Dog has Horrible Spreading Hot Spots and Skin Smells Like Bleach When Bathing?

My yorkie/poodle 10 yr old dog starting getting hot spots about a year ago. It is destroying his life, his skin, his fur and I don't know what to do. I have tried used tea bags, still working on that. Maybe it takes time.


The vet used to give him cortisone injections but it barely worked at all and only for about 2 days. I don't know how my dog even sleeps, poor thing. I have always kept him healthy, he's strong, active, and on Frontline for fleas. At one time the frontline seemed to stop working so i took him off for a month, put him on Advantage, that didn't work well and now he's back on Frontline. But he still has a small case of fleas.

I think that is causing him to chew at his back and have red skin and lose hair. All of his life he was flealess. Now I can't seem to figure out what is going on. Here is the strange thing!! I know that fleas when dying may have a slight odor. But when I give him a bath and I have tried baby shampoo, oatmeal, and other shampoos, his skin starts to bother him. He whimpers so I just pour more water on him to comfort him. He loves to be warm... But I have noticed every time that the lather of soap has a very unpleasant bleach smell, almost that of gasoline.

As soon as he is bathed and brushed and pretty he goes back at his skin and looks like a dirty mangled up mess. He knots up his hair from excessive CHEWING.

Can somebody tell me what is going on?! This dog is my baby, and this time I don't have any way of helping him. I have a feeling that baths now hurt him. Sorry about the drawn out problem. Just thought all those details were important.


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September 16, 20040 found this helpful

Hot spots can be caused by many different things, bacteria, mange, ringworm, allergies, fleas, mites, scabies, all kinds of things. Whatever the poor little guy has, if your vet hasn't been able to give you any results, I'd consider calling another one.


Cortisone doesn't cure a problem, it just makes it so they don't itch so bad so don't damage themselves as much. It works well for a dog that is allergic to flea bites and is in the process of getting rid of the fleas.

If you think it is the fleas, there is a cortisone pet spray that seems to sooth spots. It might help. But you still must get rid of the fleas or the problem will just come back.

It might be best to bathe him with just warm water because the shampoo might be aggravating the problem if he wimpers after the soap has been put on him. I've never heard of a smell like that but it might be a symptom of something, a vet would know that.

Hope you find a way to make your little pal more comfortable.
- Susan

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By Vicki (Guest Post)
September 17, 20040 found this helpful

I would definitely find another vet. There's no excuse for the vet not helping your poor dog. I know my vet has always been on top of anything I've brought him & I've always had dogs. It could be anything, like Susan said. It also could be an allergy caused by the shampoo, something outside or any amount of things including fleas. If you never had a flea problem before has something changed like a neighbor who has a flea problem now? You have to get rid of them on the dog & in your house at the same time.


There's a ton of info. about getting your house free of them on this site. Personally, I haven't had a flea problem for a long long time & I don't use anything. I also wouldn't put any of the chemicals mentioned on this forum on my dog. They are strong poisons that can affect a dog's health short & long term. As far as allergies, dogs, just like people, can develop them at any age when previously it wasn't a problem. I would explore all options.

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By jonnie (Guest Post)
September 17, 20040 found this helpful

I had a dog that had a horrible "hot Spot" as well several years ago. I kept Neosporin on her and I had to put a "collar" on her to keep her from continuing to chew at herself. I agree w/the other writer, you need to consult the vet and your baby may need a shot of some type. But you definatley need to keep her from chewing at the spots.


I also kept my dog wrapped w/and ace bandage to keep the spot protected while the ointment was on her. The collar I am talking about is the kind that looks like and lamp shade. It does not allow the dog to reach back and "dig" at themselves. Good luck! Oh by the way if the dog has long hair keep it trimmed around the "hot spot" too. Just so you can keep that area very clean.

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September 17, 20041 found this helpful


Have you tried anything with tea tree oil? I am an Independent Watkins Associate, and we carry a product called Botanical Pet Shampoo. The shampoo contins Aloe Vera, Lemon Oil, Tea Tree Oil, and Silk Amino Acids/Vitamin E. The Aloe Vera helps with moisturizing and conditioning the coat, the Lemon Oil cleans and acts as a flea repellent and smells great, the Tea Tree oil has mildly antiseptic properties, and the Vitamin E is a source of protein and an antioxidant moisturizer for a shiny coat and healthy skin.


If you would like me to send you a catalog with the information, I can. Just e-mail me.

