Dog with Allergies

Updated on August 20, 2008
D. asks from Arlington, TX
26 answers

I'm asking this question for my sister. She has a dog, 3 yrs old (rottweiler & Masstiff mix) that has some sort of allergies. She's taken him to the vet & they suggested allergy tests which will be pretty expensive. She wants to find some relief for him right now. He has little bumps under his skin & he scratches at them a lot. He seems miserable. Any ideas of some creams or something that some of you may have used on your pets that worked. Someone has suggested benydryl, but do any of you have more ideas? Thank you in advance for your response.
D.

1 mom found this helpful

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J.B.

answers from Dallas on

We have a boxer puppy that had the same problem (taking up to 5 benadryl per day). When we got her, she was only fed Science Diet. A releative suggested we switch to Iams. Her bumps and itching cleared up in two days! It was and EASY CHEAP fix.

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V.J.

answers from Wichita Falls on

My dog had the same problem. My vet put him on some allergies medicine. When I was out of his medicine, I put some antibodient cream on him and that helped a little.

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A.A.

answers from Dallas on

I used to have a dog that had to take Benydryl. The vet suggested 3 in the morning and 3 at night. They worked and did not have any negative effects or cause sleepyness like in humans. Because we had to give so many we went with the generics.

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S.F.

answers from Dallas on

WE switched dog food to the lamb and rice or salmon and rice varieties. This seemed to help a ton. Plus it keeps their skin really mosturized. Benadryl is another option. But I would get a second opinion before doing allergy testing. It's expensive and there are plenty of allergy meds that you can give him without necessarily knowing what you are treating. How many of us take seasonal allergy meds, like Claritin or Allegra, without nothing what EXACTLY we are allergic too?

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C.B.

answers from Dallas on

Hi, I am a veterinarian and allergies in dogs are a continuous problem once they start. It is just like people who have bad problems certain times of the year. They usually start at 2-3 years old, they start seasonally, then as they get older they usually start to have problems year round. I usually recommend starting them on benadryl and medicated shampoos first. I wouldn't use creams because that will make them lick more. If that is not working I try adding omega fatty acid supplements, then a food change. You need to rule out food allergies before you allergy test them. I usually start them on a prescription diet of duck and potato, or venison a potato. This gives them a carbohydrate and protein source that is not in regular dog food, so they haven't been exposed to them before to have an immune response. After that I recommend allergy testing. Sometimes if they scratch enough they have to be on antibiotics though, so they have to go to the vet. If your sister can at all get the allergy testing it can really make a difference. I have had a lot of patients do great on them. They do them just like in people, they test and see what you are allergic too, then make a shot to give them to decrease their immune response to the things they are allergic to. Usually you have to go to a dermatologist because it is not cost effective for your regular vet to keep the testing supplies in the office. There are also other antihistamines that you can try, but you should have your sister as her vet for dosages because it is based on weight. You can give benadryl, tavist (not tavist-D), dimatap etc.. Just make sure your sister knows unfortunately their is no quick fix, and it will be a continuous problem, but a managable one.

I just read some of the other responses and wanted to comment further. Some people wrote in about cortisone shots which is a steroid. Yes, this will work and cause temporary relief, and you have to use them from time to time. I would caution your sister however to avoid vets who over use steroids. Using them too often brings comfort to the pet and makes the owner stop bugging the vet, but their are alot of side effects, especially if you start them regularly in a 3 year old dog. I try to avoid them at all cost until absolutely necessary. They can lead to liver problems and kidney problems down the road, and can cause stomach and intestinal ulceration. I agree that they have a place in the treatment of allergies, but not every few weeks, or on any regular basis. If a vet says keep your dog on steroids or give a shot every few weeks, I would not use that vet. Just my two cents. I see a lot of animals with major medical issues from the overuse of steroids.

