16 all-natural remedies to soothe your dog’s itchy skin (hint: most of them are free)

16 All Natural Remedies to Soothe Your (1)

Expensive clinic visits and high vet bills – not to mention all those costly allergy medications your vet can prescribe – may be the reason why you put off taking your itchy, allergic pooch to the doctor. The constant itching and scratching can lead to hair loss, trauma, and skin infections…and, as loving pet parents, we don’t want to see our fur babies suffer.

Here are 16 all-natural, inexpensive (or free)  remedies available to you, some of them as close as your pantry or refrigerator.

Vitamin E will work on your dog’s dry skin just like it works on your wrinkles. I like to break open a capsule and rub the oil directly on my dog’s dry, itchy areas. Not only does the oil feel good to her, but also the massage action warms her muscles and helps the Vitamin E penetrate faster to problem areas.

Yogurt Feeding your dog plain, low-fat yogurt keeps the good bacteria in your dog’s intestines in balance and helps keep yeast infections at bay. A little bit of yogurt in your pet’s diet is not only a healthy treat, but can boost the immune system so that skin and ear yeast infections can’t take hold. When my itchy dog was a puppy, I would give her a teaspoon of yogurt daily to help build immunity and prevent diarrhea. Alternative- Feed your dog a grain-free food with probiotics. We recommend the one from DOG for DOG.

Chamomile tea & Herbal Tea soaks, chilled in the refrigerator, can alleviate any minor skin irritations when sprayed on sensitive, itchy spots. The chilled tea kills yeast and bacteria on the skin and relieves inflammation. When  my itchy dog starts gnawing on her paws, I like to either spray them with the chamomile or just have her soak her paws in a small tub of the cold tea. Warm chamomile tea bags can soothe itchy, irritated eyes for both you and your dog. You can also try green tea and calendula. Read more about preparing foot baths

Ground oatmeal poured into a bath or a shampoo, is an age-old remedy for itching, inflamed skin. You can either use the baby oatmeal cereal found at your local grocery store or grind it yourself in your food processor or coffee grinder. Your dog will love sitting in a warm bath containing oatmeal because it brings immediate relief to irritated area. Alternative- buy colloidal oatmeal shampoo and conditioner all ready mixed and ready to go.


Epsom salt soaks and heat packs can reduce the swelling of itchy paws and inflamed sores. A bath of warm water and Epsom salt also speeds up the healing time for any small, open sores, particularly when combined with veterinary antibiotics.

Evening primrose oil, an essential oil,has active anti-inflammatory and anti-itch properties. You can apply primrose oil directly to your dog’s skin to treat dry or itchy skin issues. Likewise, giving your dog evening primrose oil by mouth helps calm allergies and boosts the immune system – and it only takes a few drops on her food or in her water to do the trick.

Eucalyptus Conditioner – Steep 1 teaspoon dried eucalyptus  (or 2 tablespoons of fresh eucalyptus) in a pint of boiling water for 10 minutes, covered. Allow the eucalyptus water to cool to body temperature and pour it over your dog after her final rinse. Rub the mixture in and towel her dry without further rinsing. The eucalyptus in the conditioner repels fleas while promoting a soft, glossy coat. Alternative: Buy a an all natural eucalyptus shampoo and conditioner that’s already mixed and ready to go. Hint- make sure that it’s real eucalyptus essential oil, and not a fragrance.

Dry Shampoo – If your pooch hates getting into the water, an all-natural dry shampoo can keep her skin healthy and coat smelling good. Spread ½-cup to 1-cup of whole bran, uncooked oatmeal, or cornmeal on a cookie sheet and warm in the oven on low heat for 5 minutes to bring out the natural oils in the grain. Grab a handful of the grain (leaving the rest in the oven to stay warm) and rub it into your dog’s fur and skin with a towel, concentrating on the greasy, dirty areas. Then thoroughly brush the areas to remove all the grain. This dry shampoo exfoliates the skin while removing any nasty residue from your dog’s coat. Alternative: Buy an in between grooming spray that’s already mixed and ready to go.

