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Honey, Herbs, and Natural Ways Skin Allergies in Dogs Can Be Treated

Natural Remedies for Itchy Skin in Dogs

Natural Remedies for Itchy Skin in Dogs

Dogs With Allergies and Skin Conditions

A lot of the dogs that come into our veterinary clinics each day are suffering from allergies, with itchy skin, swollen ears, puffy paws, missing hair, and sometimes even diarrhea. Traditional treatments with steroids, antihistamines, and antibiotics are sometimes not enough. Steroids have side effects, antihistamines don’t work in a lot of dogs, and antibiotics are not always needed or effective.

In holistic veterinary medicine, allergies are seen as a symptom of a greater problem, not the actual disease. Symptoms like itchy skin and reactions are caused by poor quality food, over-vaccination, and continual exposure to toxins in the environment. You'll hear of various internal and external herbal therapies, but they are not cures; only improving the dog's underlying condition will make her better.

Lots of things cause itching, and lots of things help.

Lots of things cause itching, and lots of things help.

How to Ease a Dog's Itchy Skin Allergies Naturally

  1. Get rid of any flea infestation without using chemicals.
  2. Rinse your dog in apple cider vinegar to provide some relief against itching. As explained in the other article, this needs to be an organic apple cider vinegar.
  3. Give a teaspoon of raw honey every day. (This is the approximate dose for a medium-sized dog, so a large dog might need a little more.) This has to be local raw honey or it will not do any good, so it is of no use just buying it from the supermarket. (Try a local health food store or a Farmer's Market.) Local honey has local pollens in it and may desensitize your dog to allergy season.
  4. Provide an herbal remedy. These are a few that might work but there are others as well.
  • Echinacea: This herb improves the function of the immune system.
  • Licorice root: According to some sources, licorice root acts like a corticosteroid and will provide some relief without damaging the immune system like steroids.
  • Nettle: This herb may act as an antibiotic.
Allergic dogs sometimes need to wear collars so that their skin has some relief from chewing.

Allergic dogs sometimes need to wear collars so that their skin has some relief from chewing.

More Natural Ways to Help an Allergic Dog

Improve the Diet

Improve the diet and add omega fatty acids. If you are not sure what is causing your dogs allergies you can try to eliminate allergens in her food that may be causing problems, products like wheat and corn. Try a natural diet and remove the grains and other carbohydrates the dog is probably allergic to. Leftovers and natural raw foods are healthier than the floor sweepings used to produce commercial dog foods and are less likely to cause allergies.

Eliminate Indoor Allergens

If your dog is inside most of the time, do everything you can to eliminate the allergens in the environment by vacuuming every day (to reduce dust mites and dust mite dirt) and using an air filter. If your dog chews on her feet a lot you can try washing her pads after a walk and reducing the allergens she is bringing in to the home.

Try an Oatmeal-Based Shampoo

You can also try bathing your dog in oatmeal shampoo. If your dog is allergic to anything in the environment bathing may help keep her skin clean of allergens. If her skin is inflamed some products will help relieve her discomfort. Buy a product or make your own by adding oat straw to water.

Dogs with allergies will lose hair.

Dogs with allergies will lose hair.

Keep in Mind

Allergy treatment by holistic veterinarians focuses on improving the immune system. Most of the herbal treatments that improve the immune system are not dangerous but they are expensive. If you can find a veterinarian willing to work in alternative treatment for your dog it would be worth your while to do so. If none of these therapies provide your dog with relief, a holistic veterinarian may be able to make other suggestions.

Just remember how uncomfortable your dog is, and find some relief, fast!

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.

Questions & Answers

Question: My thirteen-year-old beagle won't stop licking his tummy. I've tried the cone, spray, and leave it command, but as soon as we're not looking, he licks the same spot. What should I do?

Answer: Lick granulomas are a psychological problem that occurs with allergies, but are much more common on the front legs and feet. I would take your Beagle to his regular vet to examine the spot since at his age it can be pre-cancerous. If it is not, he may need to be on long-term antibiotic therapy. You can also try rubbing the spot with coconut oil three or four times a day. (If he licks it off it is not going to hurt.) Vitamin E might also have positive effects; so you can rub a capsule on the spot once daily. (Again, licking it off is not a problem. A lot of the creams and other meds prescribed for a lick wound should not be licked off.)


Mark dos Anjos DVM (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on March 04, 2019:

Gloria, your new pup should be going to the vet anyway for his first vaccines and a worm test, possibly to be dewormed too. When you go to the vet you can also show him his skin and discuss the itching and scratching. It is most likely fleas, so you want to take care of that before they take over your house!

Best of luck with your new golden!!!

