Itchy Australian Shepherd

by Ashley

We just adopted a beautiful 6 month old Australian Shepherd from a rescue over the weekend. I noticed yesterday that he's started itching and biting at his legs a lot.

Poor guy is covered in dry skin and sometimes I think it hurts when we pet him. We just moved into a brand new house and I've been complaining about how dry it has been. I'm going to buy a humidifier ASAP.

I just don't want him to suffer anymore! Anyone experienced anything similar or have any other suggestions? We're new to this breed and I've done some research but am reading some conflicting information and unsure what to do.

Comments for Itchy Australian Shepherd

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by: Cortni

In my experience with the breed, it's not always so much dry skin issues as it is food. I would start there. We had an extremely itchy Aussie and corgi to the point of raw hairless feet legs and butt. We switched to non grain food and never had another problem. Worth a shot :)

Coconut Oil or Flax Seed Oil
by: Anonymous

i have Aussies, border collies and an English bulldog. They all get coconut oil in their food. It is the organic one and 1 tablespoon for every 30 lbs, once daily. My dogs are doing wonderfully on it.

by: Anonymous

put 1 Spoon of oil (Olive, Fish, flaxseed, hemp ect...) in his Food every Day. Put some oil of the Oenothera in his feet Andy every Parts of iching ... Maybe he is allergic to your food. Think about BARF!

Itchy Pup
by: Nancy

Try changing his food to Science Diet- Sensitive Skin formula.
Our young Aussie pup had the same problem, always itching. It solved our problem!

by: Anonymous

try Benadryl twice a day to see if he is allergic to something in his new surroundings. I put the pill in a piece of string cheese and my pup gobbles it down.

Itchy Aussies
by: Ellie's mom

Ellie's vet suggested fish oil (your vet can guide you in dose amount) and oatmeal baths when necessary. Good luck!

by: Becca M

My Aussie has dry skin too, we've put olive oil in with his food (or use fish oil for a less fatty option). Also on the weekends when we make breakfast for the family, we give him his own scrambled egg - nothing on it. He loves it and it's really good for his skin. If it's really bad and the humidifier doesn't help, maybe a trip to the vet would be helpful. Good luck!

Itchy Australian Shepherd
by: Jill from Ohio

I have a 5 year old male Aussie that looks exactly like yours!
His name is Isaiah and he is itchy too. He spends most of his summer on steroids because he will break out in hive like places all over his body. I know that you could try fish oil to help with the dry skin.

Same problem
by: From Argentina

Hi. I have an aussie with the same problems. For my experience and I'm not a breeder, I took it to several vets and told me that it could be anxiety, boring. This kind of dogs need more excercise than other races and I haven't got a big backyard a field or whatever. (I adopted from a rescue-house) So I decided to take it with me when I went running but It continuing biting its legs and started to bit its tail and back too. One vet offer to me a treatment of three vaccines and I accepted cuz It started to injure its legs more and more. The treatment results, It didn't bit its legs anymore.

Saludos desde Argentina =)

Itchy and biting pup
by: Anonymous

i hope this might be a food allergy. Since our Aussie baby is on a Limited ingredient diet the biting has stopped. If she is given anything else she will bite and lick between her toes. I know what you mean, I wish they could talk so you would know what to do to help! We had even resorted to her wearing infant socks when it got really bad! Keep an eye on that also in case they come off, and end up in the mouth! It took awhile to find a food she could tolerate! Congrats on your new addition!

Itching and Aussie allergies
by: Anonymous

I have 2 Aussies and both have allergy to grain. We switched them to a grain free diet and all allergies disappeared. Both used to scratch and bite their legs and feet. It was a huge difference. Blue buffalo is what we use.

by: Linda

Mine itches and chews her legs a lot, too. In certain times of the year it is worse because grass pollen causes allergies for her. In those times I give her benadryl, and it helps a lot. The rest of the time I think the leg chewing is kind of an OCD behavior. More exercise and giving her a Nylabone are good for that. She was A LOT worse as a youngster.... chewed everything. That improved tremendously as she got closer to 2 years old.

perhaps fleas or allergies
by: Anonymous

Could be a reaction to a flee bite, or an environmental allergy. I'd definitely get him checked out

by: Ineke

Don't know if this works for dogs. Once I heard a cat breeder with long haired cats say that it was quite common amongst breeders to use mayonaise to make the skin less dry.
Don't know if this works for aussies. He used mayonaise from a cafetaria.

