogs by receiving skin scrapes for cytology. It is really important to deal with this cause of dry skin immediately since in some cases, some bacteria or fungi may be transmissible to humans, as well.

Systemic disorders

Although it's not that common, particularly if your dog receives regular check-ups from your family vet, there is always the chance that a more severe systemic disorder causes your dog's skin to feel itchy and flaky. Two major metabolic disorders related to dry skin in dogs are hypothyroidism and Cushing's disease. However, in both cases, dry skin and the feeling of constant scratching will typically be accompanied by dry and brittle hair or even hair loss.

Environmental conditions

In many cases, dry skin in dogs is the result of some bad habits or unfavorable environmental conditions. For example, poor nutrition, excessive bathing, or the use of harsh soaps may irritate your dog's skin and result in its appearing flaky and itchy. Nowadays, many dog-owners provide ultra-processed pet food and that is often the cause of dryness and itchiness. If your dog's gut detects something that doesn't feel right, it then sends signals to the mast cells of the skin, and histamine is released. This hormone is the major cause of itchiness in both dogs and humans and therefore, ensuring that your dog receives a balanced, fresh, and hypoallergenic raw food diet can be the true solution.

Natural Solutions to Alleviate Dry Skin

Treatment of your dog's dry skin depends on identifying the cause. If the reason for such a condition lies in the presence of parasites or infections, then your vet should be the one to determine the perfect remedy. However, there are natural solutions that can help alleviate your beloved dog's dry skin and help him stop scratching.

Chamomile and Green Tea

One of the most well-known natural remedies against dry skin is the combination of chamomile and green tea. Both these products can soothe your dog's itchy skin and moisturize it at the same time. Fill up your bathing tube with warm water and place two to three tea bags in it for a few minutes. Remove the bags and let your dog soak in the tube for a few minutes. Alternatively, if your dog's skin appears dry and itchy in certain spots, steep one bag of chamomile or green tea in two cups of warm water and then pour it on your dog's skin to alleviate dryness.

Oatmeal and Yoghurt

Oatmeal is another great natural solution against dry skin. It is an age-old remedy that works perfectly well with dogs and that's why it is included in most hypoallergenic dog shampoos. In order to make an oatmeal paste, take your ground oatmeal and add warm water until the paste feels even and consistent. Place the paste on your dog's irritated skin and you will quickly relieve his skin's dryness.

In case your dog is suffering from skin irritation due to malnutrition or hyper working of the digestive system, a great natural solution is to feed him some plain, unsweetened yogurt. Feeding your dog two teaspoons of yogurt every few days will improve their overall gut health and possibly alleviate their itchiness or dryness.

Main Causes for Allergies

Dogs can get allergies, just like people. There are several types of allergies, including food allergies, seasonal or environmental allergies. The presence of excessive dust, feathers, pollen, animal dander, and even flea saliva may cause the appearance of allergies in dogs, usually in the form of dry and irritated skin. The bad thing about allergic conditions is the fact that if left untreated, they may cause a more serious condition, named atopic dermatitis. In such a case, other symptoms, like redness and inflammation will normally appear.

Food allergies

In many cases, food can result in your dog developing an allergic condition. The complicated thing about a food allergy is the fact that even foods that your dog has been consuming for years can all of a sudden act as an allergen. Particularly over-processed or low-quality food can make your dog allergic to it. 

Environmental factors

Some common environmental factors responsible for the appearance of allergic reactions in dogs are also commonly found in humans and include the pollens of grasses, weeds, and molds. This can lead to skin allergies with symptoms, including dryness and itchiness which mostly appear during the spring or summer period. Another allergic reaction can result from mold or dust. Moreover, other seasonal allergic reactions may be due to exposure to pollens.

Natural Solutions to Alleviate Allergies

Avoid Food Allergens

Depending on the type of allergen your dog is suffering from, there are different natural solutions you should follow. A hypoallergenic diet can help your dog deal with itchiness related to food allergens. For example, dairy, beef, and wheat are responsible for most food allergies in dogs, and therefore, they should be avoided. New protein sources, including egg, duck, or certain types of fish along with carbohydrate sources, like peas, yams and potatoes can really help your dog develop a better dietary behavior and avoid food allergens.

Use of Nettle

In order to deal with seasonal allergies, a well-known and effective natural remedy is the use of nettle. When taken orally, garden nettle can really help relieve the symptoms of allergies, since it can reduce histamine production and prevent the release of other inflammatory mediators. Mix small tiny nettle cubes in your dog's food and you'll watch his allergy symptoms subsiding. 

Baking Soda

A simple ingredient, yet extremely effective against dog allergies is baking soda. With the ability to calm the itch and irritated skin, you can make a baking soda paste and apply it to the skin of your dog. Mixing a tablespoon of baking soda with a little water until an even paste is created is the first step towards relieving your canine's itchiness. Place the paste on your dog's irritated areas and leave it for a few hours before washing off.

The use of an aloe plant is also, a great natural alternative solution to dealing with your dog's itching. Keep an aloe plant in your garden and use it to scoop out the clear gel that exists inside the leaves. Apply the gel to itchy and flaky areas and it will automatically start soothing your dog's irritated areas, improve your dog's coat, diminish pruritus and help relieve allergy symptoms. 

Adding Superfoods

Even if the dietary program of your dog is great and balanced, he may still need to further boost his immune system against allergies and skin conditions. For this reason, there are several ancient and modern ingredients, also commonly called superfoods promising to support your dog's immune system and organ function. Turkey tail mushroom powder, along with resveratrol and spirulina are really important ingredients in the fight against allergens. Those ingredients when taken together with vitamins, like vitamin A, C, B1, E, and D can really improve your dog's quality of life and help them deal with skin conditions. 

The immune system is the real weapon against pathogens, allergens, and toxins, and therefore, enriching it with natural superfood boosters will only make things better for your lovely canine. Imagine how great it would be to have a product that combines the above-mentioned ingredients in one special formula. Zenapet has developed their Immune Support formula that promises to help your dog boost his immune system and protect against environmental conditions that may lead to problems, like itching and scratching. 

Excessive licking, scratching and itching are typically related to several factors. Whether a skin condition, like dryness, or some type of allergy is the main reason behind your dog's compulsive itchiness and pruritus, there are several natural solutions that can help relieve the symptoms. In each case, identifying the cause of this condition is the first step towards finding the best solution for your dog's itchiness. Natural solutions, like Zenapet's Immune Support formula, are great since they do not harm your dog's immune system and they offer your dog a series of benefits. That's why you should seriously consider such a simple and natural solution before searching for more complicated alternatives.


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