How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site. Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Lisa Your Own Question
Lisa, Certified Vet Tech
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 16544
Experience:  AAS Vet Tech. Bully breed rehab & Behavior modification
Type Your Dog Question Here...
Lisa is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

My German Shepherd is losing his hair and his skin is extremely

This answer was rated:

My German Shepherd is losing his hair and his skin is extremely dry and flaky. I 1st thought it was "hot spots"..I live in S. Fla., but now it's looking like it's spread all over his back from his shoulders back to his tail...I put olive oil in his food, (all-natural diet) because he has mega-esophagus and he's healthy otherwise. My vet has him on antihistimines...???, but it doesn't seem to be doing a thing. Can you help me?



I'm a big fan of holistic medicine, and I've had some really good luck with some of these, which are actually remedies for itching, but seem to work on flaky skin as well:





*For some itches, we suggest soaking in a baking soda bath. Adding 1 cup of baking soda to a tub of warm water and then soaking 30-60 minutes. Take dog out and let them air dry (this works best if done outside or in an area where there isn't carpeting as wet dogs drip...a lot). Local itches can be covered with a paste of 3 parts baking soda to 1 part water.


*Oatmeal is an old favorite. Adding 1-2 cups of finely ground oatmeal to a warm bath sometimes can calm even the most irritating of itches. Just make sure the water isn't too hot, or you'll have breakfast for a week in your tub!


*Lots of folk remedies call for using lemon to help with itching. They contain anesthetic and anti-inflammatory properties that may help reduce itching. If nothing else, your dog will smell good!


*Splashing the affected skin with basil tea can help reduce itching as well. Basil contains large amounts of a substance called 'eugenol', which is a topical anesthetic. To make the tea, place 1/2 ounce of dried basil leaves in a 1 pint jar of boiling water. Keep it covered to prevent the escape of eugenol into the air. Allow to cool, then dip a clean cloth into the tea and apply to itchy skin as often as needed.


*Mint tea works about the same way, except the anti-itch property is menthol, not eugenol. To make the mint tea add 1 ounce dried mint leaves to 1 pint of boiling water. Cover and allow to cool. Strain the leaves out and then dip the clean cloth in the tea and apply to the itchy areas.


*If you're saving the basil for spaghetti sauce and the mint & lemons for a glass of lemonade, you can use thyme tea. Once again use 1/2 ounce dried thyme leaves and 1 pint of boiling water. Cover and cool. Strain and use clean cloth to apply to affected areas.


*Last but not least is the old standby, aloe vera. The same properties in aloe vera that help with burns also work like a dream on itches. Snap off a leaf, slice it down the center and rub the gel on the itch.


I hope this helps!!

Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Thank you so much for your prompt reply, but other than the lemon idea...we have tried almost all of these remedies...(sorry I hadn't mentioned that), also some of the places are scabbing up. He just seems really miserable itching all the time. I feel so helpless.
I'm assuming your vet has done a skin scraping of the affected areas and didn't find anything like mange mites?

He does sound miserable, and I wish there was a quick fix for the problem.
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
no, he actually hasn't done that...if that is the case, how do they treat them? I just looked at my other shepherd and he's getting it now as well...not as bad...but scabs and flaky skin and actual sores from where he's been scratching! Now I have 2 of them with it! I have used up an entire bottle of the 4 paws pet aid medicated anti itch seems to help soothe...for a minute! AHHH! Any other suggestions? I do so appreciate your help.

The fact that both your pups are coming down with the same thing really makes me think it could be mange.


If that is the case, how well treatment goes will depend on the type of mange mite they have. There are actually 2 types: Demdex and Sarcoptes and you can find more information here:


I would absolutely ask your vet to do a skin scraping to at least find out if one of these little guys is the problem.

Lisa and 4 other Dog Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Relist: I still need help.