Soothe Patches' Scratches

by O'Rya Hyde-Keller

Does your dog scratch himself silly this time of year? Like you, he may be allergic to early-summer pollens and molds. But steroid-based itch treatments can cause diabetes, osteoporosis, and liver disease, warns Shawn Messonnier, DVM, holistic vet and author of The Natural Health Bible for Dogs and Cats (Three Rivers Press, 2001). Here are natural ways to fight the itch.

Keep him clean. Wash your dog regularly (even daily during allergy season, says Messonnier)—and launder his blankets and bedding to get rid of any pollen lingering in the fibers.

Soothe the skin. Apply a warm, wet black tea bag to scratched-open sores—the tea’s tannic acids will zap itch. Then use aloe vera to speed healing.

Just add (salmon) oil. Supplement his diet with omega 3–rich (and delicious to dogs) salmon oil, which can help ease irritation.

Help with homeopathy. Drop an inflammation-calming combo of Cutis compositum and Psorinoheel into your dog’s mouth 20 minutes before or after he eats. Ask your holistic vet for proper dosages.