Dog Itchy Skin Home Remedy Options

Nov 14, 2016

Allergies, chemical irritants, plant toxins, insects, parasites, dryness, diet, and a whole host of other pet health issues can cause your dog, cat, or other pet to be itching incessantly. Check out Earth Clinic's medical library of first-person reviews on the causes and cures of their pet's itchy skin problem!

Is your dog itching more than usual, but nothing you do can get him or her to stop? It could be the food! Dog food and other commercial pet foods can be high in carbohydrates and potential food allergens that may cause itchy skin. Pets are also prone to allergies of all kinds, and just like us they need to be properly hydrated. Of course, check for fleas and ticks that may be causing the itching. If you see bumps, rashes, or welts you will have a better idea of what is causing the itching and can pick the right remedy for that particular itch.

Itchy Skin Remedies for Dogs, Cats, and Other Pets!

Spraying or washing your dog with a diluted apple cider vinegar solution can restore the acidic nature of your pet's skin, kill off pathogens, and soothe the itch. Adding a bit of apple cider vinegar to your dog or cat's food or water may also help treat itchy skin from the inside, as it does for people. Oatmeal baths, fish oil supplements, and herbal remedies may help your pet ditch the itch too!

Ted's Borax and Peroxide Skin Wash

Ted's original recipe for mange has helped pets with itchy skin from a variety of causes.

Mix together the following:

  • 2 cups hydrogen peroxide
  • 4 cups warm water
  • 3 heaping tablespoons of borax

Use the mixture to wash your pet's skin. Alow the mixture to dry on the skin.

Other related pages of interest:
Allergy remedies
Yeast infection remedies
Best dog food diets for skin allergies



Aloe  

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Posted by Amy (Ft. Lauderdale, Fl ) on 03/21/2016
0 out of 5 stars

I have been a licensed/certified Veterinary Technician for 20 yrs. I use as much all natural, holistic ways for my pets' care, as well as my own. Although aloe is very soothing and fixes most skin issues, care must be used when using it on pets. Aloe contains glycosides. These glycosides are metabolized by intestinal bacteria forming compounds that increase mucus production and water in the colon. This can result in vomiting and diarrhea. Special attention needs to be given when using in animals with already sensitive stomachs.


Aloe and Coconut Oil  

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Posted by Coldaw (North Vancouver British Columbia Canada) on 08/20/2015
5 out of 5 stars

Hi all, my poor pup has been suffering terribly with itchy back syndrome. So bad she's been falling down trying to reach it, twisting into a pretzel. She also had a hot spot about 2 months ago. I came up with a wonderful solution. First I apply pure aloe vera juice with a cotton ball, 2-3 tbsps depending on size. Really saturate the area and beyond. Then I take a few tbsps of raw organic coconut oil and massage it into the same area, then brush it thru. Not only does she smell great but if she licks it, it's good for her. Itching stops right away. I keep doing it for 3-4 days just to make sure.

Replied by Gaye
New Zealand
09/07/2015

The best remedy we have found out of all advise is "selsun blue" shampoo - leave on for 2 minutes and rinse thoroughly - amazing stop to incessant itching from first use - highly recommended!!


Aloe Vera Drink  

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Posted by Edwina (Nyc) on 04/21/2015
5 out of 5 stars

My cat was itchy and everything for this problem had warnings regarding ingesting and usually with skull and crossbones warnings. I went to the heath food store and looked around and decided to buy an Aloe Vera Drink. This product has no taste and is clear. I figured if I could drink it I could put it on the cat. I put it in a spray bottle and spray it under the hair and it has helped so much. I also have used it on myself - very easy and takes away the itch.


Apple Cider Vinegar, Acidophilus  

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Posted by Laurag003 (Escondido, Ca) on 09/30/2009
5 out of 5 stars

What a difference 2 days makes! I have an 11 year old airedale, Oliver who has had a "skin condition" that I can trace back to February of this year. I too spent over $2000.00 getting my vets oppinion. Sterriods were the next stop and I truely debated this to atleast make him comfortable but the side effects are awful and could shorted his life - but what kind of life is suffering with this itching?! Nothing has helped until I read this site. I started Ollie on 1/4 c plain organic yogurt 1x daily. In his morning meal, I put the contents of 2 acidophilus tabs, pulled apart just inside contents along with his mixture of "avoderm" wet and dry food.(Great for Omega 3/6.) I also spray him with a mixture of 50/50 acv and plain water every night. He does NOT like this at all and I put a collar on him to keep him from licking/scratching. It takes him about 3 - 5 minutes to stop running around but the best part is - HE SLEEPS without chewing!! I also put 1 tlbs acv in all his water bowls. Everything I use is made for humans so if I start itching, I'd do the same thing. Thanks for a great site that allows feedback and imput from us moms and dads. I also let his vet know about the site and the treatment success. She was very happy not only for Ollie but will also let her other patients know about the success.

Replied by Lori
La Mesa, Ca
08/08/2010

Read your site a few months back suggesting apple cider vinegar (ACV) and acidophilus for skin problems tied to ear troubles. I tried it and am a believer. We have a female curly coated retriever (rescue) that is about 5 yrs old that has had itchy balding neck & shoulders and stinky infected ears since she was a puppy. We took all of the vet's suggestions the last few years and she "kind of" got better but never completely - and the problems always recurred. I went to the grocery store and bought a bottle of the house brand ACV and to Target for a bottle of acidophilus capsules. I open a capsule of the acidophilus and sprinkle it on her food in the morning, and pour a tablespoon of ACV on her food at night. (I'm not gonna lie, Curly was a little startled the first time I put the vinegar on her food, but when she eats, it's an olympic sport, so she dove right in. )

I also started using Nizoral shampoo (ketoconazole 1%) once a week on her.

So there you go. This in what is working for us quite well thank you. Maybe it will work for you.


Apple Cider Vinegar, Coconut and Tea Tree Oil  

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Posted by Traveler (Santa Barbara, Ca, Usa) on 07/15/2010
4 out of 5 stars

Dog's Itchy Skin

So with the summer-time and my dog spending a lot of time out in the backyard, and the dog park, he has gotten itchy skin. I've checked him for bugs and haven't found any, yet one of his nipples was scratched raw, his armpits were all dark pink, and he had several hotspots which has sebum around the scabby parts. I did two things, and he's almost all the way better but not all the way cured:

1. I took apple cider vinegar (not with the mother, the store didn't have it) and cut it half and half with water and put it in a spray bottle. This he got sprayed with a couple times a day all over in the belief that it would keep the bugs away and maybe help the spots.

2. I grabbed virgin coconut oil and added some tea tree oil to it and rubbed him down and tried to hit his hotspots. I did this two times with as full of a full-body rubdown as I could, and then two or three more times just spot applying. The next day after applying it the first time, his armpits were hardly pink at all. A week later, I've checked his hot spots and his scabs are now in chuncks around his hair, but no longer attached to his skin. I brushed his coat and skin really well with a hard bristle brush trying to stimulate the skin and pull up the chunks and then went through and did it by hand. He's itching a lot less but he's not all the way cured. I'd probably put him at maybe 85% better.

Replied by P
Covina, Ca
07/23/2011
1 out of 5 stars

Warning

Please be VERY careful, anyone who is considering using tea tree oil on their dog. I tried this once and will never use it on my sweet dog again. It almost killed her! Some dogs have very severe allergic reactions to this topical oil.

Replied by Becca
Abilene, Tx
01/29/2014

Pure undiluted tea tree oil is toxic to dogs! Their liver cannot process it...I almost killed two of my dogs treating hot spots with it. Please research the proper dilution before putting it on your dogs.

Replied by Ru
New Zealand
12/26/2014

Tea tree oil is best used as few to several drops in, say, half a cup of boiled water.

I used fresh garlic, slightly crushed, in boiling water, wait for it to cool and then add tea tree oil drops. Soak cuts twice a day for faster complete healing (slower to scab but faster to heal). Think of it as antiseptic and give it the same respect.

Use your nose: it smells strong for a reason! There's a LOT of tree in each ml of oil.

If in doubt try manuka honey instead - but must be used pure and kept dry (adding water or diluting honey is bad - it's partly the concentration that keeps the micro organisms out).

Manuka honey is great because it kills fungus and microbes but not skin like commercial antiseptic. Have tried on human surgical cuts and it heals so much faster and cleaner. But you do need to keep the site clean and dry (apart from the sticky honey itself of course). If wound is weeping then need to clean and replace more often - just rinse with boiled water, air dry and reapply honey - dressings help if you can't keep it clean any other way).

Best of all, doesn't hurt them if dog licks it :)

Loving the Apple Cider Vinegar for the same reason: good inside and out! Yes, stung a little on a cut when used strong but licked and now very happily resting, phew!

But, like anything plant based, there will be a small number of dogs and people who are allergic (I know of none but I assume so) so test small and see.

Replied by S.mohanraj
Coimbatore, India
04/16/2016

Tea tree oil shampoo also giving severe skin allergy to my 4yr old dog.

Replied by B.
Brooklyn
11/08/2016

A small amount of tea tree oil put a child into a coma. It is toxic not just to some people with sensitivities. It is toxic in any dose internally to many people and to dogs!!! Do not put it on your dogs skin in case they lick it off!!!


Apple Cider Vinegar, Yogurt  

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Posted by Anna (Rockhampton, Aus) on 08/02/2013
4 out of 5 stars

It's my first post here so I hope I find the right spot. I have commenced the ACV + yoghurt regime with my very itchy 12 yo German Shepherd. Final rinse yesterday was a 50/50 ACV and warm water. I added 1 tabsp ACV and 2 tabsp plain yoghurt to his food this morning and it didn't worry him at all. Today I used a 50/50 mix of ACV and water and with a squirt bottle, worked the mix into his coat where he has most itch (down the back). I let it dry naturally during our pm walk.

Adding the above 2 ingredients to food will be a daily routine, but how often should I do the ACV squirt application? would it be a good idea to add acidopilus to his food or will the yoghurt be adequet?

So far he smells great and isn't scratching as much. I'm really hoping this works.


Posted by Nelson (Farmington, Connecticut) on 02/09/2011
5 out of 5 stars

our mixed chow started with nibbling and chewing his paws.. He worked his way up the legs and within two months was hairless in his paws, legs and belly.. He was given steroids, 4 twice daily pills and a shampoo. We changed his diet to freshly cooked chicken and sweet potatoes. Nothing worked. Omar crawled everywhere to satisfy the belly itch. Scratch and chew.. Night and day. Spent close to one thousand dollars. I decided to try the Apple Cider Vinegar and yogurt.. In one day.. He is itching less and wagging his tail.. I sprayed a 50/50 water-acv onto the skin and worked it into the skin. I also now give him several tablespoons of plain yogurt.. He likes it.. I think this is going to help.. He has an appointment with a dermatologist that will be a few more thousand.. But I am banking on the acv. I will use this intill our appointment.. This has been his first night in many months that he appears happy and not so itchy.. G-d bless.. this has been a g-d send.

Replied by Angela
El Paso Tx
01/24/2014

Hi, I have a blue nose pitbull and he loves to rub his body against the bushes out front never thought it would be a problem but than I just started noticing that he is getting bumps everywhere and its weird cause I'm allergic to those bushes as well, but I just want to know what I should do as far as do I give him a bath first and than give him the ACV and how much should I put of ACV and water in the a spray bottle. Thank you in advance.

Replied by Theresa
Mpls., Mn
01/24/2014

Hey Angela!

I would bathe your dog first, and then rinse the soap off. Then, I would pour the ACV over him while he is still in the tub, making sure you get every part of him. Use 1 part of ACV into 10 parts of water.

What kind of bushes is he rubbing on, do you know?

Thanks!


Posted by Nelson (Farmington, Connecticut) on 02/09/2011

our mixed chow started with nibbling and chewing his paws.. He worked his way up the legs and within two months was hairless in his paws, legs and belly.. He was given steroids, 4 twice daily pills and a shampoo. We changed his diet to freshly cooked chicken and sweet potatoes. Nothing worked. Omar crawled everywhere to satisfy the belly itch. Scratch and chew.. Night and day. Spent close to one thousand dollars. I decided to try the Apple Cider Vinegar and yogurt.. In one day.. He is itching less and wagging his tail.. I sprayed a 50/50 water-acv onto the skin and worked it into the skin. I also now give him several tablespoons of plain yogurt.. He likes it.. I think this is going to help.. He has an appointment with a dermatologist that will be a few more thousand.. But I am banking on the acv. I will use this intill our appointment.. This has been his first night in many months that he appears happy and not so itchy.. G-d bless.. this has been a g-d send.

