Friday, July 23, 2010

Dog with Itchy back...?

Well my dog...(Toy Australian Shepard) has a bit of a problem..

It looks like he has dry skin, but I am not sure about it at all. Even the vet didn't know so I figure I can ask for some home ideas.

He at one point chewed off all of his hair in one place and sort of had a bald spot. Its not lice because we have already given him the front line and the flee bath's and completely cleaned the apartment.

I'm not exactly sure what it is...If this has happened to you, or hasn't do you have any ideas? He really really goes to town on his back...its kinda disturbing..

We got a cone on him right now, but I hate having it on him all the time...*sighs* right now its the only way we have been able to stop him from biting.

Thoughts please?

10+ to best asnwer

Dog with Itchy back...?
Pedigree is an awful food...especially for dogs who are potentially allergic! If all your vet suggested was keeping up on frontline (which IS an excellent idea BTW...dogs with sensitive skin are more prone to flea bite allergies and dogs with flea bite allergies don't even need to have live fleas on them to suffer a horribly uncomfortable reaction, they just need one flea to bite them once) and using a cone (also an excellent idea if he is chewing himself least until his skin has a chance to heal) then I would suggest getting a second opinion. Allergies are very common in all breeds and mixes and if your vet didn't suspect allergies with the symptoms you described after ruling out parasites such as lice/mites/fleas and fungus such as ringworm I would be looking for a vet that has more experience with skin issues.

My first suggestion would be to change to a more allergy-friendly food. Look for a food that does not list corn, soy, or wheat anywhere in the ingredients list. While a dog can be allergic to ANY ingredient in the list these three are probably the most common. You may want to look for a food that does not list a meat source found in your current food too...just in case it is the meat that he is allergic to.

Second, add omega fatty acids (in the form of fish oil) and vitamin E to his diet. These supplements are fairly inexpensive and can do wonders for skin and coat and will help condition his skin (no more dry skin). Vitamin E also seems to have anti-inflammatory properties that will help sooth his irritated skin. While I do notice when my allergic dog doesn't get his antihistamines (his ears tend to get red and he gets eye discharge) I REALLY notice him being more itchy when I forget to give him his vit. E/fatty acids.

I would also talk to a vet about starting him on antihistamines. There are several available (given his size I can think of three right off the top of my head) and if one doesn't work very well then another might work better. My allergic dog alternates between hydroxazine and benedryl (regular, OTC benedryl that we buy at Sam's Club) every three weeks. Just like in humans, antihistamines can cause drowsiness (although I have never had a problem with it in any of the dogs I've given them to). And if your dog is having an allergic reaction when he starts on them it can take as long as three weeks to know if the antihistamines are helping or not.

Consider getting a humidifier. Dry winter heat can cause dry skin which can make allergy problems worse. A humidifier adds moisture to the air and helps keep dry skin at bay (and may make winter more comfortable for you as well).

Finally, dog with allergies often have both food and environmental allergies. Does your dog seem more comfortable momentarily after a bath? If so, you may actually want to consider bathing him MORE frequently and using a quality skin and coat conditioner. While frequent bathing can dry out the skin/coat (especially if you are using a harsh shampoo and no conditioner) it can be beneficial for allergy dogs because it physically removes offending allergens from their fur and skin. When my allergy dog is in the height of allergy season (for him it's August-Nov/Dec and milder allergies in the winter with very few issues in spring and early summer) he gets bathed once a week. If his skin is red and irritated or if he has an infection going on he gets a medicated shampoo, otherwise it's just a mild aloe and oatmeal shampoo. My other dog, who does not have allergies, only gets bathed about once a month or so. Avoid any kind of flea shampoo entirely...they're just too harsh on the skin and aren't effective against fleas anyway.

If he seems to show signs of environmental allergies in addition to food allergies, keeping an emaculate house will go a long way in relieving allergies. Vacuum at least once a week. Wash any washable bedding, cushion covers, etc that your dog comes into contact with regularly. If your dog has nylon collars or harnesses, throw them in the wash too. Environmental allergens can cling to just about any surface and frequent cleaning of items that your dog will be touching can physically reduce the amount of allergens your dog comes into contact with...thus reducing allergic reactions.
Reply:What food are you feeding him?

What has the Vet suggested?
Reply:My Siberian Huskies used to have "hot spots" (or that is what the vet called them) and, yeah, would get these bald spots that looked awful. I guess they itched something awful. It wasn't lice or fleas or ticks. My dogs have never had any of that.

Giving them antibiotics would clear it up. Don't know if that would help yours. I know there are creams, too. I'll share with you the websites that I found on the subject.
Reply:As long as the Frontline was applied 2 or more days after his bath, it should be working fine. Just do not over bathe the dog as that dries the skin and irritates it more.

Try using a spray that's called "pet aid". It has healing ingredients, itch relief ingredients such as witch hazel even PLUS it has a taste deterrent to help prevent chewing. It's a fantastic product and typically flies off of the shelves!

If additional taste deterrent is needed, use Bitter Apple or Fooey sprays. All of those are available at almost any local pet store.

And yes, be sure and feed only healthy foods. Not anything that comes from grocery stores and such.
Reply:Allergies? We had a dog with skin allergies. The vet should have checked for that though. We put that dog on a low dose of benadryl. We had another dog with anxiety so bad that he knawed on his knuckles until they bled and were infected. Vet put him on Prozac. Wouldn't medicate your dog without vet supervision though. If you want answers that don't involve drugs just try baby oil or vaseline on the spot that seems to be bothering him. Might help moisturize/sooth it and won't hurt him if he gets some in his mouth.

