New mom with itchy pup, help!
I just joined the forum in hopes that someone else with a GSD could help me better than internet sites!
So I am a new mom to a ~1yr old female GSD named Levy (60lbs). We found her on the side of the road about 2 months ago. She had escaped from someones yard and was dragging 5' of chain from her collar. No tags, no chip, fleas, and both ears infected, we kept her and everything is going great, except the ITCHING! My boyfriend and I are often woken in the middle of the night to her incessant scratching and biting, we are going nuts!
It started about 2 weeks ago, I noticed some itchiness and gave her a bath with dawn since the vet had found some fleas during her spay. I got her a flea collar until we could decide on heartworm meds that would cover the fleas (We recently just started Sentinel which says it kills adult fleas?). This didn't seem to help much. Then about a week ago it got worse after a fall in the pool, a trip to the dog park, and another bath. I thought it was me maybe drying out her skin too much with the dawn. I had never found any fleas until this point, but after looking at where she was itching I found some red irritations (maybe just from itching) and a 2-3 small bumps throughout. I thought maybe she got bit by something at the park so I gave her some benedryl before bed to hopefully let us all sleep better without any luck. I have found ONE flea since, but at this point she is starting to get small bald spots from itching so much. (Maybe shes allergic to the flea bites?) I feed her Simply Nourish by Petsmart, it is very similar in ingredients to the blue buffalo she had for the first month with us. I tried the half and half apple cider vinegar and water in a spray bottle (didn't use the organic unfiltered ACV yet though, heard that might be better), didnt see much relief. Then I made a homemade oatmeal bath (grinded oats, baking soda, and water) which maybeee helped a bit, but she was very focused on eating the soap which proved to be difficult.:mad: Oh! I have also started giving her 2 tbsp coconut oil with dinner every night (for 2-3 days now), I tried rubbing some on her dry spots but she ends up just licking that off too!
I hope I gave you all the info you needed, I would appreciate ANY advice. Specfically home remedies, I dont want to medicate her if I dont have to, and I am a college student, so minimal vet visits are best for my budget :o
First I would take her to the Vet and get a skin scrape done and blood work done to see if there is something else going on.
Maybe she is allergic to something in the kibble you are feeding, some dogs are allergic to chicken. I would switch to a higher quality kibble made without chicken.
I would give her salmon oil daily and I would give her a multivitamin plus pill daily that will also help with her immune system, coat and joints.
I would also stop using the dawn soap on her and get a sensitive skin shampoo made specifically for dogs.
The kibble was also a thought for me too, so I went through the ingredients in her current kibble versus the BB we bought when we found her (pre-itchiness) and the ingredients were almost identical. Both contained chicken as well. Is salmon oil better or have different benefits than coconut oil? My worst worry was mange, but I haven't found much on the sign and symptoms for that yet, that is my greatest worry at the moment.
But on the Sentinel side of things.. from my understanding they kill just the eggs vs actual adult fleas. I use this with Titan in conjunction with Nexgard which is a flea and tick repellant.. this was recommended by my vet to use both because while the heartworm side of it is awesome, the flea portion in Sentinel isn't that great.
I do not know if salmon oil is better than coconut oil but I see salmon oil recommended more than the coconut, again I do not know which is better though.
If you want to know what supplements people use, I created this thread.
I had an Aussie with allergies. First off, mange is not that hard to treat in a young dog, so don't freak about that. I would work with a vet first to see what they find, blood tests etc. A lot of vets out there have keen interest in dermatology, so find one of them. Make sure the flea thing is taken care of and any internal parasites first. I don't think flea collars are that affective. I use advantix II. Then I would go to a limited ingredient diet (LID). Natural Balance has a lot of them. Pick a novel (never before had) protein and carb. There are probably other LIDs. A diet test takes 12 weeks, so don't expect instant results. Use the kibble as treats, no cheating. I actually had a skin test done on my dog and he had lots of environmental reactions. Bigger cities have vets who are dermatologists only. We did shots for a year with no luck and then antihistamines with a little luck. I just managed and it was okay. Actually got better as he aged and I lost him at 13 years old a week and a half ago. But that is my story. It becomes a bit of a mystery at times. Good luck and don't freak out.
This could be so many things. Or a combination of things.
My advise: Start simple with a vet visit. Rule out mites or mange.
Keep using the coconut oil. It can take days to weeks to see the benefit. Try to reduce the bathing as it dries the skin out. If you must bathe use a good conditioner. I really like Bio-Groom Super Cream coat Conditioner. Or, give Levy a good rub down with coconut oil, working into his fur and down to the skin.
If fleas are the problem: you may have to use a topical to get them under control immediately (some on here will have a fit with this advise). you can also try DE (diatomaceous earth) to treat your dog and your house and yard. DE is pet/human safe and homeopathic. There are several threads on this.
