Hello, this is Dr. Linda. I hope I can help with your question today.
I am sorry for your concerns about your scratching dog. It seems that at this time of year, every other call concerns an itchy dog.
I definitely understand your concerns about using steroids to keep your dog comfortable. It is a very good, very powerful medication, but it does have its side effects.
First thing is to make sure your friend is well protected from fleas. Even if you are not seeing fleas on her, you must use a flea product regularly. This includes the topicals, as well as the new oral products that work for a month, or up to 3 months at a time.
Then to help the scratching, you can use an oatmeal based shampoos containing 1% hydrocortisone, or pramoxine. If this does not work, or you still need something stronger, then the next step is to use another immunosuppressive agent like Atopica that contains cyclosporin, or everyone's newest favorite, Apoquel, that contains oclacitinib.
No medication is without some concerns, so we always try to find the lowest therapeutic dose to keep our pets comfortable. To help, I always recommend the omega 3 capsules to be given non-stop, all year round, even if the pet stops itching in the colder months.
Then there is always allergy testing to find out what she may actually be allergic to, then administering the right combination of allergens to decrease sensitivity to them.
So there are other options to try. Having your pet seen by a board certified Veterinary Dermatologist might expedite relief for your pet, but any veterinarian can help you further with any of the above suggestions.
I hope this makes sense & you find the information helpful. Please let me know if you have any further questions or concerns.