"Holistic veterinary medicine is a form of healing that considers the whole patient–body, mind, and spirit–in its approach to achieving optimum health and eliminating the root causes of disease. The holistic approach is gentle, minimally invasive, and incorporates patient emotions and well-being. Holistic thinking is centered on love, empathy, and respect." - The American Holistic Veterinary Association
Sometimes, itchy skin is totally resolved by switching from commercial dog food to a fresh, raw diet, because dogs can be sensitive to one of the myriad of mystery ingredients found in every commercial diet.
And other times, though rarely, a dog is sensitive to a particular protein. Eliminate the protein, and the problem resolves.
But, what happens if you already feed a fresh diet, and your poor dog continues to scratch and itch? What if there are obvious patches of irritated skin, or even bare patches? What if your vet wants to prescribe icky, expensive prescription diets, steroids, injections, or other drugs?
That is the question I posed to our favorite holistic veterinarian, Dr. Kevin Landau, who heads a very busy practice in Belchertown, Massachusetts. Since he has gently, kindly, and successfully treated our own dogs and a gazillion of our customers' beloved dogs over many, many years, he was generous enough to share his protocol for getting to the bottom of this itchy problem.
He admits that it is difficult to figure out, but here is his process:
Timing with vaccines
Flea & tick prevention
Timing with the seasons (worse or better in Winter or Summer)
Check for food sensitivities using the Nutriscan test from Hemopet.
Dr. Landau then uses supplements and herbs to restore balance to the body, along with lymphatic drainage protocols which helps with itch, to see what works best to resolve the problem.
This is certainly a gentle, reasonable approach.
Do you have an itchy dog? If you feed your dog a commercial diet, first try eliminating ALL commercial food and treats, because so many times, the culprit lies in one or more of the ingredients in that food, as mentioned. Try a fresh diet with limited ingredients for at least a month, and if you're local, Napa Fresh is a perfect place to start.
If that doesn't work, stick with the fresh diet, but try eliminating one protein at a time to see if you have the rare dog who actually is sensitive to a particular protein.
And, if your dog is still itchy, consider seeing a holistic veterinarian before you agree to treat your dog with steroids or other powerful drugs, or instead of using the standard treatment prescribed by most veterinarians.
This holistic protocol could make all the difference, and save your dog from not only itchy skin, but the side effects from the drugs, not to mention the expense.
If you are considering this approach, Dr. Landau can be reached at 413-323-6055.