How To Heal Atopic Dermatitis In Dogs

Golden Retriever scratching due to atopic dermatitis

Is your dog constantly itching and scratching? Have you noticed any redness, flaky skin, or scabs while brushing? If so, he or she could be suffering from a skin disease called atopic dermatitis.

Atopic dermatitis, also called allergic dermatitis, is the most common cause of itching in dogs. Without treatment, it can be incredibly stressful for both you and your pet. The good news is that there are simple ways to relieve your pet’s symptoms and stress. Regular care can even help prevent crusty scabs or sores from forming.

What Causes Atopic Dermatitis in Dogs?

Pit bull's neck showing red, inflamed skin due to atopic dermatitis

Atopic dermatitis generally presents as red, inflamed, itchy skin, as seen on this Pit Bull. @heeeyitstina

Canine atopic dermatitis is an inflammatory skin disease. In simple terms, it causes your dog’s immune system to overreact to allergens. Even normally harmless allergens like dust, house mites, and grass can cause problems. Because atopic dermatitis is a chronic disease, it won’t ever disappear, and symptoms will flare up periodically.

The skin works as an outer layer of protection against allergens. But when your dog experiences dermatitis, the skin breaks down. Excessive scratching and skin injuries can trigger more severe reactions. Sadly, the body’s natural immune response makes things even worse.

What can cause a flare up?

A number of substances can cause an allergic reaction in your dog. Some of them persist all year long, like mold, dust mites, and house dust. Others are more potent at certain times of the year, such as pollen. Unfortunately, with so many potential environmental allergens as well as food allergies which can trigger dermatitis, you may only be able to pinpoint the culprit(s) through allergy testing with your vet.

Breeds genetically predisposed to atopic dermatitis

Since atopic dermatitis can be inherited from a dog’s parents, some breeds are more likely to develop this allergic skin disease at some point in their lives, including:

  • Golden and Labrador Retrievers
  • Pit Bulls
  • German Shepherds
  • English Bulldogs
  • Boxers
  • Pugs
  • Irish Setters
  • Dalmatians
  • West Highland White Terriers
  • Wirehair Fox Terriers
  • Boston Terriers
  • Miniature Schnauzers

Symptoms of Atopic Dermatitis in Dogs

Inflamed, crusty, itchy skin on a deg's leg due to atopic dermatitis

This crusty, inflamed patch on a Great Dane’s leg is an atopic dermatitis flare up. @gothams_big_girl

Symptoms generally start between one and five years of age. In some cases, symptoms may start off mild and remain unnoticed. Remember: Dogs will not “grow out” out of allergies. The only way to stop the discomfort is through treatment.

Here are a few of the most common clinical signs your dog may be suffering from atopic dermatitis:

  • Constantly itching, scratching, biting
  • Skin appears red or inflamed
  • Frequent ear infections
  • Frequent skin infections
  • Runny-nose or eyes
  • Gastrointestinal issues like diarrhea or mucus in stool

Is it atopic dermatitis or a flea allergy?

Atopic dermatitis and a flea allergy can present similarly, and sometimes even occur together (of course, keeping your dog on flea prevention consistently can prevent confusion over itching). However, with a flea allergy, itching is generally localized to the dog’s rump, tail, groin, and thighs. Atopic dermatitis can occur anywhere on the dog’s body, but most commonly appears on:

  • Paws
  • Face (especially the muzzle)
  • Neck
  • Ears
  • Armpits
  • Front legs and wrists

How to Remedy Your Dog’s Atopic Dermatitis

There are all sorts of treatments for atopic dermatitis: colloidal oatmeal baths, prescription medications, essential oils, medicated shampoos, anti-inflammatory drugs — some dogs even undergo allergen specific immunotherapy.

We hear from people again and again that have tried everything with no lasting results or relief for their dog — until they try our all-natural products, that is. Skin Soother and Wrinkle Balm are both specially formulated with unique proprieties to treat dogs suffering from atopic dermatitis, as well as many other skin conditions.

Wrinkle Balm is designed to be gentle enough to use on the face and other sensitive areas, while Skin Soother is a much stronger formula to combat tougher issues in less sensitive regions. Combined with products like our Skin and Coat Supplement chews and Itchy Dog Shampoo, we’ve got a full arsenal of natural solutions for your dog’s atopic dermatitis!

Which product is right for my dog?

For long term skin health and control of allergic reactions, we recommend giving your dog daily Skin and Coat Supplement chews. Our Wild Alaskan Salmon Oil is also great for daily maintenance of atopic dermatitis and many other skin conditions—it’s packed with essential fatty acids and nutrients to help heal skin lesions and prevent them in the first place.

For more intense healing directly on the itchy areas caused by a flare up, try one of our balms:

Skin Soother: best for crusty, red, rashy skin

Shepherd mix with stick of Natural Dog Company Skin Soother

Skin Soother is a one-of-a-kind organic healing balm used to treat everything from rashes and burns to itchy, irritated skin. The magic is all thanks to the anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, and anti-fungal properties packed inside. These carefully sourced ingredients work together to treat the underlying cause and promote a faster recovery with reduced visibility of scarring. Plus, the balm creates a layer of protection that helps keep out allergens.

Skin Soother can provide soothing relief for your dog’s atopic dermatitis and is best used on your dog’s armpits, legs and ankles, paws, and neck. It’s also an effective solution to hot spots, bacterial infections, dry skin, interdigital cysts, and much more!

Wrinkle Balm: best for sensitive areas

Tin of Natural Dog Company Wrinkle Balm on wooden background

Wrinkle Balm is a gentler balm formula used to treat skin irritations impacting your dog’s most sensitive areas, including his or her face. While incredibly soothing and gentle, Wrinkle Balm is still strong enough to prevent and alleviate bacteria, crusty buildup, and environmental allergens.

Thanks to the gentle strength of Wrinkle Balm, it can be applied to your dog’s face folds, ears, genitals, and lips to soothe and treat issues without creating further irritation.

Real Results for Atopic Dermatitis

Collage showing a dog's atopic dermatitis before and after using Skin Soother

Ever since I moved into a more wooded area my dog has had red, inflamed, itchy skin. It became so bad that he began to bleed from scratching. I took him to his vet and they said it could be Atopic Dermatitis and had two options: give him a $50 pill every month or $150 injection. I decided to decline both and look up alternative ways instead of forcing steroids on him.

Skin Soother has been a BLESSING. My pup no longer has inflamed itchy skin and his fur is beginning to grow back! I will forever be a customer! — Paige and her Boxer mix, Nash

Collage showing resolution of Great Dane's atopic dermatitis with Skin Soother

I went to the vet multiple times for Sadie’s dermatitis. Her skin kept getting more and more worse and became infected multiple times. We spent almost $2000 over 3 vet visits during a 3 month period and still her skin was still not fixed. We decided to try the Skin Soother, and within 3 days we saw a massive improvement—within a week her skin was completely clear! It’s been 3 months and her skin is still clear and doing great!

I would recommend this product to anyone having skin issues to give it a try! It’s all natural, very affordable, and easy to use! My dog would love when I put it on her! HIGHLY RECOMMEND! — Lauren and her Great Dane, Sadie