Dog keeps scratching, but skin seems fine? (and its not fleas)

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Dog keeps scratching, but skin seems fine? (and its not fleas)

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Old 05-15-2013, 10:08 AM
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Question Dog keeps scratching, but skin seems fine? (and its not fleas)

Please read everything before giving advice^^ (sorry this is so long, just wanted to make sure to include all details and such)


My Nova Scotia Duck tolling retriever, 11 months old, keeps scratching! For the last month heís been constantly itchy to no end!


He has persistent itching and is constantly scratching and biting his fur. The areas heís most scratching in are: genital area (here is where he scratches most intensely, but I looked hard and couldnít find anything out of the ordinary, his skin is fine with no dirt, redness, swelling or nothing, even after intense biting in the area), base of tail, around back legs, and neck.
Sounds like fleas right? But nope, that doesnít seem to be it. :P
Heís actually showed these symptoms before. After we got him at 10 weeks, he began scratching violently and my dad thought he might have mange or something. I thought it was fleas and bought some ďHartzĒ flea meds and put it on him. Within a day he was perfectly fine with no scratching. At 6 months the same thing happened. Randomly started with intense persistent itching. I put Hartz flea med on him again and within a day he was fine. (yeah, Iím not being too consistent with flea meds on him..)


And now, about a month ago, it happened AGAIN. Intense scratching and itching that seems to come out of know where. I thought ďitís probably just those fleas again.Ē This time however, I decided to buy ďPet ArmorĒ flea meds since it is supposedly just like frontline, a very good brand. I got a sample pack and tried it out. It seemed to relieve the itching for about an hour, but then it came back as strong as it was. I decided to use some ďAdamsĒ flea spray (which always worked well on my other dogs and cats). I put a lot on him and it helped for about 30 minutes but then he was once again scratching. I then decided to use a flea dip-like shampoo on him that ALWAYS worked on all my dogs Iíve ever had. It helped for about an hour or so and then he was back to scratching. I also tried ďanti-itch spray for dogsĒ on his genital area and it seemed to help for a little while (like an hour).

I consulted my vet who said it might be allergies and that I should give him some dog allergy meds. I did so and it didnít seem to help at all. I waited out the month and decided to try the Hartz brand of flea meds again. I put it on a few days back with hope it would work and so far it hasnít helped a bit.

To make things weirder, my other dog and 2 cats are having NO SYMPTOMS at all! Even though they sleep in the same room as my toller, are always in contact with him, and are NOT on flea prevention, they are just fine! No scratching or fleas. Plus I keep the house vacuumed and clean often and have treated the house with flea killing spray. Iíve checked his fur and skin all over and canít find any flea dirt, fleas, redness, scaling, swelling, bumps, scabs, NOTHING! His skin/fur seems fine!

So why could he be scratching so much? Any ideas? Here are some trends Iíve noticed if it helpsÖ


An inside allergy?
He seems to be the itchiest indoors. When I take him out on walks, to the park, or to his weekly training class, he seems to scratch a lot less, if at all.

Boredom induced?
Iím starting to think that some of the scratching might be induced by boredom. When indoors, if I have him training or doing something thatís fun to him, heíll scratch a lot less. If I donít do anything with him and heís just lying around on the carpet (we have carpet all over the house btw), heíll scratch a lot. But then again, this might be normal lol

Food allergy?
He is a VERY picky eater so we have been swapping food brands these last few months to try to find something he likes (thatís also healthy for him). The food he seems to like best is the food I feed my other dog ďPurina One: small dog formula.Ē I tried other Purina One varieties but he only likes the Ďsmall dog formulaí for some reason. The latest food Iíve been transitioning him to Blue Buffalo Wellness formula for puppies, and he seems to like it so far so maybe I might stay on this brand, if not Iíll go back to Purina One since itís the only thing heíll eat. Any ideas on this? (What ingredients might cause skin allergies?)

Thanks for any help, I am planning on taking him back to the vet soon. But I was wondering what you guys might think it is? Or anything that could give him some relief?
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Old 05-15-2013, 10:25 AM
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Ive read/heard it can be food related... were dealing with the same thing with our new dog and he always scratches his neck. Hes only eating blue buffalo, chicken formula.

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Old 05-15-2013, 12:12 PM
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The haphazard use of flea products, especially ones that may cause harm to your pet, does not rule out flea allergies. Judicious use of a good product like Frontline for at least 3-4 consecutive months with appropriate flea control on the other pets and good house cleaning will do that.

Allergens in the food tend to be the protein source-- most often chicken or beef since those are the most common protein sources in food. Doing a STRICT food trial where you pick a food with a protein source the dog has never had before (like duck, salmon or venison) and feeding the dog food ONLY (no treats, table scraps etc) for 4-6 weeks) may help determine if its food related. If you cheat even once during the trial, it's useless.

Could be an allergy to what you use to clean in the house, dust etc. try cleaning more often and use hypoallergenic detergent to clean anything the dog sleeps on.

