Keeping your dog’s skin and coat healthy and looking good can be challenging at times, especially if your dog has any skin problems. It’s not uncommon for dogs to have dry skin, itchiness, or redness from irritation or allergies. While it’s always essential to find the underlying causes of any skin problems, and this may involve working with your veterinarian to identify an allergy to to get rid of fleas, there are some healthy rinses you can apply to your dog’s skin and coat for temporary relief.

Herbal astringents are a good way to handle many temporary problems. For example, if your dog is suffering from a few flea or mosquito bites, witch hazel – easily found in any drug store – is a good way to stop the itch. Witch hazel is made with isopropyl alcohol and you should make sure that your dog doesn’t ingest it. Use just a few dabs on a bite.

For hot spots you can use something like Animal Apawthecary’s FidoDerm Herbal Spray. It contains aloe vera and calendula to stop the itching and promote healing, as well as antibacterial and antifungal essential oils.

For a dog with wet, runny sores and oozing bites you will probably need to use an all-over rinse that contains aloe vera.

If your dog has dry, flaky skin, use products that contain vegetable oils, collagen, and herbs that promote healing without stripping the natural oils from the dog’s hair follicles. AvoDerm Collagen Spray from Breeder’s Choice is often recommended.

If your dog is itching but you can’t see any redness, bites, or sores, try rinsing him in oatmeal from your kitchen. Cook it until it’s in a loose, soupy state, let it cool, and then (outside) pour it all over your dog. Let it stay on your dog as long as you can before rinsing it off or brushing it out.

You can also use peppermint or lavender (or combine them) as a skin rinse. Or you can also use rosemary. You can find these herbs in bulk at your local health food store. Using a tea ball, pack it with the herbs and steep it in a couple of quarts of water that is close to boiling, then wait until it cools. Pour it over your dog. Not only does this rinse help your dog’s itching but it also smells very nice.

If your dog has some slight redness you can use a daily rinse made with chamomile, plantain, or calendula together or separately. Make a tea out of these herbs, let it cool, and soak your dog, letting him drip dry.

If your dog has any sores or scratches you can combine comfrey and calendula with sage, bee balm, thyme, and/or yarrow tea using equal amounts. This mixture is good for healing and helps stop any bacterial infection without irritating your dog’s skin.

Obviously, if your dog has serious skin problems or if he shows signs of infection, you should take him to the vet, but these rinses will help in many mild to moderate cases.

You can also use a nice rinse to keep fleas away from your dog, provided there is no heavy infestation. Slice a lemon into segments and pour a quart of boiling water over it. Add a sprig of rosemary to the water and let it sit overnight. Strain the water the next morning and you will have a nice citrus rinse to pour over your dog to prevent fleas. This rinse usually keeps working for a week or two. And your dog will smell very good.

Finally, just for a nice conditioning rinse for your dog’s coat, you can use rosemary. You can use a teaspoon of dried rosemary and pour a pint of boiling water over the herbs. Let it steep for about 10 minutes then strain or remove the herbs. Allow the liquid to cool. You’re ready to pour the rinse over your dog’s coat after a bath. He’ll smell wonderful and his coat will be soft and easy to care for.

Article by Nancy Cope, owner of the popular online dog boutique Pampered Dog Gifts, where you can find everything you need to pamper your pooch.

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