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Dog has itchiness all over and seems uncomfortable

by Karen
(Little Mountain, SC)

Tail Stub area

Tail Stub area

Over the winter months, our dog Bean would have bouts of scratching, but nothing significant. Once spring hit this year, we noticed his itchiness getting worse.

During the first wave of pine pollen, it got really bad and he was given a steroid shot and benadryl, which helped tremendously. He pretty much stopped scratching.

The week following the shot, we were on the coast of SC, where there is different grass and probably not as much pollen. I don't know if the improvement was solely because of the steroids, or if the salt air and change of location helped, too.

Now over the past week, it has gotten really bad again. There is redness on his belly/groin area, but the worst area is right around and below his tail stump. He will chew and bite and has nibbled most of the hair off this area. It is red (as you can see in the picture) and it feels a little bumpy, but is not bleeding or oozing.

The poor guy is just very uncomfortable. His back seems itchy, as he rubs underneath the coffee table to scratch his back, but there is nothing on the skin there. I have tried to rub ACV on the areas, but it doesn't seem to help much; I've given him Benadryl and that doesn't seem to do much either.

He's gotten several oatmeal baths, but I'm afraid to dry the skin out if I give him too many. Thought about an oatmeal bath with ACV rinse tomorrow just to see if it would ease it at all.

Here's some additional background...

"Bean" is approximately 2-3 years old and is a purebred pembroke welsh corgi (red & white). He is a rescue, and was found wandering along a main highway in SC just over a year ago.

We had intended to foster him for the rescue group, but ended up keeping him as he
is a wonderful dog and has the best temperment of any of my corgis (past or present!).

Bean was heartworm positive and had a severe upper respiratory infection when we picked him up from the shelter. His fur was thin and he was itchy then, too, but he had fleas and was dirty, and the itchiness seemed to subside. He was also neutered while at the shelter.

Bean got over the respiratory issues and went through conventional heartworm treatment - he did wonderful, and was given a heartworm free bill of health in October of 2011.

He weighs 26 pounds and has always eaten Science Diet Light dry along with my other two corgis. The dry food is given along with a mixture of home-cooked chicken breast, brown rice and green beans.

They get some commercial treats, but we mainly try to give them only all-natural goodies. With the itching being worse now with warm weather, I tend to think it's not so much the food.

As for flea & tick control, he was on a separate heartworm med (Iverhart) and then Comfortis for fleas. Once he was cleared of all heartworms, I switched him to Sentinel so that all the dogs were taking the same thing. Maybe that is the problem?

I am also concerned that some of the itching could be stress-related. My other two corgis are not the friendliest, and my female actually bit Bean's toe off back in January (that's a LONG story). But for the most part, they get along, and Bean has an incredible social life, going to work with us daily and visiting our small farm where he herds the goats and the chickens and plays with his friendlier "cousins."

Would love to hear your take on the whole, itchy situation. Bean is a great dog and I really want to figure out the best thing to do to help him.

Thank you.

Comments for Dog has itchiness all over and seems uncomfortable

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May 16, 2012
My Online Vet Response for: Dog has itchiness all over and seems uncomfortable
by: Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

Hi Karen,
From your history of Bean and his photo, I get the impression that he has a depressed immune system. When he was rescued off the street, he had heartworm disease, he was neutered (which is a major surgery) and I am sure that he was also vaccinated, while he ALSO had a respiratory infection. He was treated for heartworm, and has been suppressed with steroid and antihistamines for itchiness.

I suspect that he has inhaled AND flea allergy dermatitis. Sentinel will work to break the flea life cycle only if the flea bites him. If Bean has an allergy to fleas, you need to use a natural flea REPELLANT such as Evolv (made of cedar oil) from Wondercide. It repels fleas, ticks, mosquitoes, and also works on ants, roaches and other insects. Then use Heartgard for heartworm prevention.

He ALSO needs to be on some immune supplements, such as:
1. Missing Link Canine Formula
2. Immuplex from Standard Process
3. OrthoMolecular Specialties, Mega C Powder

He also needs MORE moisture in his food. It would be best to stop the DRY DOG food, and feed canned and/or consider a RAW dog food diet. It may also be necessary to feed a grain-free diet. See our page on 10 Best Dog Food Options for more information and suggestions.

You should add 500-1,000mg of Omega 3 fish oil into his food one to two times daily to help moisturize his skin from the 'inside'.

The oatmeal shampoo will not dry out his skin. And it may make him feel better to massage in coconut oil into his skin, especially where he is itching the most along his belly, groin and hind end/base of tail. Let it soak into his skin for 1-2 hours, then shampoo off with Dawn Dish Detergent, (if he is still greasy), followed by the oatmeal shampoo.

If the oil has completely soaked in and he is not greasy, then just use the oatmeal shampoo. He may need a coconut oil soak one to two times weekly for 3-6 weeks, while you are working on diet, supplements, and fleas!

If some of this is stress related, then you should 'chaperone' the unfriendly dogs to prevent any future 'accidental dog fights'! And use Rescue Remedy in Bean's water. Actually, ALL of the dogs could have it added to their water. Rescue Remedy is a Bach Flower essence that helps to decrease anxiety.


May 16, 2012
My Online Vet Respsonse for: Dog has itchiness all over and seems uncomfortable PART TWO
by: Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

Hi Karen,
Here is the continuation of my response.

To 'fine tune' his response to treatment and make him more comfortable and also to remove the effects of 'vaccinosis' and continue to boost his immune system, it would be best to consult with a holistic veterinarian.
Click here to find a holistic veterinarian in your area. Another resource for vets knowledgeable in homeopathy is

Please keep us posted by coming back to this page and clicking the 'click here to add your own comments' link below.

Take care,
Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

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DISCLAIMER: This educational advice is based on the depth of your question and the picture you submitted. The above should never replace the advice of your local veterinarian, as they have the ability to evaluate your dog in person.

Related Pages:
- Dog Skin Conditions,
- Dog Itchy Skin,
- Dog Skin Rash,
- Dog Skin Allergies,
- Ask a Vet Online Library - Dog Skin Rashes, Marks, Spots, Lesions & Patches (including itchy skin and mange) Section,

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