With the warmer weather on the way you may find your dog itching more than usual. The two main causes  are pests and allergies, both of which can be seasonal.

First of all, check your dog for fleas. You may notice ‘flea dirt’ on the skin or in your dog’s bed, and if you are bathing your dog and the water has a red tinge this usually means fleas are present. 

There are a couple of natural ways to deal with fleas.

Applying Diatomaceous Earth to your dog and rubbing it in every couple of days will dry out the fleas’ exoskeleton and kill them, you’ll also want to dust their bed and places where they sit regularly.

You can also use Neem Oil as a natural flea treatment for dogs, again this will need to be reapplied as it only lasts for about seven days. 

If you do decide to use an over the counter flea treatment, Advantage sits on the coat and doesn’t get into the blood system.

In New Zealand we only have the cat flea, not the dog flea, so any fleas on your dog will have traces back to a cat. Therefore, if you have cats and treat them for fleas your dogs are much less likely to get them as well.

Once you have ruled out fleas, and your dog is still itching, their diet may be the problem. Most of the commercial pet foods available in New Zealand contain artificial additives never present in the pet’s natural diet and now we are seeing many illnesses that you didn’t see 12 years ago, when most of these foods were introduced.

Make sure you are feeding your dog as natural a diet as possible (and don’t feed them treats from your meals, bread in particular is a big no no). 

We sell Ultra Dog Food which is made here in NZ and is about as good as you can get. It has high quality ingredients with no artificial flavourings or additives and it contains collated minerals. There’s a good selection to choose from including a sensitive range.

For more information about feeding your dog, check out Dear Humans, an educational resource for pet owners collated by Auckland dog walker, animal ambassador and pet educator Kim Gruebner.

Another thing that can cause your dog to itch is the environment.  At different times of the year there are different grasses growing that can cause a reaction. And so can glyphosate if it is sprayed in an area that your dog runs through. Always wash your dog thoroughly when you get home to remove any allergens. 

To soothe your dog’s skin, no matter what reason it is itchy, try this Itchy Dog Shampoo.  It uses apple cider vinegar, which is very good for skin conditions, and glycerin, which is very soothing and moisturising.

DIY Itchy Dog Shampoo

1 litre of water

1 cup of Green Goddess Hemp & Coconut Unscented Castile or other natural nontoxic Castile

1 cup of Green Goddess Organic Apple Cider Vinegar

1/3 cup of glycerin (you can buy this at the chemist)

Mix all ingredients in spray bottle and shake to thoroughly combine. Apply to your dog, avoiding the eyes and work into the coat.

Leave on for a couple of minutes then rinse well.