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R.G.

answers from Dallas on

Your sister should check with her vet, but I would recommend chlorphenirmine for quick releif. My 4 year old bichon (weighs 10 lbs) developed a skin allergy just as she was turning a year old. I didn't want to pay for the testing so the vet who we had at the time recommended 4 mg of chlorphenirmine 3 times a day. You can get it over the counter at any pharmacy. We did this everyday for three and a half years when I found out, after changing vets, that it was a flea allergy! The new vet explained that when dogs have a flea allergy, they will chew their hind end, just as Sofie would do. Even one flea would drive her nuts! I changed her flea prevention method, and I haven't had to give her the allergy meds this year AT ALL!

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M.G.

answers from Wichita Falls on

I have a 94 lb. boxer that suffers from allergies as well. She had bumps under her skin and would scratch alot. Our VET put her on benedryl (1 tablet a day) and it has done wonders! He said not all dogs respond to benedryl, but luckily ours did. She slept alot at first, but gradually that wasn't a side-effect. In the winter months we don't have to give it to her. The only caution is not to overdose, but a rott/masstiff mix is probably a large enough dog that it should be fine.

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C.M.

answers from Dallas on

Can't believe I saw your post today, as we are dealing with this right now! Our 7 year old dog never had allergies until we moved to Texas a few months ago. He's having major issues this month. We've been to the vet 3 times in the past month, and he's now on a couple of different meds. We are sort of testing them to see what helps. He's on antibiotics (Simplicef) since all his scratching produced a lot of wounds with bacteria. He was on Ketoconazole a few weeks ago, as there was yeast present, which has now passed. And we've just started Temaril which does have a sterroid in it, but seems to be helping relieve his misery of itching. It does make him very hungry and thirsty though -- he gets up and midnight and eats! We also have the oatmeal shampoo which seems to soothe. We tried an antihistimine for dogs that was also prescription from the vet, but it didn't seem to help, and I've never heard to try regular Benadryl until now, but I'll definitely be asking the vet about that.

I will be reading all these posts for all the other great ideas that people are posting. I feel so bad for our dog right now, he seems so miserable, but it makes me feel a little better knowing that allergies seem pretty common in dogs. I'm ready to try anything. And knowing it should get better in the winter is the best part of all!

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F.C.

answers from Tyler on

My dog is allergic to fleas and a solution of vinegar and water seems to help. Also, if it's fleas, spray the yard with laundry soap (borax or tide). It's non-toxic, so it won't hurt the dog or kids.

Good Luck!
Frances

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L.B.

answers from Dallas on

I have a lab with horrible allergies. We have tried EVERYTHING, including benadryl, which does nothing. I bought some stuff at a health food store in Frisco for allergies that works for people and pets, and it helps tremendously. I'm sorry I don't remember the name, but if I come across it I will let you know. All i remember is that it was in a white box with light blue lettering. We bought the pills and gave her 2 in her food.

Good Luck - I feel her pain!!!

T.F.

answers from Dallas on

Our dogs don't have problems that last a long time or are as serious. We have used Benedryl in the past along with Cort-aid creme or spray to relieve the itch.

I also have a RX itch spray (Relief) which has oatmeal and (Humilac) which is an oil free dry skin spray from our vet Dr. Ted Staph at High Point Animal Clinic in Plano.

Good luck, I know it is a pain for your sister and her dog.

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L.T.

answers from Tyler on

my mom has a tiny dog that has skin allergies Her vet gave the dog a cortisone shot and she stopped scratching. The shot worked for about 3 months. Maybe your sister should also get a 2nd opinion The first vet my mom went to also wanted to run expensive tests that she could not afford so she went to another one. The new vet was wonderful he understood that this was my mom's baby but she could not afford a lot of tests

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S.B.

answers from Dallas on

Our dog suffers from severe allergies. It started with the same red bumps and itching you talked about and just seemed to get worse for our poor dog. She is allergic to four different types of grass, three different trees, dust, and cats and some other things that slip my mind right now. We had to get a dermatologist for her...her allergies were causing staph infections and that medication was costing us more than the serum made by her dermatologist. Besides that all the steroids constantly were not good for her heart.
But you are right allergy tests are expensive!!

