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These are just a few of the symptoms your dog may have, and if just one symptom applies, your dog could be suffering from allergies or skin & coat problems. Any breed, size or age of dog can be prone to skin, coat & allergy issues. Sporting, hunting and competitive dogs are bred & trained to make them really good at what they do. This also applies to agility dogs, dock jumping dogs, search & rescue dogs, police dogs and other working dogs. They work & train in harsh environments that can be hard on their skin and coats. This same special breeding can also make them more likely to have the problems listed above. Dogs that spend time outside hiking, camping, swimming or on daily walks will also be exposed to environmental allergens. According to Dr. Shawn Messionnier, a nationally recognized expert on holistic medicine for animals:
“Although there are many causes of itchiness in dogs, the most common is a genetic inflammatory disease called atopic (allergic) dermatitis, often called skin allergies. If your dog is scratching regularly without signs of skin lesions, chances are he has an allergy.” *
Any dog, no matter the breed or size, can have problems with their skin & coat or allergies. They can happen during different seasons, or year round. Spring allergy season or dry air in the winter from indoor heat are just a few examples of when dogs may have problems with their skin & coat.
Dr. Messionnier supports the use of multiple therapies to help allergic dogs, once an accurate diagnosis has been made. He has many years of experience in treating pets with allergies. Here is what he has to say about just using traditional therapies without considering other options:
“Another thing that is quite troubling to me is that so many pets with chronic allergies are being treated for months or years with potentially harmful medicines, usually steroids and antihistamines, without attempting other safer therapies. The lack of safe, long-term, and effective conventional treatments for allergic pets is the reason I first became interested in complementary therapies. I was frustrated at seeing the same pets in my hospital month after month for their ‘allergy’ shot and a dose of steroid pills. While I could help these pets stop itching for a few weeks, they would always come back for more drugs. I desperately wanted something to decrease their reliance on corticosteroids, which I knew could shorten their lives and was the cause of their side effects of increased appetite, increased intake of food and water, increased urination, and weight gain.*
By getting ‘turned on’ to the many complementary therapies available to pets, I was able to finally offer my patients something other than only conventional medicines that temporarily covered up their symptoms without really addressing the problem and helping the pets heal.” *
* Messionnier,DVM, Shawn, The Allergy Solution for Dogs, Three Rivers Press, 2000
Checking the list of symptoms is one way to determine if your dog is having problems. The most common symptom will be itching, even if your dog’s skin looks normal. Your dog probably won’t have severe itching at first, it will be more mild or moderate, as a veterinarian would describe it. Severe itching is a more serious problem like mange, fleas or a food allergy, and you should definitely check with your veterinarian for this problem.
If your dog has mild itching and keeps scratching, it can develop into a more serious problem over time. The constant scratching can lead to skin lesions or infections, so you don’t want to ignore even mild scratching. A working or sporting dog that is out in the field or in the water, needs a healthy skin and coat, so don’t let itching put their long-term, optimal health at risk because it can affect their performance. And open wounds or scratches are not a good idea for a dog working outdoors or your family pet.
Ear and skin infections in dogs can become a problem that doesn’t go away and may get worse. So doing something earlier rather than later is always a better choice for your dog.
A dog that trains, works or hunts and often lives outdoors will be exposed to more environmental allergens. Their high activity levels while they are working or competing will also stress their bodies, so extra nutritional support is important. Dogs that live indoors and are family pets can also benefit from Itchy Dog if they have any skin, coat or allergy problems.
½ tablet per day
1 tablet per day
2 tablets per day
Over 80 lbs.
3 tablets per day
Double the recommended usage for the first 5 days. Administration may be divided into a.m. and p.m., if desired. During allergy season, the amount of tablets you give your dog can be increased, if needed. Try adding one tablet a day to help your dog feel better.
Itchy Dog was developed to provide ingredients that are known to be beneficial for skin and coat health, such as:
Essential Fatty Acids/EFA's (96 mg): Veterinary research has shown that fish oil supplements were effective in reducing itching and inflammation in 11 to 27 percent of allergic dogs. EFAs are often recommended for dry flaky skin and dull coats. Omega-3 and omega-6 essential fatty acids are important for dogs with skin and coat problems. Many veterinarians recommend using EFAs with other supplements for best results.
OPC Polyphenol Antioxidants: OPCs are very strong water-soluble polyphenol antioxidants from plant extracts. They have been shown in research to be 20 times stronger than vitamin C and 50 times stronger than vitamin E. Antioxidants help the body control free radicals that can cause inflammation and cellular damage. When the body is exposed to an allergen, histamines are released and an allergic reaction may follow. This is why antihistamines are recommended for allergies. OPCs have been shown to reduce the production of histamine-forming enzymes. OPC is oligomeric proanthocyanidins which are found in many plants such as apples, cranberries, pine bark, grape seeds or the skin of peanuts. They are safe, have been used for many decades, and have been extensively researched for use in people and animals.
Vitamin A (1000 IU): An important fat-soluble antioxidant that is needed to maintain normal epithelial tissues (skin, mucous membranes). Also important for cell maturation, tissue building/repair and immune system health. It is used to treat skin disorders, among many other benefits, and is important for protein utilization. A deficiency can cause skin lesions, dryness, abscesses and cracking.
Vitamin E (10 IU): An important fat-soluble antioxidant with a great deal of research on its benefits. Essential to cell membrane health and survival, this antioxidant promotes healthy skin and coat. Inhibits leukotrienes, which is a biochemical in the body that can cause inflammation. Supports a healthy immune system and stops cell damage by inhibiting the oxidation of fats from free radicals. Veterinarians have reported low blood serum levels of vitamin E in dogs with demodectic mange. It is recommended, along with other antioxidants, for this condition by veterinarians.
Zinc (1 mg): An antioxidant that is an essential nutrient for the synthesis of bone, healthy skin and resistance to disease. Zinc is an important mineral that is found in every cell in the body. Linked to a healthy immune system. Important for protein synthesis and metabolizing carbohydrates. Two rare skin disorders have been linked to zinc deficiency, and supplemental zinc is recommended by veterinarians as treatment.
Alpha lipoic acid (30 mg): A unique antioxidant with its own benefits that also helps restore and recycle other antioxidants like vitamin C, E and glutathione. Its ability to fight both water-soluble and fat-soluble free radicals makes it especially beneficial. Free radical damage to cells has been linked to inflammation. Alpha lipoic acid is an important part of the process that turns carbohydrates into energy in the body. For active working dogs this benefit is crucial. It is also beneficial for nutritionally supporting pets with allergies.
Dried seaweed meal: A green food that contains many essential amino acids, antioxidants, minerals, B and E vitamins, choline and essential fatty acids. It is a good source of beta-carotene and is a highly bioavailable (absorbed easily in the digestive tract) free radical fighter.
Other Ingredients: Dried Whey, Microcrystalline Cellulose, Vegetable Based Beef and Bacon Flavors, Safflower oil, Fish oil
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