Please help me figure out why my dog is so itchy?
August 8, 2017 6:53 AM   Subscribe

My dog is scratching herself like crazy and I can't figure out why. I took her to the vet but they had no answers aside from theorizing that she's allergic to something she is laying down on, because it's her undercarriage that seems to be itchiest (along with her legs). The only other clue is that this happened the previous two years as well, around this time of summer. So it's seasonal and it's localized in her tummy/chest and legs. There's nothing unusual in her environment - same old hardwood floors, rugs, and lawn that she always hangs out on. And there are no fleas. Does anyone have any idea what might be causing this? She's so uncomfortable.
posted by malhouse to Pets & Animals (13 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Even though she's hanging out on the same old lawn, the seasonality of this suggests (to me) that something in your yard blooms or generates pollen around this time of year. Do oral antihistamines do anything for her? My dog gets very sneezy for a few weeks every year, and daily Zyrtec helps a lot IANYV.
posted by schroedingersgirl at 6:57 AM on August 8, 2017 [4 favorites]

Based on experiences with a super-itchy cat - who eventually got better, but it took A LOT of topical cortisone and dietary changes -

according to the vet, it can be an allergy to a particular pet food ingredient causing this.
posted by Murderbot at 6:58 AM on August 8, 2017

My dog had hot spots until I eliminated chicken from his diet.
posted by Room 641-A at 7:11 AM on August 8, 2017

One of my pups gets itchy in between his toes around this time and/or in the fall, it is allergies. Benadryl works well.
posted by Fig at 7:11 AM on August 8, 2017

"Seasonal allergies" are what my vet has chalked our dog's itchiness up to as well, and like schroedingersgirl, we've found that daily Zyrtec (at the vet's recommendation) helps. However, there are vets that specialize in allergies who can do more specific allergy tests on your pup - just like a person would get - and can customize a series of shots to help address it. My sister once had a dog who turned out to be allergic to just about every tree in her area, but after her specialized 'shot cocktail' she hardly ever dug at herself at all.
posted by DingoMutt at 8:02 AM on August 8, 2017

Best answer: This happens to our pup; the park we went to switched their pesticide last year and he's allergic to what they use now. No matter what park we go to there's some combo of grass treatment and environmental triggers that wrecks our dogs sensitive underbits; really red and very itchy. Even if your dog is just laying on your own lawn, you might try rubbing his undercarriage with a wet towel to try to wipe off allergens when it's time to come inside. They make special allergen wipes for this but I haven't noticed a difference between this and a wet tea towel with a bit of gentle shampoo on it. Wiping him down doesn't solve things for us but it makes them much better--if you're out you can pack paper towels in a ziplock for the same effect.
posted by stellaluna at 8:20 AM on August 8, 2017

Yes, given the timing, this sounds like seasonal allergies. I know people who have had success with Zyrtec and similar for this issue.

Poor pup. Itchiness is the worst.
posted by praemunire at 9:48 AM on August 8, 2017

Nthing seasonal allergies - your vet should be able to recommend appropriate dosages for Benadryl, Claritin, and Zyrtec. My dog takes Claritin 365 days a year for allergies we can't fully diagnose and it's great for us - the difference in itchiness and hot spots is night and day. We had less luck with Zyrtec, for some reason, though I know others prefer it.
posted by R a c h e l at 10:29 AM on August 8, 2017

My pupper has this in the spring when the grass first comes in, and then at late summer, when ragweed starts to bloom. If he's having a particularly bad day, he gets a Benadryl on top of his Zyrtec. But mostly, he just gets Zyrtec and it helps tons.
posted by headspace at 10:40 AM on August 8, 2017

I vote for something in the lawn that changes with the season.
Allergies can be very specific and triggers vary with the seasons.
My father is allergic to the milk from cows fed on spring grass. (Home grown cows and milk, back in the day.)
posted by SLC Mom at 12:12 PM on August 8, 2017

n'thing the allergy suggestions. Try the antihistamines. Also I recently asked here about what to do after my dog had bathed in some chemical waste, and for this specific situation, cortisone treatment helped.
There is another possibility, though. When my dog is stressed out, he scratches himself. Is there anything unusual going on at your home? For my dog it can be when I clean or reorder our home and move his bed, or if I have houseguests he is wary about. He is trained to never complain about children pulling his ears or adults who don't get dog-language, but he reacts by scratching himself a lot. He loves driving, so I help him the best by taking him for a drive, but that probably doesn't apply to your dog. If it is stress-scratching, you need to find something that is soothing for your dog.
posted by mumimor at 3:36 PM on August 8, 2017

My dog suffers from severe allergies to both food and outdoor plants, trees, and grass, ect. We did a test many years ago to see what he was allergic to. Which helped avoid certain foods. This year for whatever reason his allergies have been terrible. We ended up putting him on an allergy med called apoquel for the last 3 months. It absolutely eliminates the itching and licking. It doesn't have the side effects of steroids either. Maybe you can ask your vet about it. Of course there are always risks with any meds. We're trying to stop using it now to see how our dog does with out it. I don't want him on it permanently. But some dogs use it all the time. The biggest possible side effect I've heard about is it can weaken the immune system. Anyways just letting you know it worked for us. Pet allergies are challenging. And it sucks to see your pet struggle.
posted by ljs30 at 8:56 PM on August 8, 2017

My poor old boy dealt with grass allergies, especially since his belly wasn't very furry. Dechra MalAcetic wipes helped a great deal. They're available on Amazon and elsewhere.
posted by ReginaHart at 9:36 AM on August 9, 2017

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