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Question DetailsAsked on 5/17/2016

What can I do for our dog who is itching all the time. He doesn't have fleas

We suspect it may be an allergy as it happens only at certain times of the year. He spends a lot of time outside.

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2 Answers



This is Meranda with Angie's List. While your best bet is to see your vet to diagnose the allergies, we do have some articles about pet allergies that may be helpful to you and your dog. Good luck!

Answered 4 years ago by Meranda


Talk to your vet - about irritant plants, and about treatment. Obviously, taking the dog in when it is exhibiting the symptoms is desireable so vet can see the situation first-hand. And for allergy treatment will usually require referral to an allergy specialist vet.

While topical treatments may work for awhile, or for treatment of sporadic exposure to allergens, if it is itching for extended periods one or more seasons of the year, then you probably need deliberate treatment of the allergy - though cost can be a factor.

A good anti-irritant shampoo can help a lot, but in a severe case you need a medical approach too. We used Relief Shampoo on our dog with very good success - almost immediate alleviation of the symptoms in the short run or after significant exposure (rolling/playing in grass for instance), but is only effective for a day or two. You may have to try different brands - some friend's dogs got nothing from Relief but good results from other brands of itch relief shampoos.

When our dog showed this (itching, licking paws and legs and belly), clearly seasonal and not food related because did not occur year-around, we got allergy skin panel testing - they shave a spot and test bits of allergens in the skin, and you come back a few days to week later for them to determine which caused a reaction. Then they can prepare an allergy shot mixture to address those specific allergens - by dosing the animal with small amounts of the allergen it develops a tolerance for them. In our dog took a couple of mixture and dosage interval adjustments to get it right, and we found we could inject only monthly in the "off" seasons (to keep the immune system protecting against it so your were not having to build up the immunity from scratch every allergy season) and then every 10 days to two weeks in the "active" seasons (early spring and rainy grass mildew/molds seasons and then leak mold late in the fall in our case) - immediate (after 2-3 months to build up to it) effect was about 90% effective, after adjustments to dosage interval timing and dosage amount basically 100% effective by end of 2nd year and continued with ZERO irritation itching/licking for another 10 or so years till her death.

Testing (about 13 years ago) was $500 as I recall, then about $150/year for the "vaccine" and needles (injected by owner just under the skin in bunched-up ruff of the neck loose skin).

The vet may also recommend a diet change - in our dog it turned out she had a low-grade allergy to poultry (which is common considered an allergy-free food item in dogfood) which may have sensitized her immune system so her outdoor allergies exhibited much stronger than usual symptoms, so a diet change may be indicated even if it is not causing reactions throughout the year.

In our dog the start of allergy season was indicated (as is common) by licking the paws - they tend to be sensitive to allergens plus of course get the highest first dose of ground-borne allegens. Keep a calendar of when your dog starts reacting, so in future years you can take preventative measures (Relief baths, keeping off lawn or out of leaves or whatever causes the problems, increasing allergy shot frequency, etc) based on preventative timing rather than waiting for the symptoms to show up. This assumes of course it can be tied to pollen, leafing, lawn mold, mushroom/fungus, leaf fall, etc. season.

Answered 4 years ago by LCD

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