10 Remedies To Help Alleviate Dog Skin Problems

Stetson was career changed 2 months after he started his formal guide dog training for being a bit of  a softy (I’m not really sure what that means).  We were happy to adopt Stetson, but shortly after bringing him back home he started to have some dog skin problems.  At the time our veterinarian told us that it was dog skin allergies and he wasn’t sure exactly what was causing them.  Stetson was given some Prednisone (steroids) and that seemed to clear up his skin for a little while.

Year after year Stetson has had these same skin allergies.  The good news is depending on the season the allergies seem to go from better to worse to better again.  We’ve tried our share of allergy remedies and some have proven very effective while others have not.

After another expensive visit to the vet we decided to push forward with a full on dog skin allergy assault by combining all the different remedies recommended by our vet and religiously following them for the course of at least 3 months.

What Are Stetson’s Dog Allergy Symptoms?

As I mentioned earlier the severity of Stetson’s dog skin allergies varies depending on the season, but pretty much year round you’ll find Stetson chewing on his paws.  During certain parts of the year Stetson will also get little scabs on his chest and belly.  We’ll also sometimes notice flakey dry skin on his back and across most of the rest of his body.

As you can see in the picture below Stetson’s back paw is red (maybe more pinkish) and irritated (it sometimes looks a little bit scabby too)

Dog Skin Problems Pictures of Paws

Sorry Stetson…not your most glamorous shot…

A recap of Stetson’s allergy symptoms:

  • Chews on his paws and his paws are sometimes scabby.
  • Scabs on his belly and chest area.
  • On Stetson’s back and other parts of his body flakey and dried out skin.
  • Also, I’ve heard that Stetson’s ear infections may also be a result of his doggy allergies.

Our veterinarian said that some people like to keep an itch calendar/chart to track how itchy their dog is on any given day.  The point is to show if certain seasons or types of weather are causing your dog’s allergies.

This last weeks vet bill was the final strike! (plus we don’t like seeing Stetson itching all the time).  Here’s a list of remedies we plan on trying all at once to finally alleviate Stetson of his dog skin problems.

Stetson’s 10 Remedies For Treating Dog Skin Problems

Before Stetson's Dog Skin Allergy Symptoms

Before Stetson’s Dog Skin Allergy Symptoms

Okay, so we won’t be implementing all 10 of these remedies all at once because the first 2 are medications we’ve already tried and had success with Stetson and his dreadful allergy problems.  However, my issue with the first 2 remedies are the side effects (especially long term) on your dog.

#1 Steroids (Prednisone)

The first time we noticed Stetson was having skin allergy problems the vet prescribed Prednisone which is a steroid.  I know what you’re thinking…steroids!? Did he starting lifting weights, get humongous, does he get angry easily?  Nope!  And he’s not trying out for doggy olympics either (he’d probably get banned for using steroids).

The steroids worked great and cleared up his scabby, flakey skin.  However, one side effect was Stetson was drinking lots of water and peeing a lot.  He actually stayed with my brother for a few nights while I was on vacation and had an accident in the house :(  The vet told us that extended use could lead to liver and kidney damage.  Our vet also said that because the steroid suppresses the immune system Stetson would be more susceptible to getting sick.  Overall this was not a long term solution.

#2 Atopica

A couple years ago we tried Atopica with Stetson.  This prescription medication also worked and after about a month Stetson had a nice shiny coat again!  However there were some definite drawbacks to using Atopica.

  1. Cost – it cost close to $300 a month to use Atopica.  The price comes down a little as you adjust the dosage, but I think I estimated it would cost me nearly $200 a month to keep Stetson on Atopica.  I have recently seen that they carry Atopica at Costco, but I haven’t looked at the pricing.
  2. Side Effects – I’m not too sure what all the side effects are with Atopica, but Stetson was Nauseas for a couple hours every day he took the meds.  He would vomit about every other time I gave him the capsule.  Our vet said if we try it again to freeze the pills to help with the nausea.
  3. Suppressed Immune System – Atopica like the steroids suppresses the immune system which makes Stetson more susceptible to illness.
  4. Long term side effects – Our vet again warned us against possible liver and kidney problems down the line.  Although he did say this medication is much more mild then the steroids.

Atopica really seems to help with dog skin problems, but the side effect plus cost really made me re-think our long term solution for Stetson’s allergies.

We therefore asked the vet for some other remedies that might help Stetson and his skin allergies.  The rest of this list consists of the things we plan on doing for the next 3 months to help alleviate Stetson’s allergies.

