Dog Veterinary

Ask a Dog Vet and Get Answers to Your Dog Health Questions

Ask a Dog Veterinarian,
Get an Answer ASAP!

Dog Veterinary

We have a choc. lab all he does is scratch and bite from s

Customer Question
we have a choc. lab...
we have a choc. lab all he does is scratch and bite from his back to his tail.he's losing hair and has dry skin. he is flea clear. we've tried skin so soft and other sprays. we don't know what else to do for him. we know he's miserable.
Submitted: 2 years ago.Category: Dog Veterinary
Show More
Show Less
Ask Your Own Dog Veterinary Question
Answered in 9 minutes by:
11/6/2015
Dog Veterinarian: Dr. Kara, Veterinarian replied 2 years ago
Dr. Kara
Dr. Kara, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 17,491
Experience: Over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian.
Verified

Hello, my name is***** and I have over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian. I am sorry to hear that your fellow is miserably itchy even with not seeing any fleas on him.

Allergies are the most common cause of itchy skin and can give him a skin crawling, all over itchy type effect which many dogs find irritating. I'll give you an allergy rundown of likely causes for skin troubles. He may have more than one allergy given how symptomatic he is now. Dogs that have one allergy often develop several with time. The effect of multiple allergies aren't additive, they actually compound one another.

Even if you don't see fleas I do recommend using protection. The area that he is focused on is the most common one affected in dogs with flea bite allergy. Flea bite allergy is the most common allergen and it only takes one bite a month to make an allergic dog scratch so I recommend using flea prevention even if you never see one again. And as itchy as he is if only a few fleas are biting he may be literally eating the evidence before you see them. Frontline Plus, Advantage II or Advantix are excellent. Don't use over the counter products, especially Hartz or Sargents, as most are ineffective if not toxic. Unfortunately even after the fleas are gone the allergic reaction can continue for weeks and I will discuss controlling that reaction below.

Other allergens can be inhaled (like grass pollen, dust mites or molds).

You can use a combination of antihistamines and high doses of omega-3 fatty acids to help with the symptoms of flea bite and inhaled allergies. In combination fatty acids and antihistamines work synergistically, much better than either one alone. If his symptoms worsen seasonally I would think that inhaled allergens are a part of his problem.

You can try:

1)Benadryl (diphenhydramine only don't use the combination products with acetaminophen or decongestants as they can be toxic for dogs) at 1mg to 2mg per pound of body weight or one 25mg capsule per 15 to 25 pounds of body weight orally every 8 hours.

OR 2)Claritin (loratidine) at 5mg per 25 pounds of body weight once or twice daily.

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

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

OR 5) Zyrtec (Cetirizine hydrochloride) at 1/2 mg per pound of body weight orally every 24 hours. That would be one 10mg tablet per 20 pounds of body weight. Make sure it is NOT the formulation with a decongestant (such as Zyrtec-D) because dogs cannot tolerate decongestants.

Some dogs do better on one antihistamine rather than another. Give the one you pick a week 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. I recommend a dose based upon the EPA portion (eicosapentanoic acid) of the supplement as if we do that the rest of the supplement will be properly balanced. Give him 20mg of EPA per pound of body weight per day. For example an 80 pound dog could take 1600mg of EPA per day.

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. Do not bathe your fellow for 2 to 3 days before or after applying flea control products or the bath will interfere with the product's efficacy.

Food allergy is very possible with him as well if he seems to be itchy all year round. Dogs can develop allergies to any protein or carbohydrate so even if he is only fed one thing that can be what he is allergic to. Dogs with food allergies tend to lick and scratch their paws, face and ears the most, but any of the "allergy reactive areas" can be affected.