Can be environmental allergens in which cause you can try antihistamines or find a vet dermatologist to consider skin testing (your dog is a bit young for this testing at the moment).

So please stop the Hartz products and drenching your dog in flea spray. Use something reputable consistently. Bathe the dog at least weekly or twice a week in an anti-itch shampoo. Consider trying a food trial and different antihistamines.
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Old 05-15-2013, 01:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Holly View Post
The haphazard use of flea products, especially ones that may cause harm to your pet, does not rule out flea allergies. Judicious use of a good product like Frontline for at least 3-4 consecutive months with appropriate flea control on the other pets and good house cleaning will do that.
It might of sounded like I ruled out fleas, but I really don't. I forgot to put in my original post the possibilities of a flea allergy, but I find it strange that the flea meds (hartz, spray, and shampoo) that always worked with him isn't working now. I guess its sort of my fault that I'm not consistent, but how come the other two times it worked fast and was durable? My other pets don't seem to have fleas and are not on flea preventive.

I also haven't used anything new in house cleaning; the products I use are already hypoallergenic because several people in my family suffer from allergies a lot.

As for the food, he has always been fed chicken flavor since that is his favorite. My mom always discourages other flavors like duck, salmon, and deer because its "bad and will ruin his stomach and make him sick" or something like that. >.> I personally wouldn't mind switching to a different flavor and don't think it'll make him sick.

Anyways, is it strange that he out of nowhere developed an allergy to something he's always ate/been around?
(sorry if this is a dumb question, I've haven't had a dog with allergy problems)
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Old 05-15-2013, 01:12 PM
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Allergies develop over time so no, it's not a strange thing or silly question at all. Environmental allergies would be weird at this age since this is the first "spring season" and therefore less likely.

If an animal has a flea allergy, a single bite can set them off. So, the other animals don't have to have a flea infestation (and neither does the dog reacting) to have a reaction. Just the bite can do it.

Food may be your answer here since the protein is always the same. Some animals are allergic to the dairy or grains in the food but its not as common. You should look into Natural Balance Limited Ingredient diets- the duck or venison. No, it's not going to ruin the stomach :-) yes, some animals are more sensitive to foods than others but there is nothing specific about duck or venison that is particularly bad.
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Last edited by Holly; 05-15-2013 at 01:15 PM.
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Old 05-15-2013, 01:54 PM
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if it is a flea ALLERGY, try comfortis. My FIL's dog was flea allergic and the vet said comfortis was the only one that prevented flea bites instead of just killing fleas that bit. He got on comfortis from his regular flea med and he was fine. A dog just can't seem to leave themselves alone if they get an itch so a small bit of allergen or 1 flea bite can start a bad chain reaction.
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Old 05-17-2013, 08:28 AM
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Thanks for the advice everyone

UPDATE:
I'm sure its fleas now (can't edit my thread title for whatever reason)
Ever since I put the Hartz flew med, my dogs scratching habits have changed. He no longer is itchy in his back/tail/underside, but is now scratching more around his neck/shoulders/front leg area, as if the fleas moved from one side to the other. And after searching through his fur, I have found a few live fleas.

So I have a few questions:

1) How did my dog randomly get infested with fleas? (this intense scracthing he has now came on really randomly and out of no where.) Or how do I know if he has a flea allergy?

3) How come he is infested with fleas, despite being on several flea meds, and my other pets, who have not been on flea prevention for like a year, are not being affected at all?

4) How come the flea meds didn't work in the least bit when they always did before? (or if a flea allergy is involved, maybe it eliminated most of the fleas but the few that remained bit and start the allergic reaction?)

5) So what do I do now? I can't add another topical med since I just put one on. Do I go have him flea dipped at the groomers/vets?


Sorry for all the questions^^ Just want to know how to get rid of his fleas and see if he does have a flea allergy.

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Old 05-17-2013, 08:58 AM
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Well, you are using terrible flea medication and using it inconsistently do its no surprise to me that there are fleas.

Like I already said: use a respectable product like Frontline Plus, Advantix or Advantage consistently on ALL of the pets at least for 3 consecutive months. I would bathe them very thoroughly to get any dead fleas off as well as the remnants of the garbage topicals you have been using.

Take a flea collar (any brand) and put it in the bag or canister of your vacuum. Vacuum everything thoroughly. Wash any hard surfaces. Launder anything the animals sleep on.

Why one dog has fleas and the other animals don't I can't say-- except that I suspect that they all do and you're missing them.

You're also not going to know if there is an allergic component... But this just means you'll need to have them on a good product consistently.
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Old 05-17-2013, 09:24 AM
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....

...Then do I take him to get flea dipped? If not how do I get the fleas off of him now? And if I give him a good bath, can I apply a good topical or do I have to wait the month out?
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Old 05-17-2013, 10:27 AM
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I'd give a good bath now and wait about 10 days since you last applied anything to reapply a topical.
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