Even with her weekly allergy shot, we have to do more for her. During high allergy season, or when she seems extra itchy and miserable, we give her benadryl. The exact same stuff for humans, in fact I always get the generic off brand. I think the doseage is supposed to be one benadryl for every 25 lbs. Our lab is 100lbs and we give her 4 benadryl. These make her very sleepy, so we only do it in the evenings. I would double check with your vet on how much to give the dog. Our old vet and new vet both suggested the benedryl, so I think it is common treatment. It does seem to help quite a bit, even during the day when she hasn't just had the medicine.

Fish oil caps are also supposed to help. They condition the skin and the coat and helps defend against allergens.

And this one is something new we have added to her treatment. Our new vet recommended it to us, because our dog is always getting yeast infections in her skin due to allergies. Our vet said that for dogs that are prone to yeast skin infections, she does dilute vinegar rinses on them once weekly which will help the skin pH to prevent yeast infections. Once she bathes the dog and rinses the shampoo (I usually use an oatmeal shampoo), she dilutes white vinegar (one part vinegar to 3 part cool water) and she pours it on the pet and allows the pet to air dry. She said they may smell like pickle until they dry, but then you barely notice it. And after our dog dries, we haven't noticed it at all.

Your vet can also prescribe some sprays that help alleviate itching. They are not terribly expensive and often help keep scratches and sores clean.

And sometimes we resort to distraction, so she can get some relief. We will take her swimming, for a walk or give her a cow bone. She gets excited about these things and seems to "forget" her discomfort if even for only a little bit.

Believe it or not, these treatments have helped a lot! During the cooler months, we almost forget she has allergies. And she hasn't suffered from a staph infection or yeast infection in quite a while.

Hope this helps. Good luck!

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C.R.

answers from Dallas on

I'm surprised the vet didn't offer any oral medications to help with the problem and offer relief. I was in the vet business for over 10 years, and we never pushed allergy testing. We only recommended it after oral medications didn't work. There are a bunch to choose from. It sounds like her vet is wanting a bigger paycheck than offering medication would give. I'd say, get a second opinion or call that vet back and get a prescription filled.

Benedryl would work, but wouldn't be the best choice. Prednisone is a good option, as long as you monitor the dosage for long term liver damage (it's a steroid). The first thing I would do is call the vet, tell them you aren't ready for allergy testing just yet and ask for some medicine to help with the allergies. If they don't help, then find a new vet.

Good luck!

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D.S.

answers from Dallas on

Hi D.
I knew someone with a great Dane and she popped some peanut oil in his food everyday and his skin issues went away

D.!

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C.C.

answers from Dallas on

I have a dog that licks a lot due to allergies. She gets Benadryl every year about 1/2 way through Spring and into Fall. It does help and I would recommend it if she wants to avoid the alternative. I was a vet tech at one time & am comfortable with it.

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N.L.

answers from Abilene on

D.;

My rottie-boy, One-Eyed Jack, had skin allergies too.
I did finally pay the extra money to have him tested and learned that he was allergic to nearly every plant native to Texas.
We started allergy shots and did them for about a year and a half.
I never noticed any relief for him with the allergy shots so I finally just informed the vet that we'd have to discontinue them. Too expensive if they weren't going to help my boy!

What I basically ended up doing was to make him a total house dog except for pottying and exercising; no just sitting out in the yard waiting for me to come home.... Then I wiped him down with baby wipes EVERY time he came in from outside. I added oils to his foods (garlic and fish oils) to combat the dry skin. I bathed him with shampoos for itchy skin (not too often). And when his scratching could not be controlled any other way then I'd get the vet to refill his prescriptions for steroids. (I really hated the steroids, though, so that was always a last resort.)
Sorry your neph-dog has this problem. Good luck.

