Dog Itchy Skin Home Remedy Options

Last Modified on Sep 19, 2014

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!

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

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Apple Cider Vinegar10 YEAS

User Reviews



Apple Cider Vinegar   10  0   

Posted by Steve (Bend, Or) on 07/16/2014

How often do I apply (with cotton balls) a mixture of water and ACV to my puppys dry itchy belly

Posted by Theresa
Mpls., Mn
07/16/2014
591 Posts
Hey Steve!

There is no set way to do this - it is something you will need to play by ear based on the results you get. You might find using a plant misting bottle to be the most effective way to apply it. Start out applying it am and pm; if no results try applying 4 times a day - or if stellar results once every other day.

Posted by Elyask (Sydney Australia ) on 01/25/2014

[YEA]  Thanks a million to the bloggers on this site and of course to the site itself. My 2 year old beagle, Ruby, suddenly started scratching herself 2 days ago. At first I didn't think anything of it, but on the same night she was scratching and biting herself so much that her skin became red and inflamed and little sores with blood were appearing. I was beside myself and was ready to rush her to a vet but she fell asleep after a little while. She woke two or three times and started violently scratching herself. I left my mum to watch her until the afternoon of day 2 when I finished work. Upon returning home I found my dear Ruby still scratching and there were more sores appearing. I was welling up and felt so bad because in the few seconds that she would pause the scratching she would look up at me with the saddest eyes... begging me to help her. I decided against going to a vet because I have used the internet for holistic remedies before and after about an hour of reading and noting things, I applied apple cider vinegar 1 part to three parts water ....dabbled a gauze unit and applied it gently on her. To my horror the scratching and biting became worse. I then fed her a fish oil tablet in a treat and gave her a antihistamine tablet in (had no benedryl but essentially the same thing). Within half an hour the antihistamine obviously took effect and put her to sleep. I didn't sleep much as I was too upset. When I did wake I went to see how Ruby was. My little dog was wagging her tail... the redness had settled and even the sores weren't really obvious. I couldn't believe it and to see her not so stressed was fantastic. Today is daybthree and she is scratching every now and then but another application of acv and the same routine should see her back to normal soon hopefully. Oh, and I am putting her on a raw meat and some regimes diet.

Posted by Lulu
San Pedro Ca.
04/26/2014
We had two dogs who are having redness and inching all the time and boldness. It seems it gets better but it's not. So I just rubbed ACV on their bodies, so far no itching. Will how the rest of the day and night goes.

Posted by Steve (Labelle, Florida) on 03/11/2013

[YEA]  Apple Cider Vinegar works for me! My Chow mix has had "flea allergy" ??? for years. Two vets, same thing, try benedril, etc. etc. I've tried everything you could think of, nothing worked. Constant scratching, sore on leg that won't heal. Bald spots by tail that come and go. Couldn't find the organic ACV at w-dixie, but got a bottle of "natural" ACV. Everything they have on the shelf is "filtered". But mixed some up 1/2 and 1/2. Poured it on her, and I could tell a difference RIGHT AWAY! Dabbed some more on her leg sore, and her belly this morning, and what a difference! Thank you all for this information.

Posted by Diane Peace
Hudson Oaks, Yexas
05/18/2013
How often do I have to spray my dog?

Posted by Lynn (Elmira, Ny) on 10/05/2012

[YEA]  OMG my poor dog has been going at it for 3months, scratching himself and I got red cider vinegar yesterday and he actually slept last nite. Gizzy is not all cured but looks calmer than he has in weeks. Happy dog lover Lynn

Posted by Wendy
Columbus, Oh/usa
10/10/2012
To Lynn from Elmira, NY: Please make sure you're using ORGANIC Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV). The organic kind has the nutrient-rich sediment at the bottom of the bottle; you just shake the bottle before using it.

Then, you can put a teaspoon into her food and mix it all up. Do this every time you feed her. It should clear up any rashes she now has, and will help prevent future rashes.

