Help my beagle

Lake Toxaway, NC(Zone 7a)

My sweet beagle is having some kind of skin aggrevation. We check him for fleas and even the vet didn't find one. But he is scrathing constantly and has a couple of raw spots and one bare spot on his back above his hips. I have heard of hot spots (don't know what they are) but can't imagine what else it could be. I can't afford to run to the vet often now that I have lost my job.
Does anyone know what this is and how I can treat it at home? I do have some Aloe butter which I apply and then have to hold him still so it can soak and give some relief. But if he licks it off, he is soon back to scratching. If my husband and I can stop him from licking by holding him, the aloe butter helps for awhile.
I have some eczema cream; do dogs get eczema?

Thumbnail by woodspirit1
Richmond, TX

It sounds like an allergy to me. You could try an antihistamine or your vet can prescribe a steroid to give temporarily and break the cycle of itching. After the summer he may feel better.

Sapello, NM(Zone 5b)

Yes, it does sound like a seasonal allergy... I had a pit bull that had terrible grass allergies. I'd just put her on steroids for a couple of months in the summer and she'd be fine. After a couple of years, we figured out which grass it was, so we knew when to stop with the drugs. =0)

Basic steroids aren't too expensive... make sure your vet tells you how to withdraw the dog from them, as you need to taper off rather than just go cold turkey.

Most human antihistamines don't work on dogs, they metabolize them too fast. Benadryl is the only one that has any effectiveness and it only lasts for 4 hours max. So it's handy for a bee or spider bite, but for seasonal allergies it's purely a temporary measure, until you can get to the vets.

You could try giving your dog Benadryl for a couple of days and see if it makes a difference. If it seems to help, go get the steroids.

I tried various diet changes, and so-called immune system boosters, but it was all a waste of time and money for my dog. The steroids were cheap and reliable.

I wouldn't suggest using the eczema cream... it's not meant to be eaten and that's what dogs do... lick it off, ingest it, and maybe get sick from it.

ALWAYS dose by weight, not by individual. PLEASE don't ever give a dog a human adult dose of human meds... a couple of Tylenol could do serious damage to a beagle's liver.

Lake Toxaway, NC(Zone 7a)

so how much Benedryl should I give him?
I am going to bathe him tomorrow and will probably use some plain aloe, straight from my huge plant on him. I hope it will help, at least for a few hours.

Sapello, NM(Zone 5b)

Oh dang, I don't remember. I'd call the vet and ask him... if he won't, find another vet. Tell him/her what you're wanting to try and they should be happy to help you out. The one's I worked for always were. The dosage is different from humans.

I seem to recall giving my pit one every 4 hours. She was about beagle size. If you can't find out, start with half a pill and see if there's any effect. If not, try a whole one. Wouldn't go any higher than that without a vet's OK.

Are you keeping your beagle inside? That'll help decrease the symptoms some.

In dogs, allergies of all sorts tend to show up as itchy skin... flea allergy, seasonal pollin allergies, food allergies. They don't tend to get runny noses or itchy eyes, but rather scratch themselves raw.

Be careful with the aloe. It can actually make a minor skin infection worse, as it forms a thin film over the raw area, excluding air and some bacteria love that. It'll make a case of pimples worse for that reason (I know from experience). I'd just use an anti-bacterial soap on him right now, as his raw spots are probably a tiny bit infected... that's the redness you see. As his skin heals and the redness goes away, then use the aloe to help the new tissue.

Lake Toxaway, NC(Zone 7a)

Well he was at it again yesterday, scratching and chewing all day. He had gotten a couple of places raw around his privates, so I turned him over to apply some more aloe. I have found the raw stuff straight from my plant does not make a film. I found 2 or 3 little spots and while I was applying them I saw about 8 fleas in a small area. I was appalled. I hadn't seen any fleas and had used some flea powder a time or two. Where they were hiding before, I don't know, but most of his fur and skin is black or tan and his tummy is white with pink skin so I saw them. I had looked there before and never saw any.
This is embarressing, but I was working with him constantly trying to find the problem and never saw a flea.

Sapello, NM(Zone 5b)

Fleas spend most of their time on the ground... they only jump up to feed. So it's not uncommon to miss them if the infestation isn't too bad. Your beagle is just a McD's to a flea. =0)

The best way to deal with fleas is to treat the premises. Thoroughly. Every 2 weeks, so you kill each hatch. Give your pooch a regular flea bath or spray him the day you spray the yard and fog the house. Unless you take him someplace where he can pick up new pests, you shouldn't need to treat him in between.