Not sure any of that will help but Good Luck!!!
Reply:I have a Border collie - nearly an Aussie Shep. She is chewing on herself as I write this! I'm guessing he's got dry skin. I am trying fish oil pills with omega 3 2x a day with my dog. It seems to be helping a little. Don't bathe him!! That's the worst you can do especially in the winter. I think the type of dog has something to do with how obsessive he is with the itching/biting. Border collies and aussies are very obsessive and don't know when to stop what they are doing.
Reply:First off what are you feeding your dog? Most dogs have allergies to wheat and grains in foods. Hence is why most dogs are put on raw diets.

But if you want to try something else I would recommend this:

I used it for my cat when it developed "hot spots". Cleared up and didn't visit the vet once.
Reply:Okay, don't give your dog too many baths, my dog is a border collie and had the same problem. Do you live where you have to turn on the heat for winter months? if yes, the dry heat is giving her dry skin. I stopped with the oatmeat bath, didn't seem to help her.

I had a bottle of "Dermarest" it's for scalp treatment for people, but it worked on her. it's medicated, and stop the itch (poor dog had lost all her fur on her back and kept going up her back more and more). Bought off the shelf at pharmacist.
Reply:When my labs back had hair falling out cause she kept scratching it on things. She was allergic to fleas and we had to give her medication. It looks like dandriff, then the hair will start coming out. Sometimes there might be a rash. But our dog did not have a rash. Don't bathe the dog that just makes it worse.
Reply:The dog may (or may not) have allergies. Use a preservative free food. For immediate relief of itching, spray on some tea tree spray (or put on tea tree cream). It helps a lot. Stops the itching.

There is also a product (cookies and also food) called "Zinpro" which has a fair amount of zinc in it which helps with hot spots, and, again, is all natural.

Don't bathe the dog! Only dries the skin more! If you HAVE to bathe, use an oatmeal/tea tree shampoo (ie: Tropiclean) with the "Oxymed" (again made by Tropiclean) rinse to help.

Good luck.
Reply:I would suggest a medicated shampoo. The vet can give you some for the "itch" and the "dry skin". I don't know why he didn't tell you this but the spots your dog is causing by chewing... pretty darned sure that's called "hot spots".

I tend to really like the Tomlyn brand of products.

My dog has itchy, dry, flaky skin and I use Tomlyn's Nova Pearls "medicated coal tar" shampoo followed by their "creme rinse" for "itchy, flaky, dry skin". The shampoo says to leave on for 5 to 10 minutes then rinse and repeat. I put the shampoo and creme rinse on together then scrub, scrub, scrub for half that time. then let your dog "marinate" for a bit, rinse, and repeat. Use a high velocity dryer ( at most do it yourself dog wash places ) so that you can monitor the red spots on your dog's skin. There is also a shampoo that really helps for the whole "hot spot" thing... one is an Iodine Medicated Shampoo, also by Tomlyn. I used it on a Great Pyrenees dog with chewy hot spots and it really, really helped. Thing is though, follow the directions on the bottle !! Usually with all these shampoos it's best to bathe the dog once every three days then move to every 10 days after about two weeks of every three days. Another product is Espree brand "M+Lacaid" shampoo, which is GREAT for skin irritations. Contains Tea Tree oil and Aloe Vera.

Sometimes I do a "cocktail" of shampoos and it really hits the spot !! Mix, 'em up and see what you get !!

Tomlyn products can usually be bought at PetCo stores.

Also, try to find a cream or ointment or spray of some sort for the spots he's chewing.


Allergies ??

Mention that to the vet.

See if he can do a test for the little guy.

With allergies usually switching to a duck and sweet potato dry food is pretty good but it's a hit and miss... depends on what works for your dog. Also if your dog's skin flares up from ANY of the shampoos it's a clear indication to stick to hypoallergetic shampoos. Check labels on bottles if you buy your own or go to the vet for one. has the same vet shampoos for cheaper prices.

Good luck !!!
Reply:It sounds like it is an allergy, possibly to fleas. Even if they only have one flea bite, they can itch forever. If you need to switch foods, try a lamb and rice product. It is easier to digest, and that may help. To keep him from chewing at his fur, you can get some Bitter Apple spray from a pet store. It tastes nasty, so the dog won't mess with it. And to help his fur, try this. I know it sound weird, but it helped my dogs fur too. Cover him with baby oil. Rub it in very well. Leave it on for about 24 hours, and then bathe him. It takes about 3 bathes to get the oil out, and its kinda messy, but I started seeing results in about 2 weeks. If the problem is mange or ringworm, the oil will smother it and kill it. If its a reaction of some kind, the oil will soothe and moisturize the skin. I hope this helps.
Reply:I've had a few friends whose dogs have had bad problems with itchy, scaly skin and hair loss on their dogs' backs. They've used a supplement called Missing Link with good results.

You should be able to get it online or at any pet store. It comes in a gold bag and it's a powder you sprinkle on your dog's food.

There are veterinary dermatology clinics that specialize in this kind of thing, so you might want to look into that if the supplement doesn't help.

Good luck!

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