Make sure that the food that you put him on is a true hypoallergenic diet if you choose to test him for food allergies. The trouble with "limited ingredient" or "low allergy" pet store brands is that the same machinery is used on multiple lots of food without sterilization cleaning in between. So for example even if a food says it has salmon and rice if the previous batch had beef and corn then you will get traces of those ingredients in your bag of food. Not a big deal if your dog isn't allergic but a waste of money thinking that the food was hypoallergenic and not good for your dog if those happen to be allergens for your dog. The veterinary brand true hypoallergenic foods are more expensive because it isn't cheap to thoroughly remove all traces of a previous food mixture from the machines used to process food.
Generally what I recommend is trying to clear the skin with a prescription hypoallergenic diet and then adding one food item (chicken, beef, corn wheat etc) every month to see what they react to. Then we can find a regular food to try that doesn't have the things that we find he is allergic to. As far as permanent diets I do tend to stick with Purina Pro Plan brands or Nature's Recipe as I find those rarely if ever have cross contamination. Purina Pro Plan Turkey and Barley or Nature's Recipe Vegetarian or Venison are pretty good products. I know that this isn't easy from personal experience (my dog is allergic to wheat) and it is time consuming, but worth it.

If you choose to try testing/treating him for a food allergy I recommend that you try a true hypoallergenic diet like Hills z/d or Purina Veterinary Diets HA. No treats, flavored medication or bones while on the diet and it must be used for a least 12 to 16 weeks to see the full effects. You should see some improvement in 6 to 8 weeks.

Cortisone ointment applied to the very itchy places (as long as they aren't raw) twice daily may help as well if needed. Some sprays have alcohol which can be painful on raw skin and lead to more inflammation. I don't like oral steroids but topical directed at the problem areas can be very helpful and are less likely to cause side effects.

Another option if the antihistamines and omega 3's aren't enough is a product called Atopica. It suppresses the immune system a bit so it decreases allergic symptoms but it doesn't have as many harmful side effects as systemic steroids.

Another option is a newer drug called Apoquel (generic name oclacitinib) which interferes with the allergic pathway. It works very quickly to stop the symptoms of an allergy, usually within 24 hours. Most dogs are reported to be much more comfortable in a day or so. Unfortunately it is on limited supply now due to overwhelming demand, but it is something to keep in mind for the future if he continues to have trouble.

If you are interested discuss these medications with your veterinarian as they are prescription products.

Another option if you are interested, is trying immunotherapy. Your fellow would need to be tested to determine exactly what he is allergic to, and then he is given small amounts of the allergen to build up his tolerance to it, increasing the amount of allergen in the injection incrementally so that his immune system no longer responds to it. This isn't a quick fix, it takes time to slowly build up their tolerance and as he develops new allergens things may need to be added, but it is an option.

If it's been a while since his last exam parasites like cheyletiella, demodex or sarcoptes mites should be looked for by your veterinarian as well if he isn't improving as they can lead to very itchy skin.

Please let me know if you have any further questions.

Ask Your Own Dog Veterinary Question
Ask Dr. Kara Your Own Question
Dr. Kara
Dr. Kara
Dr. Kara, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 17,491
17,491 Satisfied Customers
Experience: Over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian.

Dr. Kara is online now

A new question is answered every 9 seconds

How JustAnswer works:

  • Ask an ExpertExperts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional AnswerVia email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site. Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction GuaranteeRate the answer you receive.

JustAnswer in the News:

Ask-a-doc Web sites: If you've got a quick question, you can try to get an answer from sites that say they have various specialists on hand to give quick answers... Justanswer.com.
JustAnswer.com...has seen a spike since October in legal questions from readers about layoffs, unemployment and severance.
Web sites like justanswer.com/legal
...leave nothing to chance.
Traffic on JustAnswer rose 14 percent...and had nearly 400,000 page views in 30 days...inquiries related to stress, high blood pressure, drinking and heart pain jumped 33 percent.
Tory Johnson, GMA Workplace Contributor, discusses work-from-home jobs, such as JustAnswer in which verified Experts answer people’s questions.
I will tell you that...the things you have to go through to be an Expert are quite rigorous.

What Customers are Saying:

It was so professional, so personally concerned (as we were) and you answered all of our questions. George and I are so happy that I found "JustAnswer" on my Google search -- you are now in my "Favorites" list! And, yes we do love our kitty - she makes our life complete!

Bev & GeorgeBoca Raton, FL

Wonderful service, prompt, efficient, and accurate. Couldn't have asked for more. I cannot thank you enough for your help.

Mary C.Freshfield, Liverpool, UK

This expert is wonderful. They truly know what they are talking about, and they actually care about you. They really helped put my nerves at ease. Thank you so much!!!!

