I have a 5yr old golden, she has terrible skin problems. It has become a vicious cycle, she scratches and chews her stomach/feet/hind end and she breaks out in pustules on her stomach. Then we make a trip to the vet get antibiotics/cortizone and she’s ok until after the meds are all gone then it just starts all over again. I have tried her on different kinds of foods and don’t notice any changes. She is overweight and her fur is thinning badly, her coat looks awful. Any helpful suggestions would be appreciated.
First, has your vet done bloodwork on your dog lately? There are a few things this can be, but the first that comes to mind is thyroid disease. Second, gather ingredient lists from the foods you have tried and try to figure out what they may have in common. Did they all have chicken in them? Grains? This may still be a food allergy, but it could also be environmental. It could also be a systemic infection.
I agree with Patty that you should have blood work done on your dog. My furry nephew was experiencing similar problems as your dog plus a little lethargic and his eyes a little buldgy. His blood work showed that he had hypothyroidism. He now takes a tiny little pill everyday to speed up his metabolism and he’s like a new man! Good luck!
I whole heartedly agree with the above 2 posters. Please have blood work done and make sure your vet does a thorough blood test for thyroid. My last vet did a basic blood test on my Shih-Poo and always said his thyroid was ok….I finally switched vets after he passed away and now go to a holistic vet I love. My new vet seems to think he should have done a more thorough test after I told her what tests were done. She did see Desi once before he passed away. Desi always had an extended stomach area and his skin had issues and his hair was thin in certain spots. He was always ravenous and ended up with Pica. I still say he had some sort of immune issue…if not thyroid, then some other disease. He’s the reason I switched vets. 🙁
I totally feel you. Our lab gets almost the same problem. Her condition is called Otitis (basically inflammation/infections caused by environment and/or food). It was always manageable…we had to wash her ears weekly, and just deal with her horrible odor. I always figured it was due to her cheap-quality food (poor girl, she had Dog Chow, Pedigree, and even store-brand foods!)… So I finally saved up and bought a bag of NutriSource senior, hoping it’d help. What did it do? It made EVERYTHING worse! She would gnaw at herself so much…about 50% of her skin would be raw bald spots that she chewed at. I tried hot-spot spray, but obviously it didn’t work at all.
I don’t remember what exactly the vet ended up giving us… A couple different pills, some ear treatment, and then a shampoo. Now Cassy is a brand new dog, and she’s off of NutriSource for GOOD (I was so disappointed to have such a high-rated food react so poorly with her. I honestly have no idea what the ingredients in it were that made her irritated…especially considering she did /better/ on the cheap stuff!).
Anyway…that’s my story of a similar pooch… I’d definitely agree w the others to talk to your vet about a blood test to see if it’s an internal problem. Try to list ingredients of all her foods…maybe conduct an experiment: try to get her off /all/ grains and chicken, then if she improves, try to bring either chicken or some grains back into her diet. It might help you see if she reacts to specific ingredients.
Once you’ve found the problem and gotten proper treatment for it, I’d advise some skin-and-coat supplements (if you’re on a budget, you can buy bags of flax and grind it. Excellent source of Omegas) to help out her fur when it tries coming back in.
I’m really sorry your poor pooch has to go through this. It’s really no fun for ANYONE :/
Hi – While looking through dog food reviews at this wonderful site, I looked at the Forums section and stumbled across your email. I felt that I had to reply. For the past 2+ years, my wife and I have been dealing with dramatic skin issues with our 8+ year old Huskies. We’ve had severe loss of fur from round skin sores that become very aggravated and sometimes bloody. Yellow flaky material was found around the edges of the sores. Both of our dogs would lick these sores and make them even worse.
We tried EVERYTHING including sprays, Neosporin, special shampoos, bathing the dogs every week or two, changing foods, you name it.
Everything we read and everything we learned indicated that this entire issue was allergy-based. We had (and still have) no idea if it was airborne allergens or food allergies.
At this time, our oldest Husky, who’s condition was the worst, is completely free of ANY sort of skin issues and his coat has completely replenished itself. Our slightly younger female is making excellent progress on the same program. Here’s how things got better for our dogs, in a hurry:
A life long friend in Texas was fostering a dog in their home and it had significant skin issues, sores and hair loss. They called the shelter for whom they were fostering the dog and here’s the advice they were given:
1. “Allergy” dogs do REALLY well on grain-free food, GOOD quality dog food and especially one that is of a fish & sweet potato variety. “Alternate” protein sources like venison or bison are good, too. Stay away from chicken / poultry based food.
2. Give the dog a tablespoon of raw, LOCAL honey every morning and every evening. this helps their immune system adapt to allergenic pollens that get on their coat and in their feet. It MUST be LOCAL to get the pollens that are in your area.
3. Give the dog a tablespoon of unsweetened, plain yogurt every morning and every evening. The pro-biotics help their digestive system. We use “FAGE Total 0%”.
4. Help the dog’s immune system with a good quality multi-vitamin given per the manufacturers’ directions.
5. Shampoo as follows: Use a Benzoyl Peroxide Shampoo (“Vet Solutions” BPO-3 Shampoo for about $10 on Amazon) and next with a Hexadine shampoo (large bottle of Virbac brand is about $14 on Amazon).
6. Spot treatment is a good idea until the food-honey-yogurt-vitamin formula “kicks in”. We used “Virbac Chlorhexadine Gluconate Flush” from a local horse veterinary store. 12 oz was about $16.
After about 8-10 weeks, we have NO signs of any skin problems. This was such a relief after 2+ years of extreme frustration, anguish and expense.
The Texas shelter advised that extreme conditions could take up to four months as some dogs respond more slowly to the honey pollens.
Hope that this may be of help to you!