Trudy Powell

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By (Guest Post)
September 17, 20040 found this helpful

My dog had hot spots for years. We went through the cortisone, allergy pills and home remedies. My vet finally diagnosed it as a yeast infection. He gave a shampoo called Malaseb. You bathe them with it and leave on for 10 in the bath. Then rinse it off. Now his skin is great. No hot spots. Hope this helps.

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August 12, 20170 found this helpful

I gonna see if I could get this

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By Linda (Guest Post)
September 17, 20040 found this helpful

Have you thought about the food you are feeding your dog? Most of the average dog food that you can buy today is made from bad ingredients. Much of it is the left over inedible parts of chickens such as the bones, feathers and body parts, etc. Alot of grain hulls and otherwise unuseable stuff. Not much nutrition in it and in my opinion, a lot of harmful stuff. I think most people would be shocked if they knew what is in the food that they feed to their dogs and cats.

When my daughter was small we had a dog with really bad skin problems. The older she got, the worse the problem got. Nothing seemed to help and her life at the end was pretty miserable. Back then we did not know much about dog food quality and fed her the cheap stuff.

Today my daughter has an enormous love for dogs and has researched dog food ingredients extensively. We have 2 chihuahuas and 3 mixed breed dogs. One of the chihuahuas has skin problems and putting her on a "premium" dog food has taken care of the problem. We use Eukanuba brand. All of our dogs have beautiful, shiny coats and none have any skin problems.

This alone may not take care of your problem since there may be health or flea problems making it worse. However, I think it will be a good beginning and it certainly can't hurt.

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February 13, 20180 found this helpful

I would like a catalog

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By linda (Guest Post)
September 17, 20040 found this helpful

It sounds like your poor dog has some major allergies going on. Could be food, fleas, shampoo or even laundry soap from towels, bedding or your clothing. Allergies are hard to discover-you may have to try an elimination diet. Also, have you tried giving him over the counter Benadryl? Since he is a little guy, check with vet as to dosage. Maybe a half tab or so will be right, (Buy the generic).
Editor's Note: 1/2 tab sounds like too much to me because he's a tiny dog. Be sure to ask the vet first.

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By jodi (Guest Post)
September 17, 20040 found this helpful

Our little girl Stubby had the same problem an one thing that might help your little one is a product called Bag Balm. One thing it will not hurt if they lick it as this is made for mother cows udders that are if it wont hurt the baby calfs it will not hurt our little ones (I check with our vet..he said it was fine to use) then what we did an it also work was to mix 1/3 Listerine mouth wash with 1/3 Baby oil
an 1/3 water an keep in a spray bottle. this has help so much an so fast too. I do hope this works for your little one. yes they are our little babies an when they hurt or uncomfortable so are we. I also check with our vet for the spray an he said it was fine

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September 17, 20040 found this helpful

I agree with Vicki - this vet has had a very good chance to solve the problem. You sound like a caring owner - change vets!



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By gazookeeper (Guest Post)
September 18, 20040 found this helpful

Give your baby a zinc tablet (the kind you could take too ) every day. Zinc always helps skin problems & it's cheap.

Jeffers vet supplies (you can order online) has something called "luv drops" that helps too. It's a vitamin supplement in a treat form.
Another option is go to a health food store. They have homeopathic remedies that work naturally with no side effects. Look for sulfur pills-they work on skin problems. They are tiny and dissolve in their mouths.

I also agree that you should find another vet.

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September 18, 20040 found this helpful

It sounds like you have gotten some great advice from the other posters. I always use baby shampoo watered down by half and 10 drops of tea tree oil added to the shampoo, this will heal the spots, its an anti-fungal oil, but very very strong smelling, it could be what you are smelling if you vet has put your dog on a specific shampoo, tea tree is related to the Eucalyptus tree.tea tree oil also works for keeping fleas away. But with any information you get your homework first, call another vet in the area and see if they can give you info over the phone. whats good for a lab may not be right for a small dog. our vet gave us a pink goop to put on the hot worked well. Good Luck to both of you

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By K9 (Guest Post)
September 18, 20040 found this helpful

It sounds like the fleas may be your problem. Some dogs can have 1 flea & it will really cause problems. You might also try a vingar rinse. It helps to kill bacteria. Also giving him a Fish Oil supplement would be good for his skin.

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By LPFUSCH (Guest Post)
September 18, 20041 found this helpful

My cat had this problem as well. We treated and treated him for fleas and he is an indoor cat and has never been outside in his life. Well after numerous visits to the vet because he kept getting sick and vomiting, his skin was a mess he had almost no fur left on him and he kept having hairballs. It finally became apparent that he did not have fleas he was allergic to poultry by products. The vet had very expensive food and gave me the first bag free to try. Let me tell you his problem cleared almost overnight.