AlexLos Angeles, CA

Thank you for all your help. It is nice to know that this service is here for people like myself, who need answers fast and are not sure who to consult.

GPHesperia, CA

I couldn't be more satisfied! This is the site I will always come to when I need a second opinion.

JustinKernersville, NC

Just let me say that this encounter has been entirely professional and most helpful. I liked that I could ask additional questions and get answered in a very short turn around.

EstherWoodstock, NY

Thank you so much for taking your time and knowledge to support my concerns. Not only did you answer my questions, you even took it a step further with replying with more pertinent information I needed to know.

RobinElkton, Maryland

< Previous | Next >

Meet the Experts:

Dr. Debbie

Dr. Debbie

Dog Veterinarian

902 satisfied customers

Companion animal veterinarian practicing for over 10 years.

Dr. Andy

Dr. Andy

Medical Director

16,112 satisfied customers

UC Davis graduate, emphasis in dermatology, internal medicine, pain management

Dr. Gary

Dr. Gary

Dog Veterinarian

9,980 satisfied customers

DVM, Emergency Veterinarian, BS (Physiology)

Dr Scott Nimmo

Dr Scott Nimmo

Dog Veterinarian

9,897 satisfied customers

BVMS, MRCVS. { Glasgow UK }

Dr. Scott

Dr. Scott

Veterinarian

9,615 satisfied customers

15 years of small animal, equine and pocket pet medicine and surgery.

Dr. Bruce

Dr. Bruce

Veterinarian

9,134 satisfied customers

15 years of experience as a small animal veterinarian

Rebecca

Rebecca

Dog Veterinarian

7,745 satisfied customers

More than 30 years of companion animal practice.

