Mr. Itchy McScruffy

Mr. Itchy McScruffy

When we got Henry (nearly three weeks ago!), he was on post-neuter antibiotics, and he was itchy. At his post-surgery vet appointment, the veterinarian determined that he had some sort of skin infection. We switched him to an antibiotic that was more skin-specific, and we tried some medicated baths. The itchiness actually got worse after the baths, so we dropped the medicated soap and went with oatmeal baths and perfume-free (and alcohol-free) baby wipes. The itchiness got a bit better, but became worse again when the antibiotics ran out. We started him on a very low-dose steroid. The itchiness got a bit better, but became worse again when we started weaning him. (He has tested negative for mites.)

We are now going to see if he could be allergic to his food (Blue Buffalo Puppy Food). Starting this afternoon, we’ll be giving him a prescription food along with Capstar to see if it’s a flea allergy. If that doesn’t help, I may have to take all four of my pets to the vet every two weeks for three shot-in-the-dark mite treatments. (We’re all hoping it doesn’t come down to that, as I don’t have enough Xanax for a four pet injection adventure.)

I know most of you are bored with this information, but I wanted to throw it out there just in case we’re missing something obvious. (He’s current on his heartworm preventative. He’s current on all of his vaccinations. He’s cute as a bug’s ear, and he lets me hold him in my lap like a baby.)

PLUS, his feet look like this!

Henry Feet!

28 thoughts on “Mr. Itchy McScruffy”

  1. Have you tried an oral antihistamine, to see if it stopped his scratching? At least you can probably say for sure it’s an allergy.

  2. One of my dogs is itchy like this, too. We give him fish oil and a powder supplement that helps some, and in his big allergy season (spring and summer), we give him an Atopica pill every day, which is not cheap but helps so much! We tried the steroid route but, while it cured the itch, it also made him deeply depressed and ravenous. So we switched to the Atopica, which helps the itch while he stays happy and normal of appetite.

    Some dogs are just allergic to stuff, just like us. Also, and not everyone is into this, but we do do a natural diet with him, and I think that helps, too.

  3. Hooper does this particularly during the summer and I always start stressing about fleas. He’s just allergic to grass. We can give him a Benedryl and he’ll be fine. I also found this burn/itch relief spray. I bought it for me because it has hardly anything in it but aloe (I’m allergic to everything). Sometimes I spray it on Hooper and this helps.

    But Hooper is old. Cute, but old.

  4. Umm…so, my cat had the same kind of thing and we couldn’t figure it out and we finally nailed that it was partly a skin reaction (allergy-like) but that it was brought on by anxiety….so she gets stressed and then her skin freaks out and then she chews all her fur off …..

    It’s crazy, but the vet just has us give 1/2 of a Benadryl tab when she gets crazy. It seems to work really well….

    Just throwin it out there. Hope Henry isn’t as weird as my cat, tho….

  5. Scooter has HORRIBLE seasonal allergies. Which he takes Benedryl for. When his body gets overwhelmed with the allergens he can develop secondary issues – like skin infections that are very hard to clear up and need to be clear for 7 -10 days before stopping the antibiotic. He is currently on week 6 or 7 of antibiotics – and is on steroids now to boost that. Fortunately once we get a good hard freeze all is well again :D

  6. Our cat Lola came down with a *terrible* skin infection last summer and we went through endless (and extremely expensive) blood tests to try to sort it out. We tried the steroids as well but as a previous commenter mentioned, it causes a huge increase in appetite – beware!! Anyway, by the time Lola had nearly nibbled all her fur off from the itching, our new vet diagnosed it as a simple flea allergy that was treated within a week. Just adding that to the mix – really hope you get to the bottom of it soon and it’s a simple fix – it’s so stressful to see your animal in distress!

  7. Possibly a grass allergy? Does it appear on his tummy or all over. Our king Charles spaniel used to get a very itchy tummy after lying on the grass.

  8. Its probably a food allergy. Blue Buffalo is a pretty good food, but there may be something in there that doesn’t agree with him. Your food switch will take about 2 weeks before you’ll see any improvement in regards to itching, so give it time to work, don’t switch and think that since you don’t see immediate results that it wasn’t food. You should also make sure that the prescription food doesn’t have the same ingredients as the puppy food. If you want more skin allergy info and there are support groups for it to, here’s a nice link from gimpydogs:

  9. OMG HE IS SO CUTE. I would scritchy-scratchy him all day.

    Rascal is an itchy dog, too. We are totally on the Benadryl bandwagon (I buy the generic at Sam’s for WAY cheap) and also the fish oil supplements, which DH buys at Amazon for some reason. And the oatmeal baths. And we’ve already switched foods, slowly, a couple of times but the Blue Buffalo chicken seems to be the least itch-inducing for him. Oy.

  10. We did the expensive testing (actually the cheaper of two types of testing) to find out our Hubert was allergic to chicken, pork, wheat and yeast. Finding food was really a struggle. We finally found two different kinds that are pricey, but the only options we have. He gets shots, prednisone and special shampoo, in addition to yeast infection medicine. In addition to the food allergies, he has some tree and mosquito allergies. We do give an antihistimine occasionally too. He still is itchy sometimes, but now we know what to do to help him. One thing you might consider if it’s an option for you, go to a country vet. We were taking our dog to a vet here in KC and leaving with a $100+ bill each time, that was just a checkup, no testing or anything special. I go to visit my mom in my hometown every week and take both my cat and dog to the vet there which is outside the city. It is SO much cheaper. It’s about 25 miles from where I live, but since I’m going there anyway, it’s no problem. The price difference is amazing. A bottle of prednisone, $5. In the city, $30-$40. The allergy testing was around $400, but it would have been over $2,000 up here. I hope you find an answer and some relief for your sweet puppy!

