Skip Nav
6 Reasons Every Cat-Lover Needs to Check Out CatCon in California
Pet Advice
Every Pet Owner Needs One of These Gadgets in Their Home
Animal Videos
Very Good Dog Supports the Fine Arts by Casually Crashing Orchestra Concert

I Need Your Help . . . A Bacterial Infection Irritates My Dog!

Meet Lucy. The Basset Hound mix has the trademark droopy ears but she also has another not-so-adorable addition (or, in this case, loss) – her hair. The pooch has been experiencing extreme skin irritation and itching over the past year.
Her owner writes:

The vet has diagnosed Lucy's problem as bacterial but the shampoos and pills I have been given to help the problem have not worked. We give her allergy pills from the vet both morning and night hoping this will help her, yet she continues to bite and scratch. This problem is only on her underside and legs – she is losing hair and I know she is just miserable! Has anyone had this problem with their dog or can you offer suggestions to help her feel better?

Join The Conversation
fltaz15 fltaz15 8 years
Get antibiotics and have a chat with the vet...Maybe Chlorhexidine shampoo, Benzoyle peroxide shampoo, or maybe a malaseb shampoo... It could be a reaction or allergy. Make sure you're not using Hartz or Sergeants, I've seen many skin reactions to these products...sorry my opinion is very late..hope everything works out.
zukolivie zukolivie 8 years
I know I'm late chiming in, but try switching her food. We switched Holly over to Wellness Simple Solutions and her skin allergies have all but dissapeared! Good luck.
beram1220 beram1220 8 years
My dog had demodex skin mites when he was a puppy and lost patches of fur and was very itchy and dry in those areas. Maybe you can ask your vet to do a skin graph and take a piece of the affected area and run some tests.... Also try tea tree oil - or a pet anti-itch spray with tea tree. My dog licks his paws a lot and this helps with itching and irritation.
fleurfairy fleurfairy 8 years
My dog was itching like crazy until a vet looked in his ears and could tell that he was allergic to wheat. It's been about a year, and he's on a wheat free diet. He's much less itchy. Good luck, I know it can be very frustrating trying to find out what's bothering our pets!
kourt kourt 8 years
Thank you, thank you everyone!! I am headed out to check some new foods and other remedies everyone has suggested! Lucy will appreciate it too I'm sure!! I hope we find something that works, if I do...I'll be sure to let everyone know!
356UIK 356UIK 8 years
Good advice wakeupandora. Wellness is a good brand. Sorry they dont have puppy food yet Lovely1 :) kourt - its good to work with your vet and take their suggestions, but also try to understand that sometimes I think they just dont know, and kind of just make suggestions based on randomness, I think they try their best, but I think with pets its just harder since they cant communicate their needs. Try switching food and give it a month. And do some research online. The best info I have found for my dogs has come from other owners. Saddly I think the vets just dont get enough time with our pets to really make a decision when it comes to allergies.
ladyr ladyr 8 years
I just ran a quick google search, and came across a good article: This part stood out to me: "Most bacterial skin infections in dogs are secondary to another disease such as parasitism, allergies, endocrine (hormonal) disorders or abnormalities in the immune system. Therefore, in recurrent cases, it is important to search for underlying causes." What tests have they run on Lucy so far? Has she been tested for parasites including mange, etc.? I think changing her food is a good idea if you think the infection might be a secondary effect of allergies, but if that doesn't help, you might want to ask your vet for an allergy test. I have heard that it can be a bit pricey (don't know, though), but it might save you $$$ in the end it if it helps you pinpoint what she is allergic to. It may be something you never expected, like an allergy to the pesticides they put on the grass at your local park (this was the case for my friend's pup). I know how worrisome this kind of thing can be. One of my dogs has severe seasonal allergies, which make him very itchy. It sucks seeing your beloved pet in discomfort and not having the answer yet. Best of luck! I hope Lucy feels better soon!!
Lovely_1 Lovely_1 8 years
wakeupandora I went on the Wellness Core webpage and unfourtunatly that stuff is only for dogs one year and up. Right now, Rosie is still a puppy and only like 20 weeks old...
JessNess JessNess 8 years
The rice thing makes sense. Dogs still need some sort of plant food so I'm not sure about the meat only. Dogs are not true carnivores. They need balanced meals that include proteins, fats and oils, minerals and vitamins. They also need some carbs like cereals for energy and fiber. there are a lot of sites out there about dog nutrition plus you should talk to your vet
wakeupandora wakeupandora 8 years
I agree with above comments about food. You should start with what ails her from the inside out. If you switch to a high quality kibble, try something like Wellness Core - it is grain free and has a dual meat protein source - turkey and chicken. If after a month or so she is still itching, licking and eating her skin in those areas, try something like Wellness Core Ocean - this replaces poultry with a fish based protein. Honestly, most hair loss is due to allergic reactions in food, which are usually caused by a. fillers (corn, wheat, soy) b. Grains (rice, barley) c. protein sources (some can't do chicken, beef but do ok on duck, lamb or fish). Then there are secondary allergies - airborne like pollen, dust and environmental like grass and seasonal weeds. If she is on a good food and is still having issues, it may be an airborne or environmental issue. Our foster basset hound was allergic to fillers, chicken and beef. We had him on Nature's Variety Prairie Lamb Meal and Oatmeal and he did MARVELOUSLY! No more redness under his arms or chest, no more itching and biting at his paws. It was the food that ailed him. You may also want to look into NEEM - it really helps soothe skin irritated by bacteria, fungus or parasites. - - - - - - - - About the raw feeder who had to go off because her vet said to, do some more research. The raw diet is the optimal of diets for a dog (or cat!) and most vets are scared that those without researching first will do more harm than good with the diet. Perhaps seek out a canine nutrition specialist or holistic vet instead, they know more diverse info on canine diets. But if you can't go back to raw, I found homecooked (like Honest Kitchen) or grain free kibble to be your next best bet (Orijen, Nature's Variety Instict, Wellness Core, EVO) Good luck.
