No. It just means that I walked away from the computer for a moment....
This condition is commonly referred to as atopic dermatitis. You have to watch the feet licking because that can lead to a lick granuloma and then you have even more problems.
I have found some information for you that details a treatment plan.
Treating the dogs symptoms may include; cool baths with or without colloidal oatmeal, Epsom salts, or medicated shampoos. This can be done frequently but provides only temporary relief. Caution should be used with sprays and ointments because many contain potentially harmful substances. According to Dr. Ackerman, Dermacool is a safe spray containing witch hazel. Cortispray is a low dose, non systemic cortisone spray which can be safely used for short periods of time. Immunotherapy Allergy shots are very safe and many people have great success with them, however, they are very slow to work. It may be six to twelve months before improvement is seen. I spoke with Dr. XXXXX XXXXX, a veterinarian with the dermatology department of the University of Pennsylvania, about intradermal skin testing for inhalant allergies. She reports the average success rate is 70-75%. This rate is for dogs showing any improvement at all. At U of P. the cost for the procedure is $69.00 for the exam, $122.00 for the sedation and testing, and $85.00 for the first 5 months worth of vaccine. After that vaccines are purchased in 7 month supply for $65.00. Substances that are tested include cats(!), feathers, wool, moulds, dust, trees, insects, plants and pollens. Before testing, your pet must be free from all steroids, oral or injected (including those found in ear and eye medicines) for a specified period of time in order for the test to be valid. In all about 60 different substances are tested for.
These compounds reduce itching by reducing inflammation. Unfortunately, they also affect every organ in the body. According to Dr. Ackerman, steroids should be considered only when the allergy season is short, the amount of drug required is small or as a last resort to relieve a dog in extreme discomfort. Side effects can include increased thirst and appetite, increased need to urinate and behavioral changes. Long term use can result in diabetes, decreased resistance to infection and increased susceptibility to seizures. You can recognize steroids by the suffix "-one", such as cortisone, dexamethasone, prednisone ..etc.. In short, alternatives to steroid therapy should always be considered.
Antihistamines can be used with relative safety in dogs. About one third of owners report success with them. The major drawback, as with people, is sedation. Dr. Ackerman recommends that a minimum of three different types of antihistamines be tried before owners give up on this therapy. According to Dr. Johnson, the most common problem with this type of treatment is that owners give the drugs at doses that are too low. Check with your vet on correct dosing. Examples of antihistamines commonly used for dogs include: Tavist, Benadryl, Chlortrimeton, Atarax and Seldane. Personally, I have seen the best results with Atarax.
Omega-3 and Omega-6 Fatty Acids
These fatty acids are natural anti-inflammatory agents. They reportedly are helpful in 20% of allergic dogs. My own experience puts this figure a little higher. They are certainly worth a try because they are not harmful and have virtually no side effects. Omega-3 fatty acids are found in fish oils (especially krill and cod) and omega-6 fatty acids are derived from plants containing gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), such as oil from the evening primrose. These supplements are different from those sold to produce a glossy coat. They tend to reduce inflammation that may lead to skin sores but are not as effective in reducing itching. Products that contain both omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids include: Omega Pet, Derm Caps, and EFA-Z Plus.
If you know which substances your dog is allergic to avoidance is the best method of control. Even if you are desensitizing the dog with allergy shots, it is best to avoid the allergen altogether. Moulds can be reduced by using a dehumidifier or placing activated charcoal on top of the exposed dirt in your house plants. Dusts and pollens are best controlled by using an air cleaner with a HEPA filter. Air conditioning can also reduce circulating amounts of airborne allergens because windows are then kept closed.
Let me know if you still have questions.