TRACIE HOTCHNER: ITCHY DOG? DON’T ALWAYS BLAME THE FOOD! GET THE SPOT TEST!

newtraciepic2Does your dog scratch and lick and/or bite at her ears, feet, flanks or neck? Skin problems are probably the number one reason pet owners go to their vets. I get numerous emails asking for advice and suggestions about resolving skin issues like hot spots, hair loss, and other epidermal problems. Of course fleas are the first logical possibility to eliminate and a topical product is usually going to be the best complete and long term solution.

Myself, I use Vectra 3D for fleas and ticks, but if fleas are not in the equation, then I strongly advise you to get your dog tested for allergies with a SPOT Platinum blood test. I’ve now done it with my two young dogs – who were presumably too young to have developed environmental allergies – however both of their tests showed they had reactivity to different elements in their environment.

They are now each on custom-created oral drops that SPOT Platinum creates, which I squirt in their mouths every day to calm down their sensitivities. There is no more scratching, hives or icky ears.

I recommend the SPOT test not because the Spectrum Company is a proud sponsor of my Radio Pet Lady Network – but because it works! They have been doing allergy testing for a quarter of a century and can reliably screen for 90 elements, including foods, to which your dog may be hyper-sensitive. Just like the allergy injections I get weekly, the oral drops help to desensitize each dog’s individual system so it becomes less reactive.

DFF-logo-ProudSponsor175x166My newly rescued blue Weimaraner Maisie was scratching a lot when I picked her up in Virginia at 9 months of age. I knew she had no fleas. I gave her a nice shower (using Halo’s Cloud Nine herbal shampoo, which makes dog bathing a yummy experience!), but the itching continued.

The vet gave me the common wisdom that it must be a food allergy because she was too young to have developed a reaction to something(s) in her environment. I knew there were exceptions to every rule because when Maisie ran through certain fields and meadows she broke out in hives – and bumps that became sores.

Then along came my puppy Wanda, who began having goopy ears and those moth-eaten coat issues like itching, bumps, or sores when she was only six months old. Even the owner of SPOT Platinum cautioned me that she was too young for the problem to be environmental, it was most likely food.

But I wanted to run the test – I had developed such confidence in it. Lo and behold, Wanda’s allergy to dust mites was off the chart, amongst other reactivities having nothing to do with food.

Takeaway message: don’t be too quick to blame chicken in your dog’s diet, which seems high on everyone’s “guess list” of what causes canine skin problems. Instead, ask your vet to order a SPOT Platinum test kit (if s/he doesn’t already have one in the office) and you may be on your way to a scratch-free existence!
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Tracie Hotchner is the author of THE DOG BIBLE: Everything Your Dog Wants You to Know and THE CAT BIBLE: Everything Your Cat Expects You to Know.

She is also a renowned pet radio host and producer, having spent 7 years on the Martha Stewart Channel of Sirius/XM with CAT CHAT® and even longer with her award-winning NPR radio show DOG TALK® (and Kitties, Too!) that continues to broadcast in the Hamptons and the Berkshires. Her most recent accomplishment is the pet talk radio network she has created on the Internet called The Radio Pet Lady Network.

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