My poor dog has developed some kind of allergy, poor thing.
His name is Odee and he’s a cross between a golden retriever and a poodle. He weighs about 55 pounds and is in otherwise good health. He is about 2 1/2 yrs old now.
When I took him to the vet she said he was just coming of age to manifest allergies, that she sees lots of it this time of the year, it’s been a particularly bad season, put him on allergy meds, and start changing his diet.
Her best guess was that is was chicken.
We switched to chicken free food directly without much effect, though the allergy meds helped with the itch and the bumps.
But that wasn’t it, so another friend’s vet suggested we try grains. So we switched to chicken free, grain free diet and he is still having bumps and itches.
I can’t afford the testing ($300) or another vet visit, just now. So I’m asking for your best suggestions of what to try next.
We control our Shiba Inu’s skin allergies with bi-weekly serum shots from an animal dermatologist. This is expensive, but it works. We also have a steroid-based spray bottle for hot spots, but she doesn’t really have them much anymore.
In order for diet-based approaches to work (if it is indeed a food allergy) you have to be very strict. There are multiple protein types you can choose, like duck, fish, or lamb. Pick one and only one, and don’t feed Odee ANYTHING else. I don’t remember how long for the change to take effect, but your vet should be able to advise.
If it’s environmental, it could be anything from grass pollen to eucalyptus to your down comforter that’s causing problems. If you can limit exposure to possible allergens, try to do that. If anyone in your family has seasonal allergies, see if Odee gets reactions when the person gets reactions. Regular Benedryl pills can be given to dogs; check with the vet for dosage.
Whatever the cause, wash him frequently with fragrance-free, oatmeal-based dog shampoo.
My dog (9 y.o.) has problems around this time of year. The vet thought it was leaf mold allergy. The leaves fall and decompose on the ground and get mold. The dog starts spending a lot of time licking and chewing at her feet. I give her a couple store brand Benydryls every day and it seems to take the edge off. I also try to keep the yard raked as much as possible and it seems to stop after the first hard freeze.
Mine’s not yet at the injection stage, and we postponed the antigen test due to cost. When we got him at the pound last summer, he had big bare patches and his skin was raw and ugly. A sad, sweet guy.
He’s a mix of terrier and who-knows-what, looks like Benji and weighs about 20 lbs.
The vet recommended we try a dietary change first, so for the past year he’s been eating Rx food. We fed him a beet-pulp dry food (Hypoallergenic HP19) for a few months, with carrots and unflavored rice cakes as treats. He had a few outbreaks, mostly caused by friendly folk offering him treats and his constant foraging for anything edible.
He did well, so we progressed to his current diet of venison and potato dry and canned food. Benadryl and Simplicef (antibiotic) are used occasionally for outbreaks. We gradually reduced the Benadryl and Simplicef dosage from daily to weekends to none. We also have a topical ointment, mupirocin, for occasional chicken-pox-like sores he gets on his tummy. His treats are still carrots and rice cakes. I’m happy to report that his skin has remained mostly clear for the last 3 months.
That’s not to say he’s cured, but he’s a much happier, friskier dog who isn’t constantly scratching. His hair has grown back into a really beautiful coat.
My dog has seasonal allergies, so in your case it may make sense to rule that out before diving headlong into dietary controls. This is a particularly bad time of year for my dog.
To control hers, she gets Benedryl (or a generic equivalent) and is dosed according to weight. She takes 3 25mg pills twice a day, and I also give her an essential fatty acids supplement to help her coat. We also have some ear cleansing liquid, which I’ve only needed to use if the allergy season has hit before I was expecting it. If I’ve controlled her reactions early enough, her ears have stayed clear.
Not all dogs respond to Benedryl, but it’s worth checking if your dog does before comitting to the more expensive stuff.
Thank you so much for all of the experiences you have shared. It has really helped me and I am definitely going to follow some of these suggestions.
We have never crossed over into broken skin or hot spots, we seem teetering on the brink to me, but so far we’ve been lucky.
The over the counter meds seem to relieve his symptoms, but he still gets little crusty bumps and sometimes his ears too. It sounds so similar to what Beadalin describes, perhaps I’m over thinking it, and it’s seasonal, and that’s what the vet was trying to tell me.
I was just loathe to jump to meds without trying the dietary route. But the dietary route’s not seemingly having any effect.
Now I’m wondering when, or if, the season will end? The first frost? The first snow? Snow on the ground? I have been doing my own research but there’s a lot to wade through, out there. Much of it conflicting.
Thanks again for all your help. It’s a great resource for other personal experiences in a confusing situation!
Same problem with our dog. Shots and diet had no effect. Medication (antihistamines, Atopica (much cheaper online) had no effect either. Eventually, found out it was flea sensitivity even though we thought we were treating it regularly and diligently. Now we use flea medicine much more often and it’s helped considerably.
In my dog’s case, the seasonal stuff seems to hit especially hard in the fall, and stops as soon as there’s been a hard freeze. It comes back in early spring, but is gone by early summer.
The Benedryl seems to have no effect on her other than relieving the symptoms; it doesn’t make her drowsy or anything, if that’s part of your reluctance to medicate. Check with your vet on proper dosage. My dog weighs about 75 pounds, so I assume it’s a pretty direct milligram-to-pound ratio.
The key in controlling her allergies is to be very diligent in medicating. One missed dose, or a dose given too far off-schedule, means a flare-up in her symptoms. Start medicating as soon as your dog shows signs of itchiness. Daytona (my dogger) starts rolling a lot, and will stop in the middle of a walk to scratch. Those are my signs, because when she’s feeling good, she’s too busy running and sniffing to stop and scratch. I also check her ears every day – just a quick rub of my thumb along the inside to check for bumps, and an occasional smell check (anyone who’s dealt with a dirty dog ear knows the smell is unmistakable).
Anyway, that’s what’s working for us. Since medication does seem to be helping your dog, I’d urge you to continue with it until you’re firmly in winter territory and then see how it goes without medicating.