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What to do with a dog that has itchy dry skin

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  • What to do with a dog that has itchy dry skin

    My 5 yo Golden Retreiver has been having a horrible time lately with itching herself raw. Normally I treat this with a topical from the pet store, but it's not helping anymore. I'm looking for any suggestions - I'd like to avoid another vet visit and steroids.

    A little recent history... Seems this started when the weather changed and the heat came on. She also enjoyed playing in the piled leaves as we were trying to bag them. Took her to see the vet in early December - Vet put her on Prednisone and Antibiotics and she cleared up great is short order.

    Now this past week she has started again. Weather has been back and forth so heat has been on and off (some January!). I've been giving her Antihistamines as the vet told I could use for the itching, but it's only slightly helping. I've added Fish oil to her food as recommended and gave her Flea topical a little early when she first started to seem itchy. I've not seen any signs of fleas, but she has always been very reactive to their bites, and with this mild winter I don't doubt they are still around outside.

    I have an oatmeal shampoo, but I'm afraid to go there - she seemed much worst last time I tried that to try to help.

    At this point I guess I should apologize for the book, but really hope someone who has conquered this will chime in and offer some ideas.

    My planned next step is to change her food. Hubby picked up some IAMS Naturals. It states it's good for Itching/sensitive skin.

    Does anyone have any other ideas?

  • #2
    What are you feeding her? I would start with a limited ingredient diet with a novel protein, grain free for starters. Not Iams.

    Comment


    • #3
      My own German Shepherd Dog has food allergies, and I have fostered a few other Shepherds that have had the same problem. One had been left unaddressed so long that his lower half body was hairless and the skin had thickened a great deal from years of scratching.

      I would take a serious look at food issues. And it doesn't surprise me that a vet would miss it. I was amazed at how little vets knew about food.

      Iams would not be a good choice. Try a grain free kibble, such as Solid Gold's Barking At The Moon or Taste Of The Wild.
      Sheilah

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      • #4
        Her diet is very important. What is she eating?

        Comment


        • #5
          If you find it's not a food allergy, try giving your dog a human fish-oil supplement, or a flaxseed oil supplement. They come in a gel capsule.

          My old dog would get flakey dry skin from the heat being on and the dry air. He didn't have any problem with his food (he was getting home-cooked - brown rice, ground beef, and veggies), just dry skin, and a couple of these in his dinner would take care of it in a week or 2. I think there probably wasn't enough fat in his home cooked food. He had a very sensitive stomach and chicken or turkey/sensitive food would give him the poops.

          It got to the point that I would put him on the gelcaps in November and he'd be on them until spring.

          Comment


          • #6
            We have a rescue Lab who came to us with a myriad of allergy related problems (ears, eyes, anal glands and general foot chewing). What has been helpful was to put him on a no grain diet (we use Orijen 6 fish), a capsule of Triple Omega thrown right into the food, and an occasional Benadryl also in the food. That said, it's not 100% but there's been quite an improvement. when Orijen' Alberta plant kitchen burned a while ago, I was scrambling to find something similar. But they are now up and running again. Our other dog is a Lab/Shepherd mix and he has a touchy stomach (especially after being struck with salmonella from the Taste of the Wild/Diamond plant debacle this past spring). He's also doing well on the Orijen.

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            • #7
              I feed my very sensitive collie Wellness Simple Ingredients. Food allergies are the easiest to address. Try a novel protein like duck or fish with potato first...give it a month or so. Then, there's testing and allergy shots.

              Comment


              • #8
                My dog is going to the vet this week for this exact same problem. It gets worse when she is shedding, I noticed. She already eats a grain free food, but I am going to switch her to a novel protein. I imagine the vet will want to give steroids and I am ok with that short term, benadryl makes her very sleepy and depressed. Lately, too, she has been acting nauseous, I don't know if it's from all the hair she's ingesting or something else. Did your vet offer a medicated shampoo or anything like that for the itching?
                My blog: Crackerdog Farm

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                • #9
                  Have you checked to rule out hypothyroidism? That can cause those signs too....

                  I agree though, it's time for more of a workup to know what you're treating rather than just giving more steroids/etc.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Try an alternative protein, grain free food that doesn't use beef, chicken or lamb. Taste of the wild pascif salmon is reasonably priced.

                    Get tested for low thyroid.

                    Wash in Microtek anti itch shampoo. Dry thoroughly.

                    Oatmeal shampoos haven't ever worked for me, whereas the Microtek is awesome.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      My dog has outdoor and food allergies. I give him a dallop of RAW LOCAL SEASONAL HONEY in this food each morning. Just like humans dogs benefit from the honey when it comes to allergies.