Essential Oil Shampoo – Add a few drops of eucalyptus or pennyroyal essential oil to natural shampoo or castile soap. Rinse your dog with clear water. Rinse again with vinegar-water (1 tbsp. to 1 pint warm water). This easy-to-make shampoo and rinse removes soap residue and prevents the dandruff that can result in itchy skin. Alternative: Buy a an all natural eucalyptus shampoo and conditioner that’s already mixed and ready to go. Hint- make sure that it’s real eucalyptus essential oil, and not a fragrance.

Herbal Flea Powder – Combine one part each of as many of these dried and powdered herbs as you can find: rosemary, fennel, eucalyptus, rue, yellow dock, and wormwood. Put this mixture in a clean, dry shaker-type jar, like one used for parsley flakes or Parmesan cheese. Apply the flea powder sparingly to the base of your dog’s coat by brushing back the hair first, then sprinkling in small amounts around the neck, belly, and back. You’ll need to use the powder several times a week for a severe flea infestation, and place your pooch outside in they yard so the repelled fleas don’t end up in your home. Remember, this powder only repels the pests…it does not kill them. Alternative: Buy all natural off-the-shelf sprays. We like Flea the Scene and Dirty’s & Hairy’s Citronella OUTDOOR spray.

Natural Skin Tonic – This lemon-based tonic not only repels fleas, it works as a general skin toner for itchy pets. Thinly slice a whole lemon, including the rind, and steep it overnight in a pot of boiling water. The cooling water draws out d-limonene, vitamin C, and other healing ingredients found in the whole lemon. The next day, sponge it on your dog’s skin and let the solution air-dry. You can use the lemon tonic daily for cases of heavy flea infestation. Alternative: targeted anti-itch sprays made with essential oils and herbs that can focus on specific itchy spots on your dog and bring immediate relief to irritation and inflammation.

Baking Soda- Prepare a thick paste by using a 50/50 mix of baking soda and water. Apply to affected areas of your dog’s skin, leave for 20 minutes, and then rinse off. Alternatively add one cup of baking soda to your dog’s bath water if he is itching all over.

Apple Cider Vinegar- Prepare a 50/50 mix of apple cider vinegar with water, and use a spray bottle to apply it to affected areas.

Aspirin Mix- Crush two aspirin tablets and mix with a small amount of rubbing alcohol (do not administer by mouth). This mixture can be applied directly to affected areas of skin using cotton wool or cotton swabs. For maximum effect, apply in conjunction with one of the previously listed remedies.
Give your dog a bath – There is a common misconception that you shouldn’t bathe your dogs very often and that doing so can make skin conditions worse. Most veterinarians treat skin disease through a combination of steroids and antibiotics. But if you’re like me, you want to stay away from harsh drugs and try all natural courses of action first. The use of ’shampoo therapy’ to treat skin conditions may be the most overlooked natural therapy for dogs with skin disease. Read more about how bathing your dog can prevent itchiness.

Brush your dog every day – Who knew that something so simple and basic as brushing your dog’s coat could help to control and eliminate itchy and irritated skin. When his skin is itchy, inflammatory blood cells and chemical compounds such as histamine and prostaglandins accumulate in the affected area. These are all responsible for the reddening and inflammation that causes the itch. Read more about how brushing your dog can prevent itchiness.

Feed your dog coconut oil – Every night I mix up my dogs food with some coconut oil. In the summer it’s really easy because the oil is liquid due to the hot weather. In the winter it solidifies so you have to microwave it a few seconds before putting it on your dog’s food. Coconut oil is excellent for your dog’s coat and general health. You don’t need a dog specific coconut oil, a high quality human brand will do. You can also checkout treats that include coconut like DOGSBUTTER.

I hope that you’ll find something that will help you itchy dog.  If you know of another natural remedy we should add to this list, PLEASE list them below!

