Typically, three broad categories of things make dogs itchy: fleas, food allergy, and hay fever. However, some dogs — like some people — can become itchy from chemicals and environmental toxins. And some dogs really have it bad… enduring some combination of all of the above as causes of their itch.
Let’s look at the less obvious things that may make dogs scratch:
- Air fresheners
- Laundry detergent
- Fabric softener
- Floor cleaner
- Flea and tick products
Now, this isn’t to say you need to scrap your carpet and give up cleaning your house in order to help your itchy dog. Let’s just dig a bit deeper.
Our society is trained that everything in our homes needs to smell showroom fresh. We do this through chemicals which can be absorbed through dogs skin and feet, and into their lungs. Air fresheners use perfumes and harsh chemicals to cover up smells. Numerous dogs are allergic to both the spray air fresheners and the plug-ins. A quick solution? Try “air diffusers,” which can work just as well without the toxic side effects.
Laundry products also use an amazing number of chemicals to provide clothes with long-lasting “good” smells. There are numerous “free and clear” type products that don’t contain these chemicals. Fabric softener is particularly bad for your dog’s living environment. Not only does the residue remain on clothes through multiple washings, but this same (possibly itchy) residue can negatively stimulate a dogs skin.
Floor cleaners are designed not only for cleaning, and good smells, but for long-lasting shine. In order to get that shine, product is left behind. Dogs — like us — walk across these floors, but then they also lay down and groom themselves, licking the chemical off they’re feet. This leads to ingestion of the product.
Carpet can also be problematic for your pooch. New carpet has gives off hundreds of toxic fumes -called off-gassing. And old carpet harbors dust and dust mites which lead to allergic itch.
It’s pretty easy to change cleaning products, but a bit harder to replace carpeting. Here are a few tricks to battle itchiness:
- Give your dog a foot bath after going outside.
- Bathe with natural shampoo that does not contain oatmeal. (Oatmeal may be soothing but if your dog is allergic to grains then oatmeal might not be the best choice.)
- Feed a grain free, high quality diet.
If after all this, your dog is still itchy, contact your holistic veterinarian for a consult.