None of us want to see our German Shepherd itching constantly and in discomfort.
Or, worse—in pain from their own skin!
But there are solutions that you can use right now to help your dog from itching like crazy.
I’ll show you the exact solutions I use to help keep my German Shepherd from scratching and itching her dry skin by providing relief.
1. Feed a Hypoallergenic, Sensitive Diet
If you think your dog’s scratching might be from their diet, then switching to hypoallergenic, sensitive dog food is your best and least expensive option to test out first.
Although food is rarely a cause of dry skin or allergies, in many dogs a change in diet dramatically decreases itchy skin.
There is such a wide variety of allergies to foods it’s best to begin with a sensitive diet formula and to watch for improvements.
While there are plenty of sensitive diets on the market the one I use is Purina Pro Plan Focus Sensitive Formula which has no soy, wheat, peas, or corn.
If your current feeding routine lacks proper nutrition, then your dog may have dry, itchy skin. Deficiency of vitamins and an imbalance of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats can cause disturbances in the skin’s protective layers.
2. Bathe with a Medicated Shampoo
A medicated shampoo will help relieve your dog’s itching and soothe their skin.
Look for a shampoo that contains coal tar which moisturizes and calms the red, irritated skin.
You can apply Sulfodene Medicated shampoo and conditioner and your Shepherd doesn’t itch or scratch when used regularly.
Over bathing can cause more irritation by stripping the skin of natural oils and removing the protective layer. This can increase itching and scratching. Only bathe your dog with the medicated shampoo as needed to control their symptoms.
Don’t use a people shampoo since these lack the proper pH for your dog’s skin and may increase dryness and skin flakiness.
3. Apply a Moisturizing Skin Spray or Ointment
Moisturizing sprays keep your pet’s skin hydrated and bring more immediate relief to their irritation.
They are also convenient and easy to use throughout the day. Look for a spray that contains aloe vera and vitamin e, both of which moisturize the skin.
I use this spray for my itching German Shepherd and her skin felt moisturized and looked healthier after only a few applications. Spray on your dog’s hot spots to reduce constant itchiness and provide soothing moisture.
For areas you think are infected or extremely irritated, try a thicker cream that also offers pain relief, like this Sulfodene ointment.
I wouldn’t get caught without this spray and ointment, not only for itchiness and dry skin but for cuts and sores. My GSD immediately shows signs of relief upon application!
4. Develop a Regular Brushing Routine
Regular brushing distributes the oils on your dog’s skin and helps to remove dead hairs that may cause itching.
Use soft strokes and a brush with rounded tips.
Specifically, try a rake brush that removes the dead undercoat. My GSD loves the rake brush, and this helps her to have the excess dead hair removed so that her skin can breathe more.
The rake brush I use has rounded tips so they don’t irritate her sensitive skin or aggravate her itching. Plus, you want a double row brush to ensure you’re getting the most hair off with the least amount of time and effort.
See the brush I use here: The Double Row Undercoat Rake
If you aren’t brushing your dog, they can develop a thick blanket of hair that forms over their skin which prevents air from reaching the skin. This reduces the efficiency of the oil glands.
Learn a complete brushing routine that keeps your dog healthy and happy using this information on “How to Brush a German Shepherd Like a Boss.”
5. Add Anti-Inflammatory Supplements to their Diet
Research shows that omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids help reduce skin inflammation and increase skin moisture in some dogs.
I prefer this salmon oil with hemp oil blend because it produces outstanding coat and skin results that help my dog to itch less while giving her a shiny, healthy coat.
It may take 4 to 6 weeks or even several months for your dog to feel the benefits of an omega supplement and for you to see the benefits. Begin before the cold seasons to avoid having a German Shepherd itching in winter.
Oil supplements add moisture to your dog’s skin and coat from the inside out. Most dogs enjoy the oil as a treat on top of their usual kibble.
6. Keep Them Clean, Especially During Allergy Season and Winter
You can keep some allergies to grasses or other plants at bay by wiping your dog’s paws when they return home.
You may also find wiping their bellies and legs with hypoallergenic wipes to help ease itching and scratching if they’re allergic to grass or pollen.
Use a brand that has ingredients to help with scratching and itching. I like this brand of Tropiclean Oxy Med Allergy Relief Wipes that give your dog clean skin to lessen irritations.
Wiping and washing help reduce allergens on your dog’s body. You don’t need a full bath to get rid of allergy-causing deposits, but you need to pay attention to their paws, belly, legs, and muzzle.
German Shepherd Itching in Winter?
It’s not uncommon for a German Shepherd to begin itching in winter, especially with the wind, ice, cold, and snow conditions. Deicing solutions and salt on the walkways increase skin dryness.
