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Red Scaly Oily Patches on Overweight Dog's Back

by Carol M.
(Kapuskasing, Ontario, Canada)

I have a 10 year old male Bishon Frise called Boomer, who has red bumps that are oily and scaly all over his back. This originally started on the base of his tail but just over a month ago I noticed it had spread to his back.

I shaved the fur off the area and thoroughly washed it with a disinfectant that was diluted in warm water. I applied Aveeno lotion that evening. I started to wash the area every day and apply green tea three times daily for about a week.

The redness has faded a bit but I noticed black spots that looked like blackhead,s but they are soft and greasy stuck to the skin and in his fur. I started to apply corn starch to the area after washing him to absorb the oil, and that seems to help a little with the oil but not the black spots.

I adopted him in September of 2013 so I don’t know his medical background. I have not taken him for any vaccinations since I got him, but I did take him in October of 2013 for an ear infection. Apparently he had problems with frequent ear problems.

Another thing he does is chew and lick his feet frequently. I put boots on him in the winter for his walks and keep his claws trimmed but that doesn’t stop the problem. He is a very social dog and has lots of energy on his walks, but sleeps a lot any other time.

He is slightly overweight since the weather has been cold this winter and I have not been able to walk him every day. He eats just over a cup of food twice a day and has 3 treats at night when he goes out to relieve himself and at bedtime.

He has about 2 bowel movements a day. When he is going he circles and seems to have trouble passing the stool.

He drinks about 3 cups of water a day plus the water I put in his food. I was feeding him Purina Beneful Healthy weight up until last week when I changed him to Purina Beneful Healthy Radiance for a healthy coat.

I thought that he may have a food allergy so I am trying a different blend. I would like to know what I can do to get rid of his skin problem and help him get back to a healthy weight. Right now he weighs around 27 pounds.

Comments for Red Scaly Oily Patches on Overweight Dog's Back

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Mar 12, 2015
My Online Vet Response for: Red Scaly Oily Patches on Overweight Dog's Back
by: Dr Carol Jean Tillman

March 12, 2015

Hi Carol,
For your 10 year old male Bichon Frise, you wrote,
" I would like to know what I can do to get rid of his skin problem and help him get back to a healthy weight. Right now he weighs around 27 pounds."

A gradual transition AWAY from DRY dog food to a canned or raw diet, would be able to accomplish both problems, and help with the straining to defecate.

If Purina Beneful makes a canned food, that would be the easiest for his system, to switch from the dry Purina Beneful to canned Beneful, adding in some canned to the dry, and little by little add in more and more of the canned as you wean him off of the dry food. If he should weigh 18-20 lbs, he needs to eat 300-350 calories per day. It is best to feed two meals daily, so each meal should be 150-175 calories. Then transition to a healthier food, one with no preservatives, no artificial colors and no additives would be healthier than Beneful. I am not that familiar with Canadian brands, but in the USA, Halo 'Spot's Stew for Dogs', Nature's Recipe, Nutro, Innova, and Pet Guard are great brands.

I would ALSO add in 1/3 cup of steamed or canned green beans, and a few cooked baby carrots to each meal. One cup of green beans is 20 calories. Canned food contains only 2/3-3/4 the calories of dry food, because it contains water.

As he continues on this diet, you will notice that he does not have to drink as much water, because his food will have the moisture in it. This will help his skin and hair coat immensely, as dry skin is very itchy. I do not think he has a food allergy, I suspect he has inhaled allergies. Inhaled allergies, or atopy, is characterized by itching of the feet, ears and tail end area. It usually starts as seasonal, and with ongoing vaccinations, dry food diet, and weakening of his immune system as he has aged, has contributed to year round skin disease.

The moisture present in canned food, plus the fiber in the vegetables will help his stool, and make it easier to defecate.

After he has adjusted to the change from a dry food to a canned food with added vegetables, try to add in about 1 TBSP of RAW ground turkey, beef or chicken, to each meal. This will provide more moisture, protein for healing and Vitamin C from the raw meat. (Cooking meat destroys the Vit C.) Pet food companies do not add any additional Vit C to their canned or dry food, because dogs produce their own Vit. C. In fact, ALL animals except humans, monkeys, guinea pigs, and the Mediterranean Fruit bat, make their own Vit C. So, pet food companies do not need to add any. From your dog's list of problems, I suspect that he has a weak or poor immune system, and probably is not making enough Vit C. Therefore adding it in to his diet in the form of raw meat would be good for him. Be careful if you wish to add Vit C, (ascorbic acid), since dogs have 10X the amount of HCL in their stomach than humans. You would need to add in buffered Vit C, known as Calcium Acorbate.

I hope this has covered all your questions!

Take care,
Dr. Tillman

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