- Allergic contact dermatitis: Same as contact dermatitis, but rash may spread beyond the area of contact. Requires repeated or continuous exposure to allergen (such as wearing a flea collar).
- Canine atopy: Severe itching that occurs in young dogs and begins in late summer and fall. Caused by seasonal pollens. Occurs in mixed breeds as well as purebreds. Common. Tends to get worse each year. May start with face rubbing and foot chewing.
- Chiggers: Itching and severe skin irritation between the toes and around the ears and mouth. Look for barely visible red, yellow, or orange chiggers.
- Contact dermatitis: Red, itchy bumps and inflamed skin at the site of contact with a chemical, detergent, paint. or other irritant. Primarily affects feet and hairless parts of the body. Can also be caused by rubber or plastic food dishes, with hair loss on the nose.
- Damp hay itch (pelodera): Red pimplelike bumps on skin. Severe itching. Occurs in dogs bedded on damp hay and similar grass. Caused by a parasite.
- Flea allergy dermatitis: Red, itchy pimplelike bumps over the base of the tail, back of rear legs, and inner thighs. Scratching continues after fleas have been killed.
- Fleas: Itching and scratching along the back, and around the tail and hindquarters. Look for fleas, or black and white gritty specks in hair (flea feces and eggs).
- Fly-bite dermatitis: Painful bites at tips of erect ears and bent surfaces of floppy ears. Bites become scabbed and crusty black, and bleed easily.
- Food allergy dermatitis: Nonseasonal itching with reddened skin, papules, pustules, and wheals. Found over the ears, rump, back of the legs, and undersurface of the body. Sometimes confined just to the ears with moist, weeping redness.
- Grubs/Cuterebra: Inch-long fly larvae that form cystlike lumps beneath the skin with a hole in the center for the insect to breathe. Often found beneath the chin, by the ears, or along the abdomen.
- Lice: Two-millimeter-long insects, or white grains of “sand” (nits) attached to the hair. Not common. Found in dogs with matted coats. May have bare spots where hair has been rubbed off.
- Lick granuloma (acral pruritic dermatitis): Red, shiny skin ulcer caused by continuous licking at wrist or ankle. Mainly in large, short-coated breeds.
- Maggots: Soft-bodied, legless fly larvae found in damp matted fur or wounds that aren’t kept clean.
- Scabies (sarcoptic mange): Intense itching. Small red spots that look like insect bites on the skin of the ears, elbows, and hocks. Typical crusty ear tips.
- Ticks: Large or very small insects attached to the skin. May swell up to the size of a pea. Found beneath the ear flaps and where hair is thin. May or may not induce itching.
- Walking dandruff (cheyletiella mange): Occurs in puppies 2 to 12 weeks of age. Large amounts of dry, scaly, flaky skin over the neck and back. Itching is variable.
The itchy skin diseases in this table are characterized by constant scratching, biting at the skin, and rubbing up against objects to relieve the itch.
The day I adopted my dog Roxy, I wanted to make sure we started off on the right foot. I wanted to make sure I was giving her the perfect nutrition and everything else to ensure she would remain healthy and happy. I went to the the local supermarket and selected what I THOUGHT was a really great food. The commercials said it was the perfect nutrition, showed lots of fresh meat and healthy veggies and showed a happy healthy dog running in a field chasing a ball. This is it! This is the food for my Roxy!
I stocked up and the giant bag of kibble and bought numerous tins of the wet food as well. I finally found the best food ever! At least thats what I was lead to believe. Honestly, what commercial says...this is toxic and really bad for you? This is what I learned the hard way. I looked at the bag. Nice white bag with colorful images of veggies and meats. Then came the first of many food recalls. I investigated further. I read the ingredients. What my poor dog was eating would not even truly be considered food at all! I got rid of all of that food that day. I decided the only way to know exactly what I was feeding my dog was safe...was to make it myself.
I had been making chicken and rice and veggies for years for Roxy with no issues at all. Then suddenly, Roxy was mysteriously sick all the time. She was allergic to chicken! The food she had eaten for so many years with no problem suddenly became her foe. Now what?! Then we switched to beef. Things were good with that ….for awhile. Beef eventually became a problem. Salmon was next. Roxy even went vegan for awhile. She actually thrived on that diet. It's not for everyone but with so many protein allergies, her having a diet like mine seemed like a logical choice. This was by far the perfect diet for Roxy. It's not an easy one as the proteins have to be right and supplements have to be added. It becomes more like a science project.
Then Zoey came along. My newest adoption. Zoey had been raised on pupperonni, chicken wings and breakfast sausage. Ever read the ingredient on Pupperonni? The very first ingredient is “ Meat by products”. You don't want your dogs to eat this, trust me. While Zoey liked the vegan food....she was a hard core meat monster. Obviously I could not give Zoey meat and make Roxy eat vegan food. So here began the real science of feeding my dogs. Cooked food? Raw food? It's all so confusing. Raw food feeders say THEIR diet is the correct diet. Cooked diet people say THEIR diet is the correct diet. It made me want to tear my hair out of my head. How can I feed my dogs a healthy diet if everyone is so split? Fact is, there really is no such thing as he perfect diet. There is only the perfect diet for “your” dog. It may be vegan, home cooked, raw. In our case.....it was a rotation of all.
I make two different versions of cooked food. One version is a stew they eat daily to ensure the proper amount of vitamins etc. Then I alternate between raw every other night and a patty version that I make and freeze and cook frsh. Both cooked versions are Turkey based. Everything Is organic right down to the brown rice and veggies. The vitamins are all human grade. On alternate nights....they get raw chicken. Yes chicken. Roxy's nemesis!
It's odd but as it turns out, eating a protein raw and cooked have different effects. Raw meaty bones with chicken does not have ANY negative effect on Roxy at all. Even chicken eggs caused her issues. Do you have any idea how hard it is to find duck eggs?
Now I make batches of turkey and brown rice and veggie based stew, and freeze in glass containers. Plastic can cause allergies as well. I make turkey and oatmeal and veggie based patties and freeze those raw as well. On alternate nights.....roxy gets an organic chicken leg. She hated it at first and just looked at it like “ Um mom...you forgot to cook this thing”. It took a few tries. Now she becomes Roxy.....queen of the wilderness when she gets one.
Zoey took a little longer. She would lay on the bed and study Roxy as she ate her raw leg. Once Roxy cracked the bone..Zoey was in a frenzy. The marrow was like a drug to Zoey. To see my sweet little girls turn into savages was amusing. I would actually sit there fascinated watching them. Being vegan..it was gross as hell but they seemed so....happy.
I started Zoey with chicken wings from the health food store. I'd separate the four bones in the wing with kitchen shears. If this is not love..I don't know what is. I'd cut as much meat off of the wing...then cut the bones in half. I had to watch her like a hawk as the bones were small. Zoey is tiny so this was what I had to do. The first time she crunched down on a bone..she scared herself and jumped and ran.
When she mastered this. I made the pieces bigger. Sure she wants to drag the pieces all over the house and bury them in the couch. What fun would staying on the giant towel be for her? I have just learned to live with it.
Zoey can eat an entire wing now. They see the towels come out and they do their happy dance. I also found that they love it seasoned with a bit of garlic and basil. This seems to be the “perfect” diet for “MY” dogs. They are happy....healthy and have no health issues. The only drawback is I only have half a freezer as there is always so much dog food in there. It's worth it though. For us, the perfect food came in the form of raw AND cooked. Maybe in the end....it's all about balance.
What I DID learn was, perfect nutrition does NOT come from ANY bag. There is no perfect food for our dogs or even us that comes pre-packed and processed. Just as we are not meant to live on pre-packaged highly processed foods, our dogs are not either. Imagine eating cereal from a box every meal , every day of your entire life? Even with all the stuff they add back to it to make it appear more healthy, it's not. Proper nutrition comes from a variety of fresh healthy foods. Sadly, Dog food ( and a lot of people food as well ) is all about convenience. If you really look …..it's not even actually “food” at all anymore. Even if you do choose to go the route of kibble , I believe in adding to it. Fresh meats, veggies etc. No table scraps of fat, spicy , fried,salty foods. Certainly NO cooked bones of ANY kind..EVER! I will be posting some recipes for cooked foods soon.
Over the years, I have told so many people about the amazing benefits of apple cider vinegar.