Gloria Rivera on March 04, 2019:

Hi i recently got my pup golden retriver like three weeks ago and the second week he started scratching then last week he had running nose and sneezing.. and then it stop and now he has it again... i thought it was beacuse of the weather it really cold .. so i thought he has the flu but im reading here and now im nerves .. what should i do ? Should i go to the vet? Please help

Angie on October 12, 2018:

Our Flat Nose Japanese Chin has been suffering with post nasal drip. He is gagging constantly. No one can sleep with him gagging and the dry heaves. He is on benedryl but no working. I have to have a serious surgery and will be in the hospital soon. I need help in helping him before I leave and he is worse while I am away because my husband can't give him medication. Is there anything I can give him or do. Exhausted and feel so bad for our pup. TY

Joyce Ball on July 12, 2018:

Interesting page will like more

Mark dos Anjos DVM (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on July 19, 2017:

tracy--read the article

If nothin stands out, she will need to be examined by your local vet. there are many causes of hair loss similar to what you are describin.

Tracy on July 05, 2017:

I have a 4 year old Chesapeake cross female dog who is losing hair on her neck. It is random patches. It is also July and I noticed she is losing her hair for the summer, but this is more than that. She is not fixed. I haven't changed her diet. I haven't changed anything resently. The only different thing I did was put diatomic earth on her for fleas a couple weeks ago. Do you know what causes this?

wetnosedogs from Alabama on July 21, 2013:


Ah. The vet told me this year the pollen is so bad that whenever Bella comes back in to use baby wipes or a damp washcloth and wipe her face and paws. Bella don't care for it, but kind of accepts it, like it helps. Weeds are horrible too. I will be out attacking them and I get eaten up, so it has to have the same effect on the dogs.

Mark dos Anjos DVM (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on July 21, 2013:

No, she did say but if her vet is giving allergy injections then in is atopy, or inhalant allergies (like pollens, dust mites,etc).

wetnosedogs from Alabama on July 21, 2013:

Dr. Mark,

LOL. It would be dreadful not to be able to start the day with coffee!

I may have missed something - did Glimmer ever say what the allergies were? I had to change Bella's diet. No soy, corn or wheat.

Mark dos Anjos DVM (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on July 21, 2013:

That is how I am with my morning coffee!!!

wetnosedogs from Alabama on July 21, 2013:

Dr. Mark,

Thanks for adding that avon link.

I have been getting the Grizzly product on ebay. The dogs love it. Once I forgot when I was in a rush and especially Bella stopped me cold. She gave me the oddest look! So I knew I forgot something and it was the fish oil. LOL.

Mark dos Anjos DVM (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on July 21, 2013:

Hi wetnose, I put that link to your Avon skin so soft on one of my hubs since it probably helps, and, even if it does not, it helps moisturize the skin. Certainly could not say the same thing about the bleach!

Im glad to hear the salmon oil is helping Bella. Are you buying the Grizzly product or something at your grocery store?

wetnosedogs from Alabama on July 21, 2013:


I am following you and Glimmer Twin Fan. You are right. When Bella was on steroids, it was one for 3 or 4 days, then every other day. the Salmon Oil really helps. When her allergies act up now, it is not as bad since her diet change and the salmon oil. She heals faster.

That is what I found to work. It is all trial and error. That bleach thing scares me though. Avon skin so soft diluted works. Spray it on after a bath. And I use baby shampoo now.

Mark dos Anjos DVM (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on July 21, 2013:

I would try the organic apple cider vinegar before bleach, but they probably both would tend to dry out the skin. Ingestion, too, like you point out.

Have you put your dog on the salmon oil? Try it for about a month and then wean him off the steroids and see if he can do without. If this does not work you can start them again, but for his health this is a safer option.

I am sorry to harp on the steroids but if you choose to continue that therapy you should also just give a tablet every other day, not every day.

Claudia Porter on July 21, 2013:

Hi DrMark - Just checking in from your other hub. I have heard of the vinegar treatment and should give it a try. I have also recently heard that a very strong dilution of bleach in water helps, although I am quite hesitant to try that. I am wary that my dog will ingest some of the solution. Unfortunately my dogs' skin allergies are a constant problem.

Barbara Badder from USA on May 19, 2013:

Thanks for the information. I have a dog with allergies right now.

Mark dos Anjos DVM (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on March 17, 2013:

I appreciate your comment, Billie. Finding a natural cure is not as easy as just getting a shot of steroids, but the result will be a lot better for Scooter in the long run. Leave me a message here if I can be of any help to you guys.

Billie Kelpin from Newport Beach on March 17, 2013:

Absolutely MARVELOUS hubs, Dr. Mark. THANK YOU! I love my little Scooter so much; he's the best dog I've ever had; he keeps me calm and heals my soul. Unfortunately, I can't afford expensive vet visits and your remedies seem even safer and more holistic. Can't express my appreciation because you're adding quality to the life of a little love of mine.

Mark dos Anjos DVM (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on August 11, 2012:

I am really sorry to hear that. I know it does not help to hear it but 14 is a great lifespan for a Rottie.

