Is your dog itching without fleas? Itchy skin is a very common problem. If your dog is constantly scratching, biting or licking its skin, it is normal to suspect fleas. However, fleas are not the only cause of skin irritation and itching. Below we provide a better understanding of why dogs itch without fleas and what you can do to relieve your dog of unwelcome itching at home naturally.
Dog Itching No Fleas
Why is my dog itching but doesn’t have fleas?
Sometimes dogs itch just like humans. Whether there are insects on your pet’s coat or he/she just has an itch – it can be normal. But constant itching may be a problem. Not only is it annoying for your pooch, but it can harm the skin causing inflammation, rashes and possibly infection.
Excessive dog itching has a name – it’s called pruritus.
Excessive itching may result in the loss of fur and damage to the skin and it may be an indication of an underlying health problem. In fact, according to thebark.com, dog itching is the second most common reason dog owners take their dogs to the vet.
So why might dogs itch if they have no fleas? Here are a few common reasons:
• Living in low humidity or dry environment – If you live in, or move to, a place with low humidity, such as the desert or high mountains, your dog may experience excessively dry skin (xeroderma, xerosis), and may lick, bite, and scratch often. The same can happen in locations with very cold winters. The use of a humidifier in the home may help alleviate some of the discomfort.
• Poor nutrition – Most dogs receive commercial dog food, and many of these food preparations lack proper nutrients, including Omega 3 fatty acids, and vitamins and minerals that are necessary for overall health and healthy skin.
• Food allergies – Some dogs react negatively to certain ingredients in their food. Your veterinarian can help identify specific food allergies so you can avoid problematic ingredients in the future.
• Poor grooming – Some dogs need more grooming than others. However, most dogs benefit from regular brushing and periodic bathing. Regularly brushing and bathing your dog will help keep his skin from developing rashes and feeling uncomfortable. Make sure you use hypoallergenic products, though, and watch for any ill effects from the products used that could make the problem worse. Reduce frequency if you suspect bathing might be contributing to itchy skin.
Puppy Itching No Fleas
Puppies can itch too! If it seems excessive or you notice inflammation, rashes, or ‘hot spots’, it’s time to look deeper.
Puppies come into contact with many things for the first time. Pay attention when introducing new food and new products, such as collars or toys. Observing may help you identify the cause of a reaction such as excessive itching.
Common culprits include:
• Food – Chicken by-products, wheat, and corn in food are commonly associated with allergic reaction, including excessive itching and dry skin.
• Lack of nutrients – Puppies need nutrients to keep their skin and coat healthy. Ask your vet about the right foods that contain nutrients necessary for healthy skin.
• Too frequent shampooing – Shampooing your puppy too frequently can strip its skin of natural oils, which leads to dryness. Use of a hypoallergenic shampoo, with moisturizers may help. But simply reducing frequency may be best.
Dog Constantly Itching No Fleas
If your dog excessively scratches, breaking the skin, it may develop pyoderma, a common bacterial skin infection. Also known as impetigo, puppies can develop skin pustules that look like pimples. They are usually red, raised and filled with pus at the center.
If you suspect that your dog has pyoderma, visit the vet immediately. After a physical exam and discussion of the symptoms, your vet can make a positive diagnosis. If identified, your dog will likely require antibiotic treatment for two to six weeks.
While some dog itching is normal and expected, excessive itching is a major concern. If your dog has red, wet, and raised areas of the skin or never seems comfortable, it’s a problem. If your dog bites and licks certain areas and won’t stop, it’s a sign that he needs help.
If you don’t take the necessary steps early to stop itching, it could lead to more serious issues, such as bacterial infection.
Dog Itching No Fleas Home Remedy
If your dog is itching, and there’s no sign of fleas, consider the following home remedies for relief.
Vitamin E Treatment for Dog Itching
Vitamin E works on a dog’s skin just like it works on ours. Simply break a capsule open and rub it onto the dry areas of the skin. Massage the dog’s skin gently to help the vitamin E penetrate. Vitamin E has strong moisturizing properties that help nourish the dog’s skin.
Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil has natural and curative skin properties that soothe and protect a dog’s skin. It’s also an effective anti-inflammatory that helps relieve itching and irritation. Due to the effective anti-itch properties for dog skin, TTO is found in many dog grooming products.
Please note: Tea tree oil must only be used externally in diluted form. Always read the instructions carefully and consult your vet before using tea tree oil on puppies.
How to Relieve Dog Itchy Skin with Epsom Salt
Epsom salts are just as relaxing to dogs as they are to humans. Bathe your dog in a warm bath with Epsom salts to relieve dry itchy skin. If possible, have your dog soak in the tub for at least 15 minutes, just make sure he doesn’t drink the water. Epsom salts are great to reduce swelling and pain due to inflammation and abrasion.
Oatmeal for Dog Itching
The oatmeal you eat for breakfast can also help relieve your dog’s itchy skin. Simply add oatmeal to cool bath water and let your dog soak in it or make a paste and apply it directly to the skin (after it has cooled!) to relieve dry skin and soothe itchiness. Allow the oatmeal to stay on the skin for 10 minutes before rinsing it off with clean water. Make sure to rinse it off completely.
Apple Cider Vinegar Dog Itch Relief
Apple cider vinegar has very strong antibacterial properties that help disinfect and soothe itchy skin and rashes, especially for dogs suffering from skin allergies. Always dilute ACV with water before using it on a dog’s skin.
Apply it directly to his coat or use a sprayer to spray the affected areas, being careful not to spray it into his eyes. Mix in a 1:1 ratio with clean water.
Please note, you should never use ACV on raw sore and inflamed skin.
Benadryl for Dog Itching
If the above home remedies don’t work and your dog suffers from allergy-related itching, ask your vet if Benadryl is an option. Just make sure you use 100% pure Benadryl and not a formula that includes other medications that could be toxic for dogs.
Always consult your veterinarian before administering any medication to dogs to obtain the correct dose and understand precautions and risks.
Dog itching and scratching is normal. However, if your dog itches excessively and has obvious skin irritation, you can bet he’s very uncomfortable, and could use some help. Knowing how to relieve the itching at home may help temporarily, but uncovering the cause is required to eliminate the problem. Always consult with your vet regarding any home treatments.
Sources and References
The animal medical clinic: Why does my dog itch?
Vetinfo.com: Dog itching but no fleas? 7 possible causes
Earthclinic.com: Dog itchy skin home remedy options