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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Disclaimer - I've consulted/been consulting with my vet about this and there are no medical concerns. Just looking for anecdotes!

My puppy Paya has always been an itchy dog. She aggressively licks her butt, scoots, flea bites, and scratches. "Aggressively" but not "Obsessively". For example, when we go through our day the need to itch does not interrupt what she's currently doing and doesn't seem to impact her quality of life. But when there's nothing going on and she is looking for something to do, so to speak, she will start itching in various ways. She does chill and hang out, or sleep. So it's not like every moment of down time is spent itching. But it occurs frequently enough that I have noticed it pretty much daily for the last few months that I've had her. I will say that these itch episodes seem to occur when she is unsettled. Like she will stand up, chew on a bone, itch, move somewhere else, sniff the floor, itch, repeat... then eventually settle. So it's hard to say if she is unsettled because she is itchy, or she is itchy as a result of being unsettled. However it doesn't seem to occur spontaneously when she is totally settled. Like she can go hours just sleeping or lying on her bed and she won't suddenly spring up to itch.

I have done all the stuff to rule out obvious causes like parasites, anal glands, etc. Basic bloodwork is normal. She presents as a totally healthy dog - her stool has been awesome since day one, her coat is shiny, no sores. We considered allergies and speaking with my vet, it sounds like allergies can develop at any point in a dog's life and present itself in different ways. I guess I can go for an allergy shot or something and see if it impacts her. But because she's still a puppy and this hasn't really negatively impacted her, I've been waiting and seeing how things go as she matures.

Has anyone ever experienced a situation like this? Like an itchier-than-normal puppy growing out of it? My gut tells me there's something causing this but from experience I know that diagnosing 'itchiness' is an endless rabbit hole. I am in communication with my vet about this and they are on board with observing her and seeing how she matures.


Here's the stinker with Brae. She's a whopping 33 lbs at 6.5 months 馃槀
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So cute! Beckett was very much like that when we first adopted him at around 7 months of age. I asked the vet about his skin & the scratching, but was told everything looked fine. I chalked it up to the fact that he was (still is, somewhat) a rather anxious dog. Fast forward a few months - one of my other dogs was having digestive problems so I switched his food to a different protein (beef) from the chicken based kibble he was on.
Once I settled on a good food for Charlie I switched the other two dogs onto that food as well. Beckett's itching stopped. Completely. I could now even brush him without his back leg going nuts (that kicking/scratching move they do) Hmmmm. At one point I tried him on a turkey based kibble & the scratching started up again. Note to self - NO poultry for Beckett. He's fine on any other protein source, but scratches a lot (even though his skin looks perfectly normal) on poultry.
May or may not have anything to do with your issues, but figured it was worth mentioning.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Worth mentioning for sure! That's exactly what I'm looking for - anecdotes!
I've been waffling around with trying different foods because Paya is doing SO well stool, coat, and energy-wise on Orijen puppy. But I feed all kinds of proteins via different treats and chews. So I bit the bullet and ordered a puppy food that has different protein just to see.

Thanks for sharing your experience!
 

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Worth mentioning for sure! That's exactly what I'm looking for - anecdotes!
I've been waffling around with trying different foods because Paya is doing SO well stool, coat, and energy-wise on Orijen puppy. But I feed all kinds of proteins via different treats and chews. So I bit the bullet and ordered a puppy food that has different protein just to see.

Thanks for sharing your experience!
Good luck! What I find really interesting is that Beckett can eat 'real' chicken (cooked & chopped up bits as super high value treats, or even a hunk of raw chicken as a snack) with no problematic reaction at all as long as I don't go overboard. It's strictly the poultry based kibble that gets him scratching. (Shrug)
 

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Poor girl, though at least it's not too extreme. I think if she doesn't seem to have a sensitive gut, trying a more limited ingredient diet (including treats) isn't a bad idea. Even if it doesn't change anything, you then have some more information - you might not be able to rule out diet-related causes entirely with one attempt, but you at least have a smaller list of ingredients that could be causing it within the trial diet.

Also check what detergents you're using and try to stick to only dye-free, scent-free, hypoallergenic cleaning products for any of her beds or areas she sleeps/hangs out with. I have some sensitivities like this myself, and though it's not as bad as some people have to deal with, it does make me just generally, annoyingly itchy even though I don't break out in a rash wherever the item touched my skin. I know dogs can have similar problems if they're sensitive to skin irritants.

If you can't pinpoint anything specific, there's also dog shampoos specifically for soothing skin, usually formulated with tea tree or oatmeal. I know she doesn't have a coat that would typically need much bathing, but it could be worth trying to see if a bath every month or two with a soothing formula offers her relief. Obviously it's better when you can deal with the source of the problem, but these issues are so complicated that sometimes just treating the symptoms is enough of an improvement.
 

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I have an older dog that was like this when young. As she aged, she actually developed hot spots and went into allergies. However, I think her allergies are to herself.. not environmental. She itches when stressed.. or after stress.

I go out of town once in awhile to train my younger dog. I leave the old dog with my sister which they both like better than a boarding kennel. She gets the same food. She gets to go walking. They have a farm.. so it is good, but it is a change. She comes home and starts to itch more. If she gets a hot spot and I clip.it you can actually see it change in about 30 minutes.. like her own hair is causing the issue.

When she is out and active there is no issue and she does sleep.

In the past year I put her on Apoquel. However, that is an immune suppressor and if a dog gets a small injury it can become a major wound as the Apoquel interferes with healing.

After discussion with my vet I changed her to Cytopoint. The difference has been amazing. She no longer scratches when she is getting ready to settle. She no longer pumps a hind foot when being groomed.

In discussing this with my Vet and other serious dog people I think I inadvertently may have caused this dog to have a hyper vigilant immune system.. I vaccinated her for everything, including Lyme and Kennel Cough.. when she was a very young dog. I think that constant niggling of her immune system with vaccines when ALL her systems were growing and maturing created the issue. None of her litter mates had an issue. None of her family lines had an issue. Just tossing that out there.

She is on a raw diet. She was on Canidae ALS as a puppy on the "old formula" (11 years ago).

I hope your dog matures out of this and doesn't end up like my dog.
 

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When Ralphie was around 1 year old, I noticed him scratching quite a bit, especially around his mouth. It was unusual to me because I would sometimes wake up hearing him itching at night, which I never had before, and it seemed he was itching every 10-15 minutes no matter what he was doing. There were also small red bumps around his lips, and the hair had started to look thinner and there was a bit of raw skin and irritation. The vet said it was likely environmental allergies and recommended Benadryl and see how that goes, as well as some fish oil which she said helped with inflammation.

I can't remember exactly why the vet decided it was environmental and not related to food, but I believe it was because the excessive itching presented right around May/June when things are blooming around here. Then, when the Benadryl calmed the itching pretty much immediately, she was pretty sure it was environmental. So far, the allergies haven't been a problem in winter when everything is dead, but right around...well, as of two days ago, actually....I start up with the meds again because he starts getting itchy.

As he's gotten older the allergies have gotten a bit more severe. They start earlier, for example, usually right when my tulips start pushing up! We had to switch from Benadryl to Zyrtec because the Benadryl wasn't as effective anymore (Hint: Costco has "Benadryl" and "Zyrtec" Kirkland brands of their own that are sooooo much cheaper than the brand names). If I notice he is still a bit scratchy even on meds, a bath usually takes care of it. I haven't noticed a change in severity for about two years (Ralphie will be 6 in July), so I'm hoping it stays relatively mild and we don't have to graduate to prescription allergy meds.

I will also say that the allergy meds do not make Ralphie drowsy like they would many humans! I have never noticed a change in that regard. The vet said allergy meds just don't seem to have those side effects for dogs, which made me feel much better about using them whenever Ralphie needs them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thank you all for sharing your experiences! You've given me a lot to consider and discuss with my vet. A few things I can rule out -

It's likely not our detergent as we use the dye/fragrant free stuff and have for years before getting her. And she came to us like this.

It's likely not environmental because we got her in Montana winter with everything under a layer of snow.

As luck would have it, in the last 24 hours or so I've noticed a huge increase in itching and scooting. So I'll talk to my vet about something that can provide immediate relief, and I hope the new food arrives soon for us to try that route. If that doesn't work I'll consider an allergy shot and go from there.

You guys rock!
 

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Good luck! What I find really interesting is that Beckett can eat 'real' chicken (cooked & chopped up bits as super high value treats, or even a hunk of raw chicken as a snack) with no problematic reaction at all as long as I don't go overboard. It's strictly the poultry based kibble that gets him scratching.
I've seen raw feeders claim that dogs who react to a certain protein in kibble are likely to not react to it fed raw. I'm a skeptic about a lot of those claims, but maybe there's some truth to that one.

I didn't post in this thread before because I figure probably everyone's seen my posts about Story, my older Rottie and her food sensitivities, but since I'm here.... Story wasn't like your pup in that her problems didn't become severe enough to wake me up until she was 3. She always had mucky ears and runny eyes, but it was when she started popping constant hot spots a friend mentioned allergies and the light bulb went on. I had allergy testing done, and while of course a lot of what she tested sensitive to were environmental allergens, there was also a long list of foods, and the test didn't cover everything you might feed a dog but primarily common kibble ingredients.

I couldn't even find a kibble that didn't have something on her list in it. Anyway, raw reduced the hot spots from constant to a couple a year, made a big difference in her ears and gave some improvement in her eyes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Update! I switched Paya to a red meat based food and her itching completely stopped. So I believe it is a food allergy/sensitivity of some kind.

Previous food was Orijen puppy: chicken, turkey, herring, flounder, sardine, pea

Current food is Sport Dog Food puppy: buffalo, pork, cat fish, oat, sweet potato

My ultimate goal, if possible, is to get both Brae and Paya on the same food for convenience sake. But I will keep them on separate foods if they do best on different things. Brae's food is Sport Dog Food K9 Hero: chicken, fish, pork, sorghum, millet. But it's not an ALS food and Paya is 7 months old. So I will probably look for an ALS food that meets known criteria for both dogs and try that with both. It's hard to tell what about Orijen didn't work for Paya. For Brae I know that he doesn't do well we pea-based foods. He doesn't have any allergies but his poop is on the softer end of normal with it.

I have spent HOURS of my life looking at different dog foods. Here I go again :D
 

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Congrats on finding something that works. Hope you can find an ALS food that does the same. You are not alone in having spent incredible amounts of time searching for food that works for a dog with sensitivities.
 

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Great news! Good luck finding something that will work for both of them - it's always SO much more convenient that way. At one point I had four dogs on three different foods :rolleyes:. It was sort of a p.i.t.a., but you do what you've got to do, right?
 
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