Be sure to keep paw cleaning and wiping products by your door. Upon returning from every walk use them to remove any debris. Brush them thoroughly to help distribute their natural oils after walking outdoors in winter and apply an anti-itch spray if necessary.
Although this takes more time, it’s also a healthier option than watching your dog scratch uncontrollably during the winter!
7. Run a Humidifier
Adding moisture back to the air helps some dogs decrease their scratching, especially during the winter months and in dry climates.
If you run an electric heater or enjoy a log fireplace chances are your dog’s skin may become dry.
Especially if they enjoy lying close to the heat!
Humidifiers come in a variety of models and sizes and both in a cool mist and warm mist options. They help maintain more moisture in the air, which may decrease your dog’s dry, scratchy skin.
Place your humidifier in the room/s where your dog spends most of its time, so they get the most benefits from the humidified air.
8. Avoid Using Room or Fragrance Sprays
Some allergies are brought on or worsened by unnatural, chemical-laden room and fragrance sprays.
Avoid using these items, including the plug-in room fragrance models, if you suspect your dog has an allergy or is scratching frequently.
Remove any fragrance plug-ins and don’t burn any candles or incense.
Your dog’s nose is much more sensitive than your own and they can smell even the lightest of fragrance which can trigger allergies.
9. Switch to Natural Cleaning and Hypoallergenic Products
Some store-bought cleaning products can cause itchiness in your GSD, especially if you’re cleaning their bedding and blankets with these products.
There’s plenty of natural cleaning products on the market now that will lessen the chance of allergies in your GSD.
Switch to hypoallergenic and fragrance-free laundry detergent to clean your dog’s bedding and towels. Don’t use chemically laden cleaning products around them.
Switch to a more natural cleaning option when possible. Just because you don’t experience any allergies or itching from using these products doesn’t mean your dog won’t. You’d be surprised all the allergens in common household and cleaning ingredients that can trigger your dog’s scratching!
Use the following information to understand why your GSD may have allergies and what contributes to allergies and scratching.
Why Does My
German Shepherd Itch So Much?
German Shepherds are prone to a variety of skin problems because of flea or insect allergies, food allergies, inhalant allergies, and skin contact allergies.
Some GSDs are also itchy because of medicine allergies (either over the counter or prescribed and even genetic allergies).
These allergies may not go away over time, so it’s vital for you to make sure that your dog receives the right treatment.
Allergy symptoms can become severe depending on the exposure level and your dog’s reaction. This leads to a lower quality of life and possible serious medical and health complications.
Some of the Most Common Causes of A German Shepherd’s Constant Itching
Do you know what the most likely causes of a German Shepherd’s constant itching are?
Use this list to see if your dog might have an allergy to one or multiple items.
You can’t usually tell what skin problem your dog has by looking. It’s good to rule out what you can at home to help your vet make a better diagnosis.
You can also provide temporary and sometimes long-term relief using the process of elimination and home treatment for skin problems.
How do You Treat a German Shepherd with Itchy Skin?
Treating a German Shepherd with itchy skin requires you to first find the reason/s they are itchy.
Once you have established this reason offer your dog comforting solutions to address their skin needs, such as using medicated shampoos, moisturizing sprays and creams, adhering to a regular grooming and brushing routine and adding in supplements to increase skin moisture (like salmon and hemp oil).
Hypoallergenic diets may help some dogs, while others may need a vet recommended prescription diet. Avoid boutique dog foods and novel proteins (bison, ostrich, kangaroo, etc.)as these may increase the chance of dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM), a serious health condition found linked to many boutique dog foods.
Wash your dog with a medicated shampoo to soothe itchy skin and decrease scratching. You may also need to apply a moisturizing spray and cream which helps with infections and hot spots – irritations to the skin.
Provide your dog with a daily dose of omega-3 and omega-6 fats to help treat itchy skin from the inside out.
How to help a German Shepherd with itchy skin?
It’s heartbreaking to watch your German Shepherd itching constantly, uncomfortable, and even in pain.
It’s also too easy to jump to the conclusion of what is causing your GSDs scratching without considering all the problems.
There are many genetic and environmental concerns that could cause your dog to have an allergic reaction. Other itching and scratching concerns can be lessened or eliminated with simple steps at home.
Use the right foods, give natural oils, apply sprays and ointments, and use the right brush to reduce itchiness. Another essential article with plenty of actionable tips that you will find beneficial is “21 German Shepherd Shedding Solutions (That Make a Difference)“
Don’t let your itchy dog lie around uncomfortable when there’re steps you can take right now to help them!
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