I thought I'd share some of that information here as well. I'm not speaking of the apple cider vinegar you find in your local supermarket next to the bargain brand of the white stuff we use to clean out our coffee makers. I'm speaking of the ACV you find in health food shops as well as some supermarket organic sections. For this to be of any benefit at all it must contain the cloudy gunk that settles at the bottom. This is called the mother.
I have two little beasts of my own. A snappy little chihuahua with a massive attitude named Zoey, and a Chug...part chihuahua and part pug named Roxy. Let me add that Roxy...is a perfect angel and Zoey....well...she's the lovable baby and also a spoiled brat. I use and have used these methods on my own dogs. Roxy has major flea sensitivity. One bite and even if it hops right off... Houston, we have a problem.
I remember one year she was so incredibly itchy she would cry and chew her tail and hind quarters till they were bloody. One time things got so bad she even chewed her tail completely bald. She looked like a possum and had to wear a bandage over her entire tail. Sure it only stayed on until she shook it off, but I did try. Apple cider vinegar is a great thing to try , hopefully long before your precious pup ends up with “ Possum Tail”.
Note: Always shake your ACV mixture up as the mother will always settle to the bottom.
These are the uses that I swear by using Braggs or any other apple cider vinegar containing the mother. I always have at least 2 giant bottles on hand at all times.
1) Ears: You can purchase a small bottle from the cosmetics aisle or save one from your pooches old ear cleaning solution. Shake up the ACV and add half to half filtered water. So it's 50/50. Gently squirt a bit into dogs ears. I aim for the sides so it runs down but doesn't do so forcefully. Gently massage the ear canal from the outside. Make sure you hear the squishy sounds while doing so. If you don't , you may not be using enough. After a minute or so, let pooch shake his head as I'm sure he's been trying to do the whole time you were trying to do this. After he shakes, simply wipe out with clean cotton balls. Never use q-tips on the inside of your dogs ears. It would be so easy to hurt their sensitive ears accidentally. Sure your pooch will smell like a salad for a short while, but it will fade. This method is especially great for dogs with chronic yeasty ears. You will know your pooch has a yeast problem when his ears smell like fritos corn chips.
NOTE: ACV is a safe and natural anti-fungal, anti-bacterial and antiseptic.
2) Skin: This is great for hot spots and yeasty skin. Again, same solution 50/50 water and ACV. You can dab it on hot spots as long as they are not raw and skin is not broken. Remember that ACV is acidic and it will be extremely painful on broken skin. You can dab directly onto skin with a cotton ball. This kills bacteria as well as an assortment of other nasties. Roxy had a flea bite a few summers ago. She chewed and chewed until her entire belly was covered in oozing stinky yellow crust. I simply diluted the ACV to ¼ and the water to ¾ until there was no open or broken skin. As soon as there were no more raw or broken spots, I used the ½ and ½ again. I cleaned this area 3 times a day, morning , afternoon and night. It took awhile but it healed. The skin may become traumatized and turn black before healing fully. This is normal and it will look like normal skin over time.
3) Skin overall: This should be prepared in a spray bottle. Again it's the ½ and ½ mixture. This is great for larger areas of the body. This also works to minimize attraction of fleas and really makes your pups coat look great at the same time. This method also helps keep bacteria and yeast, on entire surface of skin in check. Your dog will smell like a salad for a short while, maybe an hour or so, but trust me when I say you will smell nothing but the lovely shampoo you are using after that. After a bath, towel dry just a bit. Don't really get in there and worry about getting pooch dry. You just want to get a bit of the water off. Shake up your bottle of ACV and water and mist pooch thoroughly. Don't get her/him in the face as it may burn his/her eyes. Really mist them down and then work it in the skin a bit. DO NOT RINSE. Now you can towel dry or blow dry. This keeps things clear on their skin. In the summer I never skip this step after a bath on my dogs. In the warm flea infested days of summer, I find that bathing my dogs weekly and following with this ACV spray helps keep fleas and pretty much everything at bay.
4) Feet: Does your dog chew on his feet? This is usually a sign of allergies. To help alleviate the itch, simply mix one part ACV to one or two parts warm water. Place in small container or tub and let your pup soak for a few minutes. Do not rinse. Blot dry.