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64 Comments


  1. I use coconut oil (human grade). I let my female chihuahua lick about 1/2 tsp. everyday, plus I rub some into her skin (along the itchy spots). After rubbing it in, I brush her out thoroughly. Coconut oil has proven to be a big help.

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    1. I was just thinking the same thing

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    2. Thanks that sounds wonderful. My Yorkie is 14 yrs 9lds and suddenly has skin severe irritations. The Vet doesn’t seem to know what to do besides change her diet. I hope this works.

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  2. regular bathing helps with the itching for my dog

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  3. I keep my puppies’ coats brushed (they love it!) and use oatmeal shampoo. I do not overbathe them. I would like to try the essential oils, but I am concerned about sensitive skin with them.

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    1. Essential oils for dogs are available. Try Pet Smart or Pet Co or any pet store.

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  4. I put a little bit of cider vinegar into their bath water. It not only sooths them, this also helps with fleas and ticks during the summer months! Win win.

    I have also used a bit of baking soda and/or a drop or two of peppermint oil when I don’t have the vinegar on hand.

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  5. Coconut oil soothes my dogs dry skin

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  6. I like to use not only Vitamin E and Oatmeal, but I add some coconut oil to the mixture. The coconut oil seems to stay on his fur a bit longer like a conditioner, and since it’s a food product, it won’t hurt if he licks it.

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  7. Thank you!!! Great tips that I can use on my 2 itchy babies!

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  8. For my dog, Marshmellow, I use peppermint oil in the bathwater to get rid of fleas and soothe irritated skin. Also, use coconut oil to condition my dogs fur. Another tip, I use antibiotic ointment on my dog’s hot spot near her neck and made sure to remove any fur and scabs away before applying it then put a bandana, so she won’t scratch herself too much.

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  9. i use coconut oil and rinse in apple cider vinegar and groom them on a reg basis.

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  10. I have used baking soda and a warm bath!

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  11. i have used oatmeal in their bath water

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    1. Hello…Do you think it’s ok to use the Equate brand oatmeal from Walmart thats for humans ? It says it’s 100% Collidal Oatmeal. Thanks for any help !!!

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      1. Dog skin pH is different than human skin pH, so unless it’s baby shampoo it might not be a good idea. But it might work if the shampoo isn’t formulated specifically for human skin pH and has no added fragrances.

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      2. Yes Walmart’s Equate brand oatmeal is perfect. Grind it in a good processor or blender.

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        1. I think he was referring to equate brand oatmeal shampoo, as walmart’s food grneric is “good value”
          Using human shampoo on humans is hard enough on us, don’t use it on a dog – even if the pH is right, the scent is too much for a dog’s * much* more sensitive noise.
          You can use any brand food oatmeal, just grind it to powder in a blender and age to the bath or make a paste an rub it into the skin.

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  12. well i make a mixture of natural oils (coconut,almond,tea tree) to mix into her shampoo i also let it sit a while and brush her coat while it sits to get it penetrating good under the surface you know

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  13. Either cornstarch, gold bond powder or apple cider vinegar on a cotton ball and then rubbed on the area.

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  14. We use Omega 3 oil on our dog’s food, really works. I believe in coconut oil, too.

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    1. I just started giving our dog evening primrose oil by mouth. We will see?

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  15. After baths my eskie gets itchy on his belly and thighs so I rub him with coconut oil and coat his paws as well.

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  16. After each bath we give our puppy we rub a fresh coat of flaxseed oil onto his coat and skin. Just the flaxseed oil you can buy for cooking in a regular grocery store. I think it really hydrates their skin and makes him smell good for a few days.

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  17. grapefruit seed extract added to water

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  18. I feel diet is the most important way. First of all always sourcing US ingredients including some Canadian foods. I believe in adding a Duck formula such as Fromm Duck and Sweet Potato, Acana Duck and Pear or use a raw food. I’ve been very successful with these in my Health Food Shop for Dogs and Cats.

