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We all know what it feels like when we have itchy skin. The need to scratch can be overwhelming, even though we often know we shouldn’t. We can just reach for a cream that will help relieve the irritation.
Imagine what it must be like for our canine friends. The only way they can deal with the itchiness is to scratch, lick or bite. All dogs scratch occasionally, lick at their paws or bite at their fur. However, when this becomes incessant, keeping both them and you awake at night, it’s time to tackle the issue.
This is where a good dog shampoo for itchy skin can help. Let’s look at some of the possible causes of dry itchy skin and the best dog shampoo for itchy skin.
Why Does My Dog Itch?
Itching, or the medical term “pruritus,” can be caused by any number of things. It is a characteristic of an underlying issue affecting your dog. Determining the cause is the first thing to do, and this will generally involve the help of a veterinarian.
Some of the common causes of itching in our furry friends include:
- Parasites like fleas, ticks, scabies, and lice.
- Bacterial or yeast infections.
- Skin disease.
- Allergies to such things as pollen, mold or food.
- Dry skin.
- Insect bites.
What Are the Signs My Dog Has Itchy Skin?
Scratching is likely to be the first sign that your dog’s skin is irritating them. It’s not the only thing that can alert you to the fact they have an itch. They may bite or lick their skin persistently. Sometimes this may be confined to a specific area, like a paw or their tail.
Unless curtailed and treated, your dog could cause themselves more harm. They can make the area sore and even make it bleed. Other things to look for include scaly, dry skin, hair loss, dry dull coat, and restlessness.
How Is Itchy Skin Diagnosed and Treated?
There are many things a veterinarian may ask you and tests carried out before making a diagnosis. Determining the actual cause can take a few weeks. Once identified, medications may be administered to treat the cause.
There are occasions, especially in the case of allergies, when the itching can be managed but not cured. In this case, part of the advice given to manage itchy skin could be to practice good skin care for your dog.
This includes wiping your pet’s fur when you return from walking, using dog fish oil supplements and following dietary instructions. Bathing your dog in a hypoallergenic shampoo may also help relieve the itch.
READ MORE: Dog Paw Yeast Infections: Are There Any Home Remedies?
What to Look for in a Dog Shampoo for Itchy Skin?
Parasites, skin diseases, and infections are all conditions that need to be treated by your veterinarian. To back up their treatments, hypoallergenic, natural-based shampoos can help your pet feel less irritated.
Look for shampoos containing ingredients like oatmeal, omega fatty acids, vitamin E, and aloe vera. Oatmeal is anti-inflammatory and antioxidant and helps moisturize your canine friend’s skin.
Omega fatty acids including omega-3 and omega-6, help improve the health of your dog’s skin and coat. They also help treat skin allergies, such as dermatitis and eczema. These ingredients are often found in dog food.
Aloe vera is a plant-derived moisturizer which can also help promote wound healing in dogs. This extract has been used for centuries, for its skin care and medicinal properties.
Vitamin E is another ingredient which can be used both topically and in your dog’s diet. It can also help improve dry, itchy skin.
Best Dog Shampoo for Itchy Skin
We have established what can make a dog’s skin itch and what to look for in a shampoo to help. Now let’s look at our top five picks.
Pro Pet Works has formulated this shampoo and conditioner for dogs with sensitive, dry skin. The ingredients help relieve the itch caused by allergies. It is free from paraben, soap, alcohol, detergent, and sulfate, making it safe for frequent use on your fur babies.
The addition of a conditioner makes brushing and detangling easier. The product is made in the USA, and if you happen to have a menagerie, can also be used on cats, ferrets, and rabbits.
If you are not satisfied with this shampoo, the company offers a 100 percent, 30-day, money back guarantee.
A 17-ounce bottle contains a coconut-based surfactant and other ingredients, including:
- Organic aloe vera extract.
- Almond oil.
- Hydrolyzed oat proteins.
- Vitamin E, vitamin D, and vitamin A.
- Wheat germ glycerides.
- Cherry botanical extracts.
User Reviews: This shampoo and conditioner has a large number of positive reviews, many consumers have found this a solution for itchiness. Dogs’ coats are left soft and shiny and owners love the smell. Like anything, what works for one is not necessarily right for another, and some find it dries their pet’s skin instead.
Bottom Line: Pro Pet Works Natural Oatmeal Dog Shampoo + Conditioner is an all-natural shampoo that seems to relieve itching for the majority of dogs. It lathers well and rinses easily, leaving your dog’s coat clean and reducing the amount of scratching. The company stands behind its product and offers a 30-day money back guarantee.
Many dog shampoos contain all natural products but not all are organic. This one, from 4-Legger, has been certified by the USDA as containing all organic ingredients. The biodegradable formula is free from detergents, sulfates, and toxins.
It is hypoallergenic and suitable for dogs with allergies and dry, sensitive skin. Natural oils gently cleanse and moisturize your canine’s coat and skin, to help relieve itching. It can be used on dogs and puppies of any age.
The ingredients in an 18-ounce bottle include:
- Coconut oil.
- Olive oil.
- Jojoba oil.
- Aloe vera.
It’s worth noting that lemongrass has antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory and antifungal properties. It also helps repel fleas, ticks, and lice.
User Reviews: The natural ingredients in this shampoo appeal to many, who find it helps relieve their pet’s allergies and itching. The shampoo lathers easily and rinses very well. A little seems to go along way.