You can get more info about ACV's uses by searching here on earthclinic.

Posted by Trish (Daytona Beach, Florida) on 10/03/2012

Hello, I have an american bulldog, and he loves our salt water pool. I mean it is "his" pool!! He's swimming at the least twice a day. His skin is itchy to the touch, I go to pet his back and he squirms to be itched! I was wondering if apple cider vinegar would help? Thanks, Trish

Posted by Connie (Topeka, Ks) on 08/29/2012

[YEA]  Hi, this has been a particularly dry summer in Kansas. My Keeshond had the most horrible skin rash and was scratching non stop.... read a lot of internet sites about what to do and found this site.

I really did not like the thought of cortisone shots for him so got out the apple cider vinegar to see what results I could get. I put a teaspoon on some bread for him and rubbed him down with a half and half solution of vinegar water mix. He was bright red on his groin and I am sure it burned a bit but he was relived within minutes.... no more scratching.

It has been a week now and his skin is almost completely cleared up.... Thank you so much for your site and the excellent information....

I used organic apple cider vinegar $4.00 dollars and saved hundreds of dollars of vet bills.

Thanks again what a miracle....

Posted by Julia (Melbourne, Victoria Australia) on 02/02/2012

[YEA]  Thank you all so much for the info on ACV. My Schnauzer has been scratching for quite a number of years. However she has been exceptionally bad for the past month. Recently I found a red spot in the groin area, black and red spots on her leg. I bought a bottle of ACV and started using on the night. The following I morning saw a huge improvement in both spots. The itching stopped almost immediately, she has become a much calmer and happier dog, it's like a miracle cure. Thank you all very much for your input.

Posted by Jeff
Ballstonspa, Ny
02/12/2012
hi my name is jeff and we have the same breed dog and I am nervous that it might burn or bother him he is always licking and biting himself and wears the fur off in spots. Will it sting him or anything like that?

EC: Hi Jeff,

Apple cider vinegar must ALWAYS be well diluted with water: 1 part acv to at least 3 parts water. Never apply straight as it can cause a very painful sting.

Posted by Kelley
Palm Springs, Ca
06/09/2012
[YEA]   "My mini doxie has been furiously licking her rear end and biting her back leg for months. I tried changing her diet to a single novel protein and this did not work. The vet wanted to put her on a steroid which I am against. I started to give her ACV 3 days ago over a little food and applying it with a cotton ball to her back leg and rear area.... BINGO!!! 3rd day straight and no crying and itching at all. Its AMAZING and I recommend!!!

Posted by Cindy (Gasport, Ny/usa) on 11/03/2011

[YEA]  My dog just started itching out of the blue this summer. I took him to the vet twice they told me it was allergies so I gave him benadryl that didn't help him at all. I think I tried every thing under the sun to give him relief. Nothing worked till I found this site about the ACV- to my surprise it worked. He has itched just a little bit since I put it on him today I think we both might get some sleep tonight thank you for the ACV remedy.

Posted by Linda (Belton, Mo) on 06/21/2011

I have 3 male cats. One 3 yrs old I'll speak of because he's 10 times worst than the other 2. He's biting and licking his hair and scratching all the time. At first we thought he became Alger to the food so we changed it. Then we realized it was fleas but there was not that many. Last yr I bathed him in ACV and it helped. Now he's licking his and biting his hair and scratching and sores all over. We did everything to the floors we could. I tried putting ACV in there water, food, no good. So I decided to get a eye dropper and gave him half and half water and ACV led up to 1 tablespoon. Is this to much or not enough, how often sould I give this to them? And what else could I try?

Posted by Clay The Cat
Tallahassee, Fl
10/02/2011
RE: ITCHY CAT

Its probably WHEAT FLOUR/GLUTEN! Check his cat food, it is in almost everything. It is in the cat treats, even the pill pockets you give them to be able to take the medicine to help with the itchness. Once I cut this out of my cat's diet, the sores and itchyness went away. Iams wet food, salmon/tuna flavors don't have it, also those Appetizers don't have it, there are some brands out there, just read the labels. Good luck!

