fleas? or allergies?

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oops theres a- wall there!
Barked: Mon Jan 21, '13 6:42am PST 
ok, so recently zoey has been quite itchy and due to this her hair on the backside has gotten thinner. she has had fleas before and this hasn't happened, and we are treating her for fleas but we really don't see any on her. this started happening when we changed her food and I've read before that catahoulas have allergies to certain foods. so we have gone back to her original food, she's been back on it a couple of days now but no difference (I undersstand it won't happen over night) but I was wondering how you tell the difference. it would be one thing if I actually saw the fleas, but we might see one every once in a while. any ideas or help would be awesome!

I'm triple- superior MAD- now!
Barked: Mon Jan 21, '13 7:39am PST 
Sassy was allergic to fleas. I saw maybe a couple dozen on her in the 16 years she was with us. Often I could find flea poop by putting a wet paper towel on the floor under her rump and giving her a good butt scritch. Dark dots that dissolve reddish are flea poop.

If you suspect fleas then get to work. Put flea drops on her and keep it up to date. Vacuum the house and put borax or diatomeous earth down then vacuum that up after half an hour. Wash dog bedding. You may need to treat outside as well. In warm weather there are predatory nematodes you can use. There are commercial services that use special borax that works longer than the grocery store stuff. Flea comb before coming in the house after walks. When you give baths let her keep the shampoo on for a bit to kill fleas.

A flea bite lasts a short time then the flea is off the dog. The itch from that bite can last for weeks. As Sassy aged the itch lasted longer and longer until she finally bit herself enough to create hot spots. At that point I gave up and put her on Temeril P which has a combination of antihistamine and steroid. She took the tiniest of doses, .25mg of that steroid a day. That is a last resort, even that tiny amount could have serious consequences over time.

I wondered if more fat would help as skin is a fatty organ but fish oil on its own didn't do much. Try fish oil anyway, it is unlikely the omega 3 fatty acids in kibbles are in very good shape after a bag has been opened for long. Some find coconut oil does great things for the coat, Sassy hated the stuff after a while and it didn't do anything for her.