Jeff, I’ve never heard using honey could work, but that does make sense, as honey truly is a wonder food! Do you give your dogs the honey/yogurt even when their skin is fine, or only when you know allergies are coming?
We have two beehives (funny story, really…we got the hive, then a friend gave us one of his swarms. That swarm left within a few weeks, but some wild honeybees moved in and STUFFED it w honey in just a couple months! We won’t harvest it until summer though, of course. Have to make sure they’re settled in), so I’d imagine giving her a piece of the honeycomb daily would work, doesn’t get much more organic and raw than that!
Now I’m craving a spoonful of honey…:P
I feed my allergy dogs bee pollen.
:o) To be honest, when we heard about giving honey to the dogs, it made complete sense if you believe that allergies are the root cause. We were so desperate that we would have tried almost anything!
The impact of “something in this combination or the entire combination”, whether it be the honey, yogurt, non-poultry grain-free food and-or the vitamin, did have a very dramatic effect on our dogs. The sores that were so bad that they used to BLEED went away completely and their coats started “regenerating” for lack of a better word. The hair got thicker and a LOT softer. Prior to that, the ONLY progress we ever saw was when they were on antibiotics and steroids. When those medications were done, the problem always came back. Not anymore.
I’ve scoured the internet for information about giving honey & bee pollen to dogs since then and everything I’ve found has been very positive.
To your question – Yes, we will absolutely keep giving the honey because of the “micro-climate” area we live in (So Cal wine country, 25 miles inland of the coast and just at the edge of the desert – lot’s of variety in that). On top of that, a drought or a wet season can cause certain plant species to flourish while others don’t do as well. The local beekeepers must have a Co-Op of some sort because all of the raw, local wildflower honey in our stores is all packaged the same but some weeks it is darker, lighter, thicker or thinner. I suppose that depends on where that batch came from. My wife gets the honey at the smaller, natural stores and not the big name chains. Farmer’s market’s also have the local honey around here – and again, all packaged the same.
Lastly, the more I read the more that I keyed on the allergens getting into the feet. We walk our dogs 2x a day no matter what. Often, we’re out in nature on grass, in the weeds, in the dirt, in shrubs, bushes, whatever. Our vet taught me how to scrub their feet using 1 gallon Ziploc bags and I do that a few times a weeks (the theory here being that dogs walk and “spin” in all of that flora which puts everything deep in those pads…then, they lick them and lick their fur, etc.). Take two Ziplocs, fill each one about 1/4th of the way up w/ warm water. Squirt some shampoo in one of the bags for the “wash” cycle and leave the other one as-is for the rinse. Stick your dog’s foot in the wash bag and from the outside of the bag, use your fingers to work the shampoo in between the toes and up inside the pads. Rinse the same way and dry with a towel. My “dog kids” are used to it now and they actually LIKE it, I think!
I’m not a vet and I’m no expert at any of this. All I can attest to is that this worked for us. Like anyone else going through a canine allergy problem, I was ready to be fitted for a straight-jacket!
If ANYONE has any other questions or observations, I’d love to hear them or help if I can.
One other note, our dogs also used to be on Soloxine for a thyroid condition and we’ve been able to get off of that, too.
Best to you,
When You say you give ur dogs honey how much do u give them & how??? I was giving my boy honey on 2 pieces of toast no butter just the honey when he has his Colitis of a morning as he wouldnt eat nothing else, this help stop the gurgling noises in his bowels, I told my vet & she said stop with the honey it has sugar.. But I thought that honey was a natural sweetner..My boy has seasonal allergies worst in spring & summer gets better in colder months..Instead of the shampoo with their feet I use Detol antiseptic I put a couple of caps of the Detol antiseptic in a very shallow bath with cold water sook my dogs feet & all his reddnes & swollen feet go away also good for ant bites, Betadine Antiseptic Liquid is also excellent but it gets too dear the Detol or homebrand antiseptic works out cheaper.
Jeff, thanks so much for the info on honey!
We are by the Oregon Coast (the land of liquid sunshine…aka rain…aka sideways rain!), so luckily things stay fairly constant with us, and the dogs don’t seem to get seasonal allergies. I’m not sure what Loki had, but when we adopted him last spring, he was sneezing non-stop, sometimes if we ran him hard, it’d get to the point of where he couldn’t breathe and started choking. I took him to the vet and asked them, they looked up his nose and said everything’s normal, but he might have some grass seed lodged in his snout. I kept an eye on him, and within a couple weeks it went away. It hasn’t come back yet, but I will wait and see if something about the spring blossoms caused it.
Loki is totally healthy other than that, he has the softest, shiniest fur out of the 3 dogs. I wonder if his sneezing was just from his initial acclimation to a new environment? We adopted him from a shelter that was about 50mi away, in a city. We live out on 5acres, about 2mi away from the nearest small town. If the sneezing starts up in spring though, I’ll get onto that honey for him!
About the shampoo…that’s a genius idea! I just hope my super wiggly Loki would come to the idea of liking it, LOL! (He can’t hold still for more than a fe moments…but heck, he’s a 2-3y.o. Kelpie/Aussie, who can blame him?) Our lab randomly got a nasty hot spot on the underside of her foot – she gnawed in between the toes until it was raw. In all her 12yrs, she has NEVER gotten a spot on her foot, it’s always been her back/rump. Luckily, I put some ointment on it and it went away the next day, but should it happen again – should I try the wash method using her Virbac Hexadine shampoo in he he ziploc bag?
@sue, that’s weird your vet said no honey. I do see why they might say it’s sugar, but if it’s local raw honey, and just a tablespoon, the benefits are WAY greater than the chances of your dog having too much sugar! Be sure your dog isn’t at all sensitive to wheat/grains when you put it on the toast though. 😉
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