How to make my long coated german shepard stop scratching and chewing on himself

by Jodi Keep
(Machesney Park, IL. US)

Leo not scratching himself!

Leo not scratching himself!

My shepard scratches himself so bad he gets sores and bald spots on himself. My vet says he has allergies, I've changed his diet and nothing has helped.

His vet also told me to give him Benadryl 1mg/lb. So that means giving him 100mg everytime, I don't like giving him medicine, their has to be some other way, I brush once a week, and he looks beautiful to others but when I brush him I see all the damage he does to his own body.

I am forever telling Leo to stop chewing, biting or scratching himself. But he has to be miserable. I want him to be comfortable in his own skin.

I feel so bad for him, any help would be appreciated. He is 5 and each year it gets worse. It is worse in the winter so I have bought a humidifier for the winter months and it doesn't really do much for him. HELP!

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Aug 05, 2010
Deb & "Jack"
by: Anonymous

I have a GSD the same age with the same problems.I took him to the Vet and tried the recommended Meds, foods and shampoos....It was costing me a fortune(I did this for about a year and it was moderately working)....Then I did extensive researching on my own...As others have stated, fish oil in the food.Vitamins won't hurt either. Dog food with NO WHEAT GLUTEN, and bathing them with oatmeal shampoo for the first wash and Head & Shoulders for the second one(Tepid water and once a week). No conditioners. I find it collects the dirt faster on the hair ( I tried it :) ). If you are looking for an economical dog food that does help with this issue....try Kibbles & Bits "Wholesome Medley". Consistency is the key with this issue.
Best of Luck!!

German Shepherd Training

Jul 19, 2010
GSD long coat with itchiness
by: Deb & Dakota

You've already received some great replies from the other people that have answered you.

When I got my long-coated Kota, she was always itching and scratching. She had many hot spots. The Vet said it was contact allergy and put her on Benadryl. As a Service Dog, the side effects of the meds was unacceptable.

I can't stand the sight of raw meat, so I chose Nature's Variety raw frozen diet with a little salmon oil. When I take her to the groomer, I make sure they know to use an oatmeal or shampoo that is good for long-coats. Her itching and scratching went away very quickly, and I stopped giving the meds. Now her coat is glossy and fluffy.

Read the labels on any foods you give your dog. A lot of dogs are allergic to some of the contents like corn. You need to research your food very carefully for the fillings in the mixture that your dog may be reacting to.

So it turned out that Kota had food allergies and not contact allergies. I wish you success in finding the right combination of things to relieve and eliminate his misery of scratching.

May 10, 2010
1 Yr Old GSD
by: Anonymous

After reading your post I wanted to tell you my situation. I have a 1 year old little girl that has had itching issues to the point of tearing out most of her fur.

We spent thousands on vet bills, food elimation trials, etc. She is allergic to dust mites. I noticed that it helps her if I bath her every week in baby shampoo and condition her coat. I also feed her Orijen Fish that has seemed to help quite a bit.

She begins allergie shots at the end of the month. Take a look at his coat and see if he has red bumps etc. He may have an infection that they are not seeming that can also make him itch worse. I also wash all of her bedding once a week with hypoallergic detergent.

I hope this helps, trust me I know exactly how you feel. I have been fighting the vets for almost a year now before they finally decided to do a skin test and found out she did have an allergie.

Mar 06, 2010
Itching GSDs
by: Jackie

Natural Balance puts out dog food specifically formulated for dogs with allergies. If you can't get any improvement with oatmeal bathing... try changing his diet.

But remember not to bath your dog in hot water, that just makes the itching worse because it dries out the skin.

Mar 03, 2010
help for itchy long-haired GSD
by: Anonymous

I've had luck with two approaches. First, take him to a professional groomer and use either baby/puppy shampoo or an oatmeal-based shampoo for dogs.

Then see if there's any change over the next few days. If so, you could assume it's an external allergan or irritant that is making him itchy. Vacuum/wash anything he lays on, change your floor/laundry cleaner to something without irritants, perfumes or dyes.

If there is no change after the bath or after only a few days he is scratching again, you can try a salmon oil additive to his food. GSDs often have really dry skin, which makes them scratch, and can benefit from a higher "good oil" content in their food.

Grizzly Wild Alaskan Salmon Oil is one I've used with success. No matter what the marketing states, do not use flax oil as it makes a long hair into one big oily mat of fur. Salmon oil has a much better effect. Makes sure he is getting lots of fresh water and exercise to ensure the scratching doesn't become a nervous habit.

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