Dry skin help
by: Anonymous

We are using Dinovite, seems to be helping our Aussie with her dry skin. Check it out on, many testimonials

by: Debbi

Our girl is also very itchy. She has lots of allergies and 1 flea will drive her insane. Also food allergies. At certain times of year she drags her belly along the grass and gets red and blotchy. Certain types of grass bother her. I think a visit to the vet is in order for your new baby. Dry skin usually starts with diet. Maybe supplement with some oil. But get the vets advice.

Itch Be Gone
by: Anonymous

My boy (2 year old Aussie) had the same problem. Just a little vegetable oil in his dinner and it's better! I mix it with water. He loves it!

by: Anonymous

Try an aloe and oatmeal based shampoo and conditioner. If that doesn't work take him to the vet. Could be early onset of allergies or other skin problems.

allergys ?
by: joyce d

We adopted a 6 year old Austrian Shepherd. She came to us and we so itchy she was making holes in herself. I talked to a breeder of Australian shepherds and she said cut out wheat. It made a huge difference. She no longer has hot spots. She was itchy between she toes too and we discovered she is allergic to chicken as well. She is doing fine now at 10.

Coconut oil
by: Anonymous

Coconut oil from Trader Joes. Their brand. It costs 6.00 for a jar and you feed a quarter teaspoon for every 10 lbs. my boy has been on it since 12/2 and his coat is so shiny and soft. Totally amazing stuff.

Re: Itching Ptoblems
by: Just Jo

We had the same problem when we first got our Mini Aussi, we found out it was the corn in his food. Put him on corn free, grain free and he's been fine. Dry skin is an issue with this breed always...a tbsp of olive oil on food sometimes helps or coconut oil. Hope this helps :)

itchy dry skin
by: Kim

i give my doggie oil added to her kibble... I switch it up... 1. cold pressed olive oil 2. Coconut oil. 3. Salmon oil.
About a teaspoon twice a day in kibble. Also you a high quality kibble. My doggies fur is so soft and shiney! Hope this helps

by: Anonymous

Our Aussie showed these symptoms at a young age! Allergy tests determined he had both a corn and soy allergy. The LID diet so improved the scratching, but the oils also helped. Flax seed oil capsules every day are part of his program, as well as olive or salmon oils. Big help!!! You feel so helpless, because they are miserable. I was shocked to discover how pervasive the corn and soy can be in treats and food, even the ones you perceive to be better quality. High quality foods like Blue Buffalo or Natural Balance are a must! Strongly agree with previous post about the oatmeal and aloe shampoos. Our Aussie also loves to swim, and it seems to help -- but a big fresh water rinse afterwards is a must. Despite how well these things work, we still must give our dog Benadryl regularly. Good luck! The love we share with our Aussie far outweighs any efforts put into managing these allergies.

itchy and dry skin
by: Jamie

Our Aussie that we rescued had the same problem. His skin and coat were very dry and he was constantly itching. I bought Alaskan salmon oil from Amazon and added a few pumps to his food each day. He loves it, and his coat is amazingly soft and most importantly, he has stopped itching all the time. Good luck with your new puppy. I am glad to read he was a rescue dog like ours. They are the best! Our dog Perry is so sweet and learned his name and commands so quickly. He is so eager to please us, and a wonderful member of our family.

by: candice

My Aussie had the same problem & our vet told us to switch her water to only filtered water because she may be allergic to the chlorine in the tap water & switch her food to a non wheat & grain diet, you can find the foods at a pet store & they are expensive but worth it if it works like it did for us.

Itchy Aussie
by: Anonymous

Try fish oil capsules and an antihistamine like zyrtek or claritin (generic). I was told by a Veterinarian that the fish oil and antihistamine work together somehow to stop the itching. Worked beautifully....also a good oatmeal shampoo and conditioner helps (John Paul Pet has a great one)!

itchy aussie
by: Cheryl

I have two five year old red tri Aussie boys. We had to feed them grain free food and no chicken or beef. Salmon or Lamb work great! I also have a groomer wash and trim them every three month! So worth it:-)

by: Anonymous

I have 3.5 yr. old female mini. She started getting granulomas (biting sores) on her legs at about 1 yr. old. She eats boiled chicken and a little Iams at my mother's. Been to 5 vets, Steroid shots, special shampoo, special supplement (Doggy Goo), a small fortune of special foods which she typically refused (thus chicken). Bought E-collar and special bootie to cover - which she promptly removes (aussies necks are larger than their heads). Season does not seem to make a difference as it is currently below zero in Colo. with a foot of snow on the ground. We do not have fleas in the rockies either. As I've learned; food allergies in dogs is quite rare and she's eating primarily chicken (some beef, some elk) no grains. I'm inclined to think it's behavioral as this breed needs a lot of activity. I will try to oils, but knowing her, she'll reject the food. Tried allergy shots on a golden years ago and they were ineffective. Yes, we've had dogs that have not had allergies. Perplexed and worried about my little girl.

