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Dogs/dog scratching


QUESTION: I brought my dog home from groomers 3 months ago, nothing out of the norm same groomers for the last 5 yrs.Molly has not stop scratching since took her to the vets first it was benedryl then they put her on Medrol still scratching not as severe but still pretty bad I feel helpless iv'e tried home remedies apple  cider,bathed her in oatmeal soap. someone suggested gold bond but i'm afraid of her licking it,then someone said pure aloe vera i'm at my wits end PLEASE HELP !!!!!!any help would be deeply appreciated I hate to see her suffer.

Hi Rebecca,

If your dog hasn't been to the groomer for the past three months, then it sounds probable that Molly's chronic itch has nothing to do with visiting a groomer. It's probably just a coincidence that the symptoms started after visiting the groomer since all the washing and bathing hasn't helped.

It's also possible Molly has developed an allergy or sensitivity to something which previously wasn't a problem for her. Things that cause a chronic itch in dogs are: a food allergy or sensitivity, something in your home or the environment (could be anything from your laundry detergent to household cleaners, or something used in the garden - or 1000 other things), a bacterial or yeast skin infection, seborrhea, a thyroid disorder, or liver disease, or immune system problems. It's also possible that Molly's itch has it's roots in boredom, separation anxiety, frustration, confinement, or even a minor physical origin such as a tiny abrasion that captivated her interest.

As you can see, there are many reasons why a dog might develop a chronic itch, and treatments will vary depending on what's causing the itch. Applying 100% pure Aloe-vera or dabbing on Witch Hazel is a good way to temporally cool and relieve the itch. Neither will hurt your dog if it's licked off, apply as often as it's needed. If you apply before taking your dog out on a walk, it will have time to be on your dog's skin, and do some good instead of being licked right off. But suppressing the itch doesn't treat the cause of the itch. It's only when you can discover what's causing the itch, can you take steps to control or stop the itching completely.

You didn't describe your dog's skin, or if there are specific areas that are bothering her, if her skin is red, or there are open sores due to all the chewing and licking. Shaving the itching area(s) will allow the skin to dry out by allowing the allow air to get to it. Also, if Molly is constantly licking there is a high chance of her developing a secondary skin infections which adds to the itching, and would also require treatment.
Once the area is free of fur you can use a regular black tea bag on the area to treat the itchy "hot spot". Black tea contains tannic acids which will help dry out and heal the skin quickly. Steep the tea bag in hot water and let it cool. Apply the black tea bag to the area for at least 5 minutes. Use the black tea bags on the itchy areas every day, six times a day until the hot spots are gone.

If the Medrol your vet prescribed isn't working, you need to let the doctor know. You didn't say if fleas were ruled out, or if the vet did a skin scape test to rule out microscopic mites. Not all dogs react to Benedryl, and sometimes using a different over the counter antihistamine is worth trying. Ask your vet to suggest another antihistamine and the correct dose. If nothing seems to stop the itch, it's probably a good idea to have your vet do blood tests to rule out liver disease, immune system problems or a thyroid disorder.

Chronic itch and allergy problems are especially frustrating because there may not be a permanent cure and treatment can be ongoing. There is always a lot more to consider than just “give your dog some Benadryl” or “change her diet”. If your dog is itching excessively, consulting with a veterinary dermatologist can be the fastest and most direct way of getting a handle on the problem. If your regular vet can't give you a referral to a dermatologist, you might be able to locate one here:

I hope I've been a help.
Best of luck,


---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: The vet did rule out fleas,I haven't seen any hot spots as she has long hair she's a cocker spaniel,I have looked very thorough. What about the gold bond my friend uses it on her schnauzer successfully or special shampoo from the groomers they have suggested hot oil treatments?


Hello again,

Plenty of people use Gold Bond Powder on their dogs to soothe the skin and absorb moisture in order to stop itching. I wouldn't use hot oil on a dog. There are lots of anti-itch dog shampoos on the market, but to find one that might work you need to determine the cause of the itchiness to narrow down the options. Use the wrong medicated shampoo on your dog’s skin could make the itchiness worse. Your best bet is to talk to your vet's office and get a recommendation from them.

I must stress, depending on what's causing the itch, it's anyone's guess as to how effective any of these products are going to be. Your best bet is to get a diagnosis as to what's causing the itching. For example, the treatment of say a food allergy for example, is going to be MUCH different than what's called for with a contact dermatitis. Hunting and pecking from one over the counter remedy to another wastes time if you aren't seeing results, and meanwhile your dog is suffering and her condition may get worse.

I should mention that you probably wouldn't see any fleas on your dog, even if your dog had fleas. Part your dog's fur, and see if there are tiny black pepper-like specks on the skin. If you find this, it's likely "flea dirt" (aka the flea's waste product). To test the flecks, gather a couple of them up with a Q-tip, wipe it onto a paper towel, and drop a little water onto them. If it's flea-dirt, it will turn a rusty to brownish color.

I hope this helps.


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To date, I've owned 7 dogs, all of which have lived into old age. Having cared for them in all stages of life, I feel I can offer sound advice to other pet owners, and people considering getting a dog. I am knowledgeable about the AKC (American Kennel Club) dog breeds, training and exercise, caring for sick and elderly pets, feeding, as well as many holistic treatments pets can benefit from. My only request is that you write me using standard English and punctuation.


My life experience in this field is more like "on the job training" rather than an actual degree in animal welfare. You may benefit from my experiences over the past 30 years. Aside from the dogs I've owned, I'm also involved in "breed rescue" and have fostered several dogs, all of which have been adopted to wonderful "forever homes". I find helping people who want a dog very rewarding.

Real life experience, based on over 30 years of dog ownership.

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