EnJae
(NJ)

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B.P.

answers from Abilene on

Our dog has an allergy to red food dye which made her itch and break out. Once we started looking at food labels, red dye is in almost ALL dog items to make it look like meat! You might try changing to different food and treats and see if that makes a difference. Purina One has several dog foods that have no red food dyes in them and are not expensive like "all natural" foods.

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T.O.

answers from Dallas on

Benadryl is very good and very cheap. My dogs one about 30 pounds the other about 75 pounds, take 1 tab and 2 tabs respectively. I give it to them in some bread smeared with a little peanut butter and I included one vitamin E capsule. They love it, it keeps them from itching and thus from getting infections that have to be treated with antibiotics and steroids.

Changing dog food could help, it depends on what is causing the allergy.

Good luck.

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G.M.

answers from Dallas on

Hi D..
I just read about your dog's allergies. I do have some ideas that may help that I learned from a friend. If you would like some information,please email me @ [email protected]____.com. thanks

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J.M.

answers from Lubbock on

Oatmeal shampoo baths. However it only offers temporarily relief.

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K.K.

answers from Dallas on

Oh man we had some dozies with our Boston. We started using a holiistic vet(pricey but well worth it). Dr Shawn Messonier is great. We still in the begining needed to use prednisone to get the inflamtion down. But we do daily baths in a oatmeal aloe shampoo to rid him of pollens and other allergy inducing contamanents. Benadryl on a as need basis.

Allergy testing is much more widely avialable and can be benaficial for many cases.

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S.B.

answers from Dallas on

Sounds like your sister may need to try another vet. I have a dog with food allergies and she's allergic to fleas. We buy her special food and treat her with oral medications - Temeril P and Hydroxizine. My husband used to give her Benadryl - but it really didn't do much to help her.

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K.R.

answers from Dallas on

Our vet wanted to run tests on our dog, too. We asked her to take a guess about what it was instead, and she was right. At the age of 6, he had developed a flea allergy (red bumps, scratching and chewing on himself). One flea bite (I guess it's the saliva) is all it takes to get him going for 3+ weeks. We tried several flea treatments, but the only one that keeps him totally flea free is Frontline Plus. It takes about 3 weeks before you can tell if a flea treatment is working (on an allergic dog). Also, if it is a flea allergy, the dog needs to be treated every month, before he/she starts scratching. Ours needs it about every 28 days. We skip treatment in Winter.

B.B.

answers from Dallas on

We're going through the same thing with my pug! We give him 1 benadryl in the evening if he's uncomfortable (we skip it on good days). Regular baths help a lot, as well as the OTC hydrocortisone itch relief spray I got in the pet section at Walmart if he's scratching a lot. I hate watching him scratch, b/c I know he's miserable. These things seem to help, but I also think it depends on the severity of the allergies for each dog.

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E.B.

answers from Dallas on

First, it's great that you are trying to help your sister's dog!
To start, make sure he has no fleas. Flea allergy is very common. Even one bite can cause intense itching.
Put him on a natural dog food (no artificial color or artificial flavor) made with duck or venison or lamb or chicken. Get one with no wheat, corn, or soy; any of which could be causing his trouble. Give him NO people food, NONE! (I know how cute they can be when they beg, but don't give in! This is a matter of his health! He doesn't know what's good for him!) Once you get him under control, you can add different things back to his diet to see if he will react to them.
I know the natural food is more expensive than the cheap stuff, but it is SO much better for your dog. Believe me, it's worth it!
Some people have mentioned steroids. Steroids are very hard on your dog's health. Long term they're terrible, short term the side effects aren't good either.
The oatmeal shampoo baths will give short term relief and make him feel better. He will probably just lick off any creams, and that may not be very good for him.
Their is a ton of info on the internet about dog foods and allergies.

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