Posted by Alabama (Andalusia, Alabama) on 03/31/2011

I HAVE TWO INDOOR DOGS, THEY HAVE NO FLEAS AND THERES BEEN NO CHANGE IN THIER FOOD BUT THEY ARE SCRATCHING CONSTANTLY, I HAVE TRIED EVERTHING, I WOULD LIKE TO TRY THE APPLE CIDER VINEGAR BUT HOW MUCH DO I GIVE THEM ONE WEIGHS ABOUT 30 # AND ONE WEIGHS ABOUT 10. ALABAMA

Posted by Diamond
Salisbury, Ma.usa
04/02/2011
Alabama; You might want to try small amounts at first, try using the Apple Cider Vinegar which is natural, I use _____s with(mother) organic, no one animal or human likes the smell because it's so strong, I use fish oil capsules and put it on top of the dogs food. Then try by putting some vinegar on the back of their neck. Because vinegar is all pure and natural I don't think it to be a problem of over dosing other than an issue with their organs, where that would take years to affect organs. Also it could be their dog food. I use Newmans own at big market basket but the vets also sell good can food;dogs need can for their coat, oils etc. Good luck.
Posted by Jayne
Astoria, Ny
07/06/2011
[YEA]   "WOW WOW and again WOW!! I love my cat soo much and I couldnt bear seeing her licking and biting at her shoulder. When I would scratch it for her she was in heaven.. Anyway if you need a quick remedy for itching... Apple cider vinegar (1/2 water 1/2 apv). Literally, within seconds my cat stopped tearing at her itchy skin. I put the combination in a spray bottle and gently sprayed it on her itchy area then I just gently rubbed it in a bit. wallah!! Many thanks to all you peole who advised of this remedy (well I heard it is a temporary fix, but for now its great) and to the ones who responded after use.

love ninja ** MEOW

Posted by Atomiconion
Montgomery, Alabama
08/29/2011
5 Posts
on the itching dogs, rub the dog down firmly with diatomaceous earth every few days, put a pinch of cat claw powder in the water put powder at bottom then airrate when you put water in so it mixes and every time you change it they may not like at first but will aquire taste soon enough and most important put a slice of onion on forehead you may need a dog hat but until you can get it to stay on forhead find a way to put in something like a sock with holes in it tied around collar on back of neck I think there is a mycoplasma that feeds on frontal lobe and onion on forhead is only thing that kills mycoplasma all the other things just treat symptoms the mycoplasma allows the mites to live and breed kill the mycoplasma and the mites will go to. This will work and it takes time but the de earth and cat claw will give relief until you can kill mycoplasma. avoid ammonia and acids if you smoke go to organic because the ammonium nitrate in regular cigs makes this worse.

Posted by Kanika (Virginia Beach, Virginia) on 01/27/2010

[BETTER BUT WITH SIDE EFFECTS]  Hi my six month old lhasa apso has been itchy now for over two months. I tried meds from the vet hot spot spray oatmeal shampoo but nothing worked. I then found this site and tried acv. Now I first washed her with the oats shampoo and then used one cup acv in one gallon water for the final rinse. I am also spraying her with one part acv with 2 parts water and also giving half teaspoon orally. I have done all of this in the last 2 days and her itching has gonne down by about 60%. I have however noticed that everytime i spray her with the mixture she gets very depressed and falls asleep. She seems very lethargic and I am wondering if the acv has anything to do with it. Also she has 3 very noticeable bald spots on her hind legs and although the itching has decreased it hasn't disappeared. I asked the vet and she has ruled out a yeast infection. My question is that can acv cause depression or a change in behaviour or in a nutshell can the acv have any side effects on my puppy. Also how long will it take for the itching to desappear completely if I continue to use acv?

