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Enjoying the Great Outdoors with Fido: Tips for Camping with a Dog  

dog camping in the uk

by Linda Chase at

Dogs and the great outdoors are a great pairing, but camping with your canine requires some preparation. Taking your dog camping can be a great bonding experience, but it’s important that you’re both ready to encounter fellow campers and avoid potential dangers. With these tips from Dogs of Britain, you’ll both be ready to enjoy the trip! 

Preparing for Adventure 

You may be comfortable throwing a few things in the trunk and heading to the mountains or desert, but this level of 
preparation won’t serve you and your pup well. Camping with your dog requires some foresight and strategic packing. 
But with a little work, you’ll be prepared for an epic human/canine camping trip.  

  • Some dogs can be afraid of fire, so get your dog accustomed to being around a campfire with a backyard fire pit
  • There are many dog-friendly campsites but do your research first because not every camp is Fido-friendly.  
  • Now that you know where you’re going, what should you pack for your pup? Get to know the canine camping 
  • Avid campers know how to avoid dangers, but your dog doesn’t. Learn the dog-specific problems you’re likely to 
    encounter on the trail so that you can help your pup avoid them and enjoy an injury-free trip. 

Essential Supplies 

If you’ve been camping for a while, you likely have your go-to gear ready to pack. But does your dog have their 
camping essentials? It’s important to have dog-specific gear that you adjust depending on where you’re going 
and during which time of year.  

  • Don’t forget to pack a special first aid kit for your canine camper. You can order premade kits or make your own. 
  • It’s tempting to let our dogs run free on the trails, but it’s also important that you can get ahold of your pup when 
    needed. Harnesses can be a great alternative — or complement — to traditional collars so that you can secure or even 
    lift your dog when needed. 
  • If you’re planning on winter or cold weather camping use this guide to ensure your pup has what they need to stay 

Helpful Health Tips 

Your camping trip is for you and your dog to enjoy, so keep these tips for your dog’s health in mind. 

  • Minor injuries are common during camping and hiking trips, but do you know how to patch up your pup if he comes to you with a cut? Here are some tips for caring for your canine companion’s health. 
  • Ticks are an unfortunate reality at many campsites. If your dog brings home a few unwanted guests, it’s important that you know how to safely remove them
  • If you’re camping in a warm climate or during the summer, be sure to learn the symptoms of heat stroke and how to 
    cool your pup down.  

Now that you know what to do to get you and your dog prepared, you’re ready for an adventure. Find a nice spot, 
settle in, and make some new friends! 

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10 Most Toxic Foods for Dogs

As a dog owner, you protect your dog like any other member of your family. Dogs put their mouths everywhere and some will eat just about anything! It’s important to know which of your household foods is poisonous to dogs. Find out below!

1. Chocolate

chocolate poisonous for dogs

Chocolate contains theobromine which is an alkaloid found in the cacao plant. Theobromine is toxic to dogs and could cause kidney failure. Dark chocolate has a higher concentration of theobromine whilst white chocolate has the lowest.

2. Garlic, Chives & Onions

onions bad for dogs
are chives bad for my dog

The above ingredients are fairly common in most households. But did you know garlic, chives and onions are bad for your dog? No matter their form (powdered, raw or cooked) these foods are harmful to your dog.

They could damage your dog’s red blood cells resulting in anaemia. Garlic, chives and onions may also cause irritation to the gastrointestinal system.

3. Raisins, Currants, Sultanas & Grapes

raisins toxic for dogs

Grapes, sultanas, currants and raisins are part of the Vitis Vinifera fruit family. These fruits can cause kidney and liver failure in dogs. Especially in dried form. It isn’t yet known which ingredient is responsible for the poisoning.

4. Corn on the Cob

corn on the cob bad for dogs

Sweetcorn is a great source of carbohydrates for dogs however it must be off the cob. Intact corn on the cob is damaging to your dog’s stomach and intestines. The pieces are larger making them more difficult to digest and could lead to blockages.

5. Alcohol

alcohol toxic for dogs

Some owners are tempted to give their dogs a little bit of alcohol during the festive season! But even in small amounts alcohol can be seriously damaging to your dog. They may experience diarrhoea, vomiting and in the worst-case scenario, damage to the central nervous system.

6. Macadamia Nuts

macadamia nuts toxic for dogs

Like grapes and raisins, the exact toxic ingredient in macadamia nuts isn’t known. If your dog ingests these nuts watch out for weakness, especially in their hind limbs. Other symptoms of illness include diarrhoea, vomiting, fever and lethargy.

