At kin+kind, we know itchy pets - our entire organic pet care system was born to treat Mishka, our beloved rescue pitbull who struggled with chronic skin problems. Itchy skin for dogs and cats can range from mild irritation to major trouble. You know the obvious signs, but in addition to frequent scratching, symptoms of skin irritation include:
- Licking paws - constantly licking means your pet is uncomfortable
- Hot spots - skin inflammation that may appear as rashes or lesions
- Ear issues - stinky, waxy, infected ears
Conventional medical treatments can be quite invasive, ranging from antibiotics to a lifetime of steroids. But put down that prescription - natural solutions are available! Here are three easy steps to a pet free of dry, irritated skin.
Step 1: Check Your Pet’s Diet
This surprises most pet parents, but the number one cause of skin irritation is diet. A healthy skin and coat starts from the inside out. So before you reach for that shampoo, pick up your pet food and check out the nutrition panel. (I mean, we love shampoo. It’s kind of our thing. But first things first!)
If your pet has severe skin irritation, food allergies are a likely culprit. Your vet or your local independent pet specialty store can help identify allergies and recommend an alternative diet, but there are some simple steps you can take on your own:
- Switch to a new limited-diet ingredient with proteins different than your pet’s regular food. Wheat and potato allergies are common, so try wheat-free and starch-free options.
- Be mindful of treats. They can contain problematic ingredients as well!
Healthy fats and oils are key to a healthy skin and coat. Raw coconut oil is a favorite here at kin+kind - you can read why in “Coconut: Meet the Good Fat.” The short version: good fats help your pet absorb nutrients. You can also read more about natural supplements in “Natural Multivitamins for Pets: Real Food for Real Nutrition.”
Step 2: Remove Environmental Allergens
Grass, dust, pollen: the air is filled with allergens that will irritate your pet’s skin and coat. You can learn more about removing environmental allergens here. Regular bathing will generally keep your pet allergen free, but be sure to use natural, moisturizing coat care that won’t strip your pet of its natural oils. kin+kind shampoos and conditioner are made from organic coconut and olive oils that attract and seal in moisture. If your bath doesn’t leave your pet softer, shinier, and more comfortable than before, switch shampoos!
A whole range of premium ingredients are also available to treat itchy dogs and cats. Be sure to try different options to find which works best for your pet:
- Argan Itchy Dog Shampoo is mixed with argan oil to repair dried and damaged coats. Goodbye itching, hello smooth coat and glossy fur! Vetiver, cedar, and camphor essential oils provide warm woodsy notes.
- Charcoal Itchy Dog Shampoo is made with activated charcoal that removes impurities, brightens both white and colored coats, and eliminates any odors (even skunk!). Essential oils provide an earthy spice fragrance.
- Healing Clay Itchy Dog Shampoo includes natural bentonite clay, a volcanic ash that helps soothes irritated skin. Bergamot, lime, and ho wood essential oils provide a bright citrus fragrance.
- Medicated Strength Hot Spot Dog Shampoo is made with tea tree oil and calendula flowers that treat persistent hot spots and relieve other skin irritations. Essential oils provide a herbaceous spa fragrance. Pair with kin+kind’s Hot Spot Stick for immediate relief.
- Oatmeal Hypoallergenic Dog | Cat Shampoo contains colloidal oatmeal to seal in moisture. This unscented and hypoallergenic formula is perfect for puppies and dogs with sensitive skin.
Step 3: Prepare for Seasonal Changes
Summer Pests: Fleas, Ticks, and Mites
Pests are a common cause of skin irritation. How can you tell if you’ve got a flea or tick infestation on your hands? Learn more about symptoms and natural pest control here.
Winter is the prime season for dry and itchy pet skin. The cold dry outside and the heaters inside quickly steal moisture from your pet’s skin. Be sure to add a protective moisturizer to your pet’s exposed nose and paws. Look for natural ingredients that both attract and lock in moisture. kin+kind’s Nose&Paw moisturizer protects your pet with organic shea butter, organic jojoba, organic beeswax, and organic aloe.