                      ETA I am not yelling, I just wanted to make it clear what works for me.
                      www.facebook.com/doggonegoodgoodies
                      http://doggonebakedgoods.com/

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                      • Original Poster

                        #12
                        Originally posted by jetsmom View Post
                        Try an alternative protein, grain free food that doesn't use beef, chicken or lamb. Taste of the wild pascif salmon is reasonably priced.

                        Get tested for low thyroid.

                        Wash in Microtek anti itch shampoo. Dry thoroughly.

                        Oatmeal shampoos haven't ever worked for me, whereas the Microtek is awesome.
                        Thanks for all the replies. Going to switch food to grain free and see if there is improvement.

                        I never thought of Microtek Have that on hand will give it a try.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          If it's seasonal it may be environmental and the only way to know for sure is allergy testing, done by a veterinary dermatologist. Serum testing is not nearly as accurate as intradermal skin testing.
                          Life-long horse lover, dreaming of the day when I have one of my very own.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Oh, I feel your pain! Just had my GSD to the vet, poor guy has a horrible ear infection and overall inflammation and itching. He's now on steroids, anti-fungal, anti-biotics, and two types of ear drops. And he is indeed hypothyroid, and we're getting his T4 levels checked to make sure his current thyroid med dose is correct.

                            I'm feeding him Fromm's grain free salmon and duck, but the vet suggested we may have to do more than that. I've got an order in for Royal Canin skin supplement food (whitefish and rice), and we'll try that for a month to see if that works. If not, we've got to start looking into allergies. Vet told me that a serum allergy test will run about $300, while an intradermal test at a veterinary dermatologist will cost $2800 !

                            I am just SO frustrated - this dog was a stray, and when I rescued him he was yeast-infested and underweight. Got the thyroid issue figured out, got the yeast under control, and all was well. Then about a month ago, he started shedding hair, his belly skin got blackened, and he started itching. I shampooed, I brushed, I upped the thyroid meds, and he just kept getting worse. I can only assume that allergies are contributing.

                            Sorry, just venting, and I'm getting a lot of good suggestions from this thread.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              We have a little handicapped rescue frenchie who arrived to us with a myriad of problems including food allergies, seizures, dry skin etc. We've had a great experience feeding Blue Buffalo - wilderness formula (grain free) in Salmon with 1 tablespoon of fish oil with each meal. Per our vet she also gets 1 Benadryl am & pm. Since starting this regimen we've seen a big improvement.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                how long a trial?

                                I have an itchy pup too. For those of you that have had success with fish oil, various foods, honey, etc., how long did you try each remedy before deciding it did/didn't work and moving on to something else? I've switched my pup's food and haven't seen a change in a week; should I wait another few weeks?

                                Thanks!

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Galloping:

                                  There are many potential causes for itchiness.

                                  Low humidity due to forced heat in the home.

                                  Too little fats in the diet. (adding fish oil can help--takes 4-6 weeks IME to see improvement)

                                  Allergies--typically seen on paws, belly, etc. Depends on whether it's a food allergy (usually see ears/feet) or an environmental one to say, cleaners, fabric softener, etc), or flea--typically seen on the rump area.

                                  Thyroid issues can cause skin problems. Simple blood test.

                                  Seasonal allergies--dogs can be allergic to various plants just like us.

                                  Really the best bet is to go visit with your veterinarian and see what he/she recommends.

                                  Best wishes.
                                  A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

                                  Might be a reason, never an excuse...

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by gallopingmouse View Post
                                    I have an itchy pup too. For those of you that have had success with fish oil, various foods, honey, etc., how long did you try each remedy before deciding it did/didn't work and moving on to something else? I've switched my pup's food and haven't seen a change in a week; should I wait another few weeks?

                                    Thanks!
                                    Do a slow changeover from the dog's normal food to a grain free alternative protein (no beef, lamb or chicken) over a 2 week period. Then give it about another 6 weeks to see a difference. Make sure you aren't feeding treats with grain or common proteins.

                                    Also do try the Microtek Anti itch shampoo. It really does work great.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Grain proteins really aren't the top of the list for food allergies though.

                                      I think a veterinary consult would be the best first step, don't you?
                                      A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

                                      Might be a reason, never an excuse...

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        I was trying to avoid taking her to the vet, but I suppose it's time. Despite being super itchy all the time, she wasn't really itching herself "raw". Her poor ears are starting to get scratched up now, though. Tried a medicated shampoo and conditioner, and switched her to a sweet potato/venison diet; no luck so far. I'm actually just worried that I'll get the "there's nothing we can really do" answer, which is why I was trying to experiment beforehand!

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