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Itchy Dog with Hair Loss

by Jordan Erenrich
(New York, NY)

My rescue has been itchy for a bit and is scratching hair off of her ears, and the fur on front of her neck is now thinning as well. I suspect an allergy to chicken, so I just switched yesterday to a new food (Natural Balance Dry Dog Food, Grain Free Limited Ingredient Diet Venison and Sweet Potato Recipe).


According to some websites, it could take 12 weeks for the new food to take effect and decide if it has cured the allergy.

Is there anything I should be doing now to prevent further hair loss?

I have been giving oatmeal baths, but so far it doesn't seem to be helping. Do you have any thoughts on the many anti-itch sprays available on the market and how often they should be applied? (i.e., Veterinarian's Best Hot Spot Itch Relief Spray from Amazon seems popular)

Also, I had taken her to the local vet, who didn't suspect any fleas/mange/etc (she's not itching constantly), and told me to just give her Benadryl everyday, but I wasn't excited about that option.

Thanks,

-Jordan

Comments for Itchy Dog with Hair Loss

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Dec 21, 2011
My Online Vet Response for: Itchy Dog with Hair Loss
by: Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

Hi Jordan,
For your rescue dog that is scratching hair off her ears and neck, I agree that it does sound like it could be a food allergy. Although in my experience I have seen improvement in 3-6 weeks, once you have removed the offending food.

I would suggest NOT feeding a DRY DOG FOOD. Instead, see if Natural Balance has the same grain-free, Venison and Sweet Potato food in a CANNED formula. Or check out our page on 10 Best Dog Food Options.

For itchy, dry, inflamed skin, your dog needs to have more moisture provided in her diet, to help her skin heal. DRY dog food will not provide adequate moisture, even though you give her plenty of water to drink. Also, according to Dr Richard Pitcairn's book, Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs and Cats, dogs do not have the same allergic reaction to cooked meats as they do to raw meats. Therefore, she may NOT be allergic to RAW chicken!

Oatmeal shampoos are a great idea. Continue to bathe her 1-2 times per week for the next 3-4 weeks to give her some relief as she is adjusting to the new 'non' allergic diet.

There are no particular anti-itch sprays that I recommend. Instead, I think that using Rescue Remedy, 20 drops in 4 oz Spring Water in a spray bottle, is a great way to calm down the skin. And if she licks it, it will help to calm her down!

Also, you can use Aloe Vera juice (must be refrigerated after opening), and put it into a spray bottle to spray on her skin. This will help to soothe any red, inflamed areas (it is also edible, so if she licks it, it will be OK).

Either one can be sprayed on the skin as often as needed.

Instead of Benadryl, I always recommend Antronex by Standard Process. Antronex contains a glandular supplement called Yakitron, which provides support to the liver, to help remove histamine from the tissues. In effect, it will act like an anti-histamine. If she weighs less than 30 lbs, she should have 1/2 tab two-three times daily. If 30-70lbs, give her 1 tab two-three times daily. If over 70lbs, give her 2 tabs two-three times daily.

TO BE CONTINUED IN PART TWO

Dec 21, 2011
My Online Vet Response for: Itchy Dog with Hair Loss PART TWO
by: Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

Hi Jordan,
Here is the rest of my response.

In the meantime, you might seek the help of a holistic veterinarian, to incorporate some homeopathic remedies to also help. For example, if she has been over vaccinated, or had some issues due to abandonment, etc. (you mentioned that you adopted her as a rescue.)

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

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.

Dec 22, 2011
Shampoo
by: Jordan

What do you think of this shampoo I already have with aloe vera? "Vet's Best Hypoallergenic Shampoo with Aloe Vera"

Thanks for all the details!

Dec 22, 2011
My Online Vet Response for: Itchy Dog with Hair Loss
by: Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

Hi Jordan,
You asked about Vet's Best Hypoallergenic Shampoo with Aloe Vera, which only contains Aloe Vera and Vit E. It should be ok, but the Vet's Best Aromatherapy Shampoo that contains BOTH oatmeal and Aloe Vera (plus avocado oil and lavender) might be better if your hypoallergenic shampoo is not working.

Keep us posted.

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.





Dec 23, 2011
Soft Claws
by: Jordan

Thanks Dr. Tillman. Also, do you have any thoughts on a product called "SoftClaws for Dogs"? They look like little rubber things that get glued onto the dogs nails, designed so they can do less damage scratching things (both to themselves and to objects)? Would this be a good solution, until I determine what my dog is allergic to?

Thanks again,

-Jordan

Dec 23, 2011
My Online Vet Response for: Itchy Dog with hair loss
by: Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

Hi Jordan
The product you mentioned 'Soft Claws' sounds similiar to Soft Paws for Cats. That is certainly a good option to try to prevent more self trauma from occurring.

You might also consider some of the E-collars that are available, such as the Comfy Cone Pet E-Collar. This is a soft E-collar that fits around the dog's neck to prevent scratching of the head/ears area.

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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