Why your dog can’t stop scratching (and how to help)

Dogs get allergies just like we do. They may not always experience itchy eyes and sneezing fits, but they do get the doggie equivalent to hives. We often refer to them as hot spots that are so itchy, they end up scratching and biting at them until their poor puppy skin is raw. Hot spots are usually caused by tree, grass or weed pollens and sometimes by household cleaners. Some things that may help are:

  1. Antihistamines (e.g. Benadryl – check with your vet for appropriate dosing)
  2. Bathing them weekly to remove afflicting pollens (taking care to use a very gentle shampoo with aloe or oatmeal to avoid irritating the skin further) – Available for sale in salon.
  3. Omega 3 fish oil supplements – these can help immensely by reducing inflammation (fish oil is also excellent for their skin, coat, and joints)
  4. Immune modulating supplements (plant sterols)
  5. Probiotics
  6. In severe cases, cortisone therapy may be needed

The best way to deal with this type of allergy is obviously to avoid feeding them the offending allergen, but this can be tricky. First, start reading ingredients on the dog food you buy. Look for one without corn or wheat like Blue Buffalo, or other holistic brands. They are more expensive but will save you on vet bills in the end. If that doesn’t help after a few weeks, then you can try a raw or home cooked diet with basic dog-friendly ingredients. Check out www.thebark.com for some great homemade kibble and dog treat recipes!

  • raw hides
  • wheat
  • corn
  • soy
  • poultry

In some cases, hot spots may also be a result of food allergies. But itchy inflamed ears, rears, and paws, or digestive disturbances are more often signs of food allergies. Common causes are: