Dogs have allergies just like people and can drive their owners crazy with all the scratching. They can start anywhere from six months to seven years.

What can an owner do to make their pet feel better? Allergens are absorbed through the skin, so bathing helps remove the surface allergens.

  1. First use an inexpensive shampoo that will clean the pet. Do not use flea and tick shampoos, because they do not clean and they are hard on the coat.
  2. Use a medicated shampoo and leave it on for 10 minutes.
  3. Finish with an antipruritic “leave on” conditioner.
  4. Some animals may need a moisturizing spray like Humilac.
  5. Use ear wash to clean ears when bathing.

Anytime the dog comes in from the outside it will need its feet, chest and underside wiped down with a cool, damp cloth to remove the allergens. Be sure to get in between the toes. Yeast and bacteria are normally found on the skin and in the ears and look for opportunities to proliferate. When the skin is inflamed and being scratched, a perfect opportunity is provided. The secondary infections will also need to be treated to resolve the itching.

The majority of pets with inhalant allergies also have food allergies. Everybody has an allergy threshold. Removing as many allergens as possible helps the pet feel better. The most common food allergens are beef, dairy and wheat. Even if your pet only seems to have seasonal allergies it could still have a food allergy component that has been under the pet’s threshold. Be sure to look at the ingredient list of food and treats and any table food the family may be giving. Omega 3 fatty acids and DHA help reduce the pruritus by 50%. The pet needs 180mg/10 # of Omega 3. Pets that have a tendency for pancreatitis should not consume fatty acids. Antihistamines have a variable response and work better when combined with the fatty acid. It is best to try one antihistamine for two weeks to see if it works before trying another one.

Allergy testing followed by the hyposensitization injections has a 66% to 70% success rate. Some will still require fatty acids, antihistamines and low-dose prednisone. Cyclosporine (Atopica) is an immunstimulant that is available in capsule form and also has a 65% to 70% success rate.

Benedryl (Bug bites)12.5mg 3 times daily25mg 3 times daily50mg 3 times daily100mg 3 times daily
Hydroxyzine (Atarax)10mg 3 times daily25mg 3 times daily50mg 3 times daily100mg 3 times daily
Chlorpheniramine (Chlor-Timeton) 4mg once daily 4-6 mg once daily4-8 mg once daily8-12 mg once daily
Clemastine (Tavist).7mg 2 times daily1.34mg 2 times daily 2.68mg 2 times daily5mg 2 times daily
Loratidine (Claritin) 5mg 2 times daily10mg once daily10mg 2 times dailyly10mg once daily
Cetirizine (Zyrtec)2.5mg 2 times daily5mg 2 times daily10mg 2 times daily10-15mg 2 times daily

Beef was removed from this dog’s diet, and look at the difference!