Having a dog with a lot of food sensitivities , my best advise is this:
If you think it is food don't try to guess, TEST. I suspected chicken and pork were issues for my girl. I was right. BUT, I was totally thrown when I found out she was sensitive to peanuts, which she was getting peanut butter several time a week. Salmon sensitivity also surprised me as I was giving salmon oil daily to keep her skin and coat healthy and shiny.
You can have your vet test or you can send for the NutriScan test (the one I did).
NutriScan Food Sensitivity and Intolerance Test for Cats and Dogs
I'll be honest it is not cheap. However, I wasted a lot of money on different foods trying to figure it out on my own with no good results. Ended up food testing anyway. Testing up front will save you so much money in the long run. And it will save you and Levy from months of itching, hair loss and misery.
One day at a time. Keep a log or diary of symptoms/improvements.
Don't despair...We are here for you and Levy! Best of Luck!
You should probably have some tests run as others have mentioned.
I agree with LaRen to choose a high quality grain free kibble or go raw. Here are a few brands that you may want to try:
Acana Regional's (Grain Free) ACANA PET FOODS | Acana Find a retailer: Store Locator | Acana
Fromms 4 Star (Grain Free) Four-Star Gourmet Recipes for dogs - Fromm Family Foods Find a retailer: Fromm USA Retailers
Nature's Variety Instinct (Grain Free) Nature's Variety: Instinct Grain-Free Kibble Diets for Dogs | Nature's Variety Find a retailer: Find A Store | Nature's Variety
Since 75% of disease or problems begin in the gut, you may want to give your dog a digestive enzyme/pro-biotic combination which also helps build up the immune system:
Here are 2 Human Grade products: Sunday Sunday Sunday Sundae Nutritional Supplement Digest All Plus: The Wholistic Pet
Transfer Factor is a great product for human AND animal!
It may take quite a while to rebuild a healthy immune system.
Most popular natural health products
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Scientifically Studied: 4Life Transfer Factor Plus Tri-Factor Formula was developed by 4Life researchers and scientists in an effort to maximize immune system support. Results of an independent study conducted at the Russian Academy of Medical Science conclusively showed that 4Life Transfer Factor Plus Tri-Factor Formula propelled Natural Killer (NK) cell activity to a remarkable 437 percent above normal immune system response.
More info here: Educational Transfer Factor Information page
Here is a guide to using human supplements:
For medicinal purposes, you would need to use the organic apple cider vinegar that has the "mother" in it. Bragg's is a good one. You can usually purchase it at a local health food store.
I would not use and oatmeal based shampoo because if your dog is sensitive to grains, it will only make the itching worse.
If you find out that it is a reaction/allergy to flea bites, I used the 2 following homeopathic's as they both have a different "remedies" in the mixture. You can give one remedy two times in a day and the other one, one time. Then the next day switch it up to the opposite of what you gave the previous day. Homeopathic remedies are given in a "clean mouth" which means no food or water for 20 minutes on either side of the dosages. The remedies come in a dropper bottle, but you don't want to use the dropper to squirt the remedy into your dogs mouth. If the dropper touches the dogs mouth and then is placed back into the bottle, it will "foul" the mixture and it will loose the potency. It's best to drop the liquid on to a teaspoon and then gently lift the dogs lip and drizzle it in. Homeopathic's are absorbed by the blood vessels/tissues in the mouth which which rapidly distributes it through the system.
Newton Flea Bug Bites: A homeopathic remedy to help relieve pain, itching, and swelling from bug bites and stings such as fleas, wasps, spiders, ants, mosquitoes, horseflies, and bees. Newton Homeopathics Flea Bug Bites Dog Cat Ingredients - Apis mel., Aranea diadema, Arnica, Arsenicum album, Bryonia alba, Formica rufa, Grindelia, Hypericum, Lachesis, Latrodectus mactans, Ledum, Mezereum, Nux vomica, Pulex irritans, Rhus toxicodendron, Tarentula cubensis, Tarentula hispanica, Theridion, Vespa crabro 15x. Arnica, Calendula, Echinacea purpurea, Hamamelis, Solidago 3x. Alcohol 20%.
HomeoPet Bug Bite is a homeopathic remedy designed to relieve allergic dermatitis caused by flea or insect bites. It helps promote healing of itchy irritated skin caused by insect bites. HomeoPet Flea Bite Ingredients Utica Urens 6c&30c, Rhus Toxicodendron 6c&30c, Pulex Irritans 6c&30c, Staphysagria 6c&30c, Sulphur - 6c&30c in 20% USP alc. in purified water
Hope you find the answer.
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