Replied by Anna
Rockhampton, Aus
08/02/2013

It's my first post here so I hope I find the right spot. I have commenced the ACV + yoghurt regime with my very itchy 12 yo German Shepherd. Final rinse yesterday was a 50/50 ACV and warm water. I added 1 tabsp ACV and 2 tabsp plain yoghurt to his food this morning and it didn't worry him at all. Today I used a 50/50 mix of ACV and water and with a squirt bottle, worked the mix into his coat where he has most itch (down the back). I let it dry naturally during our pm walk.

Adding the above 2 ingredients to food will be a daily routine, but how often should I do the ACV squirt application? would it be a good idea to add acidopilus to his food or will the yoghurt be adequet?

So far he smells great and isn't scratching as much. I'm really hoping this works.

Replied by Wendy
Columbus, Oh/usa
08/02/2013

I believe the yogurt is adequate. You can continue to add the tablespoon of ACV to his food once a day as long as you'd like. I've done this with my dogs for a few years. I feed them twice a day, and only add the ACV to one meal.

Sometimes I choose not to add the ACV, maybe for a week or so; then I continue the next week. Alternating weeks is fine depending on the severity of the dog's itching.

Also, spraying the fur with diluted ACV is really good. Continue doing that.

Replied by Anna
Rockhampton, Aus
08/02/2013

Thanks for your support and advice. Should I spray with the diluted ACV daily, every other day, etc? He's a big dog and a GSD, so has a double coat.


Posted by Sara (Decatur, Ga) on 12/02/2009

Hello, My dog Jake is a rescue dog and has had itching issues since we got him a year and a half ago. He also has a large scar on his back by his tail that I think was caused by him and the itching. I am going to try a more holistic approach to finding a cure. I have taken him to the vet for a remedy but their suggestions brought no relief. He eats Eukaneuba dog food for adults and right now I can't afford to go out and buy him another dog food. So, based on what I've read, I'm going to do the following

1. add Apple Cider Vinegar to his water
2. spray him with the ACV on the areas that bother him the most and
3. add non-sugar plain yogurt to his food twice a day. about 2 tbls.

Thanks for all the information on this web-site. I'll post again in a month to let people know if this approach worked. I wish I could switch him to the raw meat, all orgainc diet but I've got to feed a house of people first, you know what I mean? If you have any other suggestions, please let me know. Thanks! I hope it works.

Replied by Melinda
Somerville, Nj
02/07/2010

My dog has the same prob's as yours did. But I have been doing the ACV and yogurt also I have been giving her salmon oil 2 pumps. And she has really gotta better. She still itching but not half as bad. So thanks, hope your dog is better!

Replied by Ruby
Seattle, Wa
10/25/2011

Even if you can't afford to change their food exactly, just find something that doesn't have chicken parts as the first ingredient.. Maybe lamb? or oats? there are a few common brands making some ok stuff at any grocery store.. and.. I was just watching the news the other day, and there was a story about a salmon allergy in dogs.. Specifically raw salmon. Just a thought, about the oil. Maybe try coconut oil. It's pretty yummy too. :)

Replied by Freida
Lanham, Md
05/01/2016

I have spent so much money on vets for my dog itching problem. They have no answers. One vet told me to get my dog spay (shitzu/Jackrussel) Diva. It's a hormone issue. I'm going to do that and see if that works. The coconut oil helps and I'll try the apple cider vinegar too. I tried it in the water she wouldn't drink it. She Luvs yogurt


Booties for Itchy Paws  

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Posted by Barb (Peterborough, On Canada) on 04/06/2015
5 out of 5 stars

For all of your pets with itchy paws, a good add on to the ACV treatment is to spritz or soak, dry lightly, then put on paw booties. I bought some polar fleece ones from the local pet store, very easy with elastic and Velcro to fasten. Although they worked like crap in snow and ice, we found them very beneficial to use indoors to stop our lab / border collie cross, Pepa, from licking.

She suffers from seasonal allergies and now I have a weird idea that she may be allergic to these cats we keep rescuing. (yes, apparently dogs can be allergic to cats, so says the web) Found some pimple type bumps in between her toes yesterday and her allergy season is still a long way off. We have been RAW feeders for many years and have tried countless holistic remedies for her.