7. Xylitol (Artificial Sweetner)

xylitol bad for dogs

Xylitol is typically found in sweets but is also seen in a variety of other products. If ingested this could cause blood sugar levels to plummet resulting in weakness, lethargy and vomiting. In a worst-case scenario, xylitol poisoning will cause liver failure and even death.

8. Avacado

are avocados bad for dogs

Avocados have quickly become a breakfast and brunch favourite in Britain! But this healthy human food isn’t so great for your dog. Whilst the Persin ingredient isn’t ideal for your dog, it rarely causes issues. The problem is the pip! Even a small part of the pip can cause a blockage if swallowed.

9. Cooked Bones

cooked bones bad for dogs

Raw bones are great for your dog and provide multiple benefits. Cooked bones however are highly dangerous. They can splinter in your dog’s throat and could cause constipation. The bone shards may also result in a perforated bowel.

10 Caffeine

caffeine toxic for dogs

Dogs are more sensitive to caffeine than humans. If ingested this could cause toxicosis. A few licks of your coffee won’t cause immense harm to your dog. But do be careful of other products around your home that contain caffeine. Symptoms include hyperactivity, panting, restlessness, and vomiting.

Recommended: What is hypoallergenic dog food?

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Dog Dental Disease & Care

In the UK dental disease is the most common health issue observed in dogs. We’re going to show you ways to look after your dog’s teeth and the signs that indicate you should take your dog to a vet.

Dental disease is painful with many owners unaware it can lead to further health issues such as heart, liver and kidney disease. It affects the teeth, gums and even the jaw bone! It’s estimated that in the UK over 80% of dogs and cats display signs of dental disease!

Symptoms of Dental Disease

Bad breath is often the first sign owners pick up on. After all, it’s pretty hard to ignore! But there’s a number of other signs that also show your dog could be suffering from the first stages of dental disease. They are as follows:

  • Bad breath (Halitosis)
  • Plaque & tartar build up
  • Increased drooling
  • Gums that are red and inflamed (Gingivitis)
  • Bleeding gums
  • Weight loss
  • Signs of difficulty or pain when chewing
  • Swollen face, lumps in the mouth (Tooth root abcess)
  • Blood in saliva
  • Receding gums
  • Tooth loss and broken/cracked teeth

If your dog is displaying any of the above signs it’s a good idea to book an appointment with your vet. Signs of pain will warrant an urgent appointment.

Breeds Most Prone to Dental Issues

If your dog is brachycephalic (flat-faced) they’re more susceptible to dental issues. Dogs have 42 teeth and those with smaller jaws and shorter muzzles tend to have overcrowded mouths due to the smaller space. The most common breeds affected are as follows:

  • Greyhounds- Periodontal Disease
  • Yorkshire Terriers- ‘Yorkie Breath’, Periodontal disease
  • Dashchunds- Gingivitis & Periodontal disease
  • Collies- Overbites
  • Boxers- Gingival Hyperplasia
  • Bulldogs- Gingivitis & Periodontal disease
  • Pugs- Gingivitis & Periodontal disease
  • Shetland Sheepdogs- Underbites
  • Chinese Crested- Fragile teeth
  • Cavalier King Charles Spaniel- Gingivitis
  • Labrador- Tooth fractures

According to the research by Royal Veterinary’s Colleges VetCompass programme, 39% of Greyhounds surveyed suffered from dental issues. A statistic that is significantly higher than any other breed. The study has piqued the interest of Professor Steve Dean, Chairman of the Greyhound Trust and previous Chairman of the Kennel Club.

Periodontal Disease in Dogs

Periodontal disease, also known as Periodontitis, is the most common dental issue seen in dogs. Bacteria is the prime cause of this disease which often results in infections to their oral cavities. It targets the gums, teeth and bone.

Your dog uses its mouth for a variety of reasons but after they eat, plaque is most likely to form. It’s made up of protein from food, bacteria, and saliva but if it isn’t removed it will accumulate, forming into a brown hard substance known as Tartar.

A further build-up of bacteria and tartar will cause gingivitis, an early sign of gum disease. Symptoms include inflammation and receding gums. If the disease continues to progress an infection will occur spreading into the tooth socket thus destroying the bone. Such damage is often irreversible and will lead to tooth loss.

The first signs of Periodontal disease in dogs aren’t normally noticed by owners. Your dog should be examined by its vet for any dental issues once or twice a year. Early treatment is key to preventing health complications. Vets can give a full dental clean or an X-ray if they suspect something more sinister.