#3 Weekly bathing

I had always heard that you shouldn’t bathe your dog more than once a month because it can be bad for your dog’s skin.  Apparently dog’s don’t produce natural oils like humans.  However, my vet recommended weekly bathing and assured me that it would be okay for Stetson’s skin as long as I used a good dog shampoo (never use a human shampoo).

#4 Baby wipe feet

Every time we go out on a walk Stetson’s paws get exposed to all different kinds of possible allergens in the environment.  Stetson’s paws are one of his big problems.  When his allergies are flaring he chews on his paws regularly.  In fact, he licks them so much that not only does the fur fall off, but when he stayed with a friend they thought he had a potty accident on the bed (he was actually just licking his paws and made a nice round wet mark on their comforter).

We bought some baby wipes from Costco and plan on wiping down his paws every time he comes in the house.  This is probably good dog hygiene too.

#5 Flea meds

One of the possible skin allergy culprits are fleas!  In the past we’ve used topical solutions like Advantage II (affiliate link) and Frontline Plus (affiliate link).  However, we only used it seasonly.  Our vet recommended that we apply flea meds to Stetson religiously once a month to keep the fleas away.  My mom’s cat has severe flea allergies so this could solve our problems.

#6 Grain free food

Our vet said we could try switching dog foods and to try a novel grain free food.  We’ve been thinking about changing dogs foods for a while so there’s no better time then now to make the switch.

We’re looking to change our dogs over to Canidae Grain Free Pure Sky (affiliate link).  Have you guys tried a good grain free food that helps with dog skin allergies?  If so, let me know what you’re feeding your pups in the comment section below.

#7 Fish oil

Derby our second guide dog puppy in training was having some skin problems.  I’m not sure if it was allergies or just dry skin.  The GDA vet gave us a bottle full of fish oil capsules to help his skin issues.  However, our current vet had never offered this as a solution to Stetson’s allergies.  I asked our vet if this would help and he said that it could and told me to try giving Stetson one fish oil capsule a day.   Fish oil is probably something I (the human) should be taking as well for my own general health.

Fish oil is another item you can buy from Costco in bulk…maybe Stetson and I will share a bottle :)

#8 Benadryl

One of our friends who is a vet tech recommended trying Benadryl for Stetson’s allergies.  Our vet also recommended 75 mg of Benadryl twice a day.  He said the side effects are Stetson might be a little more lethargic than normal, but it could help.  He said that it helps about 1 out of 4 dogs with their allergies so if it works to consider myself lucky.

#9 Clean House

Our vet said to also try and keep the house as clean as possible.  This makes it less likely that Stetson will pick up an allergen inside the house.  Even an air filter could help his allergies.  I’m not the tidiest of people so I’m going to schedule daily cleanup to try and help Stetson and his allergies.

#10 Vinegar And Water

This is a home remedy that my Aunt told me to try that she said successfully worked with her Great Pyrenees  and Italian Greyhounds.  Mix equal parts apple cider vinegar and fresh water into a plastic spray bottle.  Spray on your dog daily to help with your dogs itching.

I’m not too sure where she got this information from because she’s not in the veterinarian field so it’s probably something she either heard from her vet or from a friend/family member.  So please tread with caution if you try this solution.  I will probably give it a try as a last resort.

Check with your vet before trying any of these dog skin allergy remedies.  I got the majority of this information after a lengthy discussion with my vet to see what I could do to help alleviate Stetson of his dog skin problems.

Dog skin problems have been the bane of Stetson’s existence since he came home from Guide Dog College.  I’m hoping these remedies will make him feel a little less itchy.  If not, our next option is allergy testing.

How about you?  Do you have an itchy dog with skin problems?  Do you have any good home remedies or advice that works for you and your dog?

Comments

  1. says

    I would recommend using safflower oil either in addition to or to replace the fish oil. It’s much more effective (and cheaper). It is in the grocery store near the olive/cooking oils and I just pour a table spoonish size on my allergy prone dog’s food 1x a day. (It’s also good for the human). That, in addition to the benadryl or clariton on really bad days, and the vinegar and water and sometimes covering her feet in muttlucks when I need to leave her for several hours at a time is a good mix.

    • says

      Hi Lisa,

      Thanks for the extra tips to help prevent dog skin allergies. I’m hoping one of these remedies will help relieve Stetson of his itching.

      Take care,
      Colby

  2. Denise says

    a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar in your water bowl helps balance the PH helps with ear infections. but PITs can’t have it so I can’t do it here right now with Honey.

