I have a shih tzu/bichon-mix who scratches his face a lot. There are no fleas, and his vet can find no apparent reason for the itching. Could you advise me of the best way to solve this problem?
V.E., Fort Myers, FL Jul 31, 2012
The itchy face condition in dogs can be linked with oral health problems like gingivitis, so a thorough oral examination is called for to rule out this possibility. Another possibility is chronic conjunctivitis, which is often associated with one or more turned-in eyelashes. This is a common issue that I trust your veterinarian ruled out. Some face-rubbing dogs show significant improvement when plastic food and water bowls are replaced with steel or ceramic ones. In other instances, the fur around their lips must be trimmed and their mouths wiped with a baby wipe containing soothing lavender and aloe extracts after every meal. Some dogs develop a hypersensitivity to certain food ingredients, and those treatments can provide immediate relief. If all else fails, you may want to transition your dog onto a different diet -- one that contains a single protein as a food allergy elimination test. Providing filtered/purified drinking water rather than straight tap water may be advisable. For details, see my report on my website, www.DrFoxVet.com. Finally, coming into contact with wool or synthetic fibers could set up some facial irritation, so have him sleep on clean cotton towels or sheets laundered with a scent- and fragrance-free detergent.
Because of Dr. Fox’s schedule, he cannot accept nor respond to e-mails concerning
pet health and behavioral problems. You may find answers in his
Archives section and in his
Special Reports. If you have a
pet emergency, please contact your nearest veterinary hospital or clinic.