Periodontal Disease Health Complications

Many dog owners are surprised to learn just how badly dental disease can affect their dog’s health. Including in areas of the body that are nowhere near the mouth! If bacteria is able to enter your dog’s bloodstream it could damage their major organs.

Dental disease harbours large quantities of bacteria in the mouth if enough enters the bloodstream it could lead to Systemic disease. Three organs most at risk include the heart, liver and kidneys. Bacteria in the mouth is the same as that found in endocarditis, an infection targeting the inside of the heart.

Periodontal disease undoubtedly increases the risk of heart disease. The liver and kidneys filter the blood, so bacteria is easily able to infiltrate and damage these organs. Signs of infection and inflammation include a decrease in appetite, weight loss, and fever.

Other Dental Issues

Periodontal disease is the most common dental issue in dogs but there are other issues you should be aware of. These are as follows:

Fractured & Worn Teeth

Your dog’s mouth goes through a lot and play can also cause dental issues. Tooth damage is common in dogs, especially since some of the objects they chew and play with are stronger than their enamel. Constant chewing will wear the teeth down and could end up revealing the pulp (nerve) causing a great deal of pain. The pulp may also be exposed through fractures that mostly occur via rough play with hard objects.

Unerupted Teeth

Smaller dogs like the Maltese, Havanese, Shih Tzu and flat-faced dogs are susceptible to unerupted teeth. These teeth lay below the gumline and are unable to breakthrough. They may form into a cyst resulting in the destruction of the jaw. Unerupted teeth must be extracted if they begin to cause issues.

Improper Bite

Abnormal development may cause under and overbites. Signs of an elongated upper or lower jaw can be seen in puppies as early as 8 weeks. In severe cases, tooth extraction is needed. Collies are particularly prone to overbites whilst Shetland Sheepdogs are commonly affected by underbites.

Tooth Discolouration

Death of the nerve inside the tooth will cause a darkish yellow, pink or even grey discolouration. It’s typically caused by blunt trauma but may also be due to abnormal development. The pulp’s tissue is bruised leading to a haemorrhage in the canal. If the blood supply to the pulp stops, it will die.

Endodontic Disease

As a result of trauma to the tooth, inflammation and infection affect the pulp. This is known as Endodontic disease. Visible fractures, pain, facial swelling and a decrease in appetite are common symptoms. A tooth extraction or root canal operation will be needed.

Gingival Hyperplasia

The tissue of the gum surrounding the teeth becomes overgrown. It’s commonly caused by poor oral hygiene. Gums become inflamed and thickened as a result of plaque left along the gumline. If left untreated it’ll lead to periodontal disease. Breeds commonly affected are Boxers, Great Danes, Dobermanns, Dalmatians, and Collies.

Dental Care Routine

It’s important you establish a regular dental routine for your dog. Vets recommend daily brushing for the best oral hygiene results. Always use a doggy toothpaste as human toothpaste could hold ingredients harmful to your pet. A number of factors also contribute to dental health and these include your dog’s diet, playtime and genetic factors.

Brushing of course is the most ideal way forward but not all dogs are so accepting. If this is the case dental wipes for dogs can be used to remove plaque. If you feel your dog will benefit more from a deep clean contact your veterinarian.

Dog chews and dental treats are also great ways to remove plaque. They can be found in a variety of textures and flavours so your dog is more likely to prefer these to brushing. Chewing scrapes off the plaque, cleaning teeth as a result. The enzymes contained in all-natural meat chews also promote your dog’s dental hygiene.

Toys such as rubber and nylon are also beneficial to your dog’s dental health. Again the chewing removes the plaque from the teeth. It’s excellent for dogs prone to weight gain as there is no calorie intake. Some owners apply doggy toothpaste to the toy for a better cleaning effect.

Top Rated Dog Dental Health Products

Below we’ve listed the most highly rated dog dental health products that have been tried, tested reviewed by dog owners!

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Brachycephalic Dogs: What you Should Know

A Brachycephalic dog has a shorter nose and flatter face compared to other breeds. In the UK flat-face dogs have seen a stark rise in puppy ownership. The Kennel Club has seen a 2,747% increase in French Bulldog puppy registrations since 2004!

Yet many owners are simply unaware of the health problems associated with brachycephalic dog breeds. We’re going to tell you the signs to look out for and when you need to seek veterinarian help. 

french mastiff brachycephalic

The Dutch Kennel Club have now banned English Bulldog puppy registrations. This is in response to the government ban on broad skulled dogs due to the health and breathing issues associated. 

