Dogs and Their Skin Issues
My Cocker Spaniel and his Rash Issues
Seems that having that glorious maine has a price (even if you are an obsessive parent to a doggy like me). My little pup continually has skin issues and it's just not limited to "allergy season" either. I'll share what I know so hopefully your little pup won't have the same issues.
I'll cover seasonal issues as well as the more acute allergic reactions I've seen over the past four years of my pups life.
Seasonal Allergies and Products that Help 1
Every.Single.Year. my little guy breaks out in these red bumps all over his little belly. He'd stay up all night whining and rubbing his face and belly against his crate and the next day, he'd wake with swollen eyes and a wet and red underbelly.
The first year - I didn't know what to do. I washed all his linens and stripped the house of al sorts of things thinking that something had been introduce to cause him this torture. I'd go to the vet over and over for a few months. They'd give me a container of these little pads (they look like the acne treatment pads really) to scrub the areas with. But the "areas" were so large, that i'd go through a half of the container on just the first day. Plus that little container was nearly $30!
But I learned better.
Advice: Look at the ingredients on some of those seemingly special things that your vet gives to you.
I did and discovered that there was a familiar ingredient listed as the main ingredient on that container of little expensive pads. Chlorhexidine was the main active ingredient and I'd recognized that from a time in my teens when a dermatologist once told me to use when I'd had some broken skin after a bad reaction to something. I remembered this was available in the drug store!
So I surfed about the interwebs and found that there are many dog owners out there that know about this little secret and are using it for their pets as well. So, I went and grabbed a bottle, diluted it with water (1:1) and put it on my pup. I waited 5 mins and came back and took a very wet towel and rinsed/wiped it all off him.
Within HOURS the red, sore spots lost their redness. He reduced the itching immediately. The next day, the spots were starting to look crusty (for lack of a better word) and he wasn't itching at all. On day three scabs were falling off and the skin was nearly back to normal!
I kept up the soak/rinse once per week for about 2 months and he had his first summer of relief by the time he was 3 yrs old! This stuff is amazing!!
Now, each year, I'm armed with my tub of my Hibiclens so when the first pine needles and leaves fall, I'm ready to give him a good soaking to keep the rash away. He even comes over and lays on his back now to let me give him a a good soaking.
So, if your pup has skin issues, definitely get you some Hibiclens and keep it on hand for seasonal and really any skin issues you see. This is the same stuff that surgeons prep their hands with to kill all the bad stuff on their hands before operating. If you dilute the solution, it should be safe for your little pup too.
Cocker Spaniel Allergic Reactions
My little guy has the most beautiful think coat and he looks absolutely dreamy most of the time. (And yes, that's him up above there.) BUT, he has the most sensitive skin I'm managed to ever experience with a dog in my life!
The first time I experienced this was just before he turned one year old. He was a normal pup in that he'd not mastered expanding his bladder yet and had some innocent accidents when excited. So, to try to help with that lovely aroma erode, I remembered I had some carpet deodorizer stored away somewhere. When I found it... it smelled WAY to strong to use, so I went out and pick up some "pet safe" "natural" carpet cleaner/deodorizer. I came home, put the pup in his pen a few rooms away then sprinkled the powder on the floor. I waited 15 mins - vacuum the floor twice over - waited another 15 mins and let the pup out.
Within 24 hours he was bitting himself where ever possible and had developed large raised red areas all over his body. I took him to the vet that day where he was given a topical antibiotic (because he'd broken his skin badly overnight). I was given an oatmeal shampoo to bath him in and leave on for 5 - 10 mins as well.
I also brought out the cone I used when he got fixed to keep him from gnawing himself continually.
It took about four days, but finally things started to dry up, but that's a long time for the little guy to have to wear the cone and have those itchy red bumps all over him!
Lesson: Never use carpet deodorizer - even if it's "natural" or "pet safe" ever again.
Dog Allergy Video (includes cats too)
Allergies and OTC Meds that Dogs Can Take
I know lots of people are all over the board about giving their pets over the counter 'human' medicines and to be quite honest - i was one of those people that thought 'if the vet didn't give it to me, then it must not be good for dogs.' Heck, i even got my dog food from the vets office!
But, my little guy woke up on a day the pollen count was extremely high with a large yucky red and swollen eye. On top of that, he was constantly pawing at his face and sneezing. This actually just happened this past fall. He's never looked anything like this before and it was VERY alarming. I have a Cocker and had heard the horror stories about them having cherry eye and I was hoping that was not the verdict for the pup.
Before I scooped him up and whisked him away to the vet's office (like I normally would have), my recent experience with the skin allergies and some home based solutions taught me better.
I searched the internet and youtube for what to do when your dog have red runny eyes. I found that lots of resources were indicating that I could give my pup Diphenhydramine. I kept searching for how much I could give him and all indications said that I could give 1 to 2 mg per pound of my pup. (I thought that was a very wide swing, but apparently it isn't.) My guy is about 17 pounds, so I figured I'd be safe with a 25 mg pill.
Gave him the pill and by the afternoon, his eyelid had reduced to the normal size and was not red anymore.