One of my first dogs was a mixed breed. Shadow had some German Shepherd in him, and a common trait of German Shepherds is chronic eczema. He was constantly itching. The continuous fidgeting to scratch caused massive weight loss and an increase in appetite. Not mention the fact that I was heartbroken because my dog was always uncomfortable.
We tried antihistamines at the vet’s recommendation. They helped, but not much. Shadow still constantly itched. He would scratch with his claws and his teeth. We started feeding him more, but he began eating poop outside to supplement his diet.
Since he was also gnawing on his itchy skin, he always smelled bad. He would get skin infections from the scratching. I was at my wits end. That is when I decided to research natural treatments, and it changed our lives.
I wish I could say the first treatment we tried was a miracle cure. Unfortunately, it wasn’t. Our vet had given us an antiseptic shampoo to use to help prevent his skin infections, but I have eczema as well and I can only use oatmeal soap on my skin. No dyes, no perfumes, no additives.
I figured if harsh soaps bothered my skin, then they were probably bothering Shadow’s, too. I started using a commercial oatmeal shampoo on Shadow, but it didn’t really seem to be helping much.
That’s when I began searching the internet.
I found a recipe for a spray that would supposedly help itchy dogs. It used essential oils and some other natural ingredients like peppermint tea. Shadow hated it, and it made him slide around the floor. It wasn’t long before he would hide every time he saw me get the bottle from the refrigerator.
I had to try something else. The spray didn’t seem to be working anyways. He was still scratching like crazy.
The next thing I pulled up in my search was probiotics. I read that if dogs take probiotics it helps a whole host of problems, including itchy skin and poop eating. There are many ways to give probiotics to dogs – in a capsule, in a powder, or made into their food.
I researched probiotics for dogs and found that most sites recommend the powder. I started putting a probiotic powder on Shadow’s dog food. It seemed to help some, but not much, so I kept looking.
I then found some information about dog food. Lots of dogs, like people, have food allergies. Most dog foods contain common ingredients that cause allergies such as corn, wheat, and artificial ingredients.
Further research into dog food taught me that dogs have many of the same nutritional needs as humans. I looked at the ingredients in my pet’s food and found it severely lacking in some of these nutrients. It also had artificial colors and flavors, which some dogs can be sensitive to.
I changed dog food.
Our pack now eats a food with meat and vegetables. It doesn’t contain corn or wheat. I also made sure to find one with no dyes or artificial flavors. They get the omega fatty acids they need along with protein, vitamins, minerals, and fiber.
Shadow was itching less and had stopped eating poop. While he still scratched some, he no longer had sores and skin infections. All food vomiting had stopped. Now, every dog that I’ve had since Shadow has been able to benefit from this knowledge too.
One of my past dogs always had a tendency to have runny poop, and these changes helped to firm up her bowel movements. Making these changes to a more natural lifestyle has resulted in my pets being happier and more active. Their coats are brighter and more moisturized. At the time, Shadow had a brother who suffered from allergies, and these changes even helped to clear them up!
I wish I would have known sooner that just like with people, there are natural remedies for dogs that are sometimes more effective than the pharmaceutical treatments. For a long time, the things I was using on poor Shadow were actually making him worse. With a little searching, I was able to find things that truly helped him.
Here is a list of some of the most common canine ailments and the natural remedies that I’ve found to help them: