Cici is still itchy and scratching herself, but after discussing the situation with Dr. Harvey’s office and Dr. Richmond’s office, I’ve been putting coconut oil on her skin and she is loving the taste of it too. I LOVE essential oils but Cici has had strong reactions to them sensitive girl that she is. Coconut oil is supposed to help with itchies and a lot of other situations. Am going to start taking it myself as well. We also got some spirulina. (Read about the health benefits at Dr. Mercola’s website). I love Dr. Harvey’s herbal protection shampoo, smells yummy and has all good organic ingredients. Cici survived her bath. And she is eating Dr. Harvey’s Canine Health. Only thing is that yesterday something bit her. And I got bit, too. Do not know what the bites are from. Ugh.
Once she got the hang of it, she LOVED having her belly and chest rubbed with the coconut oil (raw unrefined) and licked it off my fingers, too. I think we have a winner.
Coconut oil has strong antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal functions. Coconut oil alleviatesskin allergy symptoms (e.g. itching, dry skin and hair coat) and protects the skin against cancerous growths. When used topically, coconut oil can:
- Disinfect cuts and promote wound healing.
- Improve dogs’ skin and hair condition, making the hair coat smooth and shiny. It can also eliminate the dog’s body odor.
- Clear up numerous skin problems, such as warts, eczema, dandruff, precancerous lesions, ringworm, bites and stings.
an interview with Dr. Annette Richmond, holistic vet in Pacific Grove, California
do you have general suggestions for dogs who are itchy? what do you look for and/or what should pet owners consider if their dog is constantly itchy, scratching and licking their paws?
Of course check for basic things like fleas first. If none, then I am thinking a food or environmental allergy. So then I always start with looking at the diet. A diet that is NO grain, high quality and easily digestible proteins, preferably organic is what I recommend.
Raw food is the best. Home cooking is terrific too. But if those options don’t appeal to the owner, then the brands I recommend include; Taste of the Wild, Orijen, Wellness, just to name a few.
Eliminating any treats that don’t fall in that category too. Supplementing with fish oils is therapeutic for itchy skin as it is a natural anti-inflammatory.
Use shampoo that contains therapeutic quality lavender oil and chamomile on a weekly basis, a high quality shampoo with oil will not dry out the skin. There are a few homeopathic anti-itch remedies as well.
Environmental allergies are tricky to diagnose, but all the above will help with that too. A blood test is easily performed to check for either food or environmental allergies.
are certain breeds more susceptible to fleas or allergies?
Yes, there are certain breeds affected by skin problems. All the breeds with extra skin folds: English bulldogs, Shar-peis, Mastiffs, and Pugs. Other breeds include: Golden Retrievers, Labrador Retrievers, Boxers, and West Highland Terriers.
are allergies seasonal or get worse during hay fever time? do dogs get hay fever? are there plants/grasses that make dogs sneeze and itch?
Some allergies are definitely seasonal for pets, as there are many environmental grasses and trees that make dogs itchy. So if these are in bloom, or growing well, dogs can be adversely affected by them. Dogs usually don’t sneeze like people, but may have inflamed eyes and discharge from the eyes.
how can pet owners prevent or treat fleas and allergies naturally?
Essential oils are a wonderful flea and tick repellent for dogs. Cats are too sensitive to the oils and I don’t recommend them for cats. One product line I carry is Only Natural Pet, they have an oil that is put along the back of the dog once weekly and also a spray to put on anytime the dog is going out. This product line also carries a flea powder that is made of diatomaceous earth which dries up the flea eggs and larva, and also contains essential oils as a repellent (this powder is safe for cats). These types of essential oils are used by humans for the same effect.
best diet/foods for dogs with allergies, sensitivities, digestive issues?
Organic, no grain, high quality protein. I recommend raw food whenever possible. There are many raw food brands. Starting the dog off slowly with just little bits to get them used to it, and supplementing their diet until they eat only raw food is the purest diet that their digestive tract is designed to handle. Raw meats can also be cooked if owners prefer. I also recommend probiotics and digestive enzymes along with the meat.
what do you think about comfortis and over the counter flea treatments? drugs for allergies (steroids)?
I don’t like to use any of the strong flea medications, they do build up in the environment and because there aren’t any long term studies on these products, I don’t feel comfortable recommending them for ongoing treatment. However, if an owner is dealing with a severe infestation, doing one dose after a good bath may be required once in a while. Many general practitioners will give steroids without trying some of these other treatments first. Only in very severe cases is a steroid warranted.
any other thoughts about itchy dogs esp. during summer?
Baths are wonderful with the right type of shampoo that puts good quality oils back onto the skin and all the other things I mentioned above.
About Dr. Richmond
Dr. Annette Richmond graduated from UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine in 1997. She became a certified veterinary acupuncturist through the International Veterinary Acupuncture Society which is a world recognized certification program. Dr. Richmond has been integrating acupuncture in to her practice since 1999, and has continued the study of natural medicine, Eastern and Western herbology, homeopathy, flower essences, healthful diets, and nutraceutical support. She incorporates all of these into her natural medicine clinic to treat most common ailments. The clinic also includes a canine and feline physical rehabilitation component helping pets before and after orthopedic and neurologic surgery, pets that suffer from arthritis, hip dysplasia and much more.
some relevant articles written by Dr. Richmond for Canine Coastal Magazine