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Dog's skin getting darker/black, spotted and splotchy

Holly's belly

Holly's belly

Holly's belly
Willow's belly

My dog's skin and belly used to be a light pink. In the last couple of years it has started to turn black and splotchy - I took her to the vet and they did not have much to say other than unless she is itching not to worry about it too much and to use Vet Solutions Sebozole Shampoo (Miconzole Nitrate 2% and Chloroxylenol 1%).


Holly is an 8 year old spayed ridgeback/shepherd mix.

The vet's recommendation seemed to work well for a while and the skin would turn back to pink. But Holly started to lick and bite herself repeatedly in different areas on her behind and the back of her legs - the hair would fall out and the area would turn red. I used Sebozole on those areas, and again, it seemed to help momentarily. But this is a reoccurring issue and am hoping to get to the root of the problem.

In the last several weeks my 6 year old Australia Shepherd mix Willow began showing similar symptoms. The skin on the inside of her legs is turning black and there are dark spots on her pink belly where there were none before.

Comments for Dog's skin getting darker/black, spotted and splotchy

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Oct 11, 2012
My Online Vet Response for: Dog's skin getting darker/black, spotted and splotchy
by: Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

Hi Eva,
Increased skin pigment occurs due to chronic inflammation such as allergies. FLEA ALLERGY DERMATITIS (FAD)is the number one cause for itching of hind quarters and hind legs with hyperpigmentation. Of course the Vet Solutions Sebazole shampoo would temporarily help, since it is decreasing the number of bacteria, yeast and fungus on their skin that develop due to the chronic trauma to the skin.

I suggest you start a vigorous FLEA prevention program on both dogs, in house and in yard. See our page on Natural Flea Treatment. Check out EVOLV, a natural product made with cedar oil. Bathe both dogs two times per week with BABY shampoo, or an oatmeal shampoo for the next month. Use the EVOLV sprayed on the dogs between the shampoos.

ONE time per month, bathe with Dawn Dish Detergent. This is a safe and natural way to get rid of any fleas that may still be on the dogs. DO NOT BATHE WITH DAWN DISH DETERGENT MORE OFTEN THAT ONE TIME PER MONTH (it will dry out their skin too much).

DIET: DO NOT FEED DRY DOG FOOD. See our page on 10 Best Dog Food Options and consider a RAW dog food diet for both dogs.

Consider some immune support:

1. Missing Link Canine Formula
2. Immuplex from Standard Process
3. OrthoMolecular Specialties, Mega C Powder
For the Immuplex, open and sprinkle one capsule into both Willow and Holly's food two times daily.

NO MORE VACCINATIONS. Seek the help of a holistic vaccination to write an exemption form.

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

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



Oct 11, 2012
Dawn
by: Gina Frias

Does dawn work on ticks as well?

Oct 11, 2012
My Online Vet Response for: Dog's skin getting darker/black, spotted and splotchy
by: Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

Hi Gina,
No, Dawn Dish Detergent does NOT work on ticks. You must pull the tick off (it works on fleas by dehydrating the cuticle on their exoskeleton, and they die. It does not hurt the flea eggs, which fall off the dog, or the flea larvae which hatch from the eggs that fell off and are on the ground, in the carpet, etc.)

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.




Oct 15, 2012
follow up questions
by: Anonymous

Hi Dr. Tillman,

Thanks for your response regarding Holly and Willow's skin discoloration. I am unsure as to how this could be caused by fleas? It has only started recently (I have lived in the same home/yard/neighborhood with them since they were puppies and they are 8 and 6). They have never had fleas, only the occasional tick. When I do see ticks I use the Frontline flea/tick formula -- which would also theoretically keep fleas away if that was the issue? Why do you think this would only begin to occur recently?

Also, you have recommended that I stop feeding dry food to both dogs. Could you please explain more about this and why dry food could be bad for my dogs? Their groomer recently suggested a dry food made by Horizon called Pulsar. Would canned food be a better alternative? A mix of the 2?

Thank you :)

Oct 15, 2012
My Online Vet Response for: Dog's skin getting darker/black, spotted and splotchy
by: Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

Hi Gina,
You wrote,
"Holly started to lick and bite herself repeatedly in different areas on her behind and the back of her legs - the hair would fall out and the area would turn red"

This is usually a symptom of fleas. I am not sure why there would be a flea outbreak now, but when I DO see this occur, when previously they have gone their whole life without any flea problems, it indicates an underlying illness, making them 'weak'.

