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

Responses: 46


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?


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

Eventually a Cure! (UK based)

I recommend the following - firstly, feed a premium, hypoallergenic kibble (Fish and Brown Rice Kibble from the Burns range suited us, as my dog was found to have a meat allergy). Then use supplements to improved the skin - fish oil (I use Omega 3 500mg from Healthspan for my Labrador sized girl because the capsules don't contain gelatin, which is a meat by-product) and Dorwest Herbs Mixed Vegetable tablets plus their Garlic & Fenugreek tablets (the mix is especially good for counteracting skin problems ... plus as an added bonus it seems to keep fleas at bay!). Finally, after try many different creams for the skin between her toes, I started dusting with a little Thornit powder (usually for ears, but the website says good for itchy paws, too). After 1st use, not only did a flare-up disappear overnight (with creams it would take 7-10 days), but aa weekly dusting with just a small amount on a soft paintbrush or makeup brush has kept her toes in great shape ever since. I'm delighted!

Itchy Pet

I had the same problem with my dog. My sister's older cat had other problems that were problematic. Make long story short. After many attempts on my own, for itchy, I did the whole OTC stuff n sum medical. My sis found Vetonix.com. Her cat recovered better than before. So I cked Vetonix, bought sum stuff, it helped, but not good enuf. I wrote to Vetonix. Dr. Char answered all my questions, explained things so I understood, n made recommendations. Well, let me tell you. Based on Dr. Char's advice, the vetonix n Dr Foster n Smith Premium Skin Care and making the chan ges in my dog's diet, its been several months and his itching is almost non existent. One in a while, sure, n vetonix has a gr8 shampoo. It took time, perseverance, a little more money, but we r now Happy Campers!
—Guest Anne


We recently received a beautiful little Jack Russell female ~ 2 years old. She is really small to me. She weighs 12 pounds. A few weeks ago when we got her, we took her to the vet because we did not know what shots she's had, and what she hasn't. We only knew that she hadn't had a rabies shot. She is now caught up to date on everything and doing fine until three days ago. All of the sudden she started itching, like crazy, especially around her tail, next she developed this horrendous cough, (hack) that sounded like whooping cranes were bedding in our house. She would not get anything up just cough. I called the vet and he said to give her a 25mg benadryl. It did a little, but not enough to satisfy me. My husband took her to the vet, and he said it was allergies due to her eyes, ears, throat cough. He gave her a vetalog injection. Within two hours, there was no itching, coughing,etc. I'm just hoping this is an isolated case. How frequent can they have these?
—Guest Dixie

itchy dogs

I have a dog that will chew and scratch herself to pieces. The thing that has helped the most is to shave her, bathe her and put hydrocortisone on her spots. Also benedryl.
—Guest Kat

They are what they eat

Ever heard the old saying"you are what you it"? Well certainly this holds even more true for our pets. My little buddy use to chew at his feet constantly, to the point of them being inflammed and soaking wet all the time. I use to get upset with him because I couldn't sleep at night for all the noise he would make chewing n scratching. Talk about feeling like a dog when my groomer said it was what he was eating. Either his dog food had to many fillers or he was eating table foods with corn, wheat, flour, starch, etc. I change his food immediately stopped giving him even small bites of table food and he's never bitten at his paws since. I feel so bad knowing I inflicted so much discomfort on him. If I was allergic to a food I wouldn't eat it anyways n take benadryl hoping that I would get some relief so we shouldn't do the same to our pets. Also, feeding our pets table food shortens their life spans with every bite. If they were suppose to have human food there'd be no pet food.
—Guest Love my dog

Itchy skin with hair loss cured

We tried dietary changes as well as various topical applications and the thing that finally worked was recommended by our holistic veterinarian called Lime Dip. It is sulphur based and is applied to the dogs coat after bathing. It is left on, no rinsing. We applied it weekly after bathing our dog with Nizoral and within a month his severe itchiness, hair loss and smell was gone!