This regimen worked for me in San Diego, where they have a serious problem with fleas. The first summer I treated my house and yard 4x, the next summer twice, and after that we didn't have a problem. Once I got my place cleaned up, I just spray my dog down before we went out to the park so he wouldn't bring any new 'friends' home.

Flea collars are a waste of money and can cause dermatitis. Essential oils (pennyroyal) work, but only for a few hours and they dry the skin and coat out if you actually manage to apply often enough. The folks I know that have tried them have given up after about a week.

Garlic doesn't seem to help much, and it's a blood thinner at higher doses, so can be a serious complication in the event of injury or surgery or routine medical care. What seems to be going on with the garlic is if the animal has a nutritional deficiency that the garlic addresses, then it helps. But we've seen dogs and cats reeking of garlic and found fleas on them, so...

Make sure your dog is healthy before using the spot-on type flea repellent... rarely they can exacerbate some sub-clinical liver problems to the point of severe illness and death. They work well, but I'm a bit twitchy about them because of that. You don't say how old your pooch is; the older, the more cautious I'd be. In a aged dog, I'd probably get a basic blood panel done (good idea anyway), but it's expensive.

At least now you know what's going on! =0)

Lake Toxaway, NC(Zone 7a)

Well, we gave him a flea shampoo and after he dried, we applied a flea powder. But he's still miserable and scratching 2 days later. I examined him carefully and found no fleas.
What is this spray you're talking about? Can it be bought over the counter or do you have to buy it from a vet?
I will bug bomb my house, but you have to realize he's a beagle and does have some outside time. We live back in the woods and he follows animal trails, trying to catch a rabbit.
He sleeps inside, though.

Sapello, NM(Zone 5b)

He may have a secondary skin infection from all the scratching and biting--that's common with flea allergy dermatitis--and so now that's making him itchy, too. He'll probably need a short course of antibiotics... and you can't see it, but the fresh aloe does form a film over the bacteria (smear some on your cheek.... you can feel it when it dries). I'd discontinue that until the skin has healed.

And antibacterial herbal skin rinse may work on the irritation too, as you're needing to save money. I've forgotten my herbal lore, but there are some common herbs that make nice rash/minor infection washes.

It doesn't really matter if you see any fleas ... you've seen 'em once. Like I said, fleas don't really spend much time on the dog... they jump on, dine, and jump off. They spend 90% of their time on the ground. Until you bomb your house, he's probably going to keep getting bit and it's the allergic rection to the bite that is the first itching. If there's a lot of fleas around--and I'm guessing NC can grow a lot of fleas--then they'll often manage to bite a dusted dog somewhere. Armpit, belly, somewhere. Dogs don't scratch where they get bit... they itch all over, so they scratch the parts they can reach the best.

Not having him confined in a yard does make things tougher... everytime he goes into the woods, he's probably going to get bit and may bring new little beasties home. For that situation, then the spot-on stuff is really the only practical way to go. How old is he?

Richmond, TX

It is probable that he is allergic to a number of things. Seldom do dogs have a single allergy; it is usually a combination of different things. I still think that a brief course of steroids will be the most effective and, in the long run, cheapest to break the itch cycle.

Lake Toxaway, NC(Zone 7a)

He is 1-1/2. I agree that he may need antibiotics or a short run of steroids, but i can't afford it. The last time I took him to the vet, the estimated the visit would be $60. But when I got ready to leave, they charged me $120.00!!! I didn't more than the $60 and they said they didn't allow accounts anymore. I told them I didn't have the money and if they wanted it, they were going to have to bill me or keep the dog free until I could bail him out.
I paid them the following month.
I hadn't had a dog in about a dozen years and had no idea that a vet bill would be higher than when I go the doctor. All they did was give him his shots and take a look at him to make sure he is sound.

Sapello, NM(Zone 5b)

Boy, I hate it when the clinics do that. =0( Makes it hard to budget when they don't give you an accurate estimate for routine work. We took our dogs in for their yearly shots, and it flat blew me away when they charged 40 for the distemper/parvo shot. Give me a break--that's a $5 shot.

I doubt this dog needs steroids, that's not standard treatment for flea allergy dermatitis. And frequently a dog is just allergic to the flea bites, and then develops a secondary skin infection which also itches.