Advice from a vet tech
by: Sara

What you get will have you do is first a food trial. You can do this at home. Just get a dry and wet food that has none of the following:

Wheat, corn, or soy, Chicken, beef, lamb Any dairy products including cheese

These are the most common allergens for dogs. Feed only foods void of these ingredients for three straight months. This includes treats and any flea or tick medications. These meds are usually the chewable kinds and are flavored with chicken and or beef. You can treat with peanut butter. If you don't see any improvement after three months then it is not a food allergy. If you do see improvement the. Slowly and one at a time add each of the above ingredients back in. Do each one ingredient for one month. If there isn't a reaction add another. If there is then eliminate it and give your pup two months then try another ingredient.

If it isn't a food allergy then it most likely is environmental. This requires a vet visit. And most likely an allergy scratch test. This requires your pup to be sedated. Blood tests aren't really accurate. If the allergy test is fine then special shot is formulated for your dog that you give at specific intervals. Your vet will determine this. Basically what you are doing it des enticing your pup to the allergens. These shots usually are not a life long thing. Once your pups amine system is desensitized then you shod be good to go for the most part.

The last common issue is a flea allergy. Even if you don't see fleas you pup could still pick them up outside and be super sensitive to them before they are killed.

For environmental allergies you can bathe your pup every week to help wash off the allergens from their coat. Their fur can hold onto the pollens and such and aggravate the issue.

You can always try Benedryl or Zyrtec. Just ask your vet for the correct dosage. You can find this online but I recommend you either do your homework to be sure or check with your vet.

Try not to use steroids for long periods as there are side effects that are not good for your dog's health. You can find these online.

In the end I say, search environmental, food, and flea allergies online. Do your homework. Learn what you can there are a lot of webpages out there. WebMD has a pet site that is helpful.

I dealt with this all for year with my own Mini Aussie and finally found out she has environmental allergies. So good luck.

by: Anonymous

change his diet to a no grain and fish oil. He should be better in a week or so

Itchy Aussie
by: Kathie and Ron

Grain free is the answer - we use Purina - and if you look at the pix on the bag - its an Aussie!

Another thought
by: Anonymous

Many years ago we had an Aussie-mix that developed itchy skin. Petting her made her wince and her skin "crawl". It turned out, in our case, that the human shampoo I used on her was causing it. (The vet said it was the worn pH.) Switching to dog shampoo took care of the problem. I wonder what kind of shampoo was used on your pooch before you rescued it.

And now, more recently, our mini Aussie gets itchy a few days after application of K9 Advantix II. We switched to Parastar - better. Now, we are using an oral med, NexGard.

Good luck to you and your lucky new buddy!

Don't guess it's an allergy
by: Anonymous

Before treating it as an allergy, seek a vet.
If it is dry skin, e.g. from extreme weather, try salmon oil.

itchy aussie
by: Anonymous

Grain free food and raw diet if you can afford it…Stella and Cheweys for raw food and Orejen or Taste of the Wild. Plus fish oil. Never had a problem and mine is 2 years old!
(also keep them flea free)

fish oil worked
by: Anonymous

I am caring for a nine year old aussy.She has been itchy all her life. Her mistress has never solved it .It comes and goes but on a scale of one to five,it goes to five. Two months ago I started to give her fish oil.Now three things have happened. Her coat has softened and is really glossy,the capsules are her favorite dog treat and itching has been reduced to a one! I just give her the store brand capsules from Costco. She gets three with each meal and few more as treats during the day.

14 yr old itchy male Aussie
by: Sharon

We have a very itchy black tri male. Nothing we would do would help him. He is 14 years old. The vet called us and asked how he was doing, we said not good. His hair was falling out and he was constantly chewing and biting. She put him on a prescription medicine called APOQUEL. It has worked wonders. His fur is gorgeous, he didn't smell and the best thing is no biting or itching. We are sure that the rest of his he will be happier and so are we. Ask your vet about it, only after you have tried to eliminate other allergies.