skin problems

After lots of meds like predisone and oatmeal shampoo my dog got deep sores that were untreatable and she had to be put down. I swore there were no fleas in my yard all the time i fought for her health. I went crazy after her having to be put down and was determined to find out how I failed my baby. I had exterminators come and spray my yard just to see if I had been wrong about a flea biting her and causing her allergy. I found so many dead fleas after the extermination!!! I was horrified. I never once saw a flea on her or on me all those years. I beleive when she would go outside a flea would jump on her and bite her and start the allergy but she would scratch it off so fast that I never saw the evidence of fleas....Has I only known this my baby would have not suffered of left me so soon...Please consider flea extermination even if you think you dont have any fleas....I wish I would have known.....
—Guest lynnie

hot spot on dogs

My chow/german shepherd Nala is 12 years old and as of late developed hot spots. Previously treated her with roids but this time decided to treat with mild soap and water, massage well...completely towel dry...then ointment... treat 2 to 3 times a day. It worked and saw immediate results of healing!

Bald puppy itchies

I adopted a dog from the vet hospital recently, a seven year old cocker spaniel....his fur was so matted that they had to shave almost all of it off of him. Mostly just the long fur, on the legs, tummy, and ears, and now that his hair is getting long again, he keeps itching his fur. I usually find if I just rub where he's itching at he's satisfied, but when he really won't stop, I brush him. He loves it and it relieves his itches just fine :)
—Guest Emo

itchy scratching, pulling out hair

My border collie/Lab mix dog is allergic to chicken, discovered her allergy accidently. Gave her chicken from the table and she had a severe itching attack and pulled her fur out. We now have her on a dog food with no chicken or chicken by products. This food is difficult to find/ we feed her Taste of the Wild with Salmon.

change of diet for hot spots

purina makes a grain free dry food, it's helped my cat, pickles. she was covered on her belly with sores, now fuzzy hair is growing!
—Guest vampyrekittie

The Chow Chow

There is an unspoken skin epidemic in Chows. Mine is 2 and we have spent truckloads of money trying to get her "spots" diagnosed. They appear overnight and are circular and oozy. Her vet has tested her for mange FIVE (yes 5) times...ringworm....staph infection, you name it. Each time she is prescribed Cephalexin which from the vet is 30 bucks. ask for a script and take it to publix. they fill it for free! Also if you have a furry dog like i do, always blow dry. It makes a huge difference. I had to pin her down with my entire body when I first tried this but now she sleeps through the whole procedure. when blow drying, make sure that you can see their skin...no matter how much hair they have. if not they can develop yeast next to their skin and cause these infections. Always do your own research because vets are out to make money. When you take your pet in, be informed. Vets are HUGE upsellers and we the petlovers are an easy target. Good luck :)
—Guest Melanie

itchy witchy hot spots

My Lab Shep cross has sensitive skin. She developed wicked hot spots and was on steriods her first onset years ago. She's done the roids twice. Loseing her weight now on a diet. the greatest long term additive to her diet which has greatly reduced the size of spot areas when she chews them to life has been 100% flax seed oil. It carries the omegas like seal or herring oil (but it doesn't taste like fish poured over your lovely chicken medly) in her food twice a day. Her spots occur fast now but not over her whole body and respond to treatment more readily. Using Pyoben shampoo.. and tea tree oil where her hair mats and covers the fabulus infection the wet condition supports. She doesn't like it, it's a strong oil. Sometimes I use some drops of it in water as a wash between her baths of the area with pyoben every 3 days. Usually we repeat 3 or 4 washes before things come to control. I truely believe this is a combination of crap extruded grocery store dog food. Dog was dry of her oils
—Guest visiter

Hot Spot remedy for my dog

Hey all you pet loves and owners out there I just wanted to share with you something that worked with my dog through his hot spot ordeal. After wiping the wound clean I would apply hot spot gel that you can find in any store and then I would lightly dust the area with some medicated Golds Bonds Powder this really soothed him and helped him relax and sleep he is now almost completely healed! Try it out and even if they lick it it wont hurt them.
—Guest Lisa

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