Within one week he had fur again, had not vomited, showed no sign of scratching and was his old self, however he is a piggy. However the cost of that food would sink us with in a month or so our budget is that tight. I went to my local pet quarters and showed them the bag the vet gave me they had a similar by product free brand at half the price. It's called wellness and they have it for dogs as well as cats. It may be that your poor puppy is allergic to his food, dear. Try it may just be the answer you are looking for.

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By Grandkub (Guest Post)
October 11, 20040 found this helpful

My 13 1/2 year old multi-lab has dealth with hot spots for the past 7 years. Sometimes though was stress, not too often fleas but now with his age just want to keep him comfortable. Even now seems to have a ganglion(sp??) over his shoulders. Taking him to the vet tomorrow.

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November 6, 20040 found this helpful

Some people I know have had great success with Palmolive dish soap it is safe for young pups and pregnant moms as well. It kills fleas and I have used it in the past. Another thing to do is spray your yard with a mixture of half water half bleach this will kill fleas too. Let it dry before dog goes out. Monthly application works well.

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By (Guest Post)
November 15, 20040 found this helpful

my dog is 11 years old and has recently really started having skin problems. I am starting her on fish oil supplements and I made a solution that caused the eczema spots to scale off , it consists of this refrigerated and applied with a dropper. aloe vera,calamine, few drops tea tree oil,wheat germ oil and vitamin e oil, i even put shark liver oil in it and flax seed oil, I have heard that coconut oil works well too. I am also giving her orally, benadryl.""""""""""

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January 13, 20050 found this helpful

I have a corgi/sheltie mix. At about one year of age, he began having horrible hotspots,dry hair and scaly skin, and he stunk so bad my whole house smelled like him. I love him so much though that I was willing to put up with it while I looked for a cure.

The vet (I no longer listen to vets, as I no longer listen to doctors, it's a money game), said he was allergic to fleas, which is true, and that I should put him on frontline or some other such product. I was desperate, as it broke my heart and I felt so helpless as I watched him whine and scratch 24/7.

About 15 minutes after appyling the flea product I figured out that fleas weren't the only thing he was allergic to,he began to throw up green stuff. I was then told by the vets office that I needed to buy a special shampoo costing about 25.00, because regular shampoos were killing the effects of the frontline or whatever it was and that there was no way he was allergic to the flea product.

So then I was off on a quest for shampoos that didn't cost so much and were safe to the product. He still had the same reaction to the product and still had fleas and still had the stinky sympptoms.

I then began researching natural cures and natural flea products (as I am a natural cure nut myself) to no avail, they were not potent enough. I was going NUTS, but I am a very determined person and believe where there is a will there is a way!! I found a lady in a wholistic pet store who rightly informed me that fleas will attack animals that have a poor immune system as opposed to a strong one.

I did notice that my Pomeranian didn't have near as many fleas. So I began supplementing their water supply (per her instructions), with liquid enzymes made by a wholistic supplier at 15.00 for a 16 OUNCE BOTTLE. This helped but did not completely rid him of this plague.

So back to the drawing board and the internet for more research armed with the knowledge I had acquired while on this year long quest. I stumbled onto a website that accurately described his symptoms and guaranteed one of their products to rid him of his skin problems. I checked out their other products and knowing most dogfoods have no nutritional value (especially the ones sold in grocery stores, I was very impressed with what I saw and learned on their website.

For instance, a dogs dry food should be supplemented with canned food. Would you want to eat just trail mix all the time? I don't think so!!!

I ordered this bottle of miracle cure, cans of their stew, thier wonderful smelling natural oil shampoo, a jar of their supplements, thier natural dip for in between bath treatments, and a bottle of natural ear treatment for he has stinky, problem ears also. I also upgraded his dry food to a brand called Natural Balance which is wonderful and even has one for allergy's.

Within two weeks of beginning these products I saw a distinct difference and within one month all symptoms were gone. FINALLY, THE CURE I HAD PRAYED FOR!! I bath him once a week following instructions, I leave his dry food down all the time and I feed him the canned food every other day and add the miricle cure by directions, along with his vitamin supplement. I use the ear product and dip as needed.

I have been using these products now for about a year and am ecstatic and never miss a chance to spread the word. Today, both my dogs smell great, and their coats are glossy and soft, they are alert and very energetic. If, between shampoos the Corgi gets a flea on him he will scratch and get maybe one little spot on him but I just use the dip spray and problem gone.

