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Dr. Andy
Dr. Andy, Medical Director
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 30829
Experience:  Veterinarian, UC Davis graduate, emphasis in Dermatology, Internal Medicine, and Pain Control
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Hi my dog hasr been diagnosed with allergies, i.e dust mites,

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Hi my dog hasr been diagnosed with allergies, i.e dust mites, storage mites, a yeast thing. We hav changed his food which has helped his ears, we have used dust mite spray regularly round the house, and use mediated shampoo from the vets, yet STILL, he continues to scratch all the time. His skin has no rashes, no flakes or anything, I have even tried thornit powder, to no avail, any advise, I am at a dead end, I cant keep paying out at my vets, it is costing a fortune!!
Welcome! My name isXXXXX am a UC Davis graduate, and currently, a Medical Director of a veterinary hospital.

I am sorry to hear about this concern.
Regardless of any testing done, there very well may still be a food allergy, and absolutely, other environmental allergies.

First, let's talk about the food.

Summary: The primary protein in most dog foods is lamb, chicken, or beef. The primary carbohydrate is rice or corn. So, you need to change both. The most popular alternative diets are Venison and Potato, Duck and Potato, or Fish and Potato. It is available in prescription formulas (i.e. Science Diet D/D) or you can find some similar foods at the big pet stores like PetSmart or PetCo. I always recommend picking a “limited-ingredient diet” from your vet to ensure you are doing the trial properly. Just make sure that when they say Venison is the "main ingredient" they don't sneak in other stuff like lamb meal or fish meal. A non-prescription option would include Dick Van Patten's brand called Natural Balance. Keep in mind, holistic or all-natural foods are not necessarily any better when trying to remove a food allergy. Chicken is chicken, and rice is rice. When you perform a diet trial, you must stick with the food for 2-3 months to see if there is any benefit. NO OTHER treats or human food can be given during this time period. Remember, a grain-free diet is not necessarily any better. Over 75% of the time, it is the protein in the diet that is the problem. Lastly, even a limited ingredient diet, as explained above, is not good enough. Sometimes, you need to use a food that is processed in such a way, that the body cannot react to it. A popular choice is Science Diet Z/D low allergen or Ultra allergen. They utilize hydrolyzed protein. The body cannot react to the protein in the food.
Food Allergies

So, remember, if you are feeding a special limited ingrediet diet but also giving any other proteins or treats, then the food may not be fully helping.

Now, what about environmental allergies. I don't know what blood or skin test was done by the vet, but usually it would really require a specialist consult to have found out that dust mites are the problem. Regular vets can do special blood tests to check for environmental allergies, so I am assuming that's what your vet did.

Now, what about the scratching!

First, dust mite spray. Not enough.
You got to start vacuuming any carpet at least twice a week for next few weeks.
Second, dust mites eat human dander. So, guess where there is the most! In your bed. So, you need to reduce buddy's exposure to whereever the most dust mites will be. That means, if he sleeps in your bed, you got to stop allowing him there. Also, make sure to thoroughly wash any of his bedding.

In the meantime, you can try giving an antihistamine to try and help allergies, but ultimately, the fastest way to relief is getting some steroids from your vet. Steroids don't have to be done long-term but will get him some relief.

Benadryl can be given at a dose of 1mg per pound of body weight. Keep in mind, Benadryl tablets and liquids come in different sizes. So, an approximately 25 pound dog can get a full 25mg tablet or a half of a 50mg tablet. I usually avoid the liquid Benadryl in larger dogs (you would have to give too much of it). You can give Benadryl every 8-12 hours.

Another favorite for dermatologists is Zyrtec (cetirizine) over the counter. Available in 5mg or 10mg tablets. A small dog 10-20 pounds can get a 5mg tablet once a day in the morning, but can be given every 12 hours. Any dog over 30 pounds, I typically recommend the 10mg tablet every 24 hours (or twice a day).

Keep up those medicated baths. Most people think that dog allergies are "inhaled" like us. That is not correct. They are absorbed by the skin to cause problems. So, bathing, can help quite a bit.

Very sorry and definitely understand about costs. Fortunately, steroids are relatively inexpensive.
I hope that information has been helpful.
Please remember to select Reply to Expert, if for any reason you need further clarification, have more questions, or were expecting a different type of answer. Prior to leaving, please remember to provide a feedback rating, which I greatly appreciate so I am recognized by Justanswer for responding. My goal is to provide you the best answer possible.
Dr. Andy

Customer: replied 6 years ago.

Hi thanks for your reply. I have given Buddy the same dog food, for the past year, however the constant scratching has only been the last few months. Could it still be a food allergy, even though he didnt scratch from when he started this food?


Also yes, he did have bloods taken for allergies, although I dont know if they tested for food allergies. The vet just told me what the results were that he tested positive for.


I did try him on piriton, but that didnt seem to help, but does zyrtec/Benadryl have a different active ingredient?


Sorry, to bang on, but re Steroids, would there be any point in the steroids, if it only gave him relief? it wouldnt be a means to an end if you know what I mean?




Yes, could still be food, although lower on my list. Many dogs have environmental and food allergies.

Even if a blood test was done including food, the food results are horrible! Very inaccurate!

Yes, zyrtec, my first choice, can have a different effect. Piroton is chlorpheniramine, a different type of antihistamine.

RElief comes first! No matter what.

Then, you work on figuring out the allergy issue, and modifying things as you go.

It's always nice to also get the itch cycle broken first. Some dogs are so wound up with itching, nothing works.

Dr. Andy
Dr. Andy and 2 other Dog Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 6 years ago.

So still try a different food, try zyrtec too, plus additional hoovering etc, then if still scratching, steroids?

If you try another food, you have got to stick with a prescription limited ingredient diet from your vet, or don't even bother. Plus! It takes 2-3 months sometimes to notice benefit from using a non-allergenic diet.

Yes, I like zyrtec, or generic cetirizine.

Yes, if really going at that skin, the steroid is well worth it.

If available to your vet, ask about medications like Atopica or Temaril-P.
These are popular medications in the States for also helping with allergic pets.

Hope that additional information helps. Definitely, reply to me if there is any other way I may assist you. I hope my responses have been satisfactory.
Dr. Andy
Customer: replied 6 years ago.

yes they have, thanks alot for your help.


Kind regards


I hope everything is going okay. May I be of any further assistance? I was not sure if my answer was satisfactory.