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  19. When my lab gets itchy she gets a bath with soothing shampoo! Its made with moisturizers and it is a huge relief for her!

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  20. I sometimes use a natural witch hazel which is grown and produced in CT.

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    1. I live in CT and would appreciate knowing where you purchase the natural witch hazel. Thanks.

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      1. Hello , you can buy wItch Hazel , in any Targets , Walmart & Drug store . It’s buy the rubbing Alchol

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      2. Hello , you can buy wItch Hazel , in any Targets , Walmart & Drug store . It’s buy the rubbing Alchol…….

        I have a miniature pincher , all of a sudden all she does is itch . She is mostly indoors . I change her food to salmon and sweet potatoes. If I rub some coconut oil on her itchy spots , will it leave stains on my clothes etc:

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  21. I use coconut oil topically then put a t-shirt on my pup so she doesn’t rub it off.

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  22. I use yogurt and will occasionally feed my dogs a cooked, scrambled egg.

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  23. I use oatmeal I also feed it t l her it’s great for a dog’s itchy skin it help hydrate her skin becausee it gets really dry.

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  24. I use tea tree oil from GNC mixed with regular dog shampoo and conditioner works wonders they also get coconut oil 1/2 teaspoon daily.

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  25. I just started using DERMagic for my rescue chihuahua with severe skin issues due to recent flea infestation. That and the steroid the vet prescribed really seem to be helping. Can’t wait to try the free shampoo!

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  26. put a small splash of Apple cider vinegar in the dogs water this can help adjust the dogs ph and help repel fleas and help their skin and coat

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  27. I feed my dog coconut oil and make a skin spray with water, light oil like apricot or jojoba, and essential oils to help stop itch and kill bacteria.

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  28. *I use 1/4 tsp of olive oil mixed with water over their food for dry skin.

    *Aloe Vera plant cutting cut in half length wise to create a bandage for hot spots. Hold in place for a few minutes.

    *Chamomile tea for compress when necessary for eye scraps.

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    1. Hi,
      You are the winner! I just sent you an email as i’ll need your address to send you your free Comfy Dog Oatmeal Shampoo.

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      1. I would love to try the free shampoo…what great ideas for dry skin,my german shepherd she gets dry skin a lot.

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    2. I read that Aloe Vera can be toxic to dogs….

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  29. I spritz coconut oil on my boys daily.

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  30. Aloe Vera plant is always handy in my kitchen..it does wonders for hotspots on dogs, cats, people Also did you know you can cut the entire leaf of the Aloe..use what you need at that moment and just freeze the rest..then when you want to use it just snap off a piece and it peels very easily (from frozen) use it directly from frozen on skin..it feels wonderful and the heat of your skin melts the aloe gently and feels oh so good..it is also the very best thing for cold sores in humans..lol off topic I know but Aloe Vera is truly a wonderous plant

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  31. When possible, prevent the itching in the first place. Sometimes there are contact issues with environmental substances like grasses, pollens, sprayed insecticides and fertilizers, etc. If you discover this is true for your dog, hose or rinse your dog down as soon as you get home–at least feet, legs, belly and muzzle. Save you and your dog some misery. Don’t grind in these reactants by applying anything to the skin before cleaning away the problem substance. Remember too, your dog’s eyes are MUCH closer to the ground than yours, subjected to far more dust and dirt on walks and while in the yard. Keep a bottle of cheap, sterile saline (NOT city or well water in a dropper) on the counter and add a few drops upon return from walks or playtime in the yard, to flush pollen, dust and more out of their eyes before they get inflamed. And all those substances that repel fleas–unzip your dog’s bed cover and spread those herbs and things inside.

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  32. When my pad is especially itchy I use aloe Vera gel with lidocaine from Publix (yeah, the stuff you use when you have a bad sunburn! ) the aloe Vera is soothing or the skin and the lidocaine is a topical anesthetic so the itch actually goes away temporarily!

