Dog and Scratching
Answered by: Kerry Hackett
Question from: Monica Armke
Posted on: November 24, 2005

My dog has very itchy skin. He is a 4 yr old, long haired dachsund. The vet has prescribed Prednisone 5mg. This stops the itch at the high dose (1 pill morning and night) but it comes back on the maintenance dose (1 pill every other day). I don’t like to medicate him. I know this can’t be good for him in the long run. Is there any herbal or natural remedies for this condition?

Skin conditions are often due to food allergies. In all cases of allergy, the problem will not abate until the original allergen is removed, no matter what is given to reduce the symptoms. First thing to do then is to change diets as commercial foods are often the cause. Please see: "Natural Health for Dogs and Cats" by Richard Pitcairn, "The Complete Herbal Handbook for the Dog and Cat" by Juliette de Bairacli Levy and "The Barf Diet" by Ian Billinghurst for ideas regarding good, homemade diets. In the meantime, you can help to alleviate his itchiness temporarily by making a tea of Chickweed herb (Stellaria media) and Calendula flowers (Calendula officinalis) at two teaspoons herb to one cup of boiling water. Let the herbs steep, covered for 15 minutes and then allow to cool to body temperature before straining. Soak a clean, cotton cloth in the tea and place on the areas where your dog is scratching in order to reduce itchiness and/or repair any skin he may have damaged. Once your dog has become used to his new diet and you see improvement in his symptoms, talk to your veterinarian about the most appropriate method of reducing and eventually eliminating the Prednisone. It also may be that you will need to seek more specific advice from a qualified herbalist who has experience in animal health.

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