Whilst many organisations have championed the move, others are worried this could increase backstreet breeding. Other dogs included in the ban is the French Bulldog, Shih Tzu, Pekingese, King Charles Spaniel, Japanese Chin, Brussels Griffon, Affenpinscher, and the Boston Terrier.

What is Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome?

Brachycephalic dogs already have flat faces, but some can suffer abnormalities in their airways. Mastiffs and Staffordshire Bull Terriers have slightly longer noses than Pugs and Bulldogs. So they aren’t as likely to suffer from Brachycephalic related health conditions. 

Flat-faced dogs have a standard amount of tissue in their faces that’s all been squished together. This could cause your dog to suffer from narrow nasal passages, narrow windpipes, elongated soft palates, and even laryngeal collapse. These breathing problems are known as BOAS (Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome).

The word Brachycephalic derives from Ancient Greek and means ‘short head’. BOAS is a result of selective breeding. Dog enthusiasts wanted to create a canine with a shorter skull, reducing the size of the nose and lower jaw. But this has caused flat faced dogs to have tongues that are too big for their mouths.

In 2020 the UK Kennel Club recorded 39,266 French Bulldog puppy registrations and 11,594 Bulldog puppy registrations. This is a cause for great concern with the Brachycephalic Working Group asking dog enthusiasts to ‘Stop and think before buying a flat-faced dog.’

The Kennel Club has estimated around 70% of Britain’s dogs are unregistered. Puppy farming and irresponsible breeders contribute heavily to the increase of physical exaggerations in Brachycephalic dog breeds.

Symptoms of Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome

Below are the following symptoms of BOAS owners need to be aware of:

  • Loud breathing and snoring
  • Snorting/Snoring when resting or exercising
  • Low exercise tolerance
  • Low tolerance to heat
  • Difficulty breathing during exercise
  • Restlessness during the night
  • Sleep apnoea
  • Open-mouthed breathing
  • High-pitched wheezing
  • Extended recovery time after exercise or being exposed to warm weather
  • Retching or vomiting
  • Collapsing as a result of a lack of air

If you notice your dog experiencing any of the signs above, seek immediate veterinary advice.

english bulldog puppy brachycephalic

Other Health Issues 

Your Flat faced dog may also experience a variety of other health issues. They are as follows:

Mating & Birthing Problems

Research has shown a link between Brachycephalic breeds and dystocia (birthing difficulties). In the UK over 86% of English Bulldog puppies are born via caesarean section. Only slightly higher than French Bulldogs and Boston Terriers at 80%. 

The puppies heads are larger than the mother’s narrow birth canal. Without medical intervention, this can be fatal. Vets refer to this as ‘Dystocia due to foetal-pelvic disproportion.

French Bulldogs also require artificial insemination as they can’t mate naturally. The male genitalia is unable to reach the female’s vulva as it’s much higher within their body. It’s also safer for English Bulldogs to be artificially inseminated.   


Dogs thermoregulate through their noses. For Brachycephalic dogs, it’s harder to keep cool in hotter temperatures. This places them at a much higher risk of heat exhaustion and heatstroke. Older, overweight flat-faced dogs are particularly vulnerable. 

The scrolls of nasal tissue in the passage are known as turbinites. These filter and cool down the warm air entering the nasal passage. Brachycephalic dogs have a short, compact nasal passage, so the turbinites are crowded and will touch one another. These obstructions cause breathing difficulties. 

Flat faced dogs also have narrow windpipes and elongated soft palates. These abnormalities restrict the amount of oxygen inhaled with each breath. Panting is the most effective way for dogs to cool themselves down. So it’s no surprise these dogs are unable to effectively cool down. 

Heart Problems

Laboured breathing reduces the amount of oxygen entering the bloodstream. Over time this will cause a strain on the affected dog’s heart which could result in secondary heart problems. Brachycephalic breeds are more susceptible to heart issues and should be monitored by their vet regularly.

Ear & Skin Problems

An increase in deep facial folds prevents air from reaching the skin. Bacteria trapped between the skin folds will eventually cause yeast infections. Chronic infections and skin irritation are common amongst extreme brachycephalic dogs.

Narrow ear canals are another result of selective breeding. It reduces the airflow entering the passage. Bacteria and debris will build up quicker resulting in ear infections. Regular ear cleaning is needed to reduce the risk of chronic or recurring infections. 

