Allergies are tough and frustrating
I went through a very frustrating time with my GSD Jax where he ended up with a staph infection because of his allergies. Here are a few things I recommend:
1. Allergy tests - I got Jax tested (blood) and it gave me some solid information on what he is allergic too. I have no regrets about it and I think it cost me about $400 (CDN). The test covers food and environmental but is limited and only tests for common things (I think there were 90 things he was tested for). Lots of people think allergy tests are inconclusive. Tough call, but you should get your current situation under control before you test as the tests might be skewed from your current situation.
2. Antibiotics/Steroids: I absolutely hate having Jax on steroids. But since he has environmental allergies and we are pretty active outside, I do have him on Vanectyl-P (lower dose of steroid mixed with an antihistamine) when he flares up. So in the winter he is mostly fine. Now that it is spring I have him on a pill a day.
3. Vitamins and supplements: Coconut oil is awesome! I totally agree with Harry and Lola! It is great for the skin and helps with itching. I also feed a vitamin E supplement and fish oil to help the skin.
4. Hotspots and skin problems: I have found that bathing the area in epsom salt and hot water twice a day helps. I also use coconut oil on itchy red spots. I have seen hotspots reduce redness in just hours. Need to watch that this doesn't increase the licking of the area though.
5. Food: I would try her on just one protein at a time - Food elimination. No other treats, scraps, etc. I highly recommend trying a raw diet of a single protein at a time, so only feed one type of food at a time, like beef only. But if you are going to try raw you need to make sure that you are getting the portions right. if that isn't your thing, you could talk to your vet about a single protein kibble.
6. Environment: Try not using anything with a perfume. So try scentless laundry detergent, cut out the fabric softener, no dryer sheets. If you are using any sort of carpet odour remover or scented sprays - try stopping. For bathing Barli, try something natural like oatmeal and baking soda
7. Other: I did have Jax allergy tested and he is allergic to corn and soy. Which means I need to be careful when selecting supplements and trying new meds as a lot of gel vitamins have a soy base. Jax also gets eye infections - and the base for a lot of ointments and drops is corn or soy base. Just something to keep in mind.
This was my original post on Jax if you want the history: Help! 16 Month Old Male GSD Red Bumps on Belly, Allergies? Staph Infection?
Hope this helps...