I am very worried about my baby. I am glad that she isnt scratching and licking so much but I dont want her to be sad and depressed. Please help me Earthclinic.

Posted by Tracey
Timberville, Va
01/31/2010
She is not depressed! she is exhausted from itching, and when she doesn't have to itch she is resting peacefully. imagine your whole day itching uncontrollably, and all the sudden you don't have to itch anymore. You would feel like whew! im exhausted! Shes clean just had a nice bath, warm, fed, and thankful. let her sleep.
Posted by Steph
Marietta, Georgia
04/30/2010
I have a chihuahua that licks, and bits all her hair of her tail where it irritates her. I saw it closely and looks like she has little bumps. I am wondering if its an allergic reaction, because she gets this itch every spring. please help me to figure out what this cause of itch is from and how I can heal it. Please and Thank You!

EC: Did you test the area with a flea comb? If you find black droppings, it may be a reaction to flea bites!

Posted by Diz2ydez
San Pablo, Ca, Usa
09/10/2012
Hi , I just wanted to let people know that my dog was always itching , after a bath, after I put her drops in. I Never tried Apple Cider Vinegar cause I was afraid of how she might react to it. I bath her with her shampoo and conditioner. After I used her shampoo and rinsed her with warm water more on the colder side, I used my shampoo, I used a small amount of "head and shoulders 2 in 1". I dont know if the Head and Sholders will do any harm but I noticed she hasn't been itching as much. Just thought I should put that out there.

Posted by Christy (Chocowinity, Nc) on 09/21/2009

[YEA]  I recently read that ACV would help my dog with her scratching. I have been battling with this for years and spent several thousand dollars on trying to cure her but nothing worked. We tried RX food, supplements, shampoos etc... I sent my husband to the store to get some ACV and I mixed 50% V and 50% warm water in a spray bottle and applied it to my Shih Tzu. She immediately stopped scratching. It has been such a long time since I have seen her so relaxed and actually resting. I have not noticed any side effects yet. I also put it in her drinking water 4tsps per 2 cups of water to see how it works with repeling fleas. Thank goodness for ACV! Who would have thought that $3.00 would have saved me a lot of money at the vet.

Posted by Anonymous Coward (Boston, Ma) on 09/03/2009

[YEA]  Dog itching and vinegar treatment:

My dog was scratching his lower back furiously for the past few days to the point I knew I had to do something. I've been laid up in bed and only managed to go to the health food store to get unpasteurized apple cider vinegar, per the postings here, because the store had no doggie medicines.

I cut the vinegar with water, half and half, and sponged the mix on his back up to his neck, because the itching had spread upward. He is a small dog with short hair and so I just soaked the area and rubbed it with my fingers. Within minutes he stopped scratching. He did lick himself for a while off and on but then he want to sleep and didn't constantly wake up to scratch furiously like he had been. He didn't have raw or even red areas but there was a a tiny amount of granular material that might have been frass (bug doodoo) on the surface of his fur. The material was too uniformly small to have been some kind of skin or scab shedding.

I've given him four or five applications over the last few days and his itching is markedly reduced, to the point he doesn't scratch at all for hours. There is still a very tiny amount of the frass-like material but I have not seen anybody occupying his fur. And again, he has no redness or raw areas. Another interesting point is he's never had any skin-related conditions ever and he is eight years old. This came out of the blue and in a major way.