Coconut Oil
by: Jill from Ohio

Isaiah has been getting approximately 2 Tbsp of Coconut oil on his food once per day for about 10 months now. He made it through the entire summer without one breakout of hives or the constant itching. He did not have to have any steroid treatments throughout the whole summer, which is the first time since he was born. During certain high pollen times I did have to treat him occasionally with benedryl for only a day or two if I noticed him itching or biting his feet a lot. I tried to wipe his feet when he would come in to help remove any pollen. The coconut oil has also helped with the shedding. He gets groomed every 8 weeks which also helps to control the shedding.

Itching Aussie
by: Anonymous

My Aussie is 11 years old and think his itchy Skin is due to our dryness in the house and in the summer, although not recommended, I have him shaved for the last two years to try and watch the dry skin better. Going to try The coconut oil and olive oil on his dry food, which I pay a lot for at the vets.Going to check to see if his food is grain fee as well. Today I poured Epsom Salt diluted with warm water and three drops of tea tree oil over his back. Will let you know if this helps within the week. Tomorrow going to use the same remedy with a a little milk added. Going to do this three times a week. Gave him a throughout combing first. Placed a hand towel over his back and drenched him over and over again. Took the towel and gently rubbed him. Let him dry a bit and took the very wet towel with the solution still on it and rubbed him again. Then covered HIM with a dry towel. Took the towel off and his skin looked amazing. Shrek is now sleeping and not itching. Keeping my fingers crossed. A 700.00 dollar vet Bill and no solution.
Love my old boy. He's given us much love. Hope to ease his discomfort.

itchy aussie
by: bill

My dog seems to get itchy in December and January each year and although I was told she had food allergies, any changes in her diet had no effect. I give her fish oil capsules, that I get with the Kirkland brand, from Costco. They're cheap and she loves them. I use them as dog treats as well. They're cheap and very beneficial to her and is given her glossy coat. I usually give her a half a dozen or so for meal and so when she started itching, I upped the number of capsules. I also used a lidocaine-based itch and hotspot spray to give her instant relief. within a month. Her itching had stopped and her fur had grown back. I'm the dog's Guardian and her owner has said the dog has itched for years nonstop. Now she scratches no more than any dog. Whether it was upping the fish oil or just the change of year I don't know. I do recommend the spray because although she did not like the application it gave her relief. Good luck!

Dog itchy
by: Tatedup

Somebody told me if you put coconut oil in their dog food it helps for dry skin

Itchy Aussie Tractor Supply Dog Food
by: Robin Carter

I started buying "4 Health Grain Free" dry food at Tractor Supply and adding a tsp of olive oil on his food and he rarely itches anymore. The best part is it's affordable!!! I also use Burts Bees Oatmeal shampoo for itchy skin to bathe him.

by: Anonymous

I rescued my 2-3 year old Aussie almost a year ago. I have researched and tried numerous things with no luck. I've tried allergy chews, grain free dog foods from Diamond Naturals and American Journey. I'm thinking my next food will be Blue Wilderness or Taste of the Wild. I have oatmeal shampoo that I take to groomer to have him bathed in. I've got oatmeal anti-itch spray too. All good brands because I love my handsome boy, Riley. He gets Sentinel Spectrum heartworm medicine that has stuff for fleas and he gets Nexguard chews that are for fleas. My daughter has a dog as well and there are no fleas in house or yard as she gets same meds. I'm reluctant to give him Benadryl but would consider a healthy alternative. Can someone tell me if they've had better luck with coconut oil? He already gets fish oil in his food with it being grain free. It seems all of them have salmon but maybe he needs more. I just don't know if I should give one or the other to help my itchy boy. I'd rather not have him put to sleep at vet for allergy testing. I'm open to advice as I hate seeing him suffer after trying so many things to help him.

My 2 yr old pure bread male Aussie
by: Naomi

I have a 2 yr old male Aussie, we’ve had him since he was 5 months old. However I would say that since last year off and on he itches something awful and I feel terrible cause I can’t seem to get him to stop itching. Can someone please tell me what can I do to stop his itching? And also the amount of hair he sheds is incredible, is there a specific deshedder?

3 month old Aussie mix
by: Anonymous

My Aussie mix is already having these issues. She scratches and licks aggressively. She doesn’t seem to have a rash and she def doesn’t have fleas. Her fur falls off easily and she ends up eating it when she licks herself. This has even caused her to be constipated. I see chunks of hair in her hard and dry stool.

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