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Readers Respond: Itchy scratching, chewing pets - what was the cause and cure for your pet?

Responses: 70


Itchy pets, especially dogs, are very common finding in vet medicine. Not all cases are as severe as Asia and Simba, the dogs featured in the Derm Diary, but a very real problem just the same.

Itchiness in pets can be due to many reasons, but most commonly can be attributed to parasites (fleas, mites) or allergies. Unlike humans, environmental or food allergies often manifest as itchy skin and ears. Add to that licking, biting, chewing and scratching, and skin infections can develop, worsening the itching. It can be a vicious cycle. What was the cause of your pet's itchiness, and what finally helped bring comfort?

Share what worked


I had to change my dog's food per my vet. She said that dogs that itch and have allergies are allergic to chicken. She said these dogs cannot have any food from animals with HOOVES - chicken, lamb, beef. They can have rabbit and venison. It takes about 2 weeks for the adjustment to the system with the new food. I bought INSTINCT RABBIT. The kibble had chicken so could not buy that and regarding the raw, the vet wanted to me to wait on the raw. My shih tzu is on some meds but if it the food, she will be fine. My vet says that she is seeing more and more dogs that are allergic to chicken in their food even if it's quality food. So, I'm giving it a try. He loves the rabbit and INSTINCT also has treats. He is better tonight because of the meds but I am hoping the food is the cause for his itching.
—Guest Gerri

Switch to grain-free!!

After years of my dog suffering with hot spots, a friend suggested a food called LID (limited Ingredient diet) and it worked wonders!! We use Natural Balance but there are a lot to choose from these days. Please try this if your dog has persistent problems with his skin.
—Guest PetloverTN

ACV with mother

Each year when the weather warms up my Golden Retriever starts to scratch and pull her fur out. As soon as I see this I mix ACV with water in a spray bottle and spray the area with this mixture, rubbing it in to the fur. I also put a small amount into her water. I then start her on a course of "Capstar" flea tablets as an added defence. It takes a few days but in the end I have my happy dog back again.
—Guest Wayne

Itchy Dog

My Yorkie scratches all the time until he makes himself raw. I have changed his diet so he gets no grains. He is being treated for fleas and they don't seem to be part of this issue. I give him a bath twice a week using vet recommended shampoo and he still itches?
—Guest Pat

Itchiness after applying flea protection

I am obligated to use flea protection when boarding my JRT and every time, he develops terrible itching! I am going crazy and so is my pet!
—Guest JacknJudy

vinegar magic

Btwn July & Sept, dog bites her feet & scratches her face until bloody. Don't know if it is her locust eating fetish (40--80 a day she will eat), certain weeds growing or flowering, or tiny biting bugs. Tried EVERYTHING over 11 years-script baths, rinses, benydryl pills and ointments, prednisone, steroid creams-alone and combinations. Tried dipping her feet in apple cidar vinegar. It burned but within 5 minutes, she was resting without chewing her feet! dabbing her face and dipping her feet 3-4 times a day keeps her fairly comfy.
—Guest witsend

mint tea an basil

Take 1/2ozof basil an open 1 tea bag put in 1cup boiling water then strain let cool then take paper towel rub on area WORKS !!! THANK GOD
—Guest Crystal

Coconut oil!

My hound has seasonal allergies. He started off with red ears. Vet gave me $20 of ear cleaner that made things worse. I give him benadryl every am, make his food and now any skin flare ups I apply coconut oil. Within 24 hrs his skin no longer has inflammation, itching. Best part is if he licks it, it is amazing for him. Apple cider and baking soda also works well.

psychologial scratching, biting, licking

My dog Ted is a Jack Russel. For most of his life he has had this these sores which I know for a fact he creates himself! The poor baby gets lonely when we leave him alone for even a couple hours, and then he rips himself raw, tugging at his own fur and pulling it out. Even on occasion he has done this when go to bed earlier an the norm. I think the difference in routine makes him have separation anxiety. Normally it just goes away on its own. He leaves it alone when we are with him so the problem has a chance to heal from the licking and bitin. I think I may put a Elizabethan collar on him next time we go out!
—Guest Naomi Edwards

Hot Spots

I have Golden Retrievers and have found that a good food (I use Royal Canin) can help you prevent flare ups in the long term but if I am treating a hot spot I simply clean the area 2-3 times daily with contact lens solution! Not the cleaner....just the regular storing solution. Works every time!
—Guest Deb H.

over the counter yeast cream

I have a shihtzu that scratched her face bald and licked her back paws until they were raw. We shaved the hair that was left from her feet and applied the Miconazole 7 (family dollar $5) cream for women's yeast infection and put socks on her to let it soak for a few hours. A little trickier on the face, but gave her a benadryl to knock her out for the night. Been 2 weeks and the hair is starting to return and less and less itching! Been fooling with shampoos and diets for nearly a year, feel so bad I didnt try this before now!
—Guest katie

hot spots

I use the green and white spray bottle from Petsmart called Petrelief by Century HC. Although it works well when I spray it on I have to watch and spray her daily while she's getting those hot spots. It seems to be a seasonal allergy I believe. Thanks for all the sharing.
—Guest Bobbie

digestive yeast infection

I spent over $1200 at vet for same symptoms and same prescriptions, my dog is still scratching
—Guest ann h

All three at the same time, Itch, chew,

I raise Chihuahuas and my three personal pets all three started with the itchy skin. It was flaking, with sores and then the chewing started till they drew blood and lost their hair. I feed them a diet free of corn, wheat and gluton. It's a top feed and they all get the same feed. None of the others have the skin condition. My son said he was at a friends house and her dog had this condition and the dog was bald, like with mange and it smelled. He thinks he brought it home on his clothes and gave it to my inside dogs. I don't know if it is contageous. Anyway, They started with the itching, biting and chewing till they drew blood and went bald down their back. I gave them Benedryl and they Vet said to give them the antibotic twice a day and bathe them in a Shampoo that contains both Antifungal and Antibacterial twice a week. I first tried to clear it up myself and let me tell it you, you will need help. Don't let them seffer. My oldest male, chewed all night, no sleep. Get help now.
—Guest GreenAcre Kennels


my dog has been to the vet twice and and he has had steroids and different shampoo and still licks his paws.
—Guest sandra

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Itchy scratching, chewing pets - what was the cause and cure for your pet?

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