It does, however, have a very watery consistency, so care is needed when pouring. The strong lemongrass smell lingers for days and, while some love it, others find it too strong.
Bottom Line: If you’re looking for a non-GMO option to control your dog’s itch, 4-Legger Certified Organic Dog Shampoo could be the product for you. It contains natural oils to moisturize and soothe dry, itchy skin, and help prevent scratching and licking. The thin consistency means you may use more than you need, however it rinses out of a dog’s coat easily.
This gentle shampoo soothes, cleanses and relieves the itch for your pooch’s sensitive skin. The product is gluten, paraben, and sulfate free, and is also vegan. It is manufactured in the USA.
Lillian Ruff is so confident in the product that it also offers a 30-day risk-free 100 percent money back guarantee.
The shampoo is available in 16-ounce or one-gallon size bottles and ingredients include:
- Olefin sulfonate: Derived from coconuts for lather.
- Decyl glucoside: A glucose-based surfactant.
- Oat kernel flour.
- Aloe vera.
- Panthenol: A derivative of vitamin B5.
User Reviews: Many customers find this shampoo does exactly what it says on the bottle: cleanses, moisturizes and leaves a nice smell. Some dog groomers use it as their “go-to” product for dry, flaky skin. It seems to work well to reduce itchiness. A few customers find the scent is a little too strong.
Bottom Line: Lillian Ruff Oatmeal Dog Shampoo seems to be effective in relieving itchy skin and dealing with dryness and flakiness. Its non-irritant formula is easy to use, rinses really well and leaves a long-lasting, pleasant smell. An added bonus is the inclusion of lavender, which helps repel fleas and ticks.
Vet’s Best has been producing grooming products for over 30 years. The company uses plant-based ingredients in its formulations, to protect your dog’s skin. This hypo-allergenic shampoo uses a blend formulated by veterinarians, to relieve dry and itchy skin. This shampoo is safe to use along with topical treatments for fleas and ticks.
The ingredients in a 16-ounce bottle include:
- Aloe vera.
- Allantoin: a skin conditioning agent.
- Vitamin B5.
- Vitamin E.
User Reviews: This shampoo seems to deal with itch issues for most users. It doesn’t lather up a lot, which some people like and others don’t. Also, this shampoo does not have a strong smell, which is again something there are mixed feelings about.
Bottom Line: Vet’s Best Hypo-Allergenic Dog Shampoo helps relieve itchiness and is good for dry, sensitive skin. It helps smooth over brittle coats and has a soap-free, tearless formula. Natural aloe vera and vitamin E moisturize the fur. However, it is worth noting that this shampoo is not suitable for pregnant or nursing dogs.
This dog-friendly company brings us a soothing oatmeal shampoo. Made in the USA from all natural ingredients, it comes with a lifetime money back satisfaction guarantee. The hypoallergenic formula relieves itching, deodorizes and protects your pets from irritation.
This company also has a “save a pet from cancer” scheme. Some of the profits of your purchase are donated to a pet with cancer. If you send a photo of your dog to the company, they will pair it with a photo of the pet you helped.
The ingredients in a 17-ounce bottle include:
- Oat proteins.
- Coconut-based cleanser.
- Baking soda.
- Vitamin A, vitamin D and vitamin E.
- MDH hydantoin (natural preservative).
User Reviews: This shampoo is a hit with many users. They find it helps with dryness and itching and leaves dogs’ coats super soft and shiny. The smell is akin to cotton candy, which some love but others are not so keen on. It also appears that this aroma doesn’t last long.
Bottom Line: The natural ingredients in Pet Oatmeal Anti-Itch Shampoo & Conditioner work to comfort and soothe your dog’s itchy skin. This is a good choice for dogs with sensitive skin, and we love the fact the company also donates some proceeds to dogs with cancer.
Prevention Is Better Than Cure
While there are treatments available for our furry friends when they get an itch, there are things we can do to help prevent it happening in the first place. Lifestyle changes can make a big difference. Some of the things you can do include:
- Diet: Ensure your dog has a high-quality diet, including all the nutrients they need. Most commercial dog foods contain all your dog’s dietary requirements. A veterinarian can advise you if you are unsure what to feed to your dog.
- Parasites: Fleas and ticks are parasites which live on our pooches while feeding off their blood. If you suspect this is the cause for their itching, make sure it’s treated. There are plenty of natural solutions available to rid your dog of unwanted visitors.
- Brushing: Some dogs love it, others hate it, but grooming is an essential part of maintaining a healthy coat and skin. It will prevent allergies from building up, which can cause irritation.
- Know your dog: Learn as much as you can about your particular dog breed. Some breeds may be more susceptible to certain health conditions than others.
- Veterinary check-ups: A regular visit to a veterinarian will ensure any health problems your dog may have are detected early. This can help prevent dry, itchy skin from being an issue in the first place.
SEE ALSO: A Dog Groomer’s Guide to Deshedding and Brushing Large Breed Dogs
There are many dog shampoos on the market. Deciding which is best for your fur baby can be like walking through a minefield. The shampoos we have featured are all good solutions for the itchy skin.
The choice is ultimately yours, but our favorite is Pro Pet Works Natural Oatmeal Dog Shampoo and Conditioner. This two-in-one treatment moisturizes and soothes itchy skin. The natural aloe vera, coconut, almond oil, and vitamins will leave your pet’s skin clean and fresh.
This could be the solution you are looking for to help stop your dog scratching and licking. With a 100 percent, 30-day money back guarantee, you really do have nothing to lose.
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