    • says

      Hi Denise,

      Well, as soon as we’re done puppy sitting Journey we can try this remedy because we won’t have any PIT’s in the house. We’re going to work on the other remedies first. Thanks for sharing.

      Take care,
      Colby

  3. Jill says

    I’ve had wonderful luck resolving allergy issues like red spots on her stomach and itchy paws with my lab. I now feed her Natural Balance sweet potato and venison kibble and she takes Hydroxyz twice a day. She’s much happier and so am I…and it’s affordable. The meds are cheaper when I get them at my pharmacy.

    • says

      Jill posted on our Facebook page. I’m not sure if you’ll read this Jill, but thank you for telling us your solution for your pup’s allergies.

  4. says

    Oh poor Stetson,

    I sure hope you can find a cure for him :)

    I know I moan about weekly baths, but really I’ve had no side effects from mine and I’ve had them since I was a pup – my Mum uses Biogroom Oatmeal Shampoo as it’s good for frequent washing.

    I also have Costco Grain Free Food – it’s a lot cheaper than lots of others and I like it :)

    I’ve never suffered from allergies, but I’ve been on Grain-Free from the start, always had baths each week and always had Flea Treatment, so we don’t know if I’d have had allergies if we didn’t do these things.

    I hope you work out a good solution for Stetson,

    Big Wags to all

    Your pal Snoopy :)

    • says

      Hi Snoopy!

      Thanks for the great tips! I’m going to check out the Biogroom Oatmeat Shampoo for Stetson. I went to PetSmart the other day and there were so many shampoo options I had not idea which one to choose. I’m thinking about trying Canidae Grain Free Sky for Stetson, but we also took a look at the Costco Grain Free Food too.

      Hopefully Stetson stops itching after all of these remedies. We’ll let you know how it goes.

      Take care,
      Colby

  5. Marilyn says

    Hi Colby,

    Oh, do I feel for you! Snowie, our yellow lab puppy, began scratching after he got stung by a bee. The vet didn’t think there was a correlation, but it definitely was a coincidence that after he had such a bad reaction to the bee sting (swollen eyes and non-stop scratching for two days, and crying and madly trying to run away from the itching — terrible experience for me!!), he continued to scratch. He drew blood under his arms from scratching so much. This happened from 2 months until about 5 months.

    Then a vet recommended Flax Seed Oil in his food and it made such a difference to his dry skin. He might’ve been scratching due to dry skin. The little pimples on his stomach (that the vet thought was impetigo) disappeared, and his fur became silky smooth. It also grew back under his armpits, and more grew on his stomach, although I’m not sure if that is a age thing, that his fur grows thicker on the stomach. I also wiped the itchy areas with a cotton ball soaked first in water and then apple cider vinegar, and that provided relief.

    We also changed his food. He was on Hills Large Breed Puppy, and we changed to Eukanuba but his poos were very bulky and soft, and then we changed finally to Royal Canin Lab Puppy, and his scratching definitely reduced to what seems like the normal odd scratching now and then. I wanted to change to Orijen, which is rated as the best grain-free pellet, but it is just so expensive, so we decided to stick with Royal Canin (half the price) unless Snowie got worse.

    At 6 months (he is now 7 months), I replaced his midday meal with a raw meaty pork bone, which he loves, and which keeps him occupied for about 45 minutes, and then he chews on the bit of bone that remains for the rest of the afternoon — and it has protected our furniture from being chewed! His teeth are also magnificently clean.

    I also add about half a cup of raw spinach (or other greens) to his pellets morning and night, and at night I chop up a tiny amount of garlic (a few slivers), which the vet said was good for his immunity (and I wonder if it repels the fleas).

    I am a strong believer that a pellet is not a healthy option for a dog, but rather a convenient option for us humans. Would you eat biscuits your whole life, with no added fresh ingredients, and expect to be healthy? I also believe our vets are biased to dry dog food — just take a look at their consulting rooms: the walls are lined to the ceiling with bags of dog food. It’s a great way for them to generate income. The only vet I met who felt raw dog food (raw meaty bones etc) are best for your dog was the vet who was a locum when my regular vet was away — she doesn’t run a practice and has no vested interest in selling dog food. From what I’ve read, vets get a lot of money from the dog manufacturers for promoting their processed dog food.

    In time, I want to get Snowie onto a fully raw diet. Yesterday he got a raw chicken carcass for breakfast, which took him about half an hour to eat vs the 2 minutes to vacuum up his pellets. And for lunch the raw meaty pork bone. He also got a raw carrot and a raw apple as snacks, which he loves to crunch. (Both my husband and I are vegetarian, so the stalling of the raw diet is because we have difficulty in handling all this meat.) BTW a raw diet is also cheaper than feeding processed pellets!

