Your top tips for helping an itchy dog?(13 Posts)
We've just rehomed a 6 yo rescue dog with a long-standing skin allergy. Previous owners had her on steroid treatment for several years after the diagnosis. Rescue vet said she needs to stop the steroids, so he treated her with Piriton instead + hypoallergenic diet (but it was Pedigree kibble, so not high quality stuff).
He warned us that it's most likely a house dust mite allergy so could worsen when in a normal home environment, however clean it may be, and suggested that Apoquel would be a better option for her instead of steroid treatment.
I'm keen to get her on a high quality diet to see if that helps, but haven't tried raw feeding before (Ddog1, RIP, used to have Lily's Kitchen wet food). I was thinking of trying one of the frozen pre-prepared raw foods as I would worry that I wasn't giving Ddog2 the right combo of nutrients if I prep it myself. Also am a vegetarian and would prefer not to be handling carcasses and offal really (although would do it for Ddog2's sake if necessary!).
Other things I've heard of that might help:
- raw coconut oil (in food and/or on affected skin)
- cider vinegar (in drinking water and/or diluted as a wash)
- hibiscrub washes
- fish oil supplements
- bicarb in water washes
I don't want to bombard the poor dog with too many changes or manhandling while she's settling in, but I can see she's worrying at her feet already even with the Piriton. There is some fur loss between her toes and I can see the skin is red there (but not broken yet). The stress of another big change in her life won't be helping her skin I'm sure.
Should I be washing her feet (in plain water/Hibiscrub solution/some other thing) after each walk?
We live in a city environment so she's walking on hard surfaces a lot plus on grass at the local parks.
Any tips or advice for helping her in the short and longer term would be much appreciated. I know it's one of those things where every dog is different and there will be some (maybe a lot) of trial and error. Obviously we will be getting her checked over by our own vet next week and seeking his advice about this too.
Thanks in advance
Sorry Raia that you have not gotten any answers yet. First, I admire you for giving a new home to an otherwise lovely dog who just happens to have obvious issues.
I don't have issues with my dog, but I have had many people marvel at DDog's fur, which is amazingly soft and in fantastic condition. She has been on the raw diet since we brought her home, and we also have been feeding her Billy No Mates daily (a herbal flea and tick repellant which has the added side effect of promoting healthy fur/skin). The company I purchase it from (no affiliation) is My Itchy Dog, and they have loads of herbal skin products which you might give a go to. I have a dust mite allergy, and hard wood floors, daily airing of the house and hoovering loads help.
In terms of ready prepared raw food, Nutriment is good and offer a good variety of food.
Mominatrix, thank you for that info - I'm going to look up Billy No Mates now
I've got some frozen raw food for her (I chose turkey thinking that would be fairly benign, I hope) thawing in the fridge.
My brown dog has been a lot less itchy since we swapped him to a higher quality food (Crofters, which I only ever see in the one pet shop). You may have to swap around a bit to find one that suits your dog, but should find he's less itchy when you find the right one.
I would suggest a complete switch to raw food, introducing one protein at a time. If you are unsure how to do this then I recommend that you use products from an established company who will be able to give you advice. Previous posters have already suggested some and I will add Wolftucker (Google for details). If you find the cost a problem then be assured that you can make up your own raw diet for a fraction of the cost once you get the hang of things and when you understand the particular needs of your dog. There are raw feeding groups on face book which will give you pointers on who to order from.
If it is all too much for you at this point then as a minimum switch to a grain free food with one protein. Just as an example, James well beloved do a few grain free dry kibbles that you can pick up from pets at home or more cheaply from fetch online. You can try fish and if that doesn't make a difference try lamb or turkey etc... It can take time and patience to work out exactly what is causing the itch and it could be a combination of things. I worked out my dog's repeated ear infections and itchy skin were from grains and lamb. All sorted now and what a relief for her and for me! Best of luck to you and your new dog.
Thank you so much for the advice, I do hope the switch to raw will help her. Raw feeding seems to be the thing that most people with itchy dogs recommend. I'll check out Wolftucker. The food I've got for her to try is Natural Instinct (Pure Turkey) which is stocked by our local pet shop so I'll see what she makes of that. I've also ordered some neem oil balm (to apply to her itchy feet) and some Yumega. Wary of hitting her system with too many new things at once though so I'll introduce as slowly as possible.
Human antihistamine are the same active ingredients as dogs. One a day for my itchy smelly mutt X
Good to know about the antihistamines - she's on Piriton from the vet at the rescue for the time being.
Tried her on raw food this morning for the first time. She's basically turned her nose up at everything (she wasn't eating much at the rescue, and she wasn't that keen on the Lily's Kitchen wet food I gave her over the weekend). She absolutely wolfed the raw turkey down and keeps going back to her bowl looking for more! So that bodes well. I've ordered more from Natural Instinct in various flavours, plus some probiotic drops to help her tummy. Although tbh she doesn't seem to have an upset stomach, but I figured it wouldn't hurt.
Fingers crossed this will help her itchiness ... <cautious optimism>
Quick update: we took her to the vet today and she's now on Apoquel and Piriton. I gave her a quick shower as well and she seems more comfortable this evening. Really hoping that the Apoquel helps her: if not, he'll try her with Atopica, and failing that it'll be steroids.
Vet is against raw feeding which puts me in a proper quandary. I mean, what the hell do I know? I just can't believe that the growing number of companies selling frozen raw food can stay in business if raw does indeed make dogs ill, as the vet claimed
My sisters dog has an allergy and gets very itchy. They've swapped onto a grain free food and noticed a definite difference. Good luck op
Idiot Dog is a white SBTxEBT so rather reactive. She is a cealiac and also unable to tolerate milk. She is also allergic to grass pollen, bio-washing products and likes to keep me on my toes by finding new and fun things to react too. Her skin has taken me two years to sort out.
She cannot cope with RAW - that experiment to try and make life better for her cost her a lot of weight and me a lot of money at the vet.
Diet: after lots of experiments and gettng sick of home cooking for a dog I resorted to Natures Diet. Its a very simple cooked wet food that suits most of the very reactive dogs and its good as an exclusion diet to get things back under control. The manuacturer will deliver direct to your door. I use their bulk buy options to cut costs further. This is the only food Idiot Dog started to gain any weight on after her last gluten fest resulted in severe colitis and weight loss and a lot of time with the vet.
Dogs who are prone to full blown allergies tend to do better with a good cooked dog food be it a good kibble, wet food or home made than they do on a RAW diet. You may need to mix and match to get the balance between some RAW and some cooked spot on for her.
Once Idiot was moving towards thriving I started her with teeny amounts of P@H Evolution gluten free kibble. It is similar to Millies Wolfheart kibbles but I could buy it in much smaller quantities to try her on.
One word of caution with a very reactive dog with uber itchy skin always introduce one protein source at a time. Some will react badly if you give them a food with a mix of protein when they are already being very reactive.
She also gets steamed white fish, rice with sweet potato as a treat.
Be suspicous of commerical dog treats; idiot dog has slivers of cooked meat, dried 'fish for dogs' sea jerky and plain dried tripe.
I do not use additional oils as I have found a careful balance of Natures Diet backed with some Evolution Kibble and the occasional piece of fish has improved her coat and skin.
Home: I do not have carpets downstairs making my home damp dusting friendly. I use a steam cleaner to kill dustmites. Her beloved sofa spot has cotton covers that can be changed frequently and hot washed.
Her bedding is duvets and fleece blankets that can be machine washed.
I use a baby friendly none biological washing powder and condtioner. Idiot reacted to biological and anything with a really nice smell.
I also have two lots of collars and harness that can be machine washed.
I have to leave her collars off in the house and garden, when she wore them all the time her neck broke out in lumps from the itch/scratch cycle ad she was just so sore.
When she is really lumpy and beyond itchy so she is scratching herself raw during the summer her vet provides her with a short course of steriods to get things under control. I try and reduce the risk by getting her to play outside with the hose after walks during the summer months as there is a risk to using steroids long term.
If she is very reactive and itchy its straight in the bath [I use a warm water shower so she is not sitting in whatever made her itchy] and I tend to use a very mild solution of Johnsons Baby Mosturising Bath; again this seems to suit Idiot better than dog shampoos. I cannot advise for longer haired dogs but there should be a mild hypo-allergic product for puppies somewhere.
Try and think like a detective, if you notice your dogs really itchy/lumpy/broken out in hives, consider what they have eaten, done or been near in the past 24 hours so you can begin to manage the risk for her.
My smallest dog has an allergy, probably grass. She is only JRT size but had a piriton am and pm (thankfully our chemist sells packs of 500 for £8). The vet suggests a supplement called Yumega Plus, which I get off the internet. She gets a bath once a week in medicated, prescription shampoo called Coatex. In summer I tried to avoid long grass, and brushed her coat off when I came in, and wipe her feet/belly off with sensitive baby wipes. An aloe Vera and tea tree oil gel helps, or an udder cream (which also contains soothing items) from a horsey shop helps calm it down. The vet also says bedding can trigger it, especially red colours. He suggested putting her blankets in an old, pale coloured duvet cover.
Thank you all for the tips: it seems that it's a case of trial and error with every individual dog. Piriton on its own wasn't doing enough to quell the itching but now she's on Apoquel (and only for just over 24 hours) she's significantly less itchy. I've been damp mopping everywhere to keep the dust down but she does love sleeping on the sofa, which is probably hosting a festival of dust mites. Thinking of running around with the steam cleaner once or twice a week but worried that steaming upholstery will only create a warm, damp environment which could be a breeding ground for bacteria.
Thanks again, it's been a big help to hear others' experiences and solutions
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