Relief for pup with seasonal allergies?
September 10, 2013 11:03 AM   Subscribe

The vet recently diagnosed my pup with seasonal allergies. She suggested I give him weekly oatmeal baths and gave us a round of antibiotics. Even with those, he's still chewing at the base of his tail when I'm not home. What can I do to soothe his poor little itchy bottom?

So Franklin has been getting the oatmeal baths, finished his antibiotics, and the vet said I could give him benadryl when he's extra itchy. He's already on a low grain food, too. When I got up this morning, he had a bald patch on the base of his tail where he'd been chewing! What can I put on it that will deter him from chewing and make him feel better? I feel so bad for my little guy! I did see this question, but I'd love as many suggestions as possible.
posted by chatongriffes to Pets & Animals (15 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Bach's Rescue Remedy for animals was helpful for my cat who chewed his tail due to anxiety.
posted by janey47 at 11:19 AM on September 10, 2013

Talk to the vet about something other than Benadryl. Pretty much all first- and second-generation antihistamines are safe for canine use, and your vet can provide dosages. None of them work great, but in an individual animal some of them work better than others. We use Zyrtec on our seasonally miserable boxer, which helps some, but we almost always have to do a round of steroids eventually.

Our vet also has us give fish oil (at first we were breaking capsules and squeezing it onto food, eventually they sold us a pump bottle. The smell is...awful, but the dog thought it was awesome.) with food.

Something to check: base of tail is a common congregation spot for fleas, and if your pup is allergic to flea bites it may not be immediately obvious that the cause is fleas as it might only take a few bites to get that bad a reaction. Get a flea comb and check him (especially along his spine where he can't reach) every day.

See your pet store for hot spot cream or spray. They're generally just hydrocortisone, though, which you can buy at the drug store for a few dollars. That in combo with a soft cone may be your best bet.
posted by Lyn Never at 11:20 AM on September 10, 2013 [2 favorites]

Aww, poor Franklin. He is just the hansomest.

My dog gets itchy, too. Things that help: a little bit of benadryl (my dog is small), using conditioner after shampooing, putting some olive oil in his food.
posted by phunniemee at 11:23 AM on September 10, 2013 [1 favorite]

The Comfy Cone - it won't make him not be itchy, but it will prevent him from doing self-harm without having a big plastic e-collar. Have you tried fish oil tablets/drops? This helped my itchy pup's skin calm down a bit. Also, consider getting the opinion of another vet - in my experience "seasonal allergies" is the diagnosis for "idiopathic itching" - another vet might have a different perspective or possible diagnosis or treatment.
posted by melissasaurus at 11:23 AM on September 10, 2013

When one of my cats was a kitten, she had some sort of weird allergy/skin condition. Prednisone knocked it right out of her after two doses. I think I remember the vet telling me that it's better tolerated by cats than dogs, but you might ask....
posted by mudpuppie at 11:44 AM on September 10, 2013

Yeah, seconding finding out which OTC antihistamines are safe for dogs and trying them until you find one that works. Pretty sure claritin and zyrtec on are on the safe list, as is chlorpheniramine. You'll just need to figure out dosage (see the first link for some dose info).
posted by zug at 11:57 AM on September 10, 2013 [1 favorite]

One of my dogs gets awful seborrhea on her belly and rump every year around August/September. If it starts under her thicker side/back fur, the first sign is usually when she starts chewing around the base of her tail, and she has given herself some awful bald spots.

When this first happened, I did an initial vet consult, learned that it was likely a seasonal allergy since she was already on grain-free food etc., and decided to try some over the counter products before taking her to a doggy dermatologist. I tried a few shampoos that did not have any noticeable or fast effect and then found this shampoo. The first time I tried that shampoo, two to three daily baths stopped her from itching her beet-red and crusty skin, which started healing soon thereafter.

This year, she had an especially bad and fast outbreak, and I added this cream into the mix in case she also had something going on with mites. The results were even faster, especially with regards to cessation of itching.

The allergy testing and shots regimen my vet described at the initial consult was lengthy and somewhat expensive. The vet also stated something like a 60-70% chance of success. With the shampoo (and now cream), I can stop the outbreaks in less than a week, and this year I spent a grand total of $20 for both.
posted by Derive the Hamiltonian of... at 11:59 AM on September 10, 2013

My dog gets the itchies too. She is on a novel protein and no grain diet (fish and potato, blech) and gets Benadryl daily during the worst of allergy season. The other thing that has worked well for us is putting a shirt on her so she can't reach the places she wants to chew. She's only 12 lb, so a baby t-shirt works well, but Franklin might need a kid's size t-shirt and depending on how long it was, he still might be able to reach his tail. Just an idea to keep in mind though, as it's much easier on the dog than having to wear the Cone of Shame.
posted by SweetTeaAndABiscuit at 12:47 PM on September 10, 2013

Check they are seasonal allergies. My dog had the same reaction to fleas as well as grasses. Even with Frontline regularly she would still bite herself raw if she came in contact with another dog with fleas. So make sure flea drops are always up to date.

Things that helped adding free range eggs & safflower oil to her diet for the omega oils and using OTC allergy meds, some work better than others depending on the dog and allergy so you may have to try a few. Get the doses from your vet.
posted by wwax at 1:26 PM on September 10, 2013

My occasionally gets bad allergies. We usually do antihistamines. When it gets very bad, the vet will give him a steroid shot, which does seem to help.
posted by helloimjohnnycash at 2:18 PM on September 10, 2013

That sounds like you might have a flea issue. Is he on a good flea preventative like Frontline Plus?

Oh, and I would be calling the vet back. Sounds like he might need a round of steroids instead of antihistamines. It is best to just call your vet if what they are treating isn't resolving or is getting worse, they will usually be happy to adjust or switch meds for you if needed.
posted by biscotti at 3:35 PM on September 10, 2013

Response by poster: Just wanted to follow up and say that he is indeed on Frontline and neither the vet nor I found any fleas or evidence of flea bites. It's not impossible that he has been exposed to other dogs with fleas since then, so I'll check again, but I know that's at least not the root of the problem.

I think I'll give the vet a call and see if they have any additional recommendations. I'll definitely be looking into some of the creams and shampoos you guys recommended as well.
posted by chatongriffes at 4:43 PM on September 10, 2013

My dog had seasonal allergy issues when he was a lil babby buddy, and luckily there was a proper compounding chemist in town who did nifty holistic/herbal preparation stuff (not to be confused with homeopathic "medicine" which is 100% charlatan rubbish tomfoolery) and anyway tl;dr the chemist made some kind of calendula/chamomile salve for my heat rash and the dog's tummy rash from romping thru stinging nettles, and it worked very well for both of us.

Anyway if there is a fancy compounding pharmacy (not a duane reade or rite aid or similar) near you, you might want to ask if they have any preparations for seasonal rashes that are also doggy-safe.
posted by elizardbits at 10:39 PM on September 10, 2013

Poor Frankie! Ask your vet to prescribe an antihistamine. Sunshine gets hydroxyzine and it really helps the itchies. A few times when it has gotten really bad at the beginning of allergy season she got a round of Temaril P which really knocked it out. She also has a prescription shampoo called Ketachlor, although I don't bathe her a ton (lazy Corgi mommy here) so I don't know how much it helps. Oh and you can use cortisone cream and neosporin on his hot spots to try to keep him from making them worse.
posted by radioamy at 11:15 AM on September 11, 2013

My vet prescribed a 1% hydrocortisone spray for my cat when I brought him in with mysterious itchies and over-grooming. A quick spray when I noticed the hair loss pretty much curbed the behavior for a few days. Now I rarely have to spray since it seems he has flair ups earlier in the year.

I would also definitely switch to grain-free food, and add a fish oil capsule and a raw egg over his dinner to promote healthy skin and fur.
posted by rawralphadawg at 2:40 PM on September 13, 2013

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