    Since eating the raw meaty bones, his poos are small and hard, and I believe the hard poos prevent anal sac problems.

    I do notice that on the occassion he has stolen food he should not eat (bread off the kitchen counter when he’s visiting my mother), his eyes get gooey, which I assume are part of the allergic reaction. Since eating more raw food, his eyes are much brighter.

    I know I’ve rambled, but the point I’m trying to make is that I am sure we could prevent the dog skin allergy problems if we feed our dogs a predominantly, if not solely, raw food diet. Processed food is not good for humans, and I strongly believe it’s no good for dogs, either. Pellets are processed food. There is a ton of information on feeding raw food to dogs on the internet, and Ian Billinghurst, a vet, has written books on feeding raw food to dogs. I take Snowie to training at the Cape Province Dog Club (in Cape Town, South Africa), and the trainers I have spoken to all feed their dogs raw food. In fact, I buy the raw bones from the dog club. (If you are interested, I can send you a link to one of the trainer’s web sites where she spells out what to feed your dog — she makes it very easy and dispels all fears.)

    I don’t want to tell you what to do — particularly since what works for us might not work for you. But I so want to say: feed Stetson raw food and see if it helps his allergies!

    Warm regards,
    Marilyn

    • says

      Hi Marilyn,

      Thanks so much for the reply. I actually have thought about moving Stetson to a raw food diet. However, I haven’t done the research yet, but I will if Stetson’s allergies return. He’s actually doing very well right now and hasn’t been itching at all. I’m hoping these 10 remedies are helping. I’ll have to add the Flax Seed Oil and Raw Food diet to my list.

      If Stetson’s allergies do return you’ll probably start seeing blog posts about how to move your dog to a raw food diet. Please send me the link to the trainer’s website. I’d love to read a little more about raw food diets.

      Thanks!
      Colby

      • Marilyn says

        Hi Colby,

        I would think Flax Seed Oil would go with #7 Fish Oil, both being oils and both containing omega 3 and 6 (and 9?). I prefer using cold pressed oil straight out the bottle instead of in capsules as I’ve been told by a microbiologist that the heat required to get the oil into capsules (I don’t know why heat, but sometimes it’s easier and quicker to believe than do a whole lot of more research!!) destroys the oil structure and therefore the benefit. Interestingly, the health shop from where I buy the flax seed oil sells it in bottles specially for animals. When I asked why “specially for animals”, the sales person phoned the manufacturer who said the flax seed for animals is more bitter than for humans, and therefore cheaper. I tried both — the nicer tasting for humans the bitter one for animals — and Snowie didn’t care which one, so he gets the cheaper one.

        Here is the link to the trainer’s website: http://www.dogzathome.co.za/barf.html. She makes up the ground food for dogs who have no teeth or for people who are afraid to feed their dogs bones. But she recommends bones instead because she says dogs need to chew to release stress, to alleviate boredom, and to release feel-good hormones (serotonin and endorphins I presume).

        I also wipe Snowie’s feet after he’s been outside, but that’s only to clean them cos he likes to get onto the furniture! I just use a wet tea towel. I’m loathe to use more chemicals on him, and my feeling is that baby wipes just contain more chemicals to add to the itchiness. I know they’re supposed to be gentle for babies but so far the wet tea towel has served its purpose.

        Enjoy your raw food research, and I look forward to hearing your opinions!

        Regards,
        Marilyn

        • says

          Thanks for the additional information. I believe you are correct regarding the flax seed oil and #7 Fish Oil. I’m going to see if I can find flax seed oil specifically for animals as well.

          You’re probably right about the baby wipes as well. I’ll take a look at the link and see how everything goes for Stetson in the coming months.

          Take care,
          Colby

          • Marilyn says

            Hallo again Colby,

            Are you still struggling with Steton’s allergies?

            Snowie was fine for ages until he got fleas in Jan this year. I wasn’t using anti flea stuff cos they are so toxic and he didn’t have fleas. But the Jan (summer here) brought an infestation of fleas and I think I took too long to deal with them and their biting gave him terrible itching. It is now April and he is still scratching terribly. His diet is all raw (no more pellets at all) and he is thriving on the raw diet. But this scratching!!!! I am told, aside from the fleas, the changing of the seasons (we are moving into winter) brings on a lot of allergies. So yesterday I gave him half an Allergex tablet (it’s antihistamine, for humans mainly, but given to animals, too). I think it made him very sleepy. I was told one tablet in the morning, one in the evening, but I decided to be cautious and try just a half. He slept right through the night (I didn’t hear any scratching) but he woke up scratching at 5.30am. I gave him another half this morning so hopefully he will stop scratching and chewing himself and, as a consequence, the itch will go away (I do think scratching and chewing exacerbate the problem).

