My dog is so itchy! I can’t figure out why.
About my dog:
Her name is Bella. She’s about 6-7 years old. She’s either a Dachshund/Chihuahua mix or a Dachshund/Min Pin mix (I can see the Dachshund quite obviously, but I’ve been told both on the Chihuahua and Min Pin). I don’t know her background. I found her running loose on the road in May 2018. She was skinny, had obviously just weaned a litter, and was acting like she’d been abused.
About the itching:
The vet thought it might be a seasonal allergy, but the itching lasts year-round. When it wasn’t seasonal, the vet suggested it might be a flea allergy. We treated all the animals in the house, fogged the house, and haven’t seen any fleas whatsoever. Still itching. The vet then suggested we try changing the diet.
I tried Apoquel. It worked for the first two months and then she started itching again.
I tried adding coconut oil to her food; that didn’t help.
I also tried just giving her Benadryl twice a day. That has seemed to help the most, though she still itches very frequently.
I tried putting her on a yeast- and starch-free diet for 8 weeks; the itching got better for the first couple of weeks, then picked back up and stayed at the level it was before the diet.
I tried putting her on a vegetarian diet, thinking maybe she was allergic to some type of meat. The plan was to keep her on the vegetarian diet for 8 weeks and then slowly try different meats. The itching got a little better at the beginning of the diet but quickly picked back up again.
I also give her a cold-water bath once per week with oatmeal and sensitive/itchy skin shampoos. That helps a little bit for a few hours after the bath, but then she starts itching again.
She does get small rashes of tiny red bumps on her stomach/groin area. The itching seems to be mostly on her stomach and the backs of her front legs/armpit areas. She licks/bites her paws, hips, and tail (the whole tail, but mostly at the base).
Pretty much the only time she’s not itching is when she’s asleep. I feel so bad that she’s always having to scratch and lick, but I don’t know what’s wrong or how to fix it. Any help/ideas/advice would be greatly appreciated!
Hi TIIRks, I'm sorry your sweet dog is going through this. It's a hard thing to see a dog going through severe itching/allergies.
We had a German Shepherd who suffered horribly from allergies, all year long. Worse in the spring/summer than fall/winter (we lived in SE FL at the time.) In the summer her allergies were so bad that the side of her nose actually bled! Her ears were red, as well as her tummy, and her feet.
The only suggestion at the time the vet had was Benadryl. It didn't do anything other than make us feel like we were doing something for her, but didn't help much.
I happened to take our other dog to a different homeopathic vet for a 2nd opinion on an illness. While talking with him I mentioned our other dog's allergies and he suggested 1) wipe off her ears, face, legs and feet ever time she came inside from outside and 2) Clean the floors daily (we had tiles and wood laminate throughout the house.)
Then my husband did some online research. Here's what he came up with:
1. As the vet suggested we wiped her off, every single time she came in from outside.
2. I swept, or vacuumed the floors daily. I washed them (with swifter wet jet) at least every other day, usually daily.
3. It is controversial but we bathed her once a week to get the allergens off of her. We were running out of options. We alternated the shampoo that was an anti itch shampoo from the vet with the following week a gentle organic shampoo.
4. Twice during the week we gently hosed her off outside to get the allergens off her. No shampoo.
5. I brushed her daily. Every morning, and usually every night. She loved this! It was our special time just the two of us. Her coat also became so soft, shiny and healthy.
6. This wasn't from the vet, or online - but we had an aloe plant growing outside. I cut a piece off, wrapped it in foil, and stuck it in the fridge. I cut off a piece, cut it in half and gently rubbed her BRIGHT RED tummy.
All of these things together made a dramatic, positive improvement for our sweet girl. She was finally able to come out with us on the lanai on a regular basis and enjoy being with us and our other two dogs.
Maybe some of these things, or a combination will be helpful for you and your dog. I wish you the best with this. It's hard to see a dog we love go through this.
Try to use the best dog shampoo that does not contain any acid or harmful products. Because like humans dogs skin is also sensitive and they do need some extra care. If that also won't work kindly consider some professionals who can give you the best advice.
Sorry to hear about your pup! I have a friend who went through a very, very similar experience with her dog. After months and months of trying different diets for her dog to see if food was an issue, they sort of lost hope and tried to accept that she was a dog who lived with allergies.