Posted by Janet
Manchester, United Kingdom
09/07/2009
One of my four cats has had a skin problem on and off now for quite some time. It seems to come on every six months and I usually have to take him to the Vet for a steroid injection which does help but I have to do this every six months and as I have four cats it is quite expensive. At the moment Ginger is going mad scratching and pulling his fur out. His back is red raw but at the moment the Vet is not affordable. I have heard about rubbing with ACV but I was a little concerned that it would burn his raw skin so have been afraid to do this. Has anyone out there got the same problem and knows of a natural remedy please?
Posted by Angela
Sacramento, Ca
09/08/2009
For raw hairless fur rub an anti-fungul cream on your dogs back. hair will grow back. it works on my dog. rub it on entire area where hair is missing and watch how fast it clears the skin.
Posted by Janet
Manchester, United Kingdom
09/09/2009
5 Posts
In reply to Angela, many thanks. I just wondered what type of anti-fungal cream you use?, as I am in the Uk. Do you use cream for people? I have purchased an 'anti itch' cream but so far it does not seem to have helped much. I feel so sorry for my poor cat... he will be bald before long! Any more suggestions please?
Posted by Stephanie
Eugene, Or
12/23/2009
I have a 7 month old puppy (a St. Bernard/Black Lab mix, coming in at roughly 95 pounds now), and over the past 2 months or so has been nibbling, furiously, at his backside, around his haunches and the start of his tail. My boyfriend and I noticed it and took a look at his skin, and he started getting small scabs around those areas he was nibbling. The vet attributed it to fleas, but Duke didn't have any fleas; someone suggested changing his food, but that didn't help either; I rubbed plain, unscented moisturizing lotion to the affected areas, and it seemed to help temporarily, but eventually the nibbling started all over again. I feel so bad for him, because it keeps him up at night, and I can tell it irritates the heck out of him. Any suggestions for stopping whatever is itching him, or does anyone know what could be causing it? Thanks!
Posted by Sarahc
New Canaan, Ct, Usa
12/23/2009
Hi, yes one of my dogs when through this about a year ago. Same small scabs on his rear end, top of tail. I bathed both dogs, worked temporarily, changed the food of the itchy and scratchy one. I also flea combed both dogs every day and never saw one flea dropping! A friend told me her dog was infested with fleas and it was a really big issue for everyone, so I figured possibly he had one flea running on him that I couldn't find. Even though I hate to put chemicals on him, I applied 1/2 a bottle of Advantage to his neck and a small spot on the top of his tail and the obsessively scratching stopped within 12 hours. I put the other half of the bottle on my other dog just in case. It worked. I'd guess you have a flea issue!
Posted by Ambercleveland
Indianapolis, In
01/27/2011
[WARNING!]   "Specifically in regards to pets that look like they are scratching to the point where they have scabs, if you are feeding and watering them out of plastic bowls, switch to stainless steel. I had a dog that had a similar problem, turns out she had an allergy to something leaching into the water from her plastic dog dishes.
Posted by Danielle S.
Duvall, Washington, Usa
08/09/2011
My name is Danielle and I have a 11 year old pug and for months now is constantly itching his chest and chewing on his front legs. There are huge hairless spots on his chest and are sometimes bleed and are really raw. They are also forming scabs. Recently I noticed he is getting it behind his ears too! I dont think its flees or ticks cause he is an inside dog. I have tried to regrow his hair and it started to work but he kept itching it and it didnt help much after that. I havent tried much and I need some advice on what to do!!!! Something to stop the itching and regrow the hairless areas. I dont know if its because of his old age or something else but I need some advice to ease the ithcing and scabbing PLEASE.
Posted by Julie
Coventry, England
08/28/2011
2 Posts
HI, has he recieved any shots in the last 3 months if so that could be the reason give him homeopathic Thuja 30c to detoxify. If not it could be mites, sometimes ear mites are transfered when the dog scratches his ear. Either way I would use Thornit powder. We have it here in England. It is simply wonderful. I advise all my clients to use it. If you can't get any email me and I will try to sent you some.

Apple Cider Vinegar, Acidophilus   1  0   

Posted by Laurag003 (Escondido, Ca) on 09/30/2009

[YEA]  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.

Posted 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   0  0   

Posted by Traveler (Santa Barbara, Ca, Usa) on 07/15/2010

[BETTER BUT NOT CURED]  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.

Posted by P
Covina, Ca
07/23/2011
[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.
Posted by Becca
Abilene, Tx
01/29/2014
21 Posts
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.


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