At 1 1/2, Mr Beagle probably healthy as a horse, so pick up the spot-on stuff for his weight and apply it according to directions. Watch him carefully for 48 hours just in case (it's usually those teeny-weeny itty-bitty dogs that have trouble if there's going to be trouble: chihuahuas, tea cup poodles, Chinese Crested). The possible side-effects should be on an insert, or a phone number to call.

Vacuum, wash his bedding, fog the house every 2 weeks (cover any fish tanks, remove any pet reptiles/birds, you and the dog go for a nice day at the park) to make sure you get the hatching larvae. I don't know what's out there anymore; some of the stuff used to have flea larvae inhibitors, so they'd never mature and you didn't have to treat as many times... read the tiny print carefully, it should tell you the proper regimen for really knocking the little vermin out.

How inflamed and irritated is his skin? Are there actual sores?

Lake Toxaway, NC(Zone 7a)

It's somewhat raw around his privates and one place on his back was missing fur but that is growing back in. I bought some bio spot to swipe across him from his shoulders and across his neck in back. I didn't know when to use it yet because I had sprayed him with Adam's flea and tick spray about 3 days ago. I have been vacuuming a lot and washing his bedding in hot water. After all that, he is still scratching but not so much.

Sapello, NM(Zone 5b)

He's not too bad then, he should heal up quickly once the fleas stop biting him. =0) And your cleaning has reduced the number of fleas and we can see he's responding to that... hooray! it's the fleas. Positive diagnosis. =0)

You're wise to wait on the spot-on... there should be a toll free number to call and you could ask them how soon you can apply after the spraying. Make sure the biospot gets into the skin... with a beagle, you can make an across the dog fold of skin (like shoulder to shoulder, hip to hip) between your fingers that will cause a part in the hair to form so you can put the bio-spot right down on the skin. One of the reasons this stuff sometimes doesn't give good results is folks just get it on the hair and not enough gets absorbed into the skin.

I hope you're still going to flea bomb the house... cleaning helps, but it's no substitute.

But at least now you're ready for company! LOL

Lake Toxaway, NC(Zone 7a)

He is better but it's still an uphill battle. I finally decided my carpet was clean enough to do my floor exercises.
I haven't used the biospot yet for the very reasons you mentioned but I will soon. I was suprised that they to apply it to the back of the neck and around the tail. I am NOT going to apply it around the tail because he can reach that to lick it off.
thanks for all you help........Betty

Sapello, NM(Zone 5b)

With the bio-spot, I'd do 3-4 spots down his back, from shoulders to hips... take him for a walk after applying, thus keeping him busy and not licking. =0) The fractional dose won't be a big hazard to him, as it's going to be absorbed into his body anyway... it's not topical, it's systemic.

I'm glad to hear you're both doing better! I'm sure he'll enjoy watching/coaching you through your floor exercises. LOL Mine does. =0)

Deep South Coastal, TX(Zone 10a)

Woodspirit, my cat has allergies(both food allergies and to fleas). I use neem oil as a dip. It relieves the itching, helps the skin heal and if they have fleas will kill them. I also use it on the dogs. My cat is 12 years old, stays inside, never goes outside, but sometimes fleas can be on people's socks or clothing. I buy organic, cold pressed neem from a local organic farm supply store.
For the cat I use 1/2 teaspoon neem oil in a quart of warm water. For the dogs, I use 1 TBSP per gallon of water. For the dogs, I fill a big rubbermaid container with about 4 gallons of water, add the neem, put the dog in the tub and pour the water over his/her fur. I have a black lab/pit bull cross and an australian shepherd/border collie cross. They're both easy to handle so I just pick them up and plop them into the water. The worst thing they do is roll in the dirt afterwards.

We used to have a little mixed breed dog(we take in strays, get them neutered, give them a good home) that had a severe grass allergy. When she had to go outside, she wore booties. She was also allergic to chicken. She would chew her skin till it was raw. She passed away last year, she was 15 years old.

There is a new shampoo available, Ovitrol, for cats or dogs, and it is great stuff. I get it at the vet's office but it can probably be ordered online. Another new flea control product is Comfortis, the active ingredient is Spinosad, supposed to last 30 days but actually works for about 60 days. For dogs only, cannot be used on cats. Unlike Frontline which takes 2-3 days to kill fleas, Comfortis kills fleas pretty fast and keeps on killing them.
Around the yard I use diatomaceous earth and natural pyrethrin. We have lots of frogs, toads and lizards and it hasn't hurt them.