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  33. When my pwd is especially itchy I use aloe Vera gel with lidocaine from Publix (yeah, the stuff you use when you have a bad sunburn! ) the aloe Vera is soothing or the skin and the lidocaine is a topical anesthetic so the itch actually goes away temporarily!

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  34. My dog’s skin problems were solved by forbidding the dog from lying on the couch or other material’s. The material-cleaners caused eczema. So in general keep chemicals away from you and pets.

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  35. Terrific article, thank You! One minor point though, evening primrose oil is NOT an essential oil, it is simply a vegetable oil extraction same as coconut, sunflower or olive. This makes it oily (to state the obvious) and mild, much easier to handle then essential oils which should always be used with great care, particularly on animals. And never use essential oils on cats. If applied directly they are absorbed into an animals system and they are toxic to cat livers. (I know this is about dogs but its easy to think oh this helped the dog, I’ll dab a little on my cat too, … Please do Not!) Unfortunately its my dog’s nose that is itchy, … that is a pain to fix.

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  36. My labrador/ Duchhound has a bold spot on the tip of her tail. She started biting at it and now it has become a bit bloody and swolen. She has the bad habbit of wagin her tail extensivly so she actualy bangs it against everything and everyone. Dont really know how to get her to stop this over exitement as she is very lovable and always over exsited about everything. Any tips?

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  37. My poor dog has developed horrible allergies, we thought it was because we moved from central coast of Ca to Seattle. After dealing with her seasonal hot spots, and itching for 5 years, changing diet, adding supplements, benedryl etc, our vet finally gave in this June, knowing we were moving back to Ca, and added a little bit of steroid to an antibiotic shot. He hoped it would ease her until we got her back to Ca. She did great for three months and then started up again. I contacted a vet, went to a canine dermatologist and after skin scrapings and tests, they wanted to put her on steroids. I decided to try one more time and started washing her in Trader Joes Vegetable wash. It has coconut oil, and delimonene (0range and lemon extract). I also got tea tree oil and diluted it in a spray bottle and give her a daily spray and brush. It is actually working! Her hot spots have cleared and her belly is no longer blood red.

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  38. I used the coconut oil on my dog and now all he does is lick himself! Is this normal?

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    1. He might like the flavor. Perhaps use less to see if he continues with the licking. There may be an acceptable amount to him if he’s licking because he doesn’t like the feel of it. If he’s tolerant to clothing you could do as another poster mentioned and toss an outfit on him until it soaks in. He probably just likes the flavor, though. 😉

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    2. They love Coconut oil so that is probably why your dog is licking lol. Trying to get the flavor/taste

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  39. I saved a puppy last night that was dropped off with her sister in the middle of nowhere. I took her to the vet who said she is about 7 wks so to young for steroid medication and said she is allergic to hay and straw which was the type of field she was found in. I tried benadryl aloe vera gel which worked for about 5 minutes. I was thinking about trying coconut oil but with her being so young idk how much id be able to give her n my vet office is closed until monday

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  40. My dog got irritation from a “highlighting shampoo” used by a groomer. I’m so annoyed because his poor leg is raw and he keeps scratching. He’s very irritated. The vet just gave him an injection to bring down the itching but his leg is still raw. He keeps licking it. I know licking helps but I wonder will it ever dry up if he keeps doing this. I’ve rubbed some coconut & evening primrose oil on the itchy bits after reading this blog. Should I let him continue to lick at the leg wound? Or maybe put a light burn dressing on it? What’s everyone’s thoughts?

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  41. I have an English Bulldog and he usually does not have too many skin problems (although these dogs are known for their skin problems) but recently he’s been itching his neck and shoulders until he bleeds. He has one larger area that’s bald, a little bloody, and scabbed up and another small area that’s just starting to get bloody. I’m wondering if the coconut oil would work for him. I gave him a bath with oatmeal dog shampoo and it doesn’t seem to be helping at all. Can anyone help me?

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  42. Tea Tree oil can kill your beloved pet, do NOT use.

