Pomeranians For Dummies
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The most common allergens for dogs are flea saliva, pollens, dust mites, and food. If your Pomeranian is itching to scratch for any reason, you can ease the itch at home with several treatments. Here are a few:

  • Apply an ice pack or even immerse the dog in cool water. Pat dry, but avoid blow-drying or vigorous rubbing.
  • Bathe with medicated shampoo and cool water, leaving the shampoo in contact with the skin for at least ten minutes; then rinse and dry thoroughly.
  • Pour a little aloe vera juice on the irritated area and leave it on.
  • Apply a topical nonitch spray, witch hazel, moisturizing spray, or topical steroid medication sold for humans.
  • Try to get your dog's mind off the itch. Play some games, go for a walk, or give a treat that requires extensive chewing or working.
  • Fatty acid supplementation (fish oil, which you can buy in any drug store, is one good source) can provide improvement over the long term. It's effective in up to one fourth of the cases of itchy skin, especially when used with antihistamines. Note: Don't confuse these supplements with those sold as food supplements to improve coat quality.
  • Your veterinarian can suggest a safe dose of antihistamines. Common human antihistamines safe for dogs are clemastine fumarate, diphenhydramine, chlorpheniramine, and hydroxyzine.
    Histamines don't cause as much inflammation in dogs as they do in humans, so antihistamines may not be as effective in dogs. Finding the most effective types usually takes a couple of weeks of trying each one out.
    Antihistamines may cause drowsiness, a desirable side effect in cases of intense itching but not great for long-term use.
    Don't give your dog any over-the-counter antihistamines that contain other medications, such as those in sinus or cold-relief medications. Talk to your veterinarian ahead of time to find out the correct dosage for your puppy and keep some in the medicine chest.

If itching continues, your veterinarian may prescribe short-term oral cortisone medication. This treatment provides the most immediate and effective relief and may be necessary in order to start treating the itch.

A veterinary dermatology specialist can perform intradermal (skin) testing with common allergens but not food allergens. If the culprit is identified, a series of injections can often help the dog overcome the allergic reaction. A good clue: If your dog is biting at her skin, especially her front feet, scratching at her ears, or rubbing her rump on your furniture frequently, take her to the vet to see whether something else could be the cause and to get temporary relief.

About This Article

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D. Caroline Coile, PhD, has written 26 books and more than 300 articles about dogs. She has received numerous awards and has taught college classes in psychology and animal learning.

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