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Dr. Joey
Dr. Joey, Board Certified
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 4723
Experience:  15 yrs in practice, specialist canine/feline medicine
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My dog is panting heavily and excessive licking himself, scratching

Customer Question

My dog is panting heavily and excessive licking himself, scratching at his ears, and is very restless. normally he's a good sleeper.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Joey replied 2 years ago.
Hello I am Dr. Joey. Thanks for trusting me to help you and your pet today. I am a licensed veterinarian with over 15 years of experience. I look forward to working with you.
I suspect the cause of the itchiness is leading to the restlessness and agitation.
The first thing to check for is fleas. If he is not on an effective monthly flea control product then this is a possibility at this time of the year. Most of the time the itching is very intense and episodic. Some dogs will lick/chew to the point of pulling out hair. You could fan through the hair and look for flea "dirt" or the debris they leave behind or the actual fleas. In some cases when he infestation is low you may see nothing, but if he is not on an effective product then this is something you can do at home. Not many product work anymore. Over-the-counter the only one I could say is reliably effective is Advantage or Advantix. Frontline Plus and Topspot no longer work well, nor do their knock-off derivatives. From your vet you could get an effective oral medication like comforts, nexgard or bravesto. Or a topical such as Revolution or Tritak.
IF we feel this canNOT be fleas and he is on an effective monthly treatment, then perhaps he has an ear and/or skin infection. These can be very painful (especially ears) and come on very suddenly. IF his ears have discharge, redness and odor then he probably has an infection and needs to go see his veterinarian today. There are no effective over-the-counter products to treat this (not even any home remedies); this requires prescription medication. If his skin is very broken out then he also needs prescription medication to clear and some testing to know if this is yeast or bacterial infection, as your vet can do.
What could you do now at home? If he was my patient and you could not have him seen right now I might recommend try giving him Benadryl (diphenhydramine) at 1 mg per pound every 12 hours for itching.
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I hope that the information I provided has been helpful.
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