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  43. Thanks for your article!

    We’ve had a really bad situation with fleas, and as I’m getting a handle on it my dog has scratched herself bald in places she has dry and flaky skin.

    She looks homeless and is miserable.

    I’ve done an oatmeal shampoo, but it didn’t help. There’s way too many irritants, I’m sure and I’ve been using home tonics for myself and I’m finding that home remedies works so much better for myself, so I decided to make something for her.

    I measured out water for the size of a mason jar and about an extra 1/4 for evaporation.

    I boiled tea: Chamomile and also a tea for upper respiratory health as it had eucalyptus in it. I let it sit for about 10-15 minutes so it was pretty dark. I ground some oatmeal, put that in with the tea, added coconut oil and a few drops of lavender essential oil. I got it to a paste consistency and got it too cool fast by putting it in a large pan outside for about 20 min.

    Then I hit the tub with Rosie. I slathered it all over her and let it sit on her for about 15 min while I rubbed it all in really well and watched her look at me like, “This is new, and weird…” but she really didn’t try to escape like she does for “normal” baths.

    Fleas started flying off and dying. OK, there were only 4 but they were big bastards and could not escape the lavender and the coconut. It was awesome! I actually didn’t know that lavender is a flea repellent. BONUS! The scent will stay on her and help keep fleas off-maybe but either way-it helped right then! I’m used to seeing fleas in the bath, but they do NOT die unless you’re using some hard core stuff which I don’t like to use because of her sensitivity. Putting medical grade flea medication on her is bad enough.

    I was so happy to see them fall of and NOT go anywhere. I can’t tell you how gratifying it is to beat these horrible little bugs that have ruled my life lately.

    I rinsed her off really well and now she is resting comfortably and has barely scratched in the last hour.

    I kept the rest of the “FLEA KILLING OATMEAL PASTE” in the mason jar in the fridge and this will be her shampoo from now on.

    Thanks again for the inspiration for my concoction!

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  44. I have always washed my dog with a very gently, natural coconut shampoo for dogs from Tropical Traditions . Com and she has never had any skin issues. Yesterday I bought a new shampoo called: Bobbi Panter Charlie Dog Shampoo, Flea and Tick. It smelled wonderful and I was excited to have a flea and tick shampoo for her. Unfortunately today she can’t stop scratching! Clearly the ingredients in the Charlie Dog shampoo are every irritating for her. I felt so bad! So I googled and found your site. I just bathed her in baking soda and then rinsed with a weak apple cider vinager solution. She seems so much better, not biting herself anymore. I hope it lasts. I’m going to wait a bit and then put some coconut oil on her. And I am definitely going back to the coconut oil shampoo I have always used. I hope this is helpful. Thank you all for your advice.

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  45. We adopted our dog, Ella, as a puppy and from an animal shelter. Soon after adopting her we noticed she was itching her skin off, to the point where she looked a like a possum. We brought her to several vets, who treated it as a food allergy, and treated her for mites, even though no mites ever showed up on several tests. After a year of being uncomfortable, it seems we have finally figured out what is causing the itchiness and, sometimes a rash. We think it’s ivermectin which is in heart worm medicine. If it’s not the ivermectin, it’s absolutely something in all heart worm medicine, because we were giving her the chewables and switched to revolution once a month and our dog was always itching. When we increased the dosage to kill the “mites” she would itch more and more, the vets told us that meant the medicine was working, but after treatment our dog was left still itching. It wasn’t until we completely stopped using any type of heart worm medicine that our little pup is back to acting like a puppy and her hair is finally starting to grow back! Itching isn’t even a side-effect listed for ivermectin, so I wanted to share my story in hopes of helping someone else, whose dog is suffering like mine was!

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  46. The remedy with the two aspirins and the alcohol sounds like it would really burn my dogs skin. Will it hurt her? Do you rinse it off? Is it ok to give her the oatmeal bath first? Thank you

    Reply

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