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Scabs and itchy skin on my puggle, but no fleas

by Courtney Cross

My puggle has been itching like crazy the past week or so. He has developed scabs rapidly almost out of nowhere. He also looks miserable in his eyes (they're blood shot and squinty like it's just taken it all out of him), and is drinking a ton of water.

We have tried baths, a little oil in his food (which is the same food he has always eaten - the Rachel Ray food) and nothing works. I feel terrible, but right now is a really bad time for him to have to visit the vet and I don't want him to suffer.

Please help me find a remedy.

Comments for Scabs and itchy skin on my puggle, but no fleas

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Aug 28, 2011
My Online Vet Reponse for Scabs and itchy skin on my puggle, but no fleas
by: Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

Hi Courtney,
It would be impossible for me to give you a reason why your Puggle is itching so badly, especially with no photo and no other description of his skin. Fleas can still be a possibility, considering the time of year and where you are located (in Indianapolis). If he is itching and scratching over his rear end area, near the base of his tail, down his hind legs and on his abdomen, then dog flea allergy is a HIGH probability. He may be chewing and swallowing the fleas, therefore you would NOT find any. But where the fleas have bitten him, leaving their saliva in his skin is what is causing his allergic reaction, even though you do not see any fleas, he will still itch and scratch where the flea bit him for 5-7 days! See our page on Fleas, Flea Allergy, and what to do to control it.

Anal gland problems will also cause a dog to chew around his hind end area, but should not cause all of the scabs. You can have a groomer express his anal glands.

If he is chewing the tops of his front feet, his face, along his mouth, eyes and ears, then he may have inhaled allergies from pollens and grasses. See our Dog Skin Conditions page on what to do for this condition.

If all of his itching started after receiving vaccinations a few weeks ago, then a condition called 'vaccinosis' has triggered all of his skin problems. A holistic veterinarian will be able to deal with this situation.

In general, for skin issues, diet MUST be moist. I noticed that you feed the Rachel Ray food. Is this the DRY DOG food? You must switch to a canned food (if she makes a canned version of the dry food, that would be fine), and also add in some raw meat (NO RAW PORK or RAW FISH), such as one TBSP of chicken, turkey or beef to the canned food in each meal, would be fine. Adding oil to the diet is also a good idea. Use Omega 3 fish oil for dogs, about 500 mg two times daily for a 25 lb dog.

Bathing with baby shampoo two times per week to clean the skin, remove surface bacteria, and pollen etc. might give some relief. Keep the water a little on the cool side. A dog's normal body temperature is 102 degrees. If he has hot, itchy, red skin, then making the water a little cooler will also give some relief.


Aug 28, 2011
My Online Vet Response for Scabs and itchy skin on my puggle, but no fleas PART TWO
by: Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

Hi Courtney,
Here is the continuation of my answer:

Using Rescue Remedy in his drinking water, 2-3 drops twice a day will help calm his anxiety from his skin issues. (this is a Bach Flower essence used in people to decrease anxiety, but is useful in dogs, too.) You can also add 20 drops of the Rescue Remedy to a 2 oz travel size pump spray bottle, and fill with Spring Water, and keep it in the refrigerator. Use this to spray on the inflamed, scabbed skin as needed during the day or night, might also give some relief. And it will be ok if he licks it.

Of course, seeking the help of a holistic veterinarian would be ideal. A diagnosis for why your dog is itching will speed along holistic treatment and recovery.
Click here to find a holistic veterinarian in your area.

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

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