DIY Shampoo and Other Dog Itchy Skin Home Remedies

Four Minutes
May 10, 2023

If your dog’s skin is itchy, you want to help relieve their suffering. While there are probably plenty of anti-itch creams and medications available at your local pet store, sometimes these can be hard to find or expensive.

The good news is that there are safe and effective home remedies that you can make yourself by using products that may be lying around your house. While it’s highly recommended that you consult with your veterinarian before treating your dog, here are some helpful home remedies based on the potential cause of the itch.

Treatments for Itchy, Inflamed Skin

There are lots of reasons why your dog is itching. If they have an itch all over their body, it may be due to infection, fleas, or other irritants. To help your dog feel better, try one or both of these home remedies.

Colloidal oatmeal DIY dog shampoo for itchy skin

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Got a dog with dry, itchy skin? This DIY doggie oatmeal shampoo helps heal irritated skin, as well as neutralize those unpleasant odors and help balance your dog’s skin pH level. This gentle shampoo will also remove dirt and grime to reveal a beautiful, soft, shiny coat.


  • 1 cup of oatmeal
  • 1 cup of baking soda
  • 4 cups of warm water
  • 1 teaspoon of dishwashing liquid
  • Bottle for storage
  • Optional add-ins: Coconut oil, aloe vera, or dog-safe essential oils.

How to make DIY dog shampoo:

Use a mixer or food processor to grind the oatmeal down to a flour-like consistency. Then mix with the baking soda. Add the warm water and dishwashing liquid then gently mix until you get an even consistency. Store in the bottle for later use.

When using, wet your dog with warm water first, then work the shampoo into their coat. Once you’ve built up a good lather, let it sit for a few minutes and then rinse thoroughly.

Coconut oil

Another great way to help relieve a dog’s itchy skin is coconut oil. It has been shown to have antifungal and antibacterial properties that help treat the causes of different types of itch. Also because of its high viscosity, it can penetrate your dog’s fur to reach the skin and create a natural barrier against the elements.1

Coconut oil will keep in the refrigerator. To administer, warm it in your hands and then rub it directly into your dog’s skin, or you can mix it into the oatmeal shampoo.

It’s safe for your dog to ingest, so it shouldn’t hurt them if they lick it off their skin. Even better, its antibacterial qualities actually help clean your dog’s teeth, so it can work both on your dog’s skin and in their mouth.

Treatments for Hot Spots

A hot spot or acute moist dermatitis is a painful and itchy skin infection that starts as a small irritation on a dog’s skin and becomes infected with bacteria. These can become painful for your dog. In addition to trimming the fur around the area, keeping it clean, and treating it with an antibiotic, these natural remedies can help relieve the pain and itch so your dog will be less inclined to scratch.

Tea soaks

There’s nothing like a soothing cup of herbal tea at the end of a long day. But chamomile, calendula, and green teas also have properties that can calm your dog’s irritated skin and reduce inflammation.2

To create a “tea soak” or tea bath for your dog’s itchy skin, fill up a sink or tub with warm water and let several herbal tea bags steep for at least 3 minutes. Once the tea has steeped, let your dog soak for 5 minutes. If your dog has smaller itchy patches, you can steep a tea bag in a cup of hot water. Let the water cool down, then pour it on your dog’s skin and let it drip dry.2

Aloe vera

Natural aloe vera feels good on a sunburn, but it can also relieve hot spots on your dog. Even better, if your dog has fleas, you can mix it with warm water, castile soap, and a drop or two of dog-friendly essential oils to create an effective anti-flea shampoo.1

Itchy Dog Skin Treatments for Yeast and Fungal Infections

Your dog may also be at risk for yeast infections or fungal infections like blastomycosis. While talking to your vet should be your first step, these natural remedies can help curb these types of infections and make your dog more comfortable.

Apple cider vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is a natural antiseptic and antifungal substance that could help relieve dry, itchy skin. It’s also a great way to soothe your dog's skin and paws if they’ve walked through poison ivy, poison oak, or poison sumac. However, it should never be used on open cuts, open scratches, or skin that has been scratched raw. That will only cause your dog extreme pain and make things worse.3

To treat skin, put a 50/50 mix of water and apple cider vinegar in a spray bottle and spray on the affected area. If your dog has itchy paws, let them soak their paws in the mixture for up to 5 minutes.3

Plain yogurt

For dogs, many yeast infections start on the inside and spread to the outside. One way to help reduce the presence of yeast is with the good bacteria found in yogurt cultures. You can feed your dog a spoonful of plain, unsweetened, unflavored yogurt once a week.3

You can give it to them directly, or mixed with their food. Usually, one teaspoon works for smaller dogs, while larger dogs may need 2 teaspoons. Before feeding yogurt to your dog, you may want to talk to your vet about potential risks, especially if your dog has shown signs of allergic reactions to dairy products.3

Dog Itchy Skin Home Remedy FAQs

Can I use human shampoo on my dog?

Human skin has a natural pH balance of 5.5 – 5.6 which is more acidic than a dog’s pH balance, which is closer to the neutral level of 7. Using a human shampoo on your dog would disrupt the natural acidity of their skin leaving them more vulnerable to infection and parasites.4

In a pinch, you can use a baby shampoo that has a pH level that’s closer to neutral and better for your dog.5

What essential oils are safe for dogs?

Essential oils like lavender, cedar, and lemongrass can help keep your dog calm and even serve as a natural flea repellent.6 Always consult your vet before using any essential oils and avoid using essential oils like oil of cinnamon, citrus, pennyroyal pine, sweet birch, tea tree (melaleuca), wintergreen, and ylang-ylang which can be toxic for dogs.7

Consider Pet Insurance

Home remedies can help relieve your dog’s itch in the short term, but you should always make sure that you take your dog to the vet. Otherwise, a minor itch can quickly become an expensive irritation.

That’s where a dog insurance policy with MetLife Pet Insurance could help. Our dog insurance policies can helpy you provide the coverage and care your furry family members deserve, even when they've got an itch that simply won’t go away. Get your free quote today.

Is a Costly Dog Itch a Concern? Pet Insurance Can Help.

1. “7 Home Remedies for Itchy Dog Skin,” The Spruce Pets

2. “Natural Itch Relief for Dogs | Remedies for Itchy Dog Skin,” Natural Dog Health Remedies

3. “5 Natural Remedies to Help Your Itchy Dog,” American Kennel Club

4. “Can You Use Human Shampoo on Dogs?,” American Kennel Club

5. “How baby shampoos are tear-free but adult shampoos are not?,” Amazing Facts

6. “Essential Oils Safe for Dogs: 20+ Oils Explained & Bad Oils,” Pupford

7. “Essential Oil and Liquid Potpourri Poisoning in Dogs,” VCA Animal Hospitals

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