For the past 5 years, I’ve had a very itchy Bluenose Pitbull with skin allergies. This journey has been long and exhausting with little to no comfort for my baby girl, Princess Leia. In this post, I want to focus on her condition from the very beginning.
My hope for writing this post is to help others going through a similar situation with their Bluenose Pitbull. When it comes to a dog’s skin allergies, you tend to see the same patterns reappear over time. These symptoms are often suppressed with prescription drugs, but are never truly healed.
I am not someone who is entirely against conventional veterinary care, but I do have a problem with how much emphasis is placed on suppressive medication.
My dog’s First Symptom: Ear Allergies
Back in 2015, I adopted Princess Leia from a family member to prevent her from going to the humane society. Because of Leia’s age, breed, and behavioral issues, I knew she would most likely be euthanized.
I couldn’t let this happen, so I adopted Leia. And let me tell you, she was a HANDFUL from the very beginning! She did not listen and constantly challenged my authority as her new pet owner. It took a long time for Leia to respect me. Now you can’t separate us! She really is my emotional support dog.
A few weeks after adopting Leia, I noticed her ears were terrible. They had been unprofessionally cropped before I adopted her and were red and irritated. I took Leia to the vet and the veterinarian was shocked at the condition of her ears. She said whoever cropped her ears did a horrible job and didn’t know what they were doing.
It gets worse. Not only did the person not know what they were doing, but they used what appeared to be fishing wire to stitch up her ears AND never removed the sutures! I was horrified and asked the vet what needed to be done.
My vet advised me to set up an appointment to put Leia under anesthesia so she could remove the remaining sutures. I agreed and we set up the appointment. After the appointment, my vet prescribed Leia some antibiotics and sent us on our way.
Bluenose Pitbull ear allergies continue
After Leia’s surgery, her ears started to look better, but she eventually developed severe ear infections that were physically hot to the touch. I tried cleaning Leia’s ears, but she would yelp out in pain. Since I couldn’t control the infection on my own, I ended up taking Leia to the vet where they prescribed her more antibiotics. I’m telling you, continuing to suppress your dog’s allergy symptoms is a vicious cycle!
During this season of Leia’s allergies, we were feeding her kibble from Costco because the bag was HUGE and cheap.
Ear allergies turn into skin allergies
Once we were able to get Leia’s ears somewhat under control with antibiotics and regular ear cleanings, she then started developing skin allergies. She would have rashes on her belly and armpit area and her paws were red and irritated from the constant licking.
We or course went back to the vet and they prescribed Leia MORE antibiotics and steroids (Prednisone). At this point I realized Leia’s condition wasn’t normal and was increasingly getting worse.
Since Leia’s skin allergies were becoming a reoccurring issue, my vet advised me to switch her dog food to rule out a possible food allergy. The only dog food I was familiar with at the time was the Costco brand, so I went out and bought Costco’s turkey kibble.
Unfortunately, I didn’t see any improvements to Leia’s condition. I thought maybe I just needed to find the right dog food, so I started trying different brands to see if I could find one that cleared up her skin allergies. I even tried everything from grain free, lentil free, soy free, you name it. Nothing worked.
2018: Leia’s skin allergies get worse!
In 2018, Leia had her worst allergy flare-up ever. As you can see in the picture above, she was miserable. She had hot spots all over her body and she was losing hair in various places. Her groin area and paws were also red and irritated.
The vets couldn’t figure out if she was having seasonal or food allergies, so they decided to put Leia on Apoquel. To be honest, Apoquel worked quickly, and although I didn’t want her on it long term, it was my only option.
During this season, we also switched Leia to Orijen and then Acana dog food. These two brands, made by the same company, are supposedly high quality dog kibble, costing around $80 a bag.
It was hard to figure out if Leia’s symptoms were improving because of Apoquel or because of the change in her dog food, but for the first time in a few months, Leia didn’t have to wear the cone of shame 24/7. I was hoping her allergies were gone forever, but as you know, this was wishful thinking. Checkout next week’s post to see Leia’s current condition.
Helpful Products for Pitbulls with skin allergies
Before I end this blog post about my bluenose pitbull with skin allergies, I wanted share a few products that have helped keep Leia’s allergies under control during her flare-ups.
- Skin/ Paw Soother: I use the Skin Soother ointment from The Natural Dog Company on my Bluenose Pitbull’s paws and chin area to prevent bacterial infections.
- Calendula Ointment: I use this ointment on Leia’s chin and butt when they get dry and chapped. It’s a safe homeopathic ointment that I even use on myself.
- Dog Paw Washer: To keep Leia’s paws clean in between baths, I wash her paws with the dog paw washer filled with water and Betadine.
- Dr. Mercola Lavender Shampoo: This lavender scented soap is organic and gentle to use on a weekly basis because the soap doesn’t strip your dog’s natural oils like other shampoos.
- Malaseb Medicated Dog Shampoo: When Leia’s skin allergies are really bad and she smells like yeast, I bathe her with this vet prescribed medicated dog shampoo. I leave it on for about 15 minutes so it can kill off any fungus or bacteria infections.
- Dechra TrizULTRA Ear Wash: I use this ear wash after bathing Leia. It’s very gentle and doesn’t sting like other ear washes.
Wearable items for Pitbulls with skin allergies
- Dog shoes: Every time Leia goes outside, she wears these rubber dog boots from Petco. They prevent her paws from coming into contact with environmental allergens.
- Foxtail Mask: I purchased The Outfox Foxtail Mask after my little dog got a foxtail shoved up his nose. Checkout my blog post here where I go over the mask in detail.
- Suitical Recovery Suit: If your dog scratches their belly raw, try this dog suit. It worked well for Leia and gave me peace of mind when I had to leave her home alone.
- The Cone of Shame: Unfortunately, this is an absolute must have for a dog with skin allergies. If Leia doesn’t wear this cone during her allergy flare-ups, she will literally engage in self-mutilation 😩.