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Ask Jane Lefler Your Own Question
Jane Lefler
Jane Lefler, Breeder,Behaviorist, formerVet Asst
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 19759
Experience:  Former vol Vet Assistant.Breeder 18+ years Dog trainer / behaviorist
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My dog is always scratching and chewing the fur off of his

Customer Question

My dog is always scratching and chewing the fur off of his hind end. He does tot have fleas I have looked and even treated him for fleas even though I could not find any. I am not sure why he is doing it or what to do to help him stop itching.
JA: I'm sorry to hear that. Using the wrong medication for fleas can be dangerous. You should definitely talk to the veterinarian. What is the dog's name and age?
Customer: His name is ***** ***** he is 3 years old. He is a keshound, golden retriever, German Shepard mix.
JA: Is there anything else important you think the veterinarian should know about German Shepard?
Customer: We have had him to the vet twice now for the same thing and the first time they told us that it was probably from stress and the second time they gave him some steroids and said that should help but it didn't seam to help at all
Submitted: 10 months ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 10 months ago.

Hi JaCustomer,

My name is ***** ***** I’ve been involved professionally with dogs in the health and behavioral fields for over 18 years. It will be my pleasure to work with you today.

In order to supply you with an informed answer, it is necessary for me to collect some additional information from you. When I receive your response or reply, it will likely take me between 30-45 minutes to type up my reply if I am still online when I receive notice that you replied. I hope you can be patient.

What kind of flea preventative is your dog on?

If you take a damp white cloth and rub it in the area does it come up pink?

has your dog had any change in treats or foods?

Any changes in cleaning supplies?

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
The damp white cloth comes up clean, no pink at all, the preventative we use is pet armor, and when he first started itching we did change to a grain free brand of dog food it's called 4health and it is sold by tractor supply, I believe it is there exclusive brand of pet food. Before I switched him to this food I did research it and from what I could find it has pretty good reviews. At first it seamed like it might have helped a little but as it turns out it didn't really seam to help at all. As far as cleaning supplies and things of that nature we have not changed anything there, we are actually pretty careful with the products that we use for cleaning and laundry because my fiancé and her 2 children are kind of sensitive to some types of soaps and shampoo and things like that. We have tried a couple of sprays for hotspots and itching, a couple different types of shampoos such as the kind with oatmeal and some other one that is supposed to be all natural ingredients, tried adding some coconut oil to his food and also a supplement called Happy Jack Tonekote, it is supposed to help with dry skin, dull coat and excessive shedding and itching. We have even tried Benadryl , So far nothing that we have tried has helped . I would really like to find a solution to help him, he is a really good dog and he is great with the kids and he is a member of our family , it has to be terrible to constantly itching like that, I really want to find something to give him some relief . Any information that you may have to try to help find a solution is very much appreciated. Thank you.
Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 10 months ago.

Thanks for the great information.

It does sound like an allergy condition, but let me explain how allergies and skin conditions work. A dog has an allergic reaction to something. This causes some itchiness and the dog bites or scratches the area. This damages the skin's immune system. This allows the staph or yeast that is present on most dogs to multiply unchecked by the immune system. This leads to a yeast or staph dermatitis. Now the bad part is that these skin conditions also cause a dog to scratch and chew so it ends up being a vicious cycle.

Given the area this is in, it is likely to be a flea allergy that is to blame. It only takes one bite to start the reaction going if they are allergic to fleas. So the flea may be jumping on in the yard, biting and then dies before your dog has enough to be seen. The preventative is a good one, so we need to concentrate on limiting your dog's exposure to them in the environment. You can treat the yard if you wish with food grade Diatomaceous earth, which helps kill them in the yard without poisons. This can also be used in carpets as well. You can read more about that here.

Fleas do not like a wet environment so frequent watering of the lawn can also make it inhospitable to fleas as well. This will help prevent the occasional bite. Now in addition to eliminating the allergen, you need to treat the skin dermatitis as well. Staph usually occurs on the lower regions of your pet and tends to have small pimple type bumps. Shampoo containing Chlorhexiderm and/or Oatmeal can help with this condition though it does not cure the allergy. Yeast typically shows as a greasy area that has a sweet musty odor. Sometimes the skin can become inflamed, darker and thickened due to itching. Yeast likes areas such as between toes, armpits and ears. Selsun Blue Shampoo can help with Yeast dermatitis. When shampooing, lather and leave on 15 minutes before rinsing. These shampoos are not meant to be a cure, just a relief until your pet can see a Vet.

Often a shot of prednisone will help relieve inflammation and itchiness enough to help the spot heal up. No I have had owners of dogs with flea allergies that mixed up their own salve to help stop the cycle. They treat the dermatitis and eliminate the allergen. Now what they also do is get a jar of Vaseline and add about a teaspoon of flea dip and mix it up well. They then use this on the area to protect it and keep any stray fleas from entering the area as well. Most of these clients see signs of hair regrowth as soon as a week later.

You might go ahead and see a different vet though. Let me give you a site on allergies.

Benadryl doesn't do much for the skin dermatitis but is helpful with the actual allergic reaction. The dosage is 1-2mg per pound every 8 hours.

I'd give these suggestions a try and see if you see some improvement . I hope this information is helpful to you. If you would like any additional information or have more questions please don’t hesitate to press the reply to expert or continue conversation button so I can address any issues you still have . If you do find this helpful, please take this opportunity to rate my answer positively so I am compensated for my time.

Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 10 months ago.
I'm just following up on our conversation about your pet. How is everything going?
Jane Lefler
Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 9 months ago.

Hi Again,

I just thought I'd check in to see how things are going for you and your dog. Let me know if my answer was helpful.