Lovely_1 Lovely_1 8 years
I liek the pure raw diet, but my vet told me stop. Hoenstly, once we stopped her rash got even worse. I have read that rice is not good for your dog thouhg, that's why i was so against my girl going on that kibble in the first place...i ma going to switch to a meat only. No fillers.
JessNess JessNess 8 years
I think rice is ok. Its generally the corn and wheat gluten that a lot of dogs have problems with. I get a kibble from Costco that is really good. It actually has real meat, vegetables, grains, vitamins and does not contain any corn or wheat. I get it for about $20 for 40 lbs. Also making your own food is always a great option. A bit time consuming but you know exactly what your dogs are eating
bluepuppybites bluepuppybites 8 years
Our old basset hound had this problem I remember the vet shaving the affected area past the first layers of skin and he was given a special cream. I don't remember what it was I was too little. We also were only allowed to wash him twice a year.
Lovely_1 Lovely_1 8 years
well i jsut calle dmy boyfriend and told him we are goign to switch her to no corn, rice or wheat food....i know it's more expensive but she is on a preminum rice and lamb kibble already its pretty costly too.
JessNess JessNess 8 years
Definitely try switching the food, like already suggested. We thought that my dog was allergic to grass and we switched his food to one with out corn and wheat gluten and his skin allergies have really cleared up In the meantime you could try to give her an oatmeal bath to soothe her skin
kiwitwist kiwitwist 8 years
My pooch was always chewing her paws, switched her food to one without chicken, she no longer chews her paws. Just another thought. Could be a food allergy. A lot of good suggestions up here.
kourt kourt 8 years
Thanks everyone for your help! The vet said she is spreading the bacteria when she constantly licks these areas. I'm hoping to deture that with a hydrocortisone topical spray. I have a special shampoo and she is on special food. This is common to the basset breed, I'm just trying to help her feel better!
Lovely_1 Lovely_1 8 years
My pup isn't loosing her hair tho...
lawchick lawchick 8 years
No idea if it's the same condition, but last year our older dog started losing hair in big patches and seemed to be really itchy. We started using extra gentle shampoo and also a conditioner from Shea Pet, and also a "hot spot" creme or spray they have. It really helped and the hair has now grown back. good luck
Lovely_1 Lovely_1 8 years
Yea I heard before that Pet Food Kibble can be SO BAD for your dogs because a lot of it contains rice, wheat and corn products as fillers. That's why we started Rosie on the raw diet (with a bit of good kibble because puppies need all their nutrients). Our vet told us to stop feeding her raw and only give her kibble, but since she's gone and been on her medicine it's only gotten worse...
356UIK 356UIK 8 years
Try switching her dog food. My dog had the same symptoms and I heard he might be allergic to ingredients in his food (wheat and corn). So I switched to all organic/gluten free food for him and no more scratching. And this after many trips to the vet and much $ spent on prescriptions that did not work. :) Try switching her food a really good, high protein, less carb/filler food and see if she gets any better. Also the same goes for their treats! When my mom gives him some crappy cheap treats that have corn products in them, he starts itching again so be careful! :)
ShariB ShariB 8 years
Not sure about the bacterial infection (but I'm not a vet!). Could be a secondary infection that started with an allergic reaction. Sounds like it could be a grass allergy. You can try wiping the affected areas with a damp towel right after she comes in from being outside to get the pollen off her belly and legs. I recently learned that dogs receive pollen-type allergens through their skin, rather than through their respiratory system the way humans do, and they show the symptoms through their skin, too, so by getting the allergens off the skin, it might help. Good luck. My dog Leila has this, but very mild compared to Lucy's, it sounds like.
Lovely_1 Lovely_1 8 years
Omg my poor Rosie is the same! I took her to the vet exactly on week ago and he save us a solution and pills we must administer twice a day. It is also all on her a red rash and some parts are risen. But I don't think the pills and solution scrub are working too well because it doens't seem to be getting better :( If you want, I could take a pic and e-mail it to you? Hopefulyl togetehr we can figure this one out because I feel so bad for poor little Rosie :(
wren1 wren1 8 years
My dog has Alopecia which is like male-patterned baldness. The doctor prescribed taking 2 mg of Melatonin. I don't know if this would help a bacterial issue or not. But, coconut oil was recommended and it seems to soothe the itchiness and some say helps with regrowth of the hair, so you might want to look into that. My dog is doing great on this regimen. Good luck to Lucy! :)
Where Should We Begin Couples Therapy Podcast
Phrases to Avoid Saying in a Relationship
Should I Cheat?
How to Survive Being Cheated On
From Our Partners
Latest Dogs, Cats, and Other Pets
All the Latest From Ryan Reynolds