            BTW I was told that Flax Seed Oil can cause hotspots in dogs cos it contains omega 6 (I think this was the reason given), so I have changed to salmon oil in capsules (omega 3 only) — although I am reminded from my earlier post that the capsules destroy the benefits of the oil! I will have to see if it comes in bottles!

            I am also taking Snowie to the doggie parlour to get dipped in a herbal dip — not toxic to dogs but gets rid of fleas. I did this three weeks ago and he came out silky smooth (got a blowdry and good brushing)! The fleas appeared to have gone, but then I saw one two days ago. I would do this myself but we don’t have a bath tub at home and he hates the shower. The parlour said he behaved very well! Anyway, I am happy for all his hair (he is moulting, too) to stay in their plug holes not mine :)

            Oh, I did use Frontline in Feb and Advantix in March for the fleas. I lost my resolve never to use that toxic stuff. But I won’t use them again, hear too many horror stories of using insecticides on dogs. And anyway, then there was the flea I saw two days ago!

            These poor babies and their scratching! If only they knew we devoted blog posts to them!!

          • says

            Ugghhh! I hate fleas. We had some issues with fleas a few years ago, but luckily haven’t had any problems since. Stetson has been doing well with his allergies and I think it coincided changing his diet. Right now I’m feeding him Wellness Core and Honest Kitchen which seems to be helping. He is also taking Salmon Oil and we tried pretty much everything else on this list, but since we did them all at once I’m not sure which one helped the most. Right now we’re actively doing #6 – Grain Free Food, #7 – Fish Oil, and #9 Keeping the house clean. Stetson’s skin allergies usually get worse in the spring so we’ll see how things go.

            I hope you get everything under control with the fleas. I can’t stand to see my pup’s itch.

      • says

        I will just add that if your not able to cook for your pet, consider Dr. Harvey’s or the Honest Kitchen – both are dehydrated raw foods that are affordable and convenient sources for a healthy diet and include the vitamins that all pups need. I feed my dogs Veg-to-Bowl and add a protein source which you can vary so they don’t get tired of their meals (i do mine cooked though – although raw is an option I’m sure.

  6. Lilah says

    My dog also has all the symptoms indicating allergies and we’ve had to even wrap her paws because she will lick them until they are raw and bleeding. Luckily Benadryl does help her but I’d like to find a more natural allergy remedy to help her so I appreciate your suggestions.

    • says

      Hi Lilah,

      Thanks for the link to the natural allergy remedies. So far Stetson is doing pretty well, but if he has an allergy relapse I’ll definitely start looking at some of the suggestions mentioned in this comment thread.

      Thanks so much!
      Colby

  7. says

    Thanks for all the great tips! I will definitely be trying some of these on Fred. I really think the idea of keeping baby wipes to wipe their feet when they come in is a good one. :)

    • says

      Yeah, I’ve been wiping Stetson’s feet for a few weeks now. His allergies have subsided, but I think the Prednisone is still helping. I’ll see how it goes over the next few months. Good luck with Fred!

  8. Tonja Green says

    Colby,
    I can not say enough good things about the grain free dog food, especially when it comes to allergies. I think that should be the first thing you try & I believe you will be very happy with the results. I am a groomer at a doggie daycare / boarding that also sells a good variety of organic dog food. I don’t know what you’re feeding now, but if it is a “national” brand (even Pedigree or Beneful which are better than most) the main (first ingredient listed) will most likely be a grain. Also, these contain by product which, if you aren’t aware of what that is…it’s just gross & basically empty fillers, like all the left over parts of the animal (beaks, feet etc…) . You will find with these organic dog foods, they use REAL FOOD like fruits, vegetables & real meat most, I believe are even suitable for human consumption & I have to admit that the apple treats I tried were pretty good! Because these foods are so much more nutritious, your dogs will actually eat less because they are more satisfied & aren’t getting basically a bunch of empty calories. This offsets the slightly higher price. Some are quite pricy, but there is a good selection that is only slightly higher than brands bought at your local supermarket or Walmart, Ok, not only are they much more nutritious, but, as far as allergies goes, I have seen for myself that the grain free varieties have had almost miraculous effects in dog after dog that have tried them. The tear staining that many light colored breeds get – goes away, as do most of their allergies, especially skin related allergies. I’ve seen dogs that were on daily medication for liver & thyroid conditions not even need medication anymore. I’m not trying to promote any specific brand, just simply the wonderful difference I’ve seen these better made pet foods make in so many dogs. If you would like more info, I can connect you with my boss who knows so much more about it all. Just let me know. I urge you to make the change & I’m surprised your vet didn’t suggest this sooner. Best wishes! Brands I can think of off the top of my head are: Fromm, Whole Earth Farms, Pure Vita, & Merrick.