Since fleas are parasites, they are attracted to weak animals. Healthy animals can live in a flea infested area, and have little or no problems. (Since ticks are opportunistic, they will attach to sick or well individuals.)

Frontline works well on ticks, NOT so well on fleas. Advantage works much better on fleas, but not on ticks. Although, I advise using something more natural, such as EVOLV for Holly and Willow. I am not sure if you have had a recent blood panel done for either dog, but that might be a good idea at this time. INCLUDE a thyroid level and heartworm test, also.

DRY DOG food is not healthy because it does not properly provide adequate moisture to maintain the health of a dog. In the wild, if a dog hunted and killed its prey, they would consume the meat, bone, blood and organs of that animal, containing lots of moisture.

Of course, Willow and Holly drink water in addition to their dry food, BUT that is not enough. Especially if they have a skin problem!! For healthy skin, joints, kidney, bladder, heart, they need adequate moisture, the same applies to us humans. Canned food would be better than dry, and if you combined canned and a RAW diet, that would be even better.

Dry dog food is not even good for their teeth, unless the dry food says it is TARTAR control. Even then, I would suggest a canned and/or raw diet for maintenance and give tartar treats or dental chews for 'dessert' after each meal.

Hopefully, this explains things a little better.

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.



Nov 06, 2012
Brewer's yeast?
by: Anonymous

Hi Dr. Tillman,

What is your opinion on Brewer's Yeast and/or garlic for immune support and repelling fleas for dogs?

Thank you!

Nov 07, 2012
My Online Vet Response for: Dog's skin getting darker/black, spotted and splotchy
by: Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

Dear Anonymous,
You wrote,
What is your opinion on Brewer's Yeast and/or garlic for immune support and repelling fleas for dogs?

As a graduate from the U of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine, we learned EVERYTHING about fleas.

They actually did a study dividing two groups of dogs, and gave one group a 'placebo' and the other group garlic and yeast supplements and exposed them both to fleas. The group getting the garlic and yeast averaged about 50% protection. Which was about the same per cent as the other group getting the placebo!!

The conclusion was that garlic and yeast did NOT provide any protective properties.

As a holistic veterinarian, what I have observed over the past 20 years is that fleas are parasites. They are attracted to weak individuals. If a dog or cat is NOT healthy, then it is more likely to have a flea problem than a healthy dog or cat on a good nutritious diet, stress free life style, plenty of exercise, and NOT over vaccinated.

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!

Related Pages:
- Dealing with Dog Ticks Naturally
- Dog Tick Removal
- Dog Flea Medicine, Treatment & Prevention,
- Ask a Vet Online Library - Dog Fleas & Ticks Section

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



Nov 02, 2013
My Golden
by: Brenda F

Chance, our two year old Golden presents with spots on his chest, blackish=brown in colour and scabby. He also has little postules all over his body. He bites at his legs and one front paw. After a lot of research I asked our vet to do a complete thyroid test. His numbers came back at the low end of the acceptable ranges. We have just started him on thyroid medication as it appears he has hypothroidism. Although the testing is expensive I felt it would be worth trying. Will keep you posted. By the way - he is not overweight and we feed raw diet.

Nov 03, 2013
My Online Vet Response for: Dog's skin getting darker/black,spotted and splotchy
by: Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

November 3, 2013

Hi Brenda,
Regarding your dog, Chance, low thyroid levels can contribute to skin problems.

I am not sure if you had a question, or just sharing some of your experiences. I'm happy to help, but we only accept new questions from subscribers (the original question above was from a subscriber).
Please click here to sign up and submit your question and photos. I'll then get back to you right away at the bottom of your newly created web page.
Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

May 07, 2015
Shadow without licking symptoms
by: Kim

My dog has the same shadowing but only occasionally licks her feet but no scratching etc or hair loss. This has been spreading significantly in the past 6 mos. I am wondering about the thyroid issue. Could that be a part of this? She is overweight and eats low grain kibble (not chicken) for the past few months.We do not have fleas. I have heard about yeast issues too but she has no other symptoms of yeast that I can tell. Surely this is more than allergies?

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