Lake Toxaway, NC(Zone 7a)

Jay, that's what i needed to know. I was afraid to put the medicine down his back where he could like it. I don't want him poisoned with the fleas. Frontline and Advantage both only want their medicine applied on the back of the neck, between the shoulder blades to prevent licking so I was afraid to put Bio-spot elsewhere.
Calalily, I had heard of neem oil but never knew what it was for. I will check it out.
I don't think Smokey has grass allergies or others, but if I still see problems after this Bio-spot works for awhile, I guess I'll have to take him to the vet.
By the way, Bio-spot was the only one that I didn't have to buy at the vet's. I bought it a store that has hardware, hunting, fishing and other outdoor supplies including a few pet supplies.

Sapello, NM(Zone 5b)

I did a little research on neem, as it wasn't around when I was doing flea control education, and it looks like a nice herbal repellant, certainly more effective than the pennyroyal/citronella oil of the day. Besides the dip Calalilly described, I also found suggestions to just add a few drops of the oil to the dog shampoo you already have. And recipes for make your own flea sprays. Google neem, dogs.

I didn't find any unusual toxicity problems... just watch for the usual gastric upset or skin irritation, about the same as any flea control product. Google neem, dogs, toxicity.

BUT... neem won't kill any fleas other than what's on the animal when it's bathed (it's easy to kill a flea with just about any kind of bath, a little known fact). It mostly only repels them, so it works the same as a citronella or pyrethrin based flea spray.

The spot-on treatments actually inhibit the fleas ability to breed, besides killing them. So over time, any fleas that make it into the house will not be able to lay eggs, the larvae will not develop, and you won't be developing another flea population in the house.

And it's very effective for tick control as well. When I first moved here to this house, we had a tick problem in the yard... we used the spot on stuff for the first summer and we haven't had any ticks since.

I think the biggest difference between what the vet offers and what you got (besides the price!) is if the dog swims... the advantix works best for water dogs (mine). With the other, even after the first 48 hrs (I think), the effectiveness doesn't last as long if the dog is in the water much.

I just don't have the patience or time to fuss with baths, dips, sprays, and my dog doesn't like it either, so we do spot on these days. And when she jumps in the river (always), I don't have to worry that she'll pick some little vermin up on the way home. =0)

Lake Toxaway, NC(Zone 7a)

Smokey seems much better now. He still had some raw places on his lower belly and the insides of his back legs and I continued to soothe that with my aloe that I got from my large plant. I actually had so much of it from that one leaf that I froze a bunch of it. I just break off a piece and rub it on him. He loves it and today the inflamation is way down. He's not scratching and chewing at himself much at all. Most of the chewing was where the fleas had already bitten him and left itchy spots.
I do continue to vacuum more often and wash his bed. I have not set off any bug bombs in the house yet because either my husband or I are always home.
But i won tickets to dinner and movie for the two of us so now we have a good oppurtunity. Smokey will stay on the deck which has a latching gate.
Thanks for all your help.

Sapello, NM(Zone 5b)

I'm sure Smokey feels much better! Enjoy the dinner and movie... you deserve it for being such a good 'mom'. =0)

Deep South Coastal, TX(Zone 10a)

Woodspirit, an easy way to check for fleas in the house: Fill a small container with soapy water(I use a glad throw-away container), place on the floor under a nightlight(I use LED nightlights because they're brighter and use less electricity). Fleas jump into the water and drown and are easy to spot dead in the water.

Anza, CA(Zone 8b)

I worked for a vet for a year, and we saw a lot of 'hot spots'. Doc said it could start with anything, a bite, a scratch, whatever, and the dog would start licking and/or chewing until it became sore and raw and inflamed. Usually he would shave the area very short to expose all the affected area, scrub with a antiseptic cleanser, and apply Tritop, which would numb the area so the dog would leave it alone. If there are scabs, he would recommend using a warm damp paper towel to soften and remove them, allowing the skin to heal faster. Hopefully Smokey is all better now, but you might get some Tritop for future needs? I think the Aloe was a great idea for healing and soothing, but getting the area numb might help too.
Good luck-

Anza, CA(Zone 8b)

I forgot to say-you should just be able to call your vet and request a prescription-they already know your pup's history, and shouldn't have a problem giving the ok.

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