    • says

      Hi Tonja,

      Thank you so much for the information and recommendations. I changed my dogs over to Canidae Grain Free Sky. I’ll take a closer look at those other brands you mentioned too. My vet actually didn’t mention grain free I brought it up and asked if he thought it would help with Stetson’s allergies. If your boss has more information on how to choose the right dog food I would love to hear it. I actually attended a conference a couple months back and one of the keynotes talked about reading dog food labels and how to decipher between different dog foods. It was very interesting and one of the reasons I decided to ask my vet whether I should switch foods.

      Again thanks so much for the information.

      Take care,
      Colby

  9. Sheila Treston says

    OMG Colby ~~you have described Walter! He was career changed from GDA for allergies at 17 months. He started developing them around a year old. Everything you have tried we have also! Next Monday he is going to a Vet specializing in dermatology. This was recommended by my vet ( who we love). Walter is currently on a low dose (25 mg daily) of Steroids~~only because I too am afraid of the long term effects. I think he has been on every antibiotic known! Fergie our 3 year old cc GDA pup had allergies/dry flaky skin and we switched her food to no grain salmon Great Life or Instinct. The food changed worked for her! She will occassionaly lick her paws , however her coat is silky like a baby! I will have to say with Fergie we went through many different types of food ( all no grain). We are hoping for some answers with the dermo vet. We will let you know. Also we went to daily baths recommended by GDA vet and now our vet. We use Epi-Soothe. The first four days Walter’s coat is soft again. Those scaly marks on the belly Walter had 2 months again and also on his back. After some cultures and 3 different antitibiotics we found Chloramphenicol. This cleared up the scaly dry patches. After a month he has them back and was placed backed on the same meds yesterday. That is why we decided to go the dermo vet direction. Walter also takes fish oil tablets twice a day. My house is all hardware floors and I sweep daily. Last night I just ordered a air purifier hoping for some good results with that. I think that will help with my allergies also. Walter has been on salmon no grain Great Life also and we recently switched to turkey no grain by Instinct. Have not found the magic food for him yet.
    I think these pups needs an allergy support group! ;)

    • says

      Hi Sheila,

      Maybe Walter and Stetson are related! Stetson’s allergies aren’t as bad right now. He’s been chewing on his paws, but his coat looks great. I’m going to take a trip to different vet to see if they have any other recommendations. Have you ever tried Honest Kitchen? I’m going to try moving Stetson to Honest Kitchen to see if it helps with his skin allergies and also his speed eating.

      Let me know how Walter’s dermo tests go. I hope you can find the source and relieve his allergies.

      Take care,
      Colby

  10. Laurel Schuman says

    Colby, I also installed an air filter in my condo that filters allergens. Benedryl was not helping so Dodger is on Atarax, a prescription. Allergy testing costs about $170 so you can find out what he is allergic to. They can then provide an antigen for those that score highest which you inject yourself. If I can do it, anyone can. Dodger was allergic to three grasses and several trees. I feed California Natural Grain Free Venison. There are some lamb varieties that are grain free but I stay away from them as I read somewhere that lamb was “hot”. Also, please check him for lumps. Dogs with allergies are very suseptible to Mast Cell which is what Dodger has.

    • says

      Hi Laurel,

      Thanks for stopping by! I think I might consider getting Stetson the allergy testing, but I’m not sure I can do the injections…I don’t like needles :( Thanks for letting me know about the different dog foods as well. Have you tried Honest Kitchen? I’m thinking about starting Stetson Honest Kitchen to see if it helps.

      Thanks!
      Colby

      • Carol says

        We have a yellow lab (2 yr) that gets into brush, weeds, tall grass & get welts on her (allergic reaction). I have a small spray bottle (1/4 cup or so) that I put pure water and about 8-10 drops of lavender essential oil in. It usually helps within 10-15 minutes. I only use doTerra oil – don’t use junk oils. I either spray on my hand first & apply to the dog, or spray on the dog shielding the spray away from her face. doTerra also makes a blend called Breathe which works well.

        • says

          Thank you for sharing the remedy. Luckily Stetson’s skin allergies are currently under control, but this is something I’ll have to try when they come back.

    • says

      Hi Desray!

      Thanks for sharing. I’m going to have to check it out. I wonder if they ship to the United States.

      Take care,
      Colby

  11. sabrina says

    Hi all. Wat wonderfull infomation. Our french bullmastif, ceaser is 1 and has had skin alkergies forever. We have had to keep him inside, bathed 2daily and changed his food regulary just to try and control the itch for him. Im xcited about trying some of these natural remidies as my vet bills have been getting into the thousands jyst to try bring him some relive.

    • says

      I know what you mean about the vet bills. I’ve had the same problem with Stetson. Currently, Stetson allergies are somewhat under control and I think it might have to do with the food we changed him to. I’m going to give it another month or two because his allergies usually worsen in the spring. Thanks for sharing your story.

  12. Susan says

    Hi Colby -

    Did Stetson’s allergies start “out of the blue”? We have a 1 year old Morkie – she began scratching/biting when we turned the heat on in December and just assumed she was reacting to the warm air. She has managed to scratch off a great deal of her hair and now bites. We took her to the vet and she is currently on a prescript antihistamine – not Benadryl due to her size. We changed her food but she started the scratching prior so we know it was brought on with the food change (Blue Buffalo, Duck Formula). My other three dogs are not experiencing the same issue. Vet is thinking allergies because we tried fish oil for two weeks with no change at all in her scratching (just a softer coat – at least what’s left of her coat). So, just curious if Stetson’s started out of the blue and if you noticed if he scratches more or less during the winter months. Thanks!

    • says

      Hi Susan,

      We usually notice more scratching in the Spring. When he was about 2 years old (he’s now 6) he started getting allergies. He would itch and lick his paws and during the bad months he’d get little scabs on his belly.

      Hopefully you can get your Morkie’s itching under control.

      Good luck,
      Colby

  13. Sherry says

    Hi there…
    I have a white Maltese/Shih-tzu mix and his back and tummy has been awful. He scratches and chews incessantly. I tried Fromms grain-free food and the first few weeks his skin cleared up wonderfully. But, the allergies are back, even though he is still on the same food. Also, the food is expensive. It runs about $70 for a 26lb bag. ($7.00 of that is tax). I think I am going to try the vinegar and water solution after bathing. That seems more natural than all the medications. I’ll let you know if it helps at all.

    • says

      Hi Sherry,

      I’m sorry to hear about your dog. Hopefully you can find something that helps his allergies. It so frustrating to see our dogs itching and not being able to help. Have you had a chance to consult with your veterinarian? Let us know if you find something that helps stop the itching.

      Good luck with your dog!
      Colby

  14. Susan says

    Oh boy, we are all in the same boat aren’t we? We have three french bulls and a boston . Two of the french bulls have allergies. We changed their food last fall when we started going to the dermatologist veterinarian. We started with the food trial. We believe food was part of the problem but we also believe there are environmental allergies as well. Stella has done well. She used to rub her face in the carpet constantly as well as lick her paws constantly. Both have subsided greatly. Izzie on the other hand is a mess. She has been on so many antibiotics and steroids form bumps all over her. We thought they looked like hives. They were raised and pink. She didn’t really scratch them though. Everytime we took her to the vet it was the same thing, she would take a scraping and said she had both a bacterial and fungal infection. They would clear up after her round of antibiotics and or steroids and then come back again. Dogs are supposed to be treated for fleas monthly which we haven’t done because we did not want to do one more thing that might exacerbate her issues. I believe we are going to have to go the allergy testing route. A friend of mine did that with her Bichon and when they realized what he was allergic to the made up that antigen and she injected into him and for her it worked. I am praying the same thing happens for us. It’s horrible, isn’t it?

  15. Marilyn says

    I have been seeing several articles of late making a connection between vaccinations and allergies, and the danger of over vaccinating. I also believe that the American Vet Assoc has reviewed and changed its vaccination protocol to less frequent vaccinations.

  16. Walt says

    Apple Cider Vinegar is the greatest! I use it on my dog’s ears, feet, and any hotspots that appear. Been using it full strength for years with NO adverse effects other than the smell untill it dries. It’s a wonder product!

  17. Sophie says

    My Lhasa Apso is 2.5 yrs old and this month she started for the first time to get these pinkish, puss blisters that turn into dry,flaky scabs. Vet said it’s due to allergens either food or envionmental. They gave her anti-baterial medicine, Claravox, anti-bacterial shampoo Vibrac and I put her on Honest Kitchen food, Force which she loves and licks the bowl and it’s Grain-free and Glutten free.I have been wiping her paws and her privates with baby wipes since I’ve had her @ 3 months. Her old marks disappearred. However, I stopped taking the meds and these marks are coming back. Adding to it, it’s 90 degree weather in NY, I’ve taken her to the park with grass watching nephew playing soccer even though Vet told me to stay away from grass and Vet recommended benedryl which I haven’t gone that route yet as well as I haven’ t given her her her flea medication which I’m suppose to. It’s my fault that I’m not consistent and therefore I am not able to pin point what’s causing these annoying marks. I realize I have to buckle down to cure my baby girl.

    • Susan Diamond says

      Sophie have you tried Atopica? It’s a prescription med from the vet. We recently put our morgue on it and she is handling it just okay right now – we are trying to find a happy medium with the dosage but the scratching hasn’t started up (we had her on a small dose steroid to get it under control then switched to the Atopoca).

  18. Tiffany says

    Hey, thanks for this post! I see that there are so many of us out here who are at the end of our ropes with sleepless nights and constant infections/vet bills. I know that my dog has allergies, but I’m not sure I believe I should take her to the vet for testing. I read an article saying that even if allergies are identified (which is questionable because there are many false positives and false negatives), the allergens cannot necessarily be eliminated (say, your dog has a grass allergy). Also, I read that only a fraction of people who give their dog those desensitizing shots actually see results. I know a human who tried this once and it actually made her allergies WORSE, nearly putting her in the hospital. Let us not forget the cost! Why put ourselves through this?

    My Shih Tzu has been on a 100% raw diet for two months now, a regimen that is costing us $80/month (Nature’s Variety) and doesn’t seem to be working in the slightest. This is clearly more than a food allergy. The food stinks and is a pain to prepare because due to its raw state, extra precautions have to be taken. She has been suffering from allergies for nearly 3 years (her entire life). I first noticed her scratching the day I brought her home at 10 weeks. She is on fish oil, vitamin E and takes Benadryl at night so that she (and we) can sleep. She is currently also on an antibiotic because when her allergies get especially bad (like now) she mysteriously also gets bladder infections. I saw blood in her urine 2 days ago so we’re back on the meds. I also now have to pay attention to her ears because the antibiotics usually cause yeast infections in them. I bathe her with medicated shampoo and conditioner every 3ish days. Her scratching, due to allergies, also caused a puncture of her right cornea, resulting in $3,500.00 eye surgery.

    It is a never-ending vicious cycle, something from which we have tried desperately to escape.

    There just has to be something else out there. We are physically tired from getting no sleep at night. I will do anything for my girl, but to be honest, the constant bathing is a huge pain and it only gives her minimal relief. We are physically, emotionally and financially exhausted. The sad part is that veterinarians, pharmaceutical companies and high-end dog food companies benefit from our dogs’ misery. I hate to say this, but after my experience with this dog, I do not trust those people to do what is in the best interest of the animal because a sick animal is seen as a cash cow. The longer they are sick, the more money the vet/pharm/food company can pocket.

    I do have a question. Has anyone noticed if there is a difference between generic fish oil and pure salmon oil? I am considering making a change there and before I spend another $20, I’d like to know if I have a good chance of it working.

    Please, HELP! I cannot go another night without sleep!

  19. Marilyn says

    My Lab also has allergies, to what we don’t know. I’ve written on this page before, so I won’t go into details except to say that feeding a totally raw diet (no kibble at all) has had fantastic results. I don’t buy the raw food all prepared and minced up. I just feed him whole chicken carcasses, raw meaty pork bones, chicken necks, wings, livers, pork ribs, lamb mince, tripe, raw eggs, plain yoghurt, raw veg, raw fruit, garlic, chondroitin/glucosamine green mussel powder (for cartilage), and also add omega 3/salmon oil, and lately evening primrose oil and tissue salts with sulphur (tiny dose) which seem to have had a great effect.

    But why I’m writing now is that I’ve been researching vaccines and allergies, and it seems that vaccines might be causing all these allergies. Read the research by this vet, Ronald Schultz: http://www.vetmed.wisc.edu/people/ronald%20d%20schultz/. And then try to remember when your dog started his/her allergies. Mine started immediately after his shots at 3 months.

  20. Shannon says

    Limited ingredient diet food is what you want. We use natural balance whitefish and sweet potatoe. Also I’d be careful with using wipes on paws, our guy is also allergic to fragrance so those wipes or shampoos that aren’t fragrance free can cause more harm than good. Allergy testing is a good idea!

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