  11. Ruby is allergic to some grains so we buy Blue Buffalo but the Wilderness formula. I’m not sure it comes in a puppy version though.

    Hopefully you can figure out what is causing all the itchyness and fix it soon for all y’alls sakes!

  12. My lab mix has a few allergies as well. I now have him on salmon food only and benadryl and fish oil every day. He feels much better now!

  13. Terriers are ITCHY!!!! Mine has major itching problems, and in the summer, there’s no stopping him. We’ve cut out gluten and chicken- because they are the two ingredients dogs are most allergic too (apparently). We have to give him benadryl most summer days, because he can’t stop the itching. Then he gets better, and his hair starts to grow back in, because by the fall, he’s nommed all it off, and the growing hair makes him itch! Watch for flea allergies too! If it’s a flea allergy, one bite can make him crazy! My vet told me that it can take up to three months for that allergy reactor to leave his system… It’s hard, and time consuming… and totally normal- according to my vet tech sister. They gots the skin problems, and when they get older, they get lumpy. Don’t fret, this is normal too. Keep his dry skin healthy with fish oil, avoid fleas, cut out the chicken and gluten, and if that all fails, wrap him in a blanket. It works for us, most of the time. The rest of the time I’m chasing my dog around with a hot spot stick that smells like lavender- because he hates it. Good luck!

  14. My dog had an allergic skin rash last year, and my vet recommended Welactin (salmon oil). Apparently regular doses of omega fatty acids can help with skin issues sometimes. Anyway, I don’t know if it would help Henry, but my dog hasn’t had a reaction since.

  15. Food allergies!!!! Many dogs and some cats are allergic to wheat. This is the number one ingredient in many, many pet foods and treats. We found out the hard way (I won’t be graphic but let’s say itchy because a sore that became an emergency wound in the course of 2 hours of shopping (find sore) go to dinner for maybe an hour (find an emergency vet). He has been allergy tested and is allergic to grasses and so this time of year takes benadryl, just like a person. Before they get too drastic though ask about trying a wheat free diet. The one our dog does best on is lamb and rice, but there are lots of options; I know he’s been on something and potatoes and other weird things. Also, if there is a wheat allergy he has to avoid most cat foods too; it took us an embarrassing 3 years to figure out he was breaking out from stealing cat food. The good thing is that after treatment and lots of training on our parts about what never to give him (we even caused a sore once by giving him leftover meatloaf that had bread in it) he is doing great. But getting diagnosed was hard because it wasn’t the first or 3rd thing that came to anyone’s mind.

  16. Our lab has had extremely itchy skin issues since he was a pup (he’s 80 years old now!– or 10 to us humans) and it took us, oh, seven years to figure out how to help him. He’d get skin infections, open sores between his pads on his feet, yeasty and stinky skin all over, loss of most of his fur, etc. They never did figure out exactly what he was allergic to but they figured out that’s what it was, after they checked his thyroid, which can apparently also be a cause. Grain-free (and chicken free) food, fish oil capsules, and Vitamin E did the trick for us. We had to try so, so many foods over the years, giving each a couple of months, before we found the right one. We tried steroids and medicated baths at the vet every two weeks and thank goodness those are no longer necessary. He’s still got a very greasy feel to his fur and it falls out easily, and he’ll never be a soft and strokeable (not a word) dog, but he gets a lot of head pats! Not sure if this helps but figured the more ideas you get, the better! Good luck with that darling itchy pup – he could not be any cuter!

  17. My big ferocious pit bull (who is neither big nor ferocious) has allergies. Kind of ruins her street cred but we give her benadryl and she’s fine.

    Our big, stupid lab/dane mix also has allergies but hers seem to be less bothersome. She gets bathed a couple times a week in allergy shampoo and does fine.

    Also? You have the cutest puppy in the world, even if he is itchy.

  18. I had a pony once who was allergic to hay – true story. It was tragic.

    His paws are just adorable. It’s like you knew I have a weakness for cute paws.

  19. I have also heard that Benadryl can work wonders. I wanted to also suggest local honey- it works for us, and our dogs will take it mixed with a little yogurt. I hope he feels better soon.

  20. I have an itchy Boston Terrier – after about a year of trying different medications, baths, food test, etc., we finally had a blood test done at the vet to determine what he was allergic to. Turns out that Charlie is allergic to everything (human dander, wool, cats, grass, probably gravity too), so we have to give him an allergy shot every three weeks, medicated baths, and then prescription antihistamine/steroids as needed.

  21. I have a (I know how crazy this is going to sound but it’s true) holistic pet care guy who is truly fantastic. His name is Phil and he owns His first course of action, though, is going to be exactly what people are outlining here: cut out chicken, and if you want to be super certain, anything with feathers. Ideally you put the dog on a raw diet (kind of a hassle but super good for them) and see if that helps. If you can’t solve it by cutting out chicken (for a non-raw diet I’ve had a lot of success with some of Natural Balance’s products, when they say something is venison for instance it doesn’t mean venison cooked in chicken broth with chicken parts thrown in for bulk) and maybe grain you could call Phil up and he’ll be more than happy to talk to you about it and help you work on a plan for de-itchifying the pooch.

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