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Discussion Starter #1
I have done everything recommended for my GSD due to her constant itching/allergies. For about 1 month she has been on a strict raw diet, I have bathed her in Oatmeal shampoo(she scratched on the way home), and I clean her bed weekly. She doesn't have flees and she is constantly licking, biting and is miserable(so am I). She has hypothyroidism and needs a refill on her medication, but nothing really seems to help but the oral steroids(horrible side effects). She has been to the Vet and dermatologist, which was a rip off. I am ready to give her up for adoption because I cant figure out what she is allergic to nor what to do about it.

Premium Member
4,794 Posts
You don't say exactly what kind of raw you are feeding but, Chicken is one of the worst offenders.

Grains are another one and you are bathing her in "OATmeal" shampoo!
IF you have a dog that is sensitive to grains, beware of other GLUTEN BASED ingredients, with names that we do not recognize, that could be in the Doggie Shampoo that you are using!
WHEAT: hydrolyzed wheat protein or triticum vulgare (wheat) or stearyldimoniumhydroxypropyl (hydrolyzed wheat protein) or hydroxypropyltrimonium (hydrolyzed wheat protein).
OATMEAL: or avena sativa
BARLEY: hordeum vulgare or maltodextrin (can also be from barley)
RYE: secale cereale
Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein can be derived from: Soy, Corn, or Wheat

Here is a natural alternative: Moosh: Anti-Bacterial-Anti-Fungal- Anti-Itch , Promotes Healthy Hair and Skin, Helps Hot Spots.
~ Neem Oil soothes and moisturizes dry, itchy skin… and helps keep away fleas and other skin-irritating pests.
~ Argon Oil gives your pet’s fur healthy, silky shine.
~ Bentonite Clay naturally draws grime away from the skin and keeps fleas at bay.
~ Vetiver is a natural-born antiseptic, with the fresh scent of the great outdoors.
~ Nutmeg soothes skin.
~ Rosemary is great for circulation.
100% Natural and Organic... No sulfates. No preservatives. No chemicals. Hypoallergenic and easy to rinse.

  • ITCHY SKIN or HOT SPOTS? We Are The Only Shampoo With Bentonite Clay. This Clay Has Been Known For Centuries For Its' Natural Healing Abilities. It Naturally Binds With Bacteria, Fungus, Toxins and Heavy Metals. Pulling Them Away From The Skin, Leaving Behind Squeaky Clean Hair and Calm, Soothed Skin.
  • SKIN ALLERGIES OR DERMATITIS? We have Neem and Argan Oil. Both Are Sought After For Natural Anti-Septic, Anti-Bacterial and Anti-Fungal Properties. Rich In Emollients, They Moisturize and Reduce Dandruff and Flaking.
Also, the detergent you are using on the bedding may be an irritant.

Moms :)

414 Posts
My senior girl has horrible allergies which are both food and environmentally based. As Moms mentioned chicken is one of the worst culprits, as is beef. Try a fish based food to see if that helps. I bathe her in chlorahexidine shampoo. Ideally once a week, but it's been cold so she gets a bath whenever it's a little warmer. That really helps with the itching and licking. I also use chlorahexadine wipes on any hotspots and put her life preserver cone on for a few hours until it dries. The vet gave me a so-called gen one, which works wonders, and I use that if the dog is really going after one area.
Finally, during spring and fall she's on Apoquel. Even that doesn't totally stop her licking, but it's much better. I don't like the price, and it does potentially come with side effects, but my girl is around 12, and I just want her comfortable. There is also a shot called cytapoint which the vet and I discussed. She knows my pup really well, and didn't think it would work with her, but it might be cheaper and have less side effects.
Finally, consider going to a dermatologist. I wish I had done that at the beginning as I think it would have saved more money in the long run.
I know allergies are frustrating, but there are ways to make your dog more comfortable without giving her up for adoption.

5,813 Posts
I agree that the thyroid could be behind a lot of this. Hopefully your vet told you that the thyroid meds can be refilled at human pharmacies -- it's the same drug prescribed to humans. I think it's on the generic meds are on the $5 list at some pharmacies (like Walmart). You can check for a list of prices in your zip code.

I would stop the oatmeal shampoo. Oats are a potential allergen. I would use a chlorhex veterinary shampoo instead -- like this one -- look at the Amazon reviews to see how well this type of product works for a lot of dogs with skin issues:

You can use it weekly or even 2x weekly because it doesn't suds up or strip coat oils like regular shampoo. It knocks down the microbes that tend to opportunistically attack inflamed skin, while also washing off contact allergens. That's important, as it can avert the need for antibiotics as skin infections tend to follow allergic flare-ups in many dogs.

I agree about trying Apoquel if you are at the point of giving the dog up. It gives many dogs instant relief. I think of it as a bridge to get them through a bad episode while you and the vet derm come up with a long-term plan.

Another atypical thing you can try if you're at the end of your rope is asking your vet team about trying a sulphur-lime dip -- it's not normally used for allergies (it's normally used for fungal infections, or mites). However, if her skin is a mess already, it may help with that -- it seems to help skin heal very fast and give some relief. It stinks to high heaven (rotten eggs) and stains porous surfaces (a disposable kiddie pool outside works pretty well for this). It's about as safe as anything you could try, even for puppies. It's kind of a "hail Mary," because of the smell and mess, but sulphur may have some skin benefits.

Grass allergies are increasingly common, and they're a work to manage (wiping paws, etc.). Food allergies are easier, once you find the right food.

Please think about what happens to her if you rehome. There are not many people out there looking to adopt a sick, expensive dog. I worry that she's not likely have a happy ending unless you love her enough to commit to finding a solution. I know it's frustrating -- I have a food allergy dog who's a very expensive keeper and had me feeling like a failure as an owner when he was sick and we didn't know what was causing it. Persistence saved my dog. Your dog needs your persistence right now. If you'll go all in to help her, you'll have a lot of support here.
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