When you notice your dog scratching, you probably don’t think anything of it. After all, we all get an itch from time to time. But when it starts happening more frequently, you may start to wonder why.
Once you notice your dog scratching more than usual, your first worry might be fleas. Maybe you start frantically checking your dog’s coat for the tell-tale signs: patches of redness, flea dirt at the base of the neck or tail, and fleas themselves on your dog’s skin. If you don’t find any, you can breathe a sigh of relief – but only for a moment.
Even if you’re able to determine that your dog doesn’t have fleas, you shouldn’t ignore his itchy skin. Itchy skin in dogs can be related to a wide variety of different factors, some of which can be serious. So, take the time to bring your dog to the vet to find out what’s really going on.
If you luck out and your dog simply has dry, sensitive, or itchy skin, all you may need is a nice moisturizing shampoo. Keep reading to learn more about itchy skin in dogs and to see our top 6 picks for the best dog shampoo for itchy skin.
8 Reasons Why Dogs Have Itchy Skin
Your dog is going to scratch from time to time – it isn’t always a cause for concern. But if you notice that it is happening more frequently, or if it is accompanied by licking, chewing, and rubbing, then there might be something going on that you need to address. It could be itchy skin.
Here are some of the signs that a dog has itchy skin:
- Excessive scratching
- Chewing or licking
- Rubbing against objects
- Noticeable hair loss
- Redness and irritation
- Flakiness or dandruff
If you think that your dog has itchy skin, you can take a closer look. Carefully part the hair on your dog’s back and check to see if his skin looks dry or flaky. If you notice flakes in his undercoat or if the skin itself looks cracked or scaled, you may want to talk to your vet. There are a number of things that can cause itchy skin in dogs and it is definitely a problem you want to address before it gets worse.
Here are the 8 most common causes for itchy skin in dogs:
- Dry skin
- Skin allergies
- Food allergies
- External parasites
- Bacterial infection
- Yeast infection
- Hormone imbalance
- Autoimmune disease
In some cases, your dog’s itchy skin may be nothing more than dryness. This can happen if you live in a region with low humidity or if your dog isn’t getting enough moisture in his diet. Other dietary problems that can cause skin problems include food allergies and sensitivities. Dogs can also suffer from skin allergies caused by environmental allergens like dust, mold, and pollen. Even insect bites can cause a negative reaction leading to skin problems such as itching.
Outside of occasional insect bites, your dog’s itchy skin could also be caused by external parasite. Flea infestations, for example, can cause severe itching and scratching in dogs. Tick bites, mange mites, and lice can also cause itchy skin. If parasites aren’t the problem, it could be a pathogen such as yeast, fungus, or bacteria. Skin infections can cause a wide array of symptoms including itching.
In some cases, itchy skin in dogs can be caused by underlying health problems such as hormone imbalance and autoimmune disease. Thyroid disorders like hypothyroidism frequently cause dry skin in dogs which can lead to itching and Cushing’s disease can also cause skin-related symptoms. Autoimmune diseases like lupus and pemphigus may also be involved.
Now that you know what causes itchy skin in dogs, you may be wondering how to fix it. You should talk to your veterinarian to diagnose the underlying issue causing your dog’s itching and to determine the best course of treatment. In some cases, your vet may recommend medicated dog shampoo for allergies or infection. If neither of these is the issue, a moisturizing shampoo for itchy skin may be what you need.
5 Things to Look for in a Good Itchy Skin Shampoo for Dogs
There is a nearly unlimited array of options when it comes to dog shampoo, so how do you choose the best shampoo for dog with itchy skin? First, talk to your veterinarian to determine whether you need a medicated shampoo. If your dog’s itching is not due to an infection or underlying health problem, here are some of the features to look for when you start shopping:
- Hypoallergenic – A hypoallergenic dog shampoo is simply one that has a low risk for triggering an allergic reaction. Keep in mind that dogs can be allergic to different things, so try to stick with an all-natural product made without harsh additives or artificial ingredients.
- Natural Ingredients – If your dog’s skin is already itchy, you want to avoid any ingredients that might make the problem worse. Drying ingredients like alcohol and soap as well as harsh chemicals are all likely to make your dog’s skin problems worse.
- Moisturizers – This is one of the most important elements to look for in a dog shampoo for itchy skin. Natural moisturizers like coconut oil, shea butter, oatmeal, and aloe vera are all excellent options – you might also look for other skin-supporting nutrients like biotin and vitamin E.
- pH Balance – Your dog’s skin has a different pH than your own, between 6.5 and 7.5. Choosing a pH-balanced shampoo is important because the wrong pH could make skin problems worse.
- Medicated – When your dog’s itchy skin is caused by a bacterial or yeast infection (or some other underlying health problem), medicated shampoo may be the way to go. Just make sure you get a diagnosis from your vet first so you can choose a shampoo with the right ingredients.
6 Best Itchy Skin Shampoos for Dogs
The best itchy skin shampoo for dogs will be made with hypoallergenic, natural ingredients including moisturizers to help rehydrate the skin. In cases where the itching is caused by an infection or another skin problem, medicated shampoo might be the way to go. For itchy skin caused by dryness, allergies, or other non-medical issues, here is our top pick for the best dog shampoo:
|Our 2019 Picks: Best Itchy Skin Dog Shampoo|
Overall Best Itchy Skin Dog Shampoo: If you’re looking for a medicated dog shampoo for allergies, this Vet’s Best Allergy Itch Relief Shampoo for Dogs is the way to go. Made with essential oils and soothing natural ingredients like oatmeal and tea tree oil, this shampoo will soothe your dog’s irritated and itchy skin while restoring its natural moisture. This shampoo washes away allergens while natural plant extracts calm and rehydrate the skin. This shampoo won’t affect your dog’s flea and tick products, and it is gentle enough for regular use.
