Many dogs seem to suffer from flaky skin and itch on and off almost all the time. Some will get hives, and then they will itch those crusty bumps raw. Hotspots start out as a mildly itchy spot that dogs will itch at until they become large oozy sores. The staph infection that results from the itching and chewing will rapidly spread and make the whole area inflamed and painful. Treat these painful hotspots with some 2% cortisone, aspirin, and Neosporin, after cleansing with a mild shampoo. Keep applying the ointments till the redness and pain is gone. If the infection is bad or spreads, don’t hesitate to visit your vet. (Check my home remedy download for advice and dosages)
Dogs will also itch at their paws or chew at their butt due to allergies to pollens, molds, and grasses or fleas. Pollens, molds, or grasses can cause signs of hay fever like runny eyes, red itchy ears, sneezing, paw chewing and general itchiness where fleas will cause dogs to chew vigorously at their butt and tail area. The slurping sound in the middle of the night is hard to ignore or forget. The hairless areas of the armpits, groin, and belly may get red and bumpy from running through fresh spring grass pollens. A poodle came in just the other day with red inflamed itchy eyes from running through the grass. She was a delicate little thing. The paws will also get red and sore from running through grasses, mud, and gravel. Wash those paws off and apply ointments listed above. That is if you can actually hold or treat the paws. Most dogs hate their feet messed with. My lab, Tucker loves his paws and pads massaged. My wife, Lonna, thinks that is just wrong. Not that he likes it, just the fact that I massage his feet and not hers. Guess I better switch off once in a while.
Hay fever and grass allergies in dogs can be treated with oatmeal shampoo after the romp. I advise my clients to use shampoo, antihistamines, and ointments for mild irritation and intermittent low doses of prednisone for itchier pooches. If the skin, ears, belly, or paws turn red and itchy you can try a mild conditioning or oatmeal shampoo, antihistamines, and cortisone ointment. You can buy 2% cortisone from the drugstore to put on the ears and skin. You can also buy Benadryl, cetirizine, and loraditine from your local supermarket or drug store. (I never know what to call them anymore because every store seems to have everything. Drug stores have food, pool supplies, and automotive stuff. Supermarkets have kayaks, vegetables, and coffee shops.)
Don’t forget healing creams and herbal salves. Herbal salves like aloe vera work by decreasing inflammation and stabilizing cells. By the way, our bodies are made of a few trillion or so of cells. (A trillion doesn’t seem so big a number anymore with 7 billion people in the world and a 14 trillion dollar deficit).
Do not take the healing properties of plants for granted. Digitalis, a heart drug is derived from the foxglove plant. Plants contain natural anti-oxidants because you might need protection if you use the sun’s rays for photosynthesis. (Constant exposure to UV rays and other light to make sugar from carbon dioxide and water could pose health risks if you didn’t develop protection. By the way, plants are green because that is the part of the light spectrum they do not absorb.)
If these remedies do not improve the situation in 24 hours, a trip to your vet may be necessary. (Check my website for my free home remedy download with advice and dosages for minor problems)
Prednisone has a bad reputation, but is great for helping dogs feel better. If prednisone use is restricted to outbreaks of itchiness and not used in high doses all the time the risk of side effects are very, very, small. I use prednisone to “put water on the fire of inflammation” and keep things from getting out of hand.
Dry unhealthy skin just wants to itch. If your dog is getting the wrong ingredients, or not getting the fats and oils he or she needs in the DIET AND TREATS, the skin will lean towards the itchy side. No matter what the allergy, healthy skin may not be as prone to itching.
What can you do? First realize that your dog is an individual that may not thrive on just any commercial diet. They may need better ingredients or different type of food such as canned, hypoallergenic, holistic, or a raw diet. I find my dogs and cats are not even as prone to fleas because their skin and coat is healthier. Could the natural oils of healthy skin even repel fleas? I can’t prove it, but I haven’t used flea control on my animals for two years. ,
In my book, Dog Dish Diet, I help educate and take the anxiety and expense out of feeding our pets. Follow my suggestions and “Feed Your Pet to Avoid the Vet”. The book and eBook may help your dog live a less itchy and healthier life. (The book and eBook are available for $17.95).
Of Course, your dog may need medicine and vet visits…but what if reading Dog Dish Diet to know what to avoid or add, and 60 days on the Canine Crock Pot Cuisine ended vet visits and saved you money on dog food? Isn’t 17.95 worth a try? (Heck, what can you get for that anymore?)
(Crocking dog food is easy and economical. Takes 15 minutes to put in a crock pot and 15 minutes to take out and refrigerate. You can also freeze portions for later)