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Dr. Kara
Dr. Kara, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 16467
Experience:  Over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian.
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My normally very clean very healthy 8 year old Lab has recently

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My normally very clean very healthy 8 year old Lab has recently picked up a "dog" smell and scratches a bit. No fleas. Is this an indication of other issues?

Hello, my name isXXXXX and I have over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian.

I'm sorry to hear that Lola suddenly has more of a body odor then usual and is itchy.


If she wasn't itchy I would be suspicious of metabolic organ disease (kidney or liver disease, or diabetes), which can change metabolic waste product amounts in her blood stream and the bacteria population in her gastrointestinal tract which leads to bad breath odor and secondary body odor.


Because she is itchy then she may have increased amounts of skin oil being produced and a possible secondary bacterial or yeast skin infection. All of those things will change and increase body odor.


If she hasn't gained or lost weight and isn't drinking more water then usual I would try treating her for allergies and bathing her.

If you are sure fleas aren't a possibility then she may have inhaled allergens (atopy) like grass pollen, dust mites or molds and you can use a combination of antihistamines and high doses of omega-3 fatty acids to help with those (they also help with the symptoms of flea allergy). In combination fatty acids and antihistamines work synergistically, much better than either one alone. If her symptoms worsen seasonally I would think that inhaled allergens are a part of her problem.

You can try:

1)Benadryl (diphenhydramine only don't use the combination products with decongestants and acetaminophen as they can be toxic) at 1mg to 2mg per pound or one 25mg capsule per 25 pounds of dog orally every 8 hours.

OR 2)Claritin (loratidine) at 5mg per 25 pound dog once or twice daily.

OR 3)Hydroxyzine at 1mg per pound orally every 8 hours.

OR 4) Chlorpheniramine at 4mg to 8mg per dog once or twice daily.

Some dogs do better on one antihistamine rather than another.
Give the one you pick a week to 10 day trial and if it isn't working try another. Be
aware antihistamines can cause sleepiness or hyperactivity in some dogs. These
side effects do wear off with repeated use.

Omega-3 fatty acids are fish oil products. 3V by DVM or Derm Caps ES are good brand name products. Use the high end of the dosing schedule for your pup's weight.


Cool water baths with an oatmeal shampoo or chlorhexiderm shampoo (which is antibacterial and antifungal) and a conditioner with an antihistamine may help. The water rinses off allergens and the cool temperature soothes itchy skin.


If she has any other symptoms I would recommend an examination, and blood tests, including a complete blood count, biochemistry profile and thyroid profile.


Best of luck with your girl, please let me know if you have any further questions.

Dr. Kara and other Dog Veterinary Specialists are ready to help you

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

Dr. Kara