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Dr. Kara
Dr. Kara, Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 16919
Experience:  Over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian.
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Is primrose oil okay to give my dog? Hes a 4-year old

Resolved Question:

Is primrose oil okay to give my dog? He's a 4-year old lab-collie cross. He is raw fed (from Nutriments - http://www.nutriment.co/) and is otherwise a very healthy dog, but he does suffer from severe bouts of itching. He has been allergy tested and there were a couple of possible things identified, so we now make sure he's not exposed to these, but the itching problem continues. Thanks Mike XXX

Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  Dr. Kara replied 3 years ago.
Hello, my name is***** and I have over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian. I am sorry to hear that Paddy is itchy in spite of your efforts to decrease his exposure to allergens.

The short answer is yes you can give him primrose oil to help with itchy skin.

However I find most allergic dogs need more omega 3 fatty acids and respond well to their use as an anti-inflammatory skin supplement. I recommend a dose based upon the EPA portion (eicosapentanoic acid) of the fatty acid supplement as if we do that the rest of the supplement will be properly balanced. Give him 20mg to 40mg of EPA per kilogram of body weight per day. For example a 40 kilogram dog could take 800mg to 1600mg of EPA per day.

As far as doing primrose oil the recommended dose is 100mg per kilogram of body weight per day.

I would start with the omega 3 fatty acids and if he isn't improving add the primrose oil.

I would also caution that is quite a bit of oil added to his diet, though they are healthy supplements you may see some loose stools with that amount of added oil. You might wish to give him the lower end of the dosing range initially and if he tolerates it well then increase it as needed.

Cool water baths with an oatmeal shampoo or chlorhexiderm shampoo (which is antibacterial and antifungal) and a conditioner with an antihistamine may help. The water rinses off allergens and the cool temperature soothes itchy skin.
Best of luck with Paddy, please let me know if you have any further questions.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Many thanks for this. Just one question, would cetirizine hydrochloride be okay too, or if the evening primrose oil doesn't work?

Expert:  Dr. Kara replied 3 years ago.
If you want to give an antihistamine you can give Zyrtec (cetirizine) at a dose of 1mg per kilogram of body weight once daily.
Antihistamines and omega 3 fatty acids work synergistically, better together then either one alone so I would add the antihistamine to the fatty acids.

Other antihistamines you can try are:
1)Benadryl (diphenhydramine only don't use the combination products with decongestants or acetaminophen as they can be toxic for dogs) at 2mg to 4mg per kilogram of body weight one 25mg capsule per 7 to 12 kilograms of body weight orally every 8 hours.
OR 2)Claritin (loratidine) at 5mg per 10 kilograms of body weight once or twice daily.
OR 3)Hydroxyzine at 2mg per kilogram of body weight orally every 8 hours.
OR 4) Chlorpheniramine at 4mg to 8mg per dog once or twice daily.
Some dogs do better on one antihistamine rather than another. You'll have to see which one works for him.
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