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Itchy dog question!!

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
At work a woman is fostering a very old German Shepard/Wolf mix dog named Chief for us. Chief is a special extended protective custody case so he HAS an owner and will be going back to her. We have no idea when. The foster caregiver said that the poor dog has been so stressed that he is itching like crazy and gnawing at his paws. No hair loss yet or bleeding or anything like that. Just very itchy! Any suggestions as to what she can give the dog? Suppliments? Holistic care? Thought maybe Bag Balm might be soothing on the itchy spots. Someone mentioned Castor & Pollux Brewer's Yeast and Garlic Tabs. Has anyone ever used that?

Ideally he would go to the vet but as a foster home she cannot do that unless there is a life threatening problem. Which this is not.

post #2 of 17
Maybe a nice bath with oatmeal anti-itch shampoo. This really helps for my dog who has allergies. Also what kind of food is the dog eating? Sometimes bad food can cause itching.
post #3 of 17
I haven't personally dealt with an itchy dog situation, but I do always notice in the fosters and smith catalogs that they have a bunch of itch stop stuff and I believe there are both external and internal remedies...

Hold up, I'll check out their site right quick and see if I can find a link to what I'm thinking of........ *jeopardy theme*

ok here's their itch stop stuff (all topical):

It also looks like they have several treats/supplements available geared toward allergy/dry skin related itching

Hope that helped some!
post #4 of 17
Thread Starter 
Well we are pretty sure it is a stress related thing. The poor boy is a VERY high stress dog. We tried different foods, currently a lamb and rice one. We only have so much to work with at a rescue. We use what is donated which luckily quite often we get great brands in.

I will mention that Itch Stop the next time she comes in. Thanks!
post #5 of 17
Fish oil works great, I give it to my dogs with allergies. I buy the capsules at any store and give it to them in with their food.
post #6 of 17
Originally Posted by Jen View Post
Well we are pretty sure it is a stress related thing. The poor boy is a VERY high stress dog.
a friend of mine had a dog that would chew on his tail... not because it itched, but when he was stressed.
if the itch stop stuff doesn't have an effect, perhaps a mild tranq would help?
post #7 of 17
We used to give our dog Sambo, Benadryl to help with his itching.
post #8 of 17
Oh I was just thinking as far as the stress part.... again in foster and smith, I've seen basically the feliway plug in diffusers, but meant for dogs... again, brb to see if I can find it haha

Here is the plug-in, comes in spray too:

A little bit pricey, but maybe a trip to petco/petsmart might reveal something similar sold there that would eliminate the shipping cost (I know petco has the feliway stuff for cats, but I've never needed it for my dog to look for it)
post #9 of 17
If it's a stress thing try Rescue Remedy.
post #10 of 17
There could be so many reasons as to why the dog is itching. Food/environmental allergies comes to my mind first and foremost. I know that there are limitations when it comes to fostering and vet visits, but sometimes it's necessary to rule out health issues.

Itching may not seem to be life-threatening at all, but it could potentially rapidly become so if the dog has a liver disease (causing the itch) and it is left untreated. This is just one example, as it's what I'm dealing with right now, with my own dog. Had I left it because the itching wasn't bad at all, her liver could just shut down.

Personally, I don't like to use OTC meds or sprays on my pets. In fact, my own vet doesn't even like prescribing drugs at all, unless it's absolutely necessary. The most I would do is bathe him with a natural oatmeal shampoo and see if that helps. If it does stop the itching for even a day or two, that's a clue that it MAY be environmental/contact allergies.

The constant scratching and chewing could then lead to a secondary bacterial infection because there is warmth and moist. I don't know the whole situation, but I say if there is a way to get your co-worker to get the dog to a vet, I'd go with that route.

Good luck!
post #11 of 17
Thread Starter 
Thank you very much for your reply. He wasn't so itchy when he first came in, it started more recently. We tried bathing him with the natural oatmeal shampoo but it didn't seem to make any difference...

I will see about getting him into a vet. I agree that it is a great idea. I just don't know if it will be possible.
post #12 of 17
It becomes a viscious cycle of itch/bite/irritation/itch/bite and so on.
The original trigger can be stress/emotional or phyical/environmental.

We bathe Ben weekly in oatmeal shampoo for his grass allergies, no hot water or blowdryer. He wears boots outside and we rinse his feet/legs off with cool-to-cold water.

I hate using meds, topical or oral, on my furr kids. But allergies can make you so miserable that it is more cruel not to at least try them. Prednisone is only for extreme flare ups and used for the shortest time possible. The side effects are serious and it is not a first line chocie. Benadryl is somewhat better - the sedating & dry mouth get better as they build up a tolerance to it. My vet has us use a dosage appropriate for a human of the same weight. This is not a drug for dogs with urinary issues or high blood pressure. I have some soft gel ice packs that we will wrap in a thin towel and lay on the itchiest areas - do not let it cause frostburn to the skin.
There are also some human allergy meds that can be used, with vet approval, on dogs.
post #13 of 17
Please do NOT give the dog garlic or garlic tabs- it can be toxic to dogs.

Please have your friend take him in to the vet for evaluation- it's hard to say what he/she may have without evaluating him. It could be anything from mange to skin allergies to stress.

A nice Malasab bath will help to soothe the skin in the mean time (can be bought at any vets office- very nice theraputic shampoo) and also if he has any raw patches from loosing fur - bordeaux's butt paste is excellent (you can buy it in the diaper rash cream isle at any store)

What is the dog eating? Diet can play a role in skin condition as can a number of other things. The best thing she can do is take the dog to a vet to rule out any major issues and get the poor doggy started on something to help. Benadryl can be helpful if it is allergies as can fish oil pills. But please do not advise her to give the dog any of that without first having the vet examine the animal. It is possible that the dog has a zoonotic issue which if that's the case it could be contagious to people (such as ringworm, scabies, etc) so it's best to see a vet and know what she's up against.
post #14 of 17
Originally Posted by StarryEyedTiGeR View Post
It is possible that the dog has a zoonotice issue which if that's the case it could be contagious to people (such as ringworm, scabies, etc) so it's best to see a vet and know what she's up against.
Firefox had a bacterial skin infection - that she oh, so generously shared w/me!
post #15 of 17
Cheyletiella mites could be a possibility, if the dog isn't on Frontline or Revolution and they're active in your area.


There are so many potential causes for itching, it can be tough to solve without a vet's help.
post #16 of 17
The chronic itchy dogs are the hardest IMHO, since it could be stress or any kind of allergies (food, parasites, surroundings, etc). You can go thru a long trial and error period while you try foods, medications, shampoos, remove things from the environment, etc, or could go thru a full allergy assessment with a vet. And there are different types of shampoos that are better at soothing certain types of allergies than others. Oatmeal shampoos are generally good, but I had a dog that had to be bathed in a tar based shampoo before I got him relief.

I had a dog that was allergic to a wool area rug. It took me over a year to figure that one out. My BIL's dog was allergic to grass. Sometimes you wind up treating the symptoms and not the cause. Good luck!
post #17 of 17
Our dog was always a very itchy dog. He actually would chew a bald spot on his tail it was so bad...2 things helped. He was put on Prednisone for an unrelated issue, but even a low dose may help. And we switched to a better food. He gets Merrick canned and dry now and I feel that it made a difference.

All I can say is we tried a lot of stuff - shampoos, fish oil, vitamins & supplements that didn't work.
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