My partner who works at a vet clinic, recommended that she try finding a vet who could do a complete allergen test for her dog. The cost is not cheap (in Texas she paid ~$500 for the test) but the results were pretty awesome to see.
She was provided with a detailed chart of the different allergens her dog could be allergic to; everything from different types of grass to different food. From the chart she found out her dog was allergic to COTTON! Her pitbull mix, Bristol absolutely LOVES to lay under the covers all day so through the allergy report, she found out a lot of useful information.
I understand the costs may be pretty high especially depending on where you live but my friend said they spent more money trying the different foods to see what she had a reaction to for a couple years vs. what she spent on the test and are already seeing a world of a difference in her dog's allergies and mood!
I've attached a couple screenshots of what the test results looked like in case you're curious. Best of luck!
Just happened to check out the forum and saw your post about Bella. We are in the midst of a similar situation. Last summer we adopted a rescue. He had severe anxiety plus allergies. ears, bare spots, itching, scratching, licking..the works. We took him to a holistic vet who had us bath him daily with Head & Shoulders..lather leave on 10 min. The baths are down to 2 per week and we're using a new shampoo just found. It's from a place called "Aroma Paws". A cruelty free company with extensive choice for shampoos and grooming. We ordered Lavender/Chamomile Itch shampoo and also Rosemary/Tea Tree Oil which is suppose to be for yeast which we're not positive he has but thought played a part altho vet think not. In addition both shampoos also have numerous other scents or oils added. So far we've used the Rosemary/Chamomile and still not actually believing it but it seemed to work some. Not totally but only used twice so far. The further from bathing the worse the itching.
Like you we've tried all sorts of food. We're on the 5th online human grade fresh food place. Have at ton of rejected food in our freezer. (He's also super picky) Was on Apoquel for 2 years before we got him (he's 7). Papers said it "helped somewhat."
The holistic vet gave him a shot of Cytopoint a biologic for allergies. Expensive but for him it worked like magic. Same day huge reduction in itching. Next day it was gone. Stayed that way 5 months. Altho vet says in her experience it will only last 8 weeks so his lack of itching was?? I've read others experiences and some were like ours. It's not suppose to have the severe side effects like Apoquel can but in my opinion nothing is totally safe. Have read some not so good reviews but still more good than bad. Problem is continued use lead to antibody buildup and then it stops working which was apparently what happen. He got a second shot when he started itching. It barely helped. Our vet thinks it's both food/environmental.
Vet put him on homeopathic antihistamines, Quercetin with stinging nettle another antihistamine. Digestive enzymes. Plus we've been trying Chinese Herbs. So far some helped but not enough. Still trying but I do have hope as one of our cats has made a huge turnaround with her severe chronic respiratory disease..ER visits etc. Antibiotics to where it was one or two weeks off with a month on etc. Going downhill. With the herbs and an immune support supplement she's doing great now. Gained weight, frisky. We do have to give antibiotic periodically but it's so infrequent. So we just need to find the right combo for Gunner.
Right now he's much better but still licking/itching sometime during the day. Vet said if it's 4/10 then they need immediate help. We're still searching for a good quality food that he will want to eat. Hoping that with a steady diet of a protein he may not be allergic to. It's limited for him as the vet said..pork, rabbit, venison, possible turkey. No chicken, beef, lamb etc.
I've got a lot of info if you're interested as far as what he's taken, tried what worked/not..vet info sheets. You may find something worthwhile that would help your Bella. Am afraid this will be too long if I start into it so if there's a way you and I could communicate otherwise I'd be willing...even if you just want to unload as I realize how frustrating it can be and how helpless you feel when you can't help them.
Understand we can communicate privately but not sure how to go about it. I'll have to search around here.
PS. Look up vinegar rinse using unfiltered raw..a brand we get is Braggs. We tried it when the idea he might have yeast came up altho believe it's good even if not. (He's always got a sort of oily skin even with all the baths. A smell not doggy which is why I thought yeast?) Anyway couldn't hurt so gave one after shampooing. He didn't like but since have done more and not seems to be ok with it. His coat wow..it was shiny before after a few months but full of dry flaky skin probably all that shampooing with H&S. In any case it's practically gone after a few rinses. Not using now as the new shampoo seems to do the same.
Sorry this got long anyway.