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Dr. Dave
Dr. Dave, Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 4125
Experience:  21 years small animal general and emergency practice
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My lab mix has one ear that seems to be really bothering her.

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My lab mix has one ear that seems to be really bothering her. She scratches it a lot and it can get very red inside. She doesn't mind me trying to look at it, so it must not be painful to touch. It has been like thus on and off for several months. I thought at first it might be an infection, but it flares up and calms down so often it is hard to see that an infection would be present.

She has horribly itchy skin and has often almost chewed her feet raw. She takes a daily Benadryl which helps, but I don't know what else to do. I have tried changing foods and that doesn't seem to help either. She is due for her shots in early January and I will ask the vet about it, but do you think this is something that could be serious or does it sound like an allergic response.
Hello, and thanks for writing in.
Everything you are describing with Cleo sounds like an allergy problem. An ear infection is possible, but less likely since it's been on and off for months. The itchy skin and feet chewing is very typical of allergies. Also, the red ears can go right along with allergies. It's good that you are going to your veterinarian so they can examine Cleo and treat appropriately.
Benadryl can be helpful in some dogs, and they can take a relatively large dose (compared to people). Dogs can take up to 1mg per pound of body weight, every 8 hours. So for example, a 75 pound dog could take 75mg of Benadryl every 8 hours. You may see some drowsiness with Benadryl. Benadryl does not work in every dog. Sometimes a different antihistamine is needed. Other possible ways to treat allergies include anti-itch medicated shampoos, fatty acid (fish oil) supplements, cortisone (pills or injections), or a medication called Atopica, which can be quite effective, but it's more expensive that some of the other treatments. Sometimes topical medications (ointments or sprays) are prescribed for certain areas of the skin, depending on what your veterinarian feels is best for Cleo.
Low-allergen foods can also help quite a bit, even if a food allergy is not the culprit. Examples of good allergy foods include Purina HA, Purina DRM, Hill's D/D, Hill's Z/D, Iams FP, Iams KO.

I hope this helps.
Dr. Dave
Dr. Dave and 4 other Dog Specialists are ready to help you
Hi Sherri,

I'm just following up on our conversation about Cleo. How is everything going?

Dr. Dave