< Previous | Next >

Related Dog Veterinary Questions
He got into 3-4 small chicken wing bones in the trash and
he got into 3-4 small chicken wing bones in the trash and ate them … read more
Dr. Kara
Dr. Kara
Veterinarian
17,491 satisfied customers
Swallowed a chicken wing bone whole and is now vomiting but
Swallowed a chicken wing bone whole and is now vomiting but no blood in the vomit or stool … read more
Dr. Peter
Dr. Peter
Doctors Degree
14,322 satisfied customers
My dog ate a bunch of rotisserie chicken bones before I
Hi, my dog ate a bunch of rotisserie chicken bones before I could stop him. I'm worried about the potential consequences. I have to go to work in 9 hours and won't be back for another 4-9 hours after … read more
DocPaul
DocPaul
Doctoral Degree
680 satisfied customers
My dog puked up a chicken bone....it did look quite sharp
My dog puked up a chicken bone....it did look quite sharp however she didn't struggle to puke, just one quick gag about 30 mom after she invested it.. she's acting fine. Happened about 30 min ago. I h… read more
Dr. Denise
Dr. Denise
Veterinarian
Doctor of Veterinary Medicine
494 satisfied customers
My boson terrier ate a thigh bone from a chicken? She seems
My boson terrier ate a thigh bone from a chicken? She seems fine and has gone to the bathroom but no bone yet? … read more
Dr. Kara
Dr. Kara
Veterinarian
17,491 satisfied customers
My dog has had sores on the lower part of her paws, bites
Hi. My dog has had sores on the lower part of her paws, bites and licks a lot, and some paw pad irritation too. … read more
Rebecca
Rebecca
Dog Veterinarian
Doctoral Degree
7,745 satisfied customers
My miniature poodle gets eczema like sores and dry skin on
My miniature poodle gets eczema like sores and dry skin on her tummy. I have been treating it with Topagen prescribed by my vet but i'm wondering if it is diet related. I switched her to Blue Limited … read more
Dr. Meghan Denney
Dr. Meghan Denney
Doctor of Veterinary Medicine
Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine
1,852 satisfied customers
My dog ate a chicken bone half an hour ago, he found it in
Hi my dog ate a chicken bone half an hour ago, he found it in the garden, I tried to get it off him but he managed to chew it and eat it. He dropped some of it while chewing so I managed to get some o… read more
DocPaul
DocPaul
Doctoral Degree
680 satisfied customers
Our two dachshunds licked raw chicken juice off the floor.
our two dachshunds licked raw chicken juice off the floor … read more
Dr. Kara
Dr. Kara
Veterinarian
17,491 satisfied customers
Ear infection. can i use neosporin in her ear to treat it?
ear infection. can i use neosporin in her ear to treat it? will take her to vet but cant get in until next week … read more
Dr. Kara
Dr. Kara
Veterinarian
17,491 satisfied customers
My dog ate half a chicken leg by accident (bone as well) on
My dog ate half a chicken leg by accident (bone as well) on Thanksgiving. She first had diarrhea then I put her on a rice and chicken dinner. She did't poop till an hour ago. I gave her some miralax w… read more
Dr. Bruce
Dr. Bruce
Veterinarian
Doctor of Veterinary Medicine
9,134 satisfied customers
Our dog swallowed a chicken bone on our walk today, it was
our dog swallowed a chicken bone on our walk today, it was about 1.5 inches long and just ten minutes later started to pee blood, although not much urine was coming out she would squat and then a litt… read more
DocPaul
DocPaul
Doctoral Degree
680 satisfied customers
She is biting and licking her paws constantly. It is red and
She is biting and licking her paws constantly. It is red and raw … read more
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin
Veterinarian
DVM
3 satisfied customers
My dog got ahold of a small whole chicken bone and swallowed
Hello my dog got ahold of a small whole chicken bone and swallowed it. I do not believe he chewed it up before swallowing. Should I be worried? He doesn't seem to be in pain. … read more
Dr. Deb
Dr. Deb
Associate Veterinarian
Doctoral Degree
564 satisfied customers
My dog's foot / paw is raw in between the pads and she is
My dog's foot / paw is raw in between the pads and she is limping. Last fall it happened as well and get said keep dry but this year seems worse … read more
Scott Perry
Scott Perry
Veterinarian
Doctor of Veterinary Medicine
1,522 satisfied customers
She had a raw marrow bone for a little while, and she had
hello! she had a raw marrow bone for a little while, and she had chewed off pieces and swallowed them before I had the chance to get it all away from her unfortunately … read more
Dr. Gabby
Dr. Gabby
Veterinarian
Doctoral Degree
4,408 satisfied customers
Dog had 2 raw bones Friday afternoon,wouldn't eat that
Dog had 2 raw bones Friday afternoon,wouldn't eat that night.Vomited on Saturday am and was happy to eat bones again in the pm.Wouldn't eat again Saturday night and threw up during the night.Now she h… read more
Dr. B.
Dr. B.
Veterinary Degree (BVMS)
3,451 satisfied customers
TOP OF PAWS WITH AREAS OF DRY SKIN THAT SHE IS CHEWING AND
TOP OF PAWS WITH AREAS OF DRY SKIN THAT SHE IS CHEWING AND LICKING ON CREATING A LARGE OPEN SORE ON TOP OF HER FRONT PAWS, I'D LIKE TO USE VITAMIN E OIL OR SUNFLOWER OIL SPARING ON HER PAWS. IS THIS S… read more
Dr. B.
Dr. B.
Veterinary Degree (BVMS)
3,451 satisfied customers
Disclaimer: Information in questions, answers, and other posts on this site ("Posts") comes from individual users, not JustAnswer; JustAnswer is not responsible for Posts. Posts are for general information, are not intended to substitute for informed professional advice (medical, legal, veterinary, financial, etc.), or to establish a professional-client relationship. The site and services are provided "as is" with no warranty or representations by JustAnswer regarding the qualifications of Experts. To see what credentials have been verified by a third-party service, please click on the "Verified" symbol in some Experts' profiles. JustAnswer is not intended or designed for EMERGENCY questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals.

Disclaimer: Information in questions, answers, and other posts on this site ("Posts") comes from individual users, not JustAnswer; JustAnswer is not responsible for Posts. Posts are for general information, are not intended to substitute for informed professional advice (medical, legal, veterinary, financial, etc.), or to establish a professional-client relationship. The site and services are provided "as is" with no warranty or representations by JustAnswer regarding the qualifications of Experts. To see what credentials have been verified by a third-party service, please click on the "Verified" symbol in some Experts' profiles. JustAnswer is not intended or designed for EMERGENCY questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals.

Show MoreShow Less

Ask Your Question

x