I am a sewer so last summer made some booties out of a 100% cotton tea towel, elastic and Velcro, duplicating the design of the purchased ones. These allow her paws to breath, and dry out after the vinegar spritz. AND, she cannot lick them! Seems to calm her down a bit too and allows all of us to get some sleep at night. (not really meant for outdoors though)

Hope this idea helps, Barb


Borax and Hydrogen Peroxide, Clove Tincture  

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Posted by Shelaughs (Lake Worth Florida) on 12/08/2013
5 out of 5 stars

Hello... Every time my dogs played in the yard across the street they came home with freakish itchiness & occasionally lesions would erupt between the toes. We had the same issue at our former residence & we wonder if it might have something to do with the mango tree leavings in both yards-

Whatever it is, I used the borax-peroxide solution & we found relief from itching instantaneously. We made a gallon of this solution initially & were able to give a lot of it away to neighbors whose dogs had skin issues. I use a squeeze bottle to direct the solution to specific spots.

Researching further I discovered food-grade diatomaceous earth & I am amazed at the panacea of benefits this has to offer. I found food-grade DE at a local animal feed/pet store. I added this to my dogs' diet, take it myself & have my adult son taking it.

All of us are also using ACV (a life-long thing- my great grandmother used to drink the stuff).

A medieval recipe for a topical anesthetic to treat skin abrasions, hot spots & to calm intense biting/chewing;

Clove tincture: add a box of whole cloves to a cheap bottle of vodka- close the bottle tightly & place in a dark cupboard for 10 days. The alcohol will turn a deep brown & smells wonderful. Using a soft cloth or cotton ball dab a little of this solution onto affected area, it may sting a teeny bit but the clove oils will numb this immediately. (This is good for mouth pain as well! ) You can strain & package into smaller bottles to help your family/neighbors/friends & their pets.

Replied by Emily
Seneca, Sc
06/18/2015

What exactly is the 'borax and hydrogen peroxide mixture' that you mentioned? How much of each?

EC: Please see Ted's mange page on Earth Clinic for details about the borax and h202 method.

Replied by Leanne
Covington, Ky
10/25/2016

How much borax and peroxide for a dog bath?

EC: 2 cups hydrogen peroxide plus 4 cups warm water plus 3 heaping tablespoons of borax.


Borax, Hydrogen Peroxide  

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Posted by Roxies Mom (Atlanta, Ga) on 01/17/2011
3 out of 5 stars

Better But With Side Effects

My dog threw up after trying to lick herself and ingesting the borax & peroxide mixture. I will try with vinegar and see how that works. Not sure if this is safe, so I will update on her progress. I can say that after treatment she immediately stopped scratching which is a miracle for her. She is the itchiest dog I have ever seen! I really hope this works!


Catalytic Altered Water  

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Posted by Sue (Nashville, Tn) on 02/09/2011
5 out of 5 stars

Regarding Pets with itching and other skin problems: I have several dogs that itch from allergies and flea bites from time to time so I keep on hand a spray bottle of catalytic altered water. My dogs' itching, painful cut or scrape is relieved and starts to heal in minutes. I have seen it heal a cut better than those creams that are sold and it doesn't burn. I have used it on my own skin burns, cuts, itching etc. And I use nothing else. I have also used it to make medication or ACV work better for my dogs. The water can be found on the internet; but don't be fooled by imitations there is only one that will work. 1 oz. of the clear will make 1 gallon for future use. A couple of sprays up to a few sprays work to heal quickly. I want everyone to know that this catalytic altered water is a safe miracle cure thats been around since the 1980's and was even the subject on a popular news television show back then. That show still exists.

Replied by Bugjackblue
Ny, Ny Usa
11/10/2011
1 out of 5 stars

Pure quackery. If you want to risk your own health by persisting in such delusion, go ahead, but you owe your dog a much higher level of responsibility than this.


Chlorpheniramine Maleate  

Posted by Mimsy56 (Seattle, Wa) on 10/05/2014

This may not be a natural treatment but I just want to help - it worked for me when nothing else available & safe was effective: simple over-the-counter at your local drugstore CHLORPHENIRAMINE MALEATE - 4 MG tablets - put 1 tablet in dog's food/treat 2 to 3 times a day. I'd already used Benadryl when my vet (FINALLY!! ) recommended Chlor. Maleate - it worked instantly, & supposedly, very safely. My dog (mini schnauzer) weighs 22 lbs. - dosage may vary by dog's size.