Charlu from Florida on August 11, 2012:

Thanks Dr Mark but he has already passed. I had his mother until she was 13 and he was 14. He even had surgeries for tumors but Hooch was one of the greatest dogs ever and always did stay a little heavy but he was my boy. I had to bring him home from the vets office early after surgery because he wouldn't eat or go out. I still use his pic though Thanks again

Mark dos Anjos DVM (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on August 11, 2012:

Thanks so much for the comment, and the link.

Another suggestion, and please don't take it the wrong way, but from looking at that picture of your Rottie in the question I think you should read "Your fat dog will die sooner". Rottweilers are not prone to obesity (like Labradors) but sometimes it takes some work to keep them thin. Giant dogs tend to live shorter lives and it is important to keep them as healthy as possible in the time they have with us.

Charlu from Florida on August 11, 2012:

This hub is awesome and so useful for me in so many ways. I am so glad you answered a question I had and am going to post a link from another question of mine to this hub. My dogs have allergies big time and I buy raw honey from a local maker (live in the boonies) all the time. I have tried different foods etc etc etc Thank you so much

Adrienne Farricelli on July 21, 2012:

Yep, I saw it and answered you there. Will keep you updated on the honey, kind regards!

Mark dos Anjos DVM (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on July 21, 2012:

Great let me know if it works for you. Did you see my question about the "leave it" command on the second dog hub you published?

Adrienne Farricelli on July 21, 2012:

Thank you Dr Mark, another user kindly directed me to your hub. My vets have no clue how to stop hot spots in the summer and I refuse to give steroids for an itch and antibiotics for hot spots as I think it is not necessary and harmful. I will give the raw honey a try (and I may use it myself too as I have heard a lot of good things about it)! I am lucky to have some Amish people that sell it nearby. Voted up and useful!

Mark dos Anjos DVM (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on July 20, 2012:

There are a lot of the extracts for sale on the web but they are all pretty expensive so I think the homemade tea would be a better option.

wetnosedogs from Alabama on July 20, 2012:

This is so interesting. I will have to try the honey. That is something I didn't know. I'm all for giving the licorice root a try, sure has to be better than the steroid shot. Echinacea also. Are these the actual plants you are talking about or the tea?

Perhaps Bella's allergies won't be such a horrible challenge anymore to us.

Enjoyed watching another dog bath video. I didn't know the medicated shampoo should be put on first. Interesting.

Thanks for the great hub.

DoItForHer on July 20, 2012:

Waffy doesn't have allergies, but I use oatmeal shampoo to bathe her every two or three weeks and it works great. Does not seem harsh in the least bit.

Mary Hyatt from Florida on July 20, 2012:

The only allergy I know of with my Min. Schnauzer if the flea allergy. Not inhaled allergens. Thanks for the explanation of the oat straw.

Mark dos Anjos DVM (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on July 20, 2012:

One of those alternative therapies that almost all conventional vets use now is fatty acid supplements. I think pet owners being more aware of things is a good direction for vets to go.

Bob Bamberg on July 20, 2012:

Hi DrMark,

I found your hub useful and interesting. I never thought of suggesting local honey to help dogs with skin problems. I sold honey at my feed and grain store, produced by two hobbyist-apiarists. Both producers only filtered the honey once and didn't cut it with anything. It was as pure as it gets. My customers reported some relief when they put it in their tea or oatmeal.

I also agree with your assertion that poor quality food exacerbates the problem. Even though my data are anecdotal, it's undeniable that dogs' skin improved significantly when I got the customer to switch from a grain-based to a meat-based food. They also had to stop treating with pizza crust, pasta bagels, toast, English muffins, breakfast cereals, etc. In my experience, grains and dogs often don't mix. I, too, will be hubbing on dry skin in the coming weeks, but from a more conventional perspective. When it publishes, I hope you'll have a chance to read it. I'll welcome your thoughts.

More and more conventional veterinarians are incorporating alternative modalities into their practices and I find that interesting to observe. I can't prove it, but it seems that pet owners are actually pushing the vets in that direction. Interesting stuff!

Mark dos Anjos DVM (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on July 19, 2012:

Thanks Mary. The oat straw is only for those persons who grow and have access to fresh oat. I think the oatmeal shampoo with aloe is even better.

The raw honey option seems interesting. Does your dog have atopy (inhalant allergies) or just allergies to fleas? I used to see a lot of Min Schnauzers with inhalant allergies in the midwest.

Mary Hyatt from Florida on July 19, 2012:

Would you please explain what "oat straw" is? I've used oatmeal shampoo on my Schnauzer. She's an itchy dog! She is terribly allergic to flea bites, so I have to use Advantix II on her. I don't like chemicals, but it's all I have found that keeps the fleas off.

You mentioned honey....I did a Hub on Hay Fever and allergies, and one thing I found in researching that was to take locally grown honey.

Great Hub. I voted it UP, etc.