I know a lot of dogs are allergic to certain proteins in their food, so sometimes it helps to try a different food. Some are also allergic to pollen...even dust. And unlike people who often get watery eyes and sneezing, most allergies in dogs cause itchy skin or rashes.
Maybe you could ask your doctor for a prescription food to try...like venison.
Also, for temporary relief, you could try an oatmeal bath. I'm not sure how well that would work, since you've already tried so many other remedies, but it might be worth a try.
Good luck! I hope your dog gets some relief soon!
I am sorry to hear you are having difficulties with you pet's skin!
FIrst question: Are there other pets in the household and are they being treated for fleas as well? Many dogs who are super-sensitive (allergic) to fleas are very good at catching the fleas themselves, so you won't find fleas on them. I know you aren't seeing fleas, but for most of the country, this is the number reason for these type of skin conditions.
Next, Heather is most correct. This could be an allergic reaction to grasses, molds, pollen, dust, or even a food allergy. Cortisone and other steroids will mask the symptoms, but won't treat the underlying problem. Blood tests are available to test for allergies or, again as Heather mentioned, try a food with a different protein source in it. What kind of food is your dog currently eating?
If you try a different food, you need to allow 8-10 weeks minimum before you can say if it is working on not. Some pets will get relief in just a few weeks, but often many dogs need to be fed only the new food for a longer period of time. Also, no treats during this feeding trial!!
Discuss these options with your veterinarian. You could also ask for a referral to a veterinary dermatologist if the problems aren't resolving.
Good luck...I hope your pup feels better and let us know how things progress...
Thank you so much for the responses! My dog is currently eating purina fit and trim (he is a bit of a fatty). He has been on this food for a long time. Is there a better food to try him on? There are no other dogs or pets in the household just him.
I think it is definitely time to speak with your veterinarian or a veterinary dermatologist about a food trial. Although not extremely common, food allergies in pets do happen and they generally happen despite the fact a pet has been fed the same food for a long time.
The most common allergens for dogs in their food are: beef, wheat, and dairy. These three ingredients can be responsible for more than 68% of all dog food allergies. An additional 25% of allergies can be linked to lamb, chicken egg, chicken or soy. If you look at the ingredient listing on Fit and Trim, soy and wheat are 2 of the top 3 ingredients.
The most important thing in a food trial is to get a food with a novel, single source protein. Something that the pet has never had before. Some diets use fish as a protein source, some use turkey or lamb, some even use venison. Your veterinarian can help you find the right food or help you with a homemade diet.
Keep your dog on the elimination diet for at least 8-10 weeks and tell everyone in the family to avoid giving any sort of table food or treats.
You can also ask your veterinarian about allergy testing. It's a little pricey but it can help to define what might be causing these flare ups.
Good luck!! I would love to hear back from you!