I only want to help others in similar miserable situations, having truly agonized for over 4 yrs as my 4-8 yr old allergic mini schnauzer scratched himself daily into a bleeding, balding, hotspot- covered, unhappy, uncomfortable mess. I tried everything, from flea treatment (he had zero fleas), to apple cider vinegar, aloe vera, fish oil, Benadryl, yogurt, grain-free food, prednisone (briefly! ), 24 hr clothing to stop him from scratching himself raw everywhere, Atopica (for about 8 months - useless), to finally, in 2014, Apoquel - it worked perfectly but was very costly & after only a few months, international supplies were depleted & it won't be available again until 2015.

Meanwhile, with the Chlor. Maleate, my dog is finally able to relax au natural (NO CLOTHES!! ) with VERY LITTLE scratching & zero raw areas/hotspots/fur loss, for a measly $12 per 100 tablet bottle of Chlor. Maleate. When/if Apoquel (costs about $70/mo. from my vet) becomes available again, I'm not sure I'll need it. This Chlor. Maleate is a true godsend for my allergic dog - talk to your vet/try it if you're in a similar situation.

Replied by Theresa
Mpls., Mn
10/06/2014

Thanks, Mimsy56 for this tip!

Replied by Nina
New Jersey, US
12/10/2014

I have a poodle mix; he is 11 yrs old. Last year after a grooming at a chain grooming store he began having seizures, then after a couple of months he started losing his hair on his back, that grooming took place in the summer of 2012.

His hair has not grown back. I believe the groomer was new, I believe she used a toxic flea bath to cause both the seizures and hair loss. I spoke to the mgr. he denied that this happened. My Teddy also used to scratch and lick but when I switched to a glutten free dog food which was suggested to me by a clerk in a pet store, he stopped licking himself. That was before the flea bath insident.

Replied by Deborah
Jax, Fl
03/28/2015

I tried this. I was at wits end from the constant scratching. Well it works! I gave it to my dog this afternoon and the scratching is down quite a bit .THANK YOU so much.


Coconut and Oregano Oils  

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Posted by Heidi (Chicago, Il, Usa) on 03/26/2010
5 out of 5 stars

My chocolate lab was scratching herself raw. We adjusted her diet, got special lotions and shampoos from the vet, even steroids. Nothing worked. We hated seeing our poor dog suffer so we mixed 1/2 cup of coconut oil with 2 drops of oil of oregano, rubbed it on her sores. By the next morning she was barely scratching at all!! All the sores healed and she has been happy and itch free!

Replied by Jb
Atlanta, Ga Usa
11/02/2010
5 out of 5 stars

One of my German Shepherds has an immune deficiency. I have tried everything natural under the sun but, will not resort to pharmaceuticals. I feed raw, organic, no grains. ACV in water. Still biting, itchy & scabby. One day I was desperate to find a solution for her raw skin. I mixed up about a 1/4 cup of organic extra virgin coconut oil & about 6 drops of ingestable Four Thieves oil blend. I rubbed it in lightly on all the areas affected. The Four Thieves I use is a well known brand, easily found on the Internet that can be ingested. Some are only for topical use, so be careful. I would not use on cats. It calmed the areas immediately. Redness disappeared. By the next day scabs were falling off. I now do this twice a day. She actually nudges me to the kitchen for her coconut rub. Though I alternate omega 3 fish oil, coconut oil, ground flax or oil, EVOO, chia, something in her system seems to resist utilizing the ingested oils. I have started adding digestive enzymes to her food to add in breaking down fats. If someone has experienced this same problem I would appreciate feedback.

Replied by Joypcs
Fort Worth, Tx
08/11/2013
5 out of 5 stars

4 year old Aussie/Border female went through bouts of excessive itching, chewing feet, hind skin raw, etc. She wasn't in an episode of itchiness when she started to get horrid ear odor. We got Liquid-Filled Ear Swabs which did a great job of cleaning out ears, and also started giving her 1 drop of (diluted) oil of oregano daily to stop excessive candida growth. Well, after 2 weeks, we saw zero excessive itching, clean ears, loss of excess weight and a happier, more peaceful dog! We dilute the OoO with 3 parts exta virgin oliveoil to 1 part OoO. I take a drop/day now!



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