Eye Problems

Prominent eyes are a feature in many brachycephalic breeds. But these can prevent tear film from spreading and efficiently lubricating the eye. Other abnormalities such as imperfect eyelids, nasal folds, and shallow eye sockets can also have an effect.

Corneal ulcers are very common in brachycephalic dogs as a result of the above anatomical changes. As a result of the poor corneal sensitivity, signs of corneal ulcers may not be so apparent. If this goes undetected further complications can arise.

Dental Issues

Brachycephalic dogs have 42 teeth, just like any other breed! However, their smaller skulls, don’t provide enough space for all their teeth leaving them overcrowded. As a result, flat-faced breeds are more prone to dental issues.

Check your dog’s teeth regularly to avoid serious dental problems. Vets recommend teeth are brushed daily. Teeth may grow at an angle, so debris is easily trapped. In some cases, teeth might need to be extracted.

Musculoskeletal Disorders

Flat-faced dogs can also face a number of musculoskeletal disorders. These include hip dysplasia, patellar luxation, cruciate disease and spinal deformities. Ingrown tails and corkscrew tails have also been documented in flat faced dogs. 


Surgery is the only treatment that will make a difference to your dog’s breathing. Stenotic nares are corrected by surgically removing the excess tissue within the nostrils. A soft palate resection can be undertaken to reduce the elongated palate to normal size. 

Everted laryngeal saccules that obstruct the larynx can be surgically removed. Surgery should be undertaken as early as possible for the most effective results. Swelling may occur after the operation so keep a close eye on your dog.  

Your dog is also prone to weight gain which will put further strain on their breathing. It’s important to regularly exercise your dog without causing them discomfort. Take multiple short walks during cooler periods of the day and use a harness as opposed to a collar. Applying pressure to their neck can make breathing more difficult. 

french bulldog brachycephalic

List of Brachycephalic Dog Breeds:

There are 24 Brachycephalic dog breeds in the UK, they are as follows:

  • Affenpinscher 
  • Boston Terrier
  • Boxer
  • Brussels Griffon
  • Bull Mastiff
  • Cane Corso
  • Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
  • Chiuahaha (apple-headed)
  • Chow Chow 
  • Dogo Argentino 
  • Dogue de Bordeaux 
  • English/American/French Bulldog
  • Japanese Chin
  • Lhasa Apso
  • Neopolitan Mastiff
  • Newfoundland
  • King Charles Spaniel
  • Pekingese
  • Pug
  • Rottweiler
  • Shar Pei
  • Shih Tzu
  • Staffordshire Bull Terrier
  • Tibetan Spaniel 
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Heatstroke in Dogs: Symptoms, Prevention & Treatment

Noticing the signs of heatstroke in your dog can be the difference between life and death. But many owners aren’t aware of the beginning signs. With temperatures rising during the Summer months, these are the signs you need to be aware of.

belgian shepherd heatstroke

Causes of Heatstroke in Dogs

Dogs only have a few sweat glands in their feet and nose. So at times, it’s harder for our furry friends to regulate their body temperatures. Heatstroke also affects humans and is a form of hyperthermia. 

Exercise is the most common cause of heatstroke in dogs. The PDSA states that 74% of heatstroke cases in dogs are attributed to exercise. Some dogs are affected by just simply laying in the sun.

Brachycephalic dogs are more prone to heatstroke. The breeds that fall under this category are French Bulldogs, French Mastiffs, Pomeranians, Shih Tzus, Dogue de Bordeauxs, Boston Terriers, Pugs and English Bulldogs.  

Your dog’s nose plays a strong role in keeping them cool. This is why brachycephalic dogs are the most at risk. Older and younger dogs will also be more susceptible to heatstroke. Not to forget those that are overweight or have thick fur! 

It’s important your dog receives enough water, air ventilation, and shade. A lack of these things during hot periods could cause heatstroke. Even a short walk in the sun can be more than enough to trigger heatstroke, especially for a brachycephalic dog!

Symptoms of Heatstroke in Dogs

  • Excessive panting
  • Drooling
  • Redness in gums
  • Vomiting 
  • Diarrhea
  • Muscle Tremours
  • Lethargic 
  • Uncoordinated movement
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Seizures
  • Death

When dogs become overheated their panting helps to cool them down. Their normal body temperature is 38.6 degrees. If a dog is unable to reduce its body temperature through panting, it’ll develop heatstroke which can be life-threatening. 

Dogs will begin to excessively pant, followed by signs of discomfort such as barking and whining. Excessive thirst and drooling are other beginning signs of heatstroke. 

