Skin Woes

(Warning: pathetic puppy photos to follow:)

Silas’s vet is a very sweet lady. Every time we go in, she looks at me sympathetically, and says, “you know, dogs who look like Silas just have this problem.” She’s referring to the skin of doom, almost the only reason we ever go in the office. In fact, I can pretty much count on getting some kind of topical medicine every time we go in, no matter what. She believes white dogs are the worst off; my personal take is that owners of white dogs are just forced to notice things that aren’t as apparent on dark-skinned dogs. In any event, Silas breaks out in a lot of rashes.

He has food allergies, which show up as a rash like this:

(Don’t worry–he’s been neutered since this photo.)

And, as our vacation surprise this summer, we learned that he is allergic to some grasses/weeds:


I have an elaborate regimen to avoid/treat these things. The first line of defense is a diet that consists entirely of raw turkey. This has made a huge difference. He gets a bath with medicated shampoo, as often as twice a week during flares. During “good” skin times, he gets the mildest shampoo I can find. (Earthbath’s Oatmeal and Aloe right now.) On hand I keep an arsenal of topical treatments. We carry Benadryl on vacation, and in the future I’m stopping at the vet before we leave town. Having your vet call in Prednisone to a rural pharmacy is not good times.

If Silas eats nothing but his own food, doesn’t leave town, and gets regular baths he can go almost indefinitely without flareups. In practice that is really, really hard. He’s having a fairly bad episode right now because he got some non-approved treats during obedience class. Then I, in my constant quest to find treats that are small and portable, gave him some peanut butter treats with “natural flavors” that apparently included an allergen. (On my inquiry later, the company refused to disclose their “secret ingredient” or even to tell me if it was or was not protein based.) It’s hard not to take it as a personal failure.

2 thoughts on “Skin Woes

  1. Oh my gosh, that’s just awful!! Sampson is allergic to something in the late spring/early summer that creates hives on his head. A good dose of steroids usually does the trick.

    Is Silas allergic to coconut? I give the dogs a spoonful of coconut oil every night, it is supposed to have good anti-bacterial components in it. 🙂


    1. It took steroids to get rid of those hives, too, but I surely hope we don’t need them regularly. Steroids made Silas really, really paranoid. And he’s already jumpy to start with.

      We were giving him coconut oil for a while, but it completely liquefies at what passes for room temperature here in the summer. When we ran out of that tub, we didn’t replace it. I’m trying some salmon oil now. I do have to watch how regularly I give it to him–he adores fatty things, and if he gets used to something like extra oil on his food, he will refuse to eat without it.


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