How to help an itchy dog

Allergies are a common cause of itching in pets
Every day across the country, small animal veterinarians are often asked by animal guardians about why there pet itches so much. This very frustrating problem can have many causes. Depending upon the age of the animal will determine the major differential diagnoses in a pet. In very young kittens or puppies food allergies can be very common causes of itching pets.

And despite the myriad of blood tests for food allergies that have been developed, the gold standard for diagnosing food allergies is a minimum 6-8 week dietary trial feeding a novel protein diet to a pet, while restricting access to all other food sources, including treats and flavored bones and rawhides. In young animals mange mites also should be ruled out, which can only be ruled out by skin scraping and microscopic exam at a veterinary office. In more mature animals, inhalant/contact allergies to grasses, trees, dander, house dust mites, molds ragweed, are also common causes of itching and secondary skin eruptions and infections. This category of itching tends to be more seasonal at least initially, and will often respond to antihistamines and/or prescription Prednisone or in some cases stronger drugs like Atopica.

Nutritional supplements like Omega 3 fatty acids, antioxidants like Proanthozone and steroid alternatives like Yucca Intensive can all help manage many allergic pets. Of course flea bite allergies are big causes of itchy dogs, which is why it is so important to have your animal on some sort of flea control measures during the flea season, whether the conventional treatments like Frontline Plus, Advantage II, or more holistic options. And of course if an itchy pet develops secondary scabs and eruptions often indicating a bacterial or yeast infection, these problems must also be addressed through topical shampoo therapy such as with Chlorihexiderm Shampoo, as well as prescription antibiotics and/or antifungal medications.

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19 Comments

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  2. I have been told that Biotin can help my dogs itching. He is about a 75lb, 3 1/2 year old Golden. If so , how much should we give him?

  3. Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarianNovember 22, 2012 at 11:45 am

    I am not familiar with biotin helping with itching so I cant give you a dose.

  4. I want to know what is best product for my dog yorkie has bad plms of itching all the times so sometimes she scatching ear but I was asked dr vet dr that told me that she is allegeric but she had dry dog good just free grain but not corn so any way still itching all the times so ihave mite drops for ears but nned to know what is best product for her nneds to stop itching skins ? let me know thank u

  5. Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarianJanuary 2, 2013 at 10:57 pm

    Low dose prednisone may help with chronic itching or prescription drug called atopica. Could consider antihistamines such as oral benadryl at dose of 1 mg per pound twice daily. Oral missing link and/or yucca intensive from 1800petmeds may help as well.

  6. I adopted a stray dog,took her to the local vet for the initial checks and shots,he first told me that she has severe allergies,recommended Benadryl , 3 weeks later she developed hot spots, I have always have dogs I have never seen or experienced this hot spot I was devastated, was given the usual treatment of cortisone,antibiotics etc.i have done everything from changing my carpet to spraying the yard, buying special creams,shampoo , flea meds etc you name it I have done it but she can’t seem to catch up to heal and another one will appear because she can not stop itching, I am about to give up, I can’t be going back to the vet every time, she had scraping testingand was negative last August , she has a very good appetite,if I can only control the skin problem, pls help

  7. Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarianJanuary 24, 2013 at 2:14 am

    I wonder if she was given shot of leptospirosis(in her combination vaccination) or bordatella with her shots, as sometimes I have found these worsening and/or causing skin allergies in dogs. Could be food allergy as well, so you may want to put your dog on novel protein diet such as duck or rabbit or venison based foods like those by wellness from 1800petmeds. . MAke sure there are no flea bite allergies involved and that she is on good flea prevention. Topical revolution may be a good choice as it also treats scabies mites which can cause intense itching and which are hard to find on skin scrape. Consulting with a homeopathic vet also is another option. To learn more about homeopathy, see my website http://www.doctordym.com as well as http://www.beyondflatearth.com Many homeopathic vets do offer phone consultations.

  8. My dog itches constantly. We have given her frontline, oatmeal shampoo bath and spray for hot spots. She has now developed dark freckle looking dots under her skin on the bottom area of her stomach only. What would cause this. She has a good appetite and is active.

  9. I want to know abt dog food but my dog has itchy skins but do can eat dog foods of beef,venison and lamb ,peanut butter treats,and omega oil and eat scramble eggs . let me know thank u

  10. I have an almost 2 yr. old Pekingese. She has been bothered by allergies for a while. She mostly rubs her face on the floor & scratches her chin. Occasionally she scratches her side or stomach. She whines & squeals sometimes too. She has seen the vet lots of times. She is on pred., Atopica, & hydroxyzine, which helps but doesn’t permanently fix the problem. She has been on homecooked fish & potato for 2 months before, Didn’t see much improvement. What would you suggest? Thanks!

  11. Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarianMarch 24, 2013 at 9:14 am

    Hi Susan…..Might be worth while to look for a holistic veterinarian. Either one skilled in NAET therapy in your area or a classical homeopathic veterinarian. Only other option traditionally is seeing a vet dermatologist for allergy testing and possibly allergy vaccines. To learn more about homeopathy see http://www.beyondflatearth.com as well as my website http://www.doctordym.com Many homeopathic vets offer phone consultations.

  12. Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarianMarch 24, 2013 at 9:17 am

    May be good to recommend novel protein diet for a few months such as venison, rabbit or kangaroo. Try wellness brand.

  13. Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarianMarch 24, 2013 at 9:19 am

    Your dog most likely has a secondary bacterial infection on skin from underlying allergies. Best to see vet for likely antibiotic therapy. Also try using antibacterial shampoos such as malaseb shampoo every few days from 1800petmeds. Add fatty acids like super pure omega to meals as well.

  14. Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarianJuly 13, 2013 at 5:57 am

    Please do not advertise your products on this forum.

  15. I have a 15 year old Italian Greyhound who itches constantly. She does not have ticks or fleas and see’s vet regularly. When I put fish oil on her food she won’t eat it. I have tried masking smell but nothing works. What can I do, vet says nothing is wrong with her just dry skin

  16. Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarianAugust 11, 2013 at 9:28 am

    Most likely allergies either inhalent/contact allergies and/or food allergies. You could try an antihistamine like chlorphenirimine at dose of 2 mg twice daily. Yucca intensive is natural product by azmira which also may help from 1800petmeds.

  17. How much Biotin can a cat have per day.

  18. How much biotin can a cat have per day?

  19. Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarianNovember 13, 2013 at 1:28 am

    I have not used biotin in my feline patients. Best to google this question for optimal answer.

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