- Pros: Washes away allergens, contains soothing natural ingredients, calms and moisturizes skin, fresh spa fragrance, can be used regularly
- Cons: May not lather as well as some shampoos, needs to be left on for several minutes
5 More Top Rated Itchy Skin Shampoos for Dogs
If the best shampoo for dog with itchy skin we reviewed above doesn’t seem like the right option for your dog, don’t worry – there are many other choices. Here are five more top rated itchy skin shampoos for dogs that we recommend:
If your dog suffers from itchy skin, this Earthbath Oatmeal & Aloe Dog Shampoo is a great option. It features natural moisturizers like oatmeal and aloe to hydrate and heal the skin, helping to relieve your dog’s itching and irritation. It also works to neutralize odors, helping to keep your dog smelling fresh between baths without over-drying his skin. It is 100% biodegradable and free from both paraben and phosphates. Simply put, you can trust this shampoo to cleanse and hydrate your dog’s itchy skin.
For a gentle shampoo that will leave your dog feeling and smelling great, try Buddy Wash Original Lavender & Mint Dog Shampoo & Conditioner. This dog shampoo is a 2-in-1 shampoo and conditioner so it will cleanse your dog’s coat while conditioning it to leave it soft and silky. Made with a coconut-based cleanser, this shampoo is very gentle on your dog’s skin, and the natural moisturizers will heal and hydrate it as well. Plus, he’ll be left with a pleasant lavender and mint scent.
If you want an all-natural dog shampoo made with soothing, moisturizing ingredients, then look no further than this Paws & Pals Oatmeal, Shea Butter & Aloe Vera Shampoo. This dog shampoo features organic oatmeal, shea butter, and aloe vera to rehydrate your dog’s itchy skin while also conditioning his coat. It is a soap-free formula and non-toxic, plus it contains natural oils to relieve itching and pain. It also detangles your dog’s coat and leaves it smelling fresh and clean.
If you’re looking for a product that will deliver a gentle, natural cleansing, then this 4-Legger Organic Hypoallergenic Lemongrass & Aloe Dog Shampoo is the way to go. This dog shampoo features organic and hypoallergenic ingredients like essential oils, lemongrass, and aloe. It is completely free from artificial fragrances and chemical ingredients but rich in natural moisturizers. It also offers natural antibacterial, antifungal, and pest-deterrent benefits in an eco-friendly formula.
Two for the price of one, this TropiClean Luxury 2-in-1 Papaya & Coconut Pet Shampoo and Conditioner will clean and condition your dog’s skin and coat. It features soothing natural ingredients like coconut and mango to gently cleanse your dog’s itchy skin with kiwi and papaya to nourish and condition his coat. Coconut oil helps remove dirt and oil while also detangling the coat and it is a soap-free formula, so it is gentle enough for regular use. What more could you need?
Tips for Bathing a Dog with Itchy Skin
When it comes to bathing dogs, there is a lot of misinformation out there. Some dog owners claim that bathing your dog too often can dry out its skin and make itchy skin worse. Others say that regular bathing with the right shampoo is the key to relieving dry, itchy skin. Who do you believe?
The truth of the matter is that there is no right answer. Every dog is different, and the frequency with which you bathe your dog depends on the underlying cause of his itchy skin and the type of shampoo you use. If you use it properly, dog shampoo for sensitive, itchy skin should help resolve the problem, not make it worse. Here are some simple tips for bathing a dog with itchy skin:
- Fill the bathtub with a few inches of cool water. It should be obvious that you don’t want to use water that is too hot, but cool water will actually feel better on your dog’s irritated, itchy skin than warm water.
- Use dog shampoo for sensitive, itchy skin. Choose your dog shampoo wisely – you want to make sure it is pH-balanced for dogs and made with soothing natural ingredients.
- Work the shampoo into a nice lather and let it sit on your dog’s skin for a few minutes. Whether you’re using moisturizing shampoo or medicated dog shampoo for allergies, you want the active ingredients to have a few minutes of contact with your dog’s skin to work their magic.
- Rinse your dog with a 50/50 blend of water and apple cider vinegar. Depending how big your dog is, you may need to rinse out some of the soap first then use the vinegar rinse afterward.
- Towel-dry, your dog, to get rid of as much moisture as possible. Avoid blow-drying your dog because the heat may over-dry his skin, undoing the good you did with moisturizing shampoo.
- Apply a leave-in conditioner or a thin layer of coconut oil. Coconut oil is an all-natural substance and a natural moisturizer that will help keep your dog’s skin hydrated.
Keeping your dog clean is important, but it is also important to choose the right shampoo for the job. If your dog suffers from itchy skin, you’ll need a shampoo made with moisturizing agents that is free from drying ingredients like soap and alcohol. Once you select a dog shampoo for itchy skin, follow the recommendations for how often to use it and use dry shampoo between baths if needed to keep your dog smelling fresh.