How To Treat Pets That Itch and Scratch

How To Treat Pets That Itch and Scratch

Posted by Rhonda Jewel on Dec 18, 2016

Itchy skin issues are some of the top concerns that cause people to take their dogs and cats to the vet. Pet owners have tried  all types of dog itching remedies and often are frustrated. 

I was a holistic Esthetician for humans for many years and studied the skin intensively. I always noticed that the skin is a reflection of what is going on inside. People and Pets are the same. Typically it was diet causing skin problems -  inflamed, red skin with bumps was typically food allergies, or something in the environment causing it. 

   With a truly holistic approach for our furry friends, the entire body can be reestablished to it’s optimal health, which is always mirrored in the condition of the fur, skin and overall well being of the animal.

Dogs and cats can be allergic or just intolerant to many things in their environment. They often times can be more sensitive to their ‘situation’ than we realize. 

They can be reacting to any number of things. However, it is most often due to their diet. Can also be from a reaction to over vaccination. However it of course, could just be a simple flea intolerance or an allergy to something in the environment.

Sometimes it is the grass and pollen in the yard or dog park, or direct contact with chemicals in the home such as like laundry detergent, candles, dryer sheets, floor cleaners, weed killers etc.

The first order of things is to diagnose your pet’s itching to find the cause. The task for you and your veterinarian is do some investigating to discover the origin and finding an effective natural dog itching remedies. Sometimes going to a conventional vet to help with figuring it out is needed even if you are not going to treat with their drugs.

The most usual, conventional treatment for itchy skin and chronic ear infections is to use harsh drugs, that eventually cause side effects. Most often they prescribe a round or two of antibiotics as well as steroid-injections and often some cream filled with chemical topical ingredients, not fit for licking.  

Even though at first they work for treating the symptom of itchiness itself, some steroids like ‘Cortisone’ can eventually cause more harm than good. They can weaken the immune system,- even ruin it’s ability to function normally. They tax the liver and kidneys, which can eventually cause your pet to be susceptible to infections and metabolic issues in the long run.

Many Vet prescribed treatments for the skin can be overly dehydrating to the skin and ears, and aggravate the problem in the long run.

However, if you’re like us, you want to keep away from going for the unforgiving drugs and try something more natural, organic and holistic. Quercetin can be very helpful if it is an allergy.  Which is a natural flavonoid that is easy to find at any health food store.  

Along with giving Quercetin internally 'Colloidal Silver for Pets' is my go to remedy for almost any skin condition right off the bat. Safer and more effective than antibiotics and steroids. it is an antimicrobial and strengthens the immune system.

The use of ’Holistic therapy’ to treat skin conditions may be the most unheeded natural therapy for dogs with skin disease.

'Colloidal silver dog skin allergies' is one of  the most often searched long tail  keyword on google for skin issues .  that is because this combo= synergy! It is like the magic bullet in many cases! 

What to look for to Treat Holistically?

A dull, brittle or coarse coat, dandruff and inflamed, rough, scaly or greasy skin  with dark spots can be clues to the complications that go more than skin deep with your pet. Toxic chemicals can accumulate in your dog or cat’s system – usually from excessive vaccines or medications and/or a kibble diet and of course fleas -  these  culprits are the must common causes of itchy skin.  

Beware chemicals of all kinds do very often affect the body’s immune systems.

The most likely culprit, however, hands down is wrong diet, kibble with sweet potato or legumes is considered grain free, however it is not starch free.  Starch is often a big part of the issue.  There is no good kibble honestly.  They are all made with starches to hold them together, overcooked and over processed food is the start of most skin issues I am afraid. Lots of pets are especially sensitive to complex carbohydrates, which can cause an inflammatory response that manifests itself as itchy all over- usually with red, inflamed feet, GI track upset or frequent ear infections.

 Food sensitivities are very usual in pets, possibly due to genetics or the fact that many dogs and cats are often fed the same dry kibble for months or even years on end, with no variety in their diet or without being offered another source of nourishment.

‘Hot spots’ or extreme itching accompanied with irritated and inflamed ears and possibly loose stool, are all the tell tale signs of food allergies.

A dull, coarse coat and / or oily, foul smelly skin are indications of a low quality diet as well.

One of the most often detected causes of food hyper-sensitivity in dogs and cats is the grain and carbohydrates in our pets daily diets.  It is a good idea to get your pet onto a good probiotic/enzyme supplement as the source of many itchy skin issues stem from the gut. 

