Question: I have 2 Yorkie Poo’s who are 6 yrs old. They have had skin problems for years. (itchy skin, one dog losing some hair around his tail area) My vet has put them both on a prednisone, simplicef, and ketoconazole. Their skin will clear up after being on this. HOWEVER, if the problem is NOT resolved then they just will continue to go back on these meds, which they have a few times. I have eliminated chicken and beef from their diet, and still they are itching.

So, now I am at the point where I have them on a gluten free/ grain free diet. I am not so sure it is working as I do see them still itching. They have been on it for over a week now. One vet said the can do a simple blood test to see what allergies they have, while my vet said they really don’t rely on those blood tests and they can be expensive. Well, at this point I have already spent over $600 as I keep going back and forth to the vet. I just really need to get some relief for my dogs and me! Help, any suggestions. Does it take longer then a few weeks to see if what I am doing for them is the problem? (going grain and gluten free)

Answer: Thanks for writing in. I have included a link to an article on allergies to give you more information on allergies: Allergies in Dogs. The most common allergies include those to fleas, inhaled environmental particles (called atopy) and food allergies. I would be most concerned about atopy or food allergies. To get to the bottom of food allergies, a true hypoallergenic (ideally home-cooked) elimination diet trial is necessary.

These diet trials should be performed for at least 12 weeks before it can be considered a failure. Atopy is the other issue and you can consider intradermal skin testing (usually done by a veterinary dermatologist) with the goal of considering allergy shots. The article will give you more details. Unfortunately itching is just a symptom of the underlying problem. They will itch and get secondary skin infections (that do require treatment) over and over again until the underlying issue is taken care of.

Hope this helps.
Dr. Donna Spector

Answers provided to pet owners by Dr. Donna Spector should be considered information and not specific advice. Answers are to be used for general information purposes only and not as a substitute for in-person evaluation or specific professional advice from your veterinarian. Communications on this site are very limited and should never be used in possible cases of emergency. Halo, Purely for Pets will not be liable for any loss or damage caused by your reliance on any information or content contained in a blog or article post. If you have consulted your veterinarian and if you are still concerned about your pet’s condition or if your pet has chronic, complicated or undiagnosed problems, Dr. Spector can offer consultations for you and your veterinarian via

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  1. Karen says:


    My beloved cokerpoo Barkley is 3.5 months old. She started going out 2 weeks ago, during that time we switched her food from intestinal to regular puppy food (mixed them until it was done).
    In the last 2 weeks she started itching her face and biting hard on her thighs, hands, legs, vaginal area and between her fingers.
    Whenever she is back from her walk she is wheezing. We saw a healing wound on her tail about 3 weeks ago and she opened it a week ago, so now we are putting an antibiotics ointment on it and it has improved.
    The vet told us to give her a shower with hypoallergenic healing shampoo and it seams that the biting and itching is better but not over.
    We are so so worried and don’t know what to do since the vet said she is too young for allergy treatment.
    Is it the food? the grass? the tree? flowers?
    Please advise,
    We don’t know what to do
    The worried parents,
    Karen & Udi

  2. admin says:

    Hi Karen—thanks for writing in. Dogs can develop food hypersensitivity/allergy at any age. If she started having these signs right around the time of a diet change, I would consider speaking to your vet about a hypoallergenic diet trial to see if she improves. You can also ask about the usage of omega 3 fatty acids as they can help alleviate itchy skin—regardless of the cause. Also make sure your veterinarian has done scrapings of her skin to check for mites and mange—as these things can cause severe itching and biting and can be difficult to find on only one exam.

    Hope this helps.
    Good luck.
    Dr. Donna Spector

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