The suffering of a dog that scratches all day and night is not only heartbreaking but really frustrating.
For a stretch of time, I resorted to removing our dogs’ collar and tag. I felt really bad for Ginger, but the sound was driving me crazy!
The key was to find out WHY our dog was scratching so much. For us, it was allergies. But there are several reasons why a dog could be itchy.
Ginger wasn’t our first dog that suffered from allergies. Our previous yellow lab, Abby, had allergies too. But that was 15 years ago, before the age of the internet, before we were educated dog owners.
Each week of 2020, I am choosing a question from a Rescue Dogs 101 community member. #AskingForMyDog
This week’s question is from Pam, she asks:
“What can you do for a dog that scratches all the time? She has hair loss and sometimes has a bad odor. I tried a lot of different things, help”
This leaves me with many open questions.
But the bad odor leaves me to believe she may have a yeast infection.
Has she been to the vet? Has she been checked for fleas, ear mites, worms or other health issues?
If not, I would take her in as soon as possible.
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Yeast has a smelly odor to it, hence the reasoning behind me believing she has a yeast infection.
Does she have brown gunk in her ears?
Is the hair loss over the entire body? Or just in the areas she is scratching?
There is a great article on Pets WebMD: Yeast Infection in Dogs Ears: Causes, Treatment, and Prevention
For our Ginger, she was itching non-stop, and her ears would get red hot, full of brown gunk. After a lot of research, I learned she was allergic to many different foods.
Food and environmental allergies are very common in dogs in varying degrees.
After I got Ginger’s diet under control, the allergies and itching subsided almost entirely.
You can read more about our journey with allergies here>>
I think Ginger has environmental allergies too. Her paws were dark red/brown, which didn’t go away with the controlled diet.
What did make her paws better? Two weeks after moving out to the country her paws healed 100%! No kidding, they were light pink and no itching. I believe it was the suburban life… living with chemicals on our lawns and sidewalks.
Solve Your Dog's Allergy Mystery!
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There are a few home remedies for yeast infection in dogs that you could try.
It’s important to never use oatmeal products for a dog with a yeast infection. I know they are marketed to relieve the itch, but if your dog has a yeast infection, oatmeal can make it worse.
Coconut oil is a superfood for dogs and humans. It has natural properties that make it antibacterial, antiviral and anti-fungal.
You can add it to your dogs’ food, give it to her as a treat, and apply it directly to the affected skin.
Learn more > Is Coconut Oil Good For Your Dog
Organic Apple Cider Vinegar can be applied topically when diluted with water. Mixing it in a spray bottle and spray the affected skin, but not near her eyes.
Although some recommend ACV for cleaning the dog’s ears, I much prefer using EcoEars. I swear by this stuff, it is the only ear cleaner that helps Ginger’s ears.
You can also add ACV to your dogs’ food or water.
Like I mentioned above, stay away from oatmeal-based products. I really liked the shampoo and cream by Jax N Daisy we used for Ginger. It worked for us and uses all-natural ingredients.
But there are many different brands to choose from. Just look for something that is all-natural and safe for dogs.
Benadryl and Claritin can usually be safely given to dogs to help relieve the itch, but please talk to your vet before giving her any medications.
Every dog is unique and reacts to their food and environment differently.
Take your dog to the vet to rule out any major health issues. Then start doing some detective work of your own to figure out what is making your poor pup itch.
Pam, I hope this helps you and your dog. I sympathize with you, I know how frustrating it can be to watch your beloved pet suffer.
Have a question of your own? Email me with the subject line #AskingForMyDog and I may choose to feature it in our next Q&A!
If you and your dog have struggled with allergies, please leave a comment below and let us know what has worked for your dig to relieve the itch. As a community we are here to help each other in times of need, so please share.
Debi McKee is a mom of three kids, two dogs and the creator of Rescue Dogs 101... where she guides you in your journey of adopting and raising a rescue dog every step of the way. She also volunteers for a local dog rescue and Humane Society.