If heatstroke is caught during the early stages your dog is expected to make a full recovery. Any longer and this could lead to a vet trip or even worse, a fatality. The RSPCA asks people to dial 999 if they witness any dogs trapped in hot cars displaying signs of heatstroke.

There are two forms of heatstroke, exertional and non-exertional. The first is caused by exercising during particularly hot days. The second is caused by laying in the hot sun or being trapped in a hot car or room.

dog heatstroke

Preventing Heatstroke in Dogs 

There are plenty of ways in which dog owners can prevent their dogs from contracting heatstroke. Below we’ve listed the ways you can prevent heatstroke in your dog during the hot weather.

  • Ensure your dog has access to fresh drinking water throughout the day. 
  • Have a cool ventilated area indoors that your dog can escape to. There should also be adequate areas of shade outside so your dog isn’t being pounded by the sun.
  • No dog should ever be left inside a car, especially during hot temperatures. 5 minutes is all it takes for your dog to begin suffering from heatstroke!
  • Walk your dog during the cooler periods of the day to prevent overheating. Avoid vigorous exercise. Floors become excruciatingly hot and can severely damage your dog’s paws. 
  • If your dog is brachycephalic you will need to keep a closer eye on them. Some dogs within this category are up to 14 times more likely to contract heatstroke compared with other non-brachycephalic breeds.
  • If your dog has a thick coat it may be best to give them a trim. Never completely shave your dog as this can leave them even more at risk!
  • Overweight dogs are more prone to heatstroke. Ensure your dog’s weight is healthy so they can regulate their body temperature better.
  • It’s better to use harnesses in the heat as opposed to collars. The pressure collars put on your dog’s neck can make it harder for them to breathe. Brachycephalic dogs will benefit the most. 

Treating Heatstroke in Dogs

If you have started to notice your dog suffering from the symptoms of heatstroke take immediate action. Move them to a cooler environment as soon as possible. Cool them down with water, but not too cold as a sudden change in temperature can cause shock.

Keep pouring the water until their breathing slows down. Not too fast as this could cause your dog to start shivering. Offer drinking water in small amounts to tackle dehydration.

A ventilated area with air-conditioning would be most ideal. If you don’t have access to this, fan your dog instead. The airflow will help with their breathing. Consult your veterinarian immediately. In some cases a trip to the vets is inevitable.

Vets have access to fluid drips that will help lower a dog’s body temperature. Oxygen and medication can also be supplied if necessary. Heatstroke can affect your dog’s organs so blood tests may also be undertaken. 

Dogs can still suffer from vomiting, diarrhea, and confusion even after they’ve cooled down. Keep an eye on your dog for the next 24-48 hours. It’s important to always consult with your vet after your dog has experienced heatstroke, even if they seem fine.

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Top 10 Natural Remedies for Itchy Paws

Is your dog constantly chewing at his paws no matter what you try and do to stop it? If he is, there’s a good chance that he has allergies. 

Every dog, no matter the breed, can be susceptible to allergies. As an owner, it’s upsetting to see your dog showing signs of discomfort. Canines with allergies tend to scratch or chew the affected areas on their body. When it comes to your dog’s paws, these reactions can lead to injury and secondary infections, which can affect the dog’s gait. 

While some canines are born with allergies, others pick them up later on in life. It’s important to identify what the actual allergy is, as opposed to blindly treating symptoms. 

You may notice the paws aren’t the only itchy part of your dog’s body. Some canines suffer recurring ear infections which in the long-term, could cause irreparable damage. 

What causes itchy paws in dogs?

Before you focus on allergies, it’s important to rule out any behavioural issues first. Some dogs, be it through boredom or anxiety will pick up compulsive habits such as paw licking when they’re anxious or bored. If you’re finding it hard in determining if this is the issue, you may want to contact an animal behaviourist. 

If it’s allergies, you want to find out what’s causing your dog to have an allergic reaction. Itchy paws are caused by a variety of different allergens. Below is a list of the usual culprits! The first three are the most common causes of allergies in dogs. 

  • Food Allergies
  • Pollen (Grass, Trees, Weeds)
  • Flea Saliva
  • Dust Mites
  • Moulds & Chemicals
  • Moulds

Dogs with food allergies display symptoms all year round compared to seasonal pollen.  Your dog may also experience gastrointestinal issues, such as diarrhoea and vomiting.

