My dogs skin itches. They are usually scratching, biting and licking themselves. What can be done to help?


I have two modest dogs. A 4 year old affenpinscher and a 13 year old brussels griffon. I use
Naturally Green TropiClean shampoo to bathe them but it does not get rid of the continuous itching. I check them often. They do not have fleas or flea dirt. I am now pondering of attempting treatments for humans such as a milk of magnesia rinse. Would this work or are there any other suggestions that would help?


Answer by chris w
Dogs get dry skin like anybody else and most shampoos dry the skin. Use a good conditioner and you could even use a calming skin shampoo like head and shoulders on a dog. Diet regime also plays a big component in a dogs skin situation. By nature dogs are meat eaters so beware of dog foods that use wheat or grain fillers, with the exception of rice. Chicken beef and fish are quite good for dogs the greater percentage there is the much better the dogs skin and coat will be.

A lot more answers below:
You might like this video from youtube:

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Comments (6)

  • Stephanie

    Are you 100% sure they don’t have fleas? Since they are both itching it could likely be the culprit. I can’t tell you how many times people tell me their dogs don’t have fleas and it turns out they’re covered in them.

    If they really truely don’t have fleas, then they are both suffering from allergies. They need to see a vet, who will prescribe antihistimines. Depending on how badly they are scratching themselves they might also need antibiotics and steriods to provide short-term relief.

    Home remedies are pretty useless in this category. They need a medication.

  • Helen M

    Food allergies are the #1 reason dogs itch (assuming they don’t have fleas, mites, or any other type of infestation).
    Dog foods contain many products (alot of them are grain-based, with soy, wheat, gluten, etc. that can cause allergic reactions.)
    The best advice is to discuss with your vet, after they’ve had a full exam to rule out fleas & mites.
    Your vet may recommend a “limited ingredient” diet: one containing a single, novel protein source (such as duck, venison, or fish) and a single starch (sweet potato, regular potato, etc.)
    There are many “limited ingredient” diets available at your local pet store by all the big name dog food manufacturers (such as: Nutro, Science Diet, Iams, Natural Balance).

    By eliminating all the extra “stuff” in the food you are feeding them, and limiting them to a single protein & carb source, it will be easier to determine if it was their previous food that was causing the itching.

    If the OTC foods don’t work, your vet can also prescribe a veterinary diet, specially formulated for dogs w/allergies. These tend to be fairly expensive, but may work wonders.
    (My dog had random “itchies” for several months and it took me several attempts with different foods to find one that solved the problem.) Good luck & trust your vet!!

  • bindysdogs

    I’m curious….how often do you bathe them?

  • Shawn

    Human skin has a different PH from dogs, so I would stick to dog products. Some shampoos, even the best-smelling, or most expensive, or even medicated ones, can actually lift the corneal layers of the skin, inviting infection.

    It has been my experience that itchiness is coming from inside the body. Anything applied topically in general is a temporary fix.

    I’m pretty sure a vet could tell you exactly what is wrong, but here are some general things to consider:

    Bathe no more than every 2 weeks, using a good non-soap-based shampoo for dogs. Look at the ingredients, and try not to buy anything with added fragrances. I am familiar with one called “Comfort Shampoo.” Use cool water for bathing, don’t get in there with your nails, and make sure your dogs are thoroughly dry, using a cool dryer. Adding rinses could be damaging the layers of the skin, even though you are trying your best to have a good effect on the itching.

    Try omega 3 fatty accid supplements for your dogs. Look for foods “for sensitive skin.” If you do change foods, be sure to transition gradually.

    Your dogs could have allergies. Itchiness around the anal opening and mouth/face can indicate problems with food sensitivities. Itching around the rump and tail area can indicate fleas. Dogs can be allergic to inhalents (grass, pollen, molds, scented candles) contact allergies (wool, grasses, chemicals) They can even be allergic to humans!

    Since both your dogs are itchy and are obviously not related to each other, I am suspicious of either fleas that you aren’t seeing (it can happen) or something you are using for baths.

    It could be that both of them have skin infections now, which will product itching/scratching/more infection. Bathing more can make that worse. If infection is playing a part, then only antibiotics by mouth will cure that. Sometimes dogs end up with infection simply from all the scratching. Remember when your mom used to say “if you keep picking at that, you’ll get it infected?”

    Your vet can stop the itching. If you are not using a good flea product (trifexis, comfortis) then start that right away, every month. Take your dogs in and let your vet help you. If it is allergy, remember that they cannot be cured, but managed.

  • Al

    they make special soaps and skin moisturizers for dogs with such problems . my doberman use to have the same problem . if you get the right conditioners , thier fur will look great and thier skin will not look so dry . the other thing that it could be is an allery to the food your feeding them

  • Thumper

    For your dog’s skin issues I recommend a powder called ‘Flowers of Sulfur’ (also known as ‘brimstone’ or ‘sublime sulfur’). This substance has been used for thousands of years to cure all kinds of skin ailments and if there is itching, it will stop it very quickly. Among many other uses, it has been effectively used as a remedy for bacterial and fungal infections. Google it to learn more about its healing properties.

    Even vets have forgotten about this wonderful and inexpensive remedy but fortunately you can still purchase it at your local pharmacy for very little money. You can also buy it online at

    Flowers of sulfur is safe to apply to your pet’s skin but take care not to inhale sulfur powder.

    You can dust this powder on your dog’s skin OR mix it with an oil to rub on the skin. I prefer the latter.

    The dusting can easily be accomplished if you use a powdered sugar duster or an empty talcum powder bottle. Separate the hair as you go around dusting to expose the skin until you have covered it.

    Alternatively, mix 2 tablespoons of flower of sulfur with 1 cup of Jojoba oil and put it in a bottle. Always shake to mix well before applying to the skin as it tends to separate. You do not need to wear gloves as it is not toxic to humans either.


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