We highly recommend a species appropriate raw diet for all carnivore pets. See here for more info on feeding raw-

Colloidal Silver for Skin

Also get them started on  colloidal silver sprayed on the skin, in the ears and internally as well to begin to clear the condition.  Give internally as well to kill the bacteria from the inside out.  

Also use it in a homemade shampoo- use 1/4 c. baking soda, 1/4 c.  apple cider vinegar  1/2 c. colloidal silver or water- add 1 Tablespoon or a bit more of Dr. Bronners Castile Baby Soap- stir well.  Wet your dog or cat down with water then work in this mix in the fur saturating the skin.  Let it sit on the skin for 5-10 minutes. Then rinse.  This will give an immediate relief of the itch. Then spray all over the itchy areas with the colloidal silver 3 or more times a day. Or purchase our colloidal silver shampoo here:   Colloidal Silver Shampoo

Boosting Immunity

Boosting the immune system with colloidal silver is great as it can really help to prevent the inflammatory response as well.  

Medicinal mushrooms are another great extra immune booster. 

 Also there are other immune boosting herbs that can help.  Turmeric for sure is worth giving in the form of golden paste. Licorce Tincture is a good natural anti- inflammatory like a alternative steroid.  Getting your pet on a good milk thistle tincture or adding the powder to their food can often support the liver which is extremely helpful when your pet is taxed.  

What Might Be the Cause?

Over Vaccination

Of course our pets do scratch, lick, or chew for a wide variety of other reasons as well as the main culprits. These other concerns are ranging from allergies to boredom to parasite infestation as well- so it is not always diet or over vaccination which are as common causes as fleas and flea medications.

Over vaccination is not spoken about much by the conventional vet.  So go to a holistic vet and research about this often 'hidden' subject.  

Vaccinosis is the cause of many skin issues including injection site tumors. 


Of course one of the most common causes for incessant scratching, licking and chewing are fleas, ticks, and mites. Often fleas can go unseen until there is a large infestation, and mites are tiny and microscopic, often just look like dirt. Ticks are usually easy to spot if you do a going over your pet’s body once a day. So don’t think that your pet isn’t suffering from parasites just because you can’t see them. Always do a daily check and make sure you are not missing something. Then treat with natural essential oil sprays and other methods- see our post here:


When our pet’s scratching gets out of hand, it is often the result of allergies to food or other triggers, including pollen, grasses and mold. Household cleaning products are another common cause. Our pets may also develop a skin irritation like a hot spot which can be caused from compounds such as pesticides or unnatural ingredients in the soaps they are shampooed with. If this is the case you need to make some changes in using all natural ingredients in your household products.


Just as humans with anxiety deal with nervous tics and other odd issues, pets can also have a physical reaction to psychological concerns as well. The fact is that  some dogs and even cats can actually start up a kind of animal obsessive-compulsive disorder. It can show up as licking, scratching, and odd chewing behaviours that can cause intense damage if not managed properly.  Some pets express their insecurities by scratching or biting their skin or paws.    Looking into forms of treatment such as massage, TTouch,  Flower Essences or perhaps a ‘Pet Whisperer’ could be helpful.

Dry skin

A combination of influences, including dry, winter weather and fatty acid deficiencies, not even moisture in their diet, too many baths, can cause dry skin in your pet. It reacts to the discomfort by chewing, scratching or licking at his skin or fur. Adding coconut oil, salmon oil for EFA’s and getting them on a species appropriate diet as well as  giving a good quality filtered water. 

Hormonal imbalances

If your pets’s little body is not manufacturing enough of the thyroid hormone or creating too much cortisol, some surface skin issues can occur. You may notice bald spots, and your dog may scratch or lick as if bothered by allergies. Sometimes adding kelp to the diet can help with thyroid balancing.


Sometimes the reason why your pet is licking or chewing unreasonably could be due to discomfort internally. One must not rule out the possibility that something is making your dog or cat physically uncomfortable.

One example might be if you see that your dog is biting her paw frequently, she might actually have something sharp tuck in her foot pad.

Compulsive licking or chewing can also be a reaction to joint and bone problems, including arthritis and hip dysplasia. If this is the case research ‘holistic help for joint issues’. There is much to offer in this area.

You have to do the detective work and get to the cause of the issue, once you find the source remove it  and then treat holistically. 

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