Pollen affects dogs seasonally. That means symptoms are at their worst during the Spring and Summer. Over time, continuous exposure to an allergen could cause a dog’s immune system to overreact. The antibodies and antigens attach to a mast cell which let out histamines. If too many histamines are released, your dog will produce symptoms such as swelling, itching, and redness. 

Dogs suffering from flea allergy dermatitis are sensitive to saliva. Just one bite is enough to trigger an allergic reaction. Typical signs include rashes, scabs, hair loss, and severe itching for up to two weeks.

A dog that has inhaled mould spores will show difficulty breathing and may discharge mucus or pus from the nose. Those that have ingested mould will experience a decrease in appetite, runny stools and vomiting. 

Other allergic reactions include itching, chewing, and dry and inflamed skin. Mould allergies typically emerge between the ages of twelve weeks to three years. 

Symptoms: What are the Signs?

Noticing the signs of allergies can prevent your dog’s discomfort from escalating. Below are the common symptoms experienced by dogs with allergies.

·  Red skin/inflammation

·  Excessive itching/chewing

·  Recurring ear infections (smelly dirty ears, head shaking, and scratching)

·  Hair loss

·  Flaky skin

·  Watery eyes/runny nose

·  Facial swelling

·  Vomiting/diarrhoea

Act fast! Excessive paw licking can cause bacterial or yeast infections resulting in even more discomfort!

How Can I Manage Itchy Paws?

There are several tests you can use to determine the root cause of a dog’s allergies. The two forms of allergy tests are blood tests and intradermal skin testing. The latter is highly effective, but you’ll need a veterinarian dermatologist to do it.

Once you’ve established your dog’s triggers it will be easier to avoid them! Don’t be shocked if your dog is allergic to more than one thing … ! Most dogs suffer from multiple allergies as opposed to one.

Food Allergies

To tackle food allergies a change of diet is needed. You can try an elimination diet to pinpoint the cause, but this can be time-consuming. Switching to a raw diet may help as it reduces the number of additives and common food allergens in your dog’s diet.  

You can also consult with your holistic vet to find out what they would recommend, as every dog is different. They may even suggest a food allergy test to narrow down the cause. 

And don’t forget about the treats you give your dog. Only treats approved by your vet should be given. One treat can easily trigger an allergic reaction landing you right back to square one.


If you believe your dog is affected by pollen, take walks when the pollen count has lowered. It’s also best to avoid grass when pollen is high so stick to the pavements. Once inside, clean your dog’s paws with a damp cloth and dry with a towel. If they’ve had a walk or roll about in the grass, clean the coat and belly as you would with the paws. It’s important to thoroughly groom your dog as pollen and other allergens can stick to the dog’s fur.

Booties are a great way to protect your dog’s paws when out and about! It prevents contact with allergens such as weeds, pollen, and grass. Booties also protect your dog’s paws from hot pavements, rocky grounds, snow, and much more!

Flea Saliva 

When it comes to fleas, it’s the saliva that really irritates dogs. Prevention is the best way to manage fleas because once your dog has them, they’re hard to get rid of! Fleas can survive for months and you won’t be able to spot them in the cleanest of homes!

If you suspect fleas are the troublesome culprits be sure to check all of your pets. Ensure all household pets are up to date with their treatment. 

Dust Mites

To prevent issues with dust mites and/or fleas, daily hoovering will be needed. Your home might look clean, but there may still be particles lying around just waiting to irritate your dog’s skin!


When washing your dog’s bed and blankets use non-biological products. It’s much better for sensitive skin. Many owners are unaware of the irritation biological washing products can cause to dogs. 

Household cleaning products are another cause for concern. Look for natural alternatives that are dog friendly and steer clear of chemical cleaners. Candles, air fresheners, and other artificial chemicals can also cause adverse effects.


It’s impossible to completely stop mould exposure but it is possible to reduce the contact. Wipe the dog’s fur with a damp cloth to remove any mould spores. Moisture is a breeding ground for mould so ensure your dog’s bed is kept dry.

Natural Remedies for Itchy Paws

Trying to find the cause of your dog’s allergies can take a lot of time, even with assistance from your holistic vet. Waiting for a trip to the vet can feel like months for a dog suffering from symptoms of allergies. The good news is there are natural remedies you can use to soothe your dog’s irritation. 

Cold Compress

A cold compress such as ice in a towel, or just simply cold water can provide up to half an hour of relief. Whilst it isn’t a long time, it can at least provide temporary assistance. Add Epsom salts to a paw soak to enhance the soothing qualities. 

Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple Cider Vinegar is prized for relieving itchy skin. It’s been scientifically proven to hinder candida and contains anti-fungal properties. Unlike the dog’s immune system, Apple Cider Vinegar obliterates the fungi’s protective barrier. Now, instead of fighting a losing battle, the body can effectively destroy the fungus. 

Get a spray bottle, create a solution of 50% Apple Cider Vinegar with 50% water. Once mixed, spray the affected areas. To better target the paws, soak them in this solution for up to 5 minutes. Do not use this on a wound or raw skin as this will be painful. 

Oatmeal Bath Soak

Oatmeal baths are one of the oldest natural remedies still used today! Oatmeal is anti-inflammatory and can reduce the dog’s swelling, itchiness, and redness. Simply fill the bath with lukewarm water. Crush the oats into a powder then mix into the bath. You will need one and a half cups of oatmeal. 

Colloidal Oatmeal is easier to use as it has already been turned into powder. While the dog is having a soak, massage the solution across their body. 

As opposed to baths an oatmeal paste can be created instead. Again, crush the oats and slowly add water until you end up with a smooth paste. This can then be placed on the affected areas where it can work its magic! 

Baking Soda

Rather unheard of in the healing department is baking soda! It’s great for autoimmune diseases such as skin allergies in canines thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties. It works to calm the dog’s immune system, slowing down its attacks on the body. The acid-neutralizing qualities also help balance out the PH levels. 

Use 50% water with 50% baking soda to create a paste. Once applied, leave on the skin for up to half an hour. The paste will dry out any rashes, decrease redness, and relieve any itching. As the solution dries out the skin, moisturize the area with Coconut oil. 

Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is an excellent moisturizer for dogs suffering from dry, flaky skin. Not only this, but it also acts as a preventive barrier, blocking any irritants from reaching the skin. It has anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, and anti-viral properties. 

Simply massage the oil into the paws and let it get to work! Use at night or whenever the dog is asleep for better effectiveness. Ensure the coconut oil is chilled and solid by keeping it in the fridge. 

Probiotics Natural Yoghurt

Probiotics are known to balance the bacteria levels inside the gut microbiome. The probiotic contains Lactobacillus which produces Hydrogen Peroxide thus killing Candida. It can be a great remedy to combat yeast infections and even food allergies. Buy some plain yoghurt, sugar-free of course and place this in the dog’s meal. 

The daily intake should be one tablespoon for small dogs, two for medium, and three for large. Dogs suffering from lactose intolerance may experience an upset tummy if consumed. Natural Greek Yoghurt has the lowest levels of lactose. 

Probiotics enhance the number of good bacteria found in the gut. This increases the dog’s chance of fighting off those pesky pathogens! It’s also great for easing digestion and reduces the possibility of constipation. 

Chamomile & Green Tea Bath Soak

The anti-inflammatory and soothing effects of Chamomile and Green tea will work on both humans and dogs! The anti-microbial properties kill microorganisms such as bacteria and yeast. 

To combat itchy paws, create the solution with one tea bag for each cup of water used. Ensure the water has been boiled before adding the teabag. Allow this to cool down first before using it on the dog’s paws. You can also directly place the tea bags on the affected areas. If there are further itchy spots across the body a Chamomile and Green tea bath should be given. 

Did you know, Chamomile tea bags are also used to combat conjunctivitis in dogs? 

Aloe Vera

This plant is well-known for its healing powers! Cut the leaf to reveal the inner gel and apply it directly to the irritated paws. It’s harmless to dogs so don’t worry if it has been ingested. 

If there is still some gel left over, place the leaf in the fridge and use it within three days. Aloe Vera plants don’t need much looking after to grow so why not keep a plant at home? That way, you can quickly relieve your canine from discomfort. 

Regular Baths

Your dog may need regular baths to help stop the itch. Regular bathing is needed to care for the skin. Use natural shampoos that are soap-free or hypoallergenic. This will make sure you don’t strip your dog’s coat and skin of important oils and moisture. 

It’s best to consult with your vet first as they may be able to supply a medicated shampoo. If the allergy symptoms are severe wash your dog weekly. Remember, an allergy can’t be cured, just managed. Once you begin to see a difference in your pet, reduce washing to two weeks. 

Elizabethan Collar

If the itching and chewing are starting to cause injury you might need to resort to a pet cone (Elizabethan collar). This will prevent them from reaching the itchy areas, causing further damage. 

Itchy paws can be a big problem for you and your dog. Natural remedies can help ease the discomfort but it’s important for you to find the root cause.