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Dr. Gabby
Dr. Gabby, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
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Experience:  DVM 19 years. Compassionate, Caring, Experienced.
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My 7 year old chihuahua chews and scratches constantly.

Customer Question

My 7 year old chihuahua chews and scratches constantly. Making skin bleed.
Submitted: 11 months ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Gabby replied 11 months ago.

Good morning, This is Dr. Gabby.

Has anyone addressed his allergies and how to control them? It really sounds like allergies to me.
Food allergies and environmental allergies would be at the top of the list.
Beef, chicken, lamb, corn, wheat, and soy are the most common food allergens. Food allergies develop over months to years.
To determine if he has food allergies, he would need to be put on a completely hypo-allergenic diet for 6 weeks. The name of the hypo-allergenic diet is "hills z/d." It is a prescription diet and you have to get it from a veterinarian. There are no over the counter completely hypo-allergenic diets. It is only about $10-$15 more a month so it is not that bad if it fixes the skin issue. If his skin improves, then you know it is food allergies.
He could also have environmental allergies. This is called "atopy" or "atopic dermatitis." The dog's skin comes in contact with the allergens and then they are absorbed into the skin causing an allergic reaction. Your vet can do a blood allergy test to see what he is allergic to. Then, he could receive allergy shots to desensitize him to the allergens. The allergy shots are 50-75% effective. We also treat atopy symptomatically with antihistamines, shampoos, topical creams and sprays, cortisone, and immune suppressing medications.
You can try human benadryl at a dose of 1 mg per pound every 12 hours.

For example, a 5 pound dog would take 5 mg of Benadryl every 12 hours. You have to give it every day and it will help prevent him from having an allergic reaction. It does not have any long term side effects like steroids.
Over the counter hydrocortisone cream, or spray, can be use 3-4 times a day to help with inflammation. I was not sure how often you were using it.

In dogs, the environmental allergens get on the skin and then go through the skin to cause an allergic reaction. So bathing 2-3 times a week helps remove allergens.

If he licks his feet a lot then after he comes inside, clean the allergens off his feet with sensitive skin baby wipes or a wet wash cloth.

You can try other shampoos and conditioners.

There are good ones:

resicort leave in conditioner

resisoothe shampoo
Flea saliva allergy can also cause an allergic reaction. If he is allergic to flea saliva, one flea bite will cause him to have an allergic reaction. The fleas only go on the pet to feed. Then they jump off. So most people think fleas are not the cause because they did not see a flea on the pet. Make sure he is on a high quality flea control plan every month. Frontline, Advantage, and Comfortis are all good options.
Omega 3 fatty acids can help with skin inflammation. Fish oil is a good source of omega-3s. 1/8 teaspoon, per 5 pounds of weight, twice a day. You can buy it at the drug store or the health food store. Put it on his food.

How does that sound? Do you have any additional questions?

Expert:  Dr. Gabby replied 11 months ago.

If that was helpful, and you are all set, can you please rate my answer so I receive credit for my time?

Expert:  Dr. Gabby replied 11 months ago.
Hi Belinda,
I'm just following up on our conversation about Huckleberry. How is everything going?
Dr. Gabby