What can I use to stop my dog from itching?
That really depends on why your pet is itchy. Many skin conditions, some of them serious, can cause excess itching and scratching. Consider a veterinary examination for your canine companion to determine if any medical conditions exist or if treatment is needed. This is especially important if your pet has any skin redness, scabs or sores.
Common reasons for a healthy pet with normal skin to itch are fleas, dry skin or a coat in need of grooming.
Purchase a flea comb and use it at least weekly to look for evidence of fleas. Fleas are very good at hiding from you. Often, you may not notice fleas until the infestation is already severe. A flea comb lets you spot the problem early. Comb through your pet's coat, several times, down to the skin from the shoulders to tail base. Look for fleas or flea dirt in the comb. Flea dirt will look like small black pepper specs or be shaped like a comma. Fleas may also be visible scurrying across your pet's abdomen (where the hair coat is usually thinner and easier to see through). See the section on flea control for additional information.
Dry skin can be very itchy. It is usually accompanied by excess "dandruff" or skin flaking. A matted, oily or dirty coat can also cause discomfort that leads to scratching. Consider the following steps to help dry skin problems.
Chose a premium diet for your pet. Diet influences overall health, including skin and coat condition. Some premium diets contain specific, balanced, fatty acids ratios that will frequently improve skin condition and reduce simple dry skin.
In some situations, your veterinarian may recommend additional supplementation with specific fatty acids found in fish oil and/or borage oil to help improve your pet's skin and coat health. Always use mild grooming products. Consider a skin and coat conditioner as well. Don't over bathe--this can cause significant skin dryness. In some cases, a shampoo that helps loosen excess skin flakes may be needed. Routine brushing and coat trims when appropriate may help as well.
Expect to notice MORE "dandruff" for a few days after grooming. Bathing and brushing often loosen surface skin flakes for a few days or until the excess flakes are brushed out of the coat.