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Dog is biting fur off lower back

by Margaret
(Chicago)

Last Oct. I rescued a Papillon/chihuaha mix that had been abused. He is about 5 years old now. He had been biting the hair off his lower and mid back in Dec. and stopped. Now he is at it again and he is bald in several spots.

I got some Dr. Goodpet Calm Stress and Scratch Free that I have been using for 2 days now. I had rubbed aloe on the skin but he still was biting. He seems much calmer with the Calm Stress and I only see him licking his fur, not biting it. That does not mean he stopped biting his fur, I just have not seen it.

I do not see any skin redness or signs of inflammation or infection. There are no raised bumps or swelling. And there are no fleas, bugs, at all.

I was wondering if he could have food allergy but I feed him Stella and Chewys raw food and make him chicken soup. He always has a bowl of Orijen dry dog food next to his water bowl.

I did need to send him for 6 private obedience training lessons and then we went together for an additional 6 lessons. He was biting people and lunging at dogs. He also goes for socialization at doggy day care.

When I pick him up his heart is racing and pounding in his chest. I know it is stressful for him. The people there are the greatest dog lovers I have seen and they have a window where you can watch your dog so I know they are not being mean.

Will you please help us? I love him so. He does not look like he is suffering or in pain but it must be very irritating to have to bite off your fur.

Love and appreciation,

Margaret and Franco

Comments for Dog is biting fur off lower back

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Apr 17, 2012
My Online Vet Response for: Dog is biting fur off lower back
by: Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

Hi Margaret,
Without a photo of Franco, I am at a bit of a disadvantage in diagnosing a skin problem. From your description, I would expect him to have some sort of redness to his skin, just due to self-trauma, if he is licking or biting his fur that much.

If he has emotional distress and aggressive behavior, is this due to fearfulness, dominance behavior, not being socialized or one of the other aggressive modalities? In some cases, this may be the cause of the self trauma and hair loss.

Rescue Remedy, a Bach flower essence, can be added to the drinking water (2-3 drops twice daily for the next 3 weeks) to help decrease anxiety. And also, add 20 drops to 4 oz of Spring Water, in a pump spray bottle to spray into your hands and rub onto his skin, or spray directly onto his skin, if this does not frighten him.

The diet sounds good, but I suggest eliminating the DRY food. To help his hair coat, he needs adequate moisture from the food. Adding Omega 3 fish oils 100-200mg per day would help. I would also suggest a blood panel, to rule out allergy, thyroid, infection, or other internal diseases.

A holistic veterinarian would be best for Franco,
who might also suggest homeopathic remedies, immune supplements, and other herbs based on his symptoms, and the blood panel.

Click here to find a holistic veterinarian in your area. Another resource for vets knowledgeable in homeopathy is AVH.org.

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

DISCLAIMER: The above should never replace the advice of your local veterinarian, as they have the ability to evaluate your dog in person.

Jun 11, 2012
Check anal glands?
by: Anonymous

I am a groomer and have seen blocked anal glands cause all sorts of weird or unexplained behaviour in our canine friends.

It's a long shot but perhaps get your pooches anal glands checked out.

Jun 14, 2012
My Online Vet Response for: Dog is biting fur off lower back
by: Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

Hi Margaret,
The recent suggestion by Anonymous, regarding grooming and checking the anal glands is a good one. If Franco is still having these skin issues, then taking him to a holistic veterinarian for an exam of his anal glands, and or chiropractic exam for lower back pain, may be appropriate.

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

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.

Jun 18, 2012
Franco Update
by: Anonymous

I had Franco's anal glands expressed with no change in behavior.

I added Pet Calm from Austraulia Living essences to his water and food. The biting got worse.

I checked in to see a holistic vet near my house and her initial consultation was $275.00 which I can not afford. So I found a vet that gave Franco a check up, looked for fleas (none found), and gave me Prednisone to administer for allergies, Frontline fea protector and charged me $56.00 Reluctantly, I did. And Franco stopped biting his fur off and it quickly regrew.

However, he began nipping at his lower back again. I went to a holistic apothek and got a bottle of New Chapter Zyflemend. It is a natural herbal supplement that works on inflammation instead of using the steroids again. They seem to work rapidly. The only problem is Franco does not like the taste too much. I am keeping my fingers crossed.

Jun 18, 2012
My Online Vet Response for: Dog is biting fur off lower back
by: Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

Hi Margaret,
Thank you for the update. Since Franco has responded to anti-inflammatory medication (Prednisone), it would seem to indicate that he has some allergic problem.

You mentioned that you are giving him the HUMAN supplement by New Chapter, Zyflamend Whole Body. It looks like a good product, but considering his small body size (he is about 1/8 human size), you should only give him about 1/4 of a soft gel daily. Since that is about 1/8 the human dose of 2 softgels per day for a human.

Also, you should make sure he is not getting any DRY Dog Food... he should be on canned or raw. As I mentioned in my last posting, please consider the following regarding the diet:
The diet sounds good, but I suggest eliminating the DRY food. To help his hair coat, he needs adequate moisture from the food. Adding Omega 3 fish oils 100-200mg per day would help.

Please continue to 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

P.S. If you've found this service or our web site helpful, please "Like" us by clicking the like button at the top of the left margin. Thank you!

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,
- Ask a Vet Online Library - Dog Hair Loss Section

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