I LOVE sharing the natural solutions that not only work for our fur-less family members, but also our furry ones! The key here is WORKS and when I find something that works well I want to shout it to the far corners of the interweb to help all the fur parents out there! Today I’m talking about itchy pup paws – the kind that get your fuzzy friend confined to the cone-of-shame, they’re just that bad! Natural options aren’t just a passion around here, they are a MUST for our dog Duke who has a compromised immune system due to end-stage liver failure.* Holistic medicine works best preventative and long term so while I used a DIY spray to clean and combat the initial itchiness directly on the paws, I also used a supplement to support his skin overall and a homeopathic cream to maintain the results.
Our chocolate lab Duke has itchy paws like I have seasonal allergies and as we go into Spring and Summer the chewing begins. Over the years I’ve heard it both ways from the vet – he’s allergic to the grass he’s lounging on (sunning his fur while he’s watching the neighborhood kids play) or it’s yeasty paws from itching his ears during an ear infection or from being damp (those labs and water, am I right?). Either way he’s always suggested wiping them off regularly and giving him some sort of medicated cream or powder. This time has been different, his body isn’t healing like he used to and he’s ending up with not only itchy and red paws, but sores that won’t heal and bleed often. To to really combat the itch and soothe the soreness I turned to lavender, know for it’s soothing and healing properties.
I created a spray with simple ingredients – Filtered water, Dr. Bronner’s 18-in-1 Hemp Lavendar Pure-Castile Soap, and lavender essential oil. I sprayed this directly to his paws and wiped with a clean cloth a couple of times a day, especially after being out on the grass or on walks, at night before bed, or when it seemed like he was chewing them a lot. I rubbed in Bach Original Flower Remedies Homeopathic Rescue Cream twice a day at first, then once a day, now as needed (the aforementioned cone-of-shame went on for this part to prevent licking). To further support his healing I begin adding Healthy Skin, Coat & Eyes for Pets supplement by Crystal Star to his meals as directed on the packaging. In a couple of days the sores were gone but the redness remained. In under two weeks the redness was gone and now a month later the redness is gone and the chewed fur is growing back. Currently, I use the spray and cream as needed and the supplement still goes into his food every day.
I followed the dilution guidelines on the Dr. Bronner’s bottle to make the paw spray – Here is the recipe I have been using that worked for us, tailor it as you like! Remember when using essential oils with pets to research what is safe and what to avoid. Even with pet-safe essential oils a good guideline to follow is to use it for no more than two weeks consistently before providing a rest period to reduce the chance of there being sensitivity or organ toxicity.
|DIY Lavender Itchy Paw Spray|
|Dilute the Dr. Bronner’s Lavender Organic Castile Soap 1:10 with the filtered water (as suggested on the bottles guidelines. As a guide for diluting 2 tbsp = 1 Fl. oz). I used a 4 oz. bottle and added just 5 drops of lavender essential oil for added healing benefit. Shake mixture gently and it’s ready to use. Spray directly on paws and wipe with a clean cloth.|
In a couple of days the sores were gone but the redness remained and I still had to battle the chewing so there was still some itch going on. In under two weeks the redness was gone and we went into maintenance mode. Now a month later the redness is gone and the chewed fur is growing back in.
I have provided links for the items I use for Duke’s skin in this article. If you prefer to shop in person, some of these items can be found easily in stores (like Dr. Bronner’s) and some are only sold in health stores. Please remember I’m sharing what worked for me as a fur-mama, not as a professional – please consult with a vet when treating your animals. In addition to my homeopathic vet, internet research and gut-instinct, I also credit friend and neighbor Rakesh Mahajan for his natural-minded approach to wellness and for encouraging me to never give up on Duke’s health. Michael Vogel of SmallBatch has also been such a helpful and encouraging support for seeing food as medicine for our four-legged-child – I have so much good to say about SmallBatch products! My local holistic pet consultant is The Colonel at Health Works in Laguna Niguel CA (click here for a YouTube video by The Colonel!) , if you are near by I recommend seeing him at the store for a consultation. I wish you and all of your family members the best of health!
(Affiliate links in post – we only recommend products and services we love, you will not pay more purchasing through our link)
*I REALLY want to share the story of how we used holistic methods to extend Duke’s life with end-stage liver failure (to now 5+ months past the time when our conventional vet told us to say our good-byes) but it’s a story I’ve written and stopped so many times. I don’t know if it’s too emotional or I’m afraid of a jinx, but for now know there are options out there and if your pup is ill with liver issues I suggest this blog post by Amy Marshall for PrimalPooch.com on Raw Feeding Tips for Dogs with Liver Disease as a place to start. In addition to a home-made diet and holistic supplements, I’ve also recently purchased some of the Young Living essential oils suggested in this post and I’m looking forward to incorporating them into our regiment. Please consult with a holistic veterinarian if you have a sick pup – food is medicine!