Also, I found out he is allergic to anything with wheat products in it and most canned foods and doggie treats do. Natural balance has treats that are wheat free. I know by now you are screaming "WHAT IS THE NAME OF THE PRODUCTS?' Okay,okay. They are made by a company called HALO out of PALM HARBOR, FLORIDA. The miracle cure is Dreamcoat, the shampoo is Cloud Nine, the canned food(which by the way is so nutritious it is fit for human consumption) is called Spot's Stew, the supplement is Vita-dream Green's (as their vita-min real mix has wheat), and the ear product is Ear Wash. They have other products as well.

TRY THIS, you won't be disappointed. These products are moderately expensive, but last for months. the shampoo for two dogs lasts three months, the Dreamcoat does too. Buying all products together was not as expensive as one trip to the vet. By the way, that bleach smell is the chemicals of the flea product (Advantage?) you are using mixed with the smell of the irritated skin, as it uses the oil glands to move down the body to kill the fleas. I know because that is the exact smell my dog had after applying the flea product to him. It scared me when I learned that these products actually penetrate the skin and enter the dog's system.


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February 10, 20050 found this helpful

I agree with the posts that recommend a premium pet food like eukanuba, science diet, my yorkie was having the same problem until I started feeding him Royal Canin for yorkies and his appetite is much better also. the dog foods in grocery stores are just junk, not good for your dog .

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By Lynne Fox (Guest Post)
September 18, 20050 found this helpful

I have read about your baby with hot spots etc. Along with thinking about foods and fleas one must also think about allergies. Prior to testing for allergies, please try this and let me know. Make this shampoo please and bath when necessary. Buy the largest bottle of Palmolive dish soap-add 2 tsps of white vinegar and 1 tsp of glycerin. All should cost under 5.00 dollars. This will eliminate fleas without using poison as what is in sprays etc. For the hot spots, surprisingly enough with you using the word bleach--mix 1/4 bleach to 1 cup of plain water. Pour over hot spot and then sprinkle liberally with Medicated Gold Bond Powder. Remember dogs have no pores on their body so they do not feel any pain from bleach nor do they change color. If the powder is applied after-the hot spot should dry up in less than a day. I judge for the American Kennel Club and that doesn't offer me solutions but it sure let's me hear all stories and I after 30 years keep learning.
Best of luck to you and your pal,
Lynne Fox

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By laj52 (Guest Post)
September 18, 20050 found this helpful

julie do you or anyone in the family beside the baby (dog) have any itching i have something but no drs. know what it is. or don't want to know.pets and people both have this stuff we call it morgellens. u can go to lymebusters and read and get some info.hope this helps...

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By Paula (Guest Post)
March 29, 20060 found this helpful

Do any of you know what is really in dog food? There is a book called "Food Pets Die For" by Ann Martin. Here's an exerpt from the book it will make you wnat to throw up and because these big dog food companies have tons of money we believe them. Guess again. Here it goes. "I also learned that there are many deplorable ingredients that legally can be used in pet foods as a source of protein-in particular, euthanized cats and dogs, diseased cattle and horses, roadkill, dead zoo animals, and meat not fit for human consumption. In addition, sources of fiber in many foods are composed of leftovers from the food chain including beet pulp, the residue of sugar beets, peanut hulls, and even sawdust sweepings form the floor of the rendering plant" this was an exerpt from the book Food Pets Die For" by Ann N. Martin. This also includes pet food such as Science Diet, Iams, Eukanuba etc. The only kind of dog food you should feed is a human grade dog food and it would say human grade right on the package. One of these human grade foods for dogs in called Back to Basics. Where I live there is a CountryMax store and they sell it, but if you have a reputable pet store they should know about it and get it for you. Please borrow, buy or look at an exerpt of the book on the web this is no joke. If you love your dog, like you love your kids, please do something and feed the dog better, if nothing else, find the information for yourself. This may help your dog. Good luck.

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By raelene mercer (Guest Post)
September 6, 20070 found this helpful

The answers are in his food (i feed raw Steve's real food from pet store)
plus his shampoos (natural brands such as halo suggested, no poisonous advantage crap please) and his supplements are important.

Avoid baths that are too warm. mildest of shampoos.

ADD Skin So Soft to keep insects at bay, plus it moistens his fur and skin!

read again about the lady above that describes halo stuff. it really works.

Sincerely, a french bulldog owner of 9yrs who used to have same problems.

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By Samantha (Guest Post)
November 28, 20070 found this helpful

My dog even when he doesn't have fleas, itches. They have itch sprays with cortisone and oils too. Plus the vet can give them allergy meds. Buy revolution clears and prevents lots of stuff. It is pricey but so worth it. My dