My 5 year old black lab GUINNESS has developed some skin issues. He has always had them since he was about 2 years old, but now they are getting really bad. I know all the usual suggestions for what could be wrong (allergies, mange, etc.) but I was just wondering if I could get some other opinions on the situation. When he was younger it was just on his butt, right above the base of his tail. His skin would get really dry and he would itch like crazy. Any time you go to pet him he just wants you to scratch there. Now it has spread to his sides. His skin looks extremely dry and flakey in certain places, with 1 or 2 little scabbed sores. Those spots are now basically bald from him constantly scratching or chewing on the areas. I took him to a vet when it first started and of course they told me they didnt know what it was. I am pretty sure its not mange because I have 2 other dogs and they have NOTHING wrong with them at all. I recently changed his food because I read that BENEFUL was really bad for labs with allergies. I used to feed him eukanuba but cant afford that right now. Hopefully this changes things but Im still interested in any other suggestions anyone may have. Any certain treatments, shampoos, home remedies, etc. The poor guy is constantly itching and scratching, squirming and crying. Its not fleas because I keep him flea free with advantix. He has also developed a small red sore on his front right paw it was about the size of a beebee 2 weeks ago now its about the size of a penny. Its kind of hard and just like a big pimple kinda. I dont know whats going on, I know labs can be somewhat high maintenance but DANG! Its like hes falling apart on me. Other than that his health is great. Hes not over or under weight, and he still loves to play, eats healthy, and is a great dog to be around. I just really need to get this skin issue figured out if anyone has any suggestions. He had the prettiest coat before all this and now he just looks terrible. I will have pictures uploaded soon if anyone can help your time will be verry much appreciated. Thank you very much.
Poor doggie! Maybe it is a food allergy (lots have trouble with corn), or maybe something else he's allergic to. Easiest may be start with a food change. Lots of people also give fish oil supplements.
Pro Plan Selects seems to be reasonably priced with no corn, wheat, or soy. I know some people here really like Pro Plan, not sure if they're using the Selects line.
Dogs can take Benadryl for allergies, maybe you can ask your vet about it until you can find the cause. If your vet isn't interested in finding out what's wrong, is there another vet you could see?
Nate13: You can PM me anytime if you need more help. To start with, I will tell you about our Sophie. She was beautiful when little and we kept her on the food the breeder had her on. A few months later, she started scratching and gnawing at herself, and she was getting repeated ear infections. Her hair was either falling out or being chewed off! We took her to the vet, and he put her on antibiotics for a skin infection from all the scratching. He had us change her food to grain free. He also said to chose a food with the protein she had never had before. We chose Taste of the Wild Pacific Stream. It is salmon based with no grain. The vet said very often dogs are allergic to grains, chicken or lamb. He told us to feed her the food and nothing else for 6 weeks. That means no trats or dog biscuits or anything! Within a couple of weeks we could see her improving. She was itching less and less and her hair was growing back. She was about bald on her inner thighs and her flanks. The vet also said she has dry skin. We were told to give her fish oil suppliments. We give her 2 a day of Norweigen cod liver oil. Also, he said not to bathe her unless absolutely necessary. Also, Advantix is spread through out a dogs skin. If the skin is dry it may not distribute the Advantix properly. So he put Sophie on Comfortis. We have absolutely no fleas with the comfortis. The vet also said that flea sensitive dogs can get flea allergy dermatitis from only one flea bite, so we had to be sure she didn't get even one flea till we sorted the mess out. So now, we have a really healthy pup!! She is beautiful! Her coat grew back and is glossy. She has no ear infections, and unless she steals bread or something she isn't supposed to have, she never scratches!! I would take your dog to the vet, make sure its not mange, ask for an antibiotic and possible even prednisone and change the food as I described. Having been where you are, feel free to contact me anytime.
Sophie DOB 04/13/2011 6 mo
Sophie 15 months, with Skye
I would see the vet. Every dog is different and dont' think there is a one suit all answer.
Erns had allergies and I changed his food so often now there is nothing left to feed him.
Tessa has bad so I am trying to be careful I don't go down the same track as Erns constantly changing food. Beneful sent Tessa into horrendous itching.
My vet is a teaching vet as well and has been doing some studies and it isn't always food. He says more often than not it is environmental, which is very hard to treat. Changing food doesn't help as they can become sensitive to that. You have to break the cycle and try to find the cause.....chances are you never will.
Here is what he is doing with Tessa.To clear her up she is on Pred which I hate, but as he says we need to get on top of it. She has been nizerol and antibiotics to clear any skin infections. Also Melasab (sp) shampoo twice a week because her coat smelt which is a sign of yeast infection. She isn't itchy 24 hours a day with sores.Also on prescription diet with novel protein.
I was convinced it was food and didn't listen to him until she became so bad I had to listen.She is now doing well.
Yesterday he told me changing seasons will effect them. Dampeness after summer can make them itch. We are going to wait until middle of the summer and try a food elimation test.
I still think it is food, (chicken and lamb) but he thinks it is a combination which is most common and the hardest to treat.
You should take your dog to a veterinary dermatologist asap. Guessing what the problem is could make it worse. The dermatologist can do a skin scraping and give you some real answers about what is wrong.
Last edited by BigBrownDog; 12-15-2011 at 04:13 PM. Reason: speeling
Sharon, Blaise and Diesel.
I agree, work with your vet. A course of steroid will get the inflammation under control and make your dog more comfortable as you sort out the cause and work to correct it. There is hope for your dog, but you need help from professionals (vets).
Baloo - 5 year old black lab
Peanut - 7 year old minpin
Monster - 3-ish year old frenchie/jack, rescue
Nate, did you get your dog to the vet? What did you find out?
Sophie DOB 04/13/2011 6 mo
Sophie 15 months, with Skye
Srry it has taken me a while to reply to all of you that put in your 2 cents. I very much appreciate all the feedback. I havent taken GUINNESS to the vet, simply because its Xmas time, money is tight, and I cant afford another Vet bill for them to tell me that they dont know what it is again. I have had some good progress with GUINN though. I switched his food, from BENEFUL which I heard was really bad for labs with allergies, and went to a Lamb and Rice food put out by Purina. I have also started giving him regiments of Benadryl and Fish Oil. He seems to be in a lot less pain, and discomfort. He has stopped rolling in the floor, and scratching for hours and hours. His hair is growing back a little on the bald spots on his back, and the sore on his front paw has started to chill out and get smaller. I know I need to get him to the vet, and will do so after the 1st of January. Until then, all your info seems to have helped greatly. Once again, thank you all for your information and care. I will keep you all posted on GUINNESS and his condition... so far so good He seems much happier now.