We've recently adopted a dog from the shelter not realizing that one of her problems is itchy skin. The vet tells us it's probably a food allergy and we've now had her on a grain-free, no chicken diet for 7 weeks. The itching continues. The histamines haven't work and I've now reluctantly put her on a low dose of prednisone. That has helped the itching but it's not curing her and also causes incontinence. I'm looking for a solution, perhaps someone who does kinesiology on pets?

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   We had to go to  raw meet diet with our dog.  Once we did, we got rid of the drugs, and the cost savings.  Weekly baths were a must as well.  If you are really concerned, please go see: http://www.vescnm.com/dermatology.htm  they really helped, but the raw meet was the key.

Cheers, Mi3ke

My dog gets hives when she eats fish. Try eliminating fish, fish meal, and fish oil in the food.

I have a cat with allergies. He improved astronomically when I put him on a grain-free Evo diet. You may have to try an elimination diet to figure out if it's a particular food. My cat still has minor problems on occasion, but they seem to coincide with my own sinus allergies. I know how frustrating pet allergies can be - I wish you the best of luck in tracking down the source.

Are you sure it's an allergy?  Certainly that's likely, but then again I've seen it over-diagnosed.  (My dad's cat had bald patches over his eyes and the vet insisted it was a food allergy.  Many bags of expensive specialty cat food later, my dad happened to notice one day that the other cat was nibbling the first cat's hair off.)

My dog tends to scratch a lot (although not obsessively) and, having itchy dry skin myself, I just assumed it was the dry NM climate.  We frequently splash a tablespoon or two of olive oil on her food, and it seems to help (in addition to making her drool).  We also limit the amount that we bathe her (fortunately, she's an indoor dog), and use a very gentle, moisturizing shampoo.  Just some simple and cheap things to try, just in case, before you jump to the more expensive solutions.

On baths in particular:  if it's a skin condition of some sort, frequent baths might be a good idea.  However, if it's simple dry skin due to climate or diet, any dermatologist will tell you that the fewer baths the better...

Is the condition aggravated during the indoor heating months and is your dog an indoor dog?

Many dogs, especially terriers and terrier-mixes - have skin probloems and allergies are a common reason, though I am sure other factors could be at play. But remember that allergies come from both what is ingested and from the environment in general. So it might not be only the diet that is at issue (though that is a good place to start and you can control it). Mites, air quality, etc. could all result in allergic reactions, the manifestation of which could be itchy and irritated skin.

There is a vet in town who is holistic in her approach, advocates the "wild dog" types of diets and has some specialized experience in diet-related problems. Her link is here: http://www.allcreaturesha.com/Nutrition/Nutrition.html

Poke around on the site and if you feel the need, make an appointment. But you are not alone - I bet you can still get some good info online as to additional options (and here in this forum) as so many people have dogs (and cats) with skin related issues.

we have a rescue dog who also suffers from skin problems and while we've made some changes that have helped (food with fish oil, gentle oatmeal shampoo), one of his issues is psychological: nervous nibbling/itching, which can sometimes lead to him scratching or chewing a sore into his skin that we then have to watch for infection. a kong or other chew toy helps redirect his attention and ease some of his discomfort. your dog's problems might be entirely physical, but it's worth exploring if it gives her some relief.

We have a little dog we got from Juarez 5 years ago, she had open sores that would come and go she went nuts itching. It wasn't until we took her to the Animal Healing Center with Dr. Anette Sheffield that we got it under control. Now she is fine. The overall treatment centered around her digestion, not her skin. Digestion works it way out through the skin. Lots and lots of acidophilis and green foods, with chicken, no beef. There was herbs and Chinese meds. as well, but worth every cent, as she is healthy now. It may very well be a systemic yeast infection, which is what our dog had. Prednisone may be like adding fuel to the fire.

Thanks for all the replies.

I have been considering a raw food diet, we did determine it's not mange (mites), we're doing the weekly baths with special shampoo (seems to help), give her kelp supplement (recommended and her coat looks great), and I've wondered if the problem might not be psychological. She's a German Shephard, probably around 2 years old and certainly was neglected if not mistreated. It's too bad we'll never know her story. Thanks again, particularly for the sites and vet recommendations.


  O1P again.  Our dog was (she recently passed on) a GS as well, so maybe there is something in the breed and this part of the country that makes them scratch.  I will also add we gave our dog a dollop or two of Omega Fatty Acid 3-6-9, you can get it at Sunflower.  We bought the raw short ribs from Smiths.  Every now and then a Byndrel. It was nice to ween her off the meds, it seemed alot like just pumping chemicals into her.

Shelbe was a good dog who enjoyed life.

Cheers, Mi3ke

One last comment - dogs and cats do get behavioral disorders just like humans and many of them are genetically driven though trauma and other negative experiences can definitely trigger it as well. There is even something called Nervous Pointer Syndrome, for example. These things can lead to obsessive/comulsive behaviors including incessant scratching and biting. I really don't know what to do for this kind of situation, although dogs are sometimes prescribed medications just like humans (xanax and the like).


I suspect - as a total armchair vet (my brother and father, neither of whom live here, are vets, but I proclaim little more than cursory knowledge) - that the trauma is a factor in what your dog is experiencing. If so, I think you can expect it to subside or at least calm down with time in a stable loving home. Our dog, now 12, was terrified to come through the door, was scared of men (and especially men in hats!), freaked out when you touched him in certain places and other neuroses that were probably a combo of his breeding and trauma. But now, many years later, he is a great, lovable, friendly dog with only a few weird issues. Still, the kids poke and prod him pretty good and he is happy as can be.



We spent thousands of dollars trying to figure out what to do about itchy dogs, after we had a rescue dog in the house for a few months. We never determined the real cause, but the vets suspected mites (we had no tests that confirmed this). We put all the dogs on anti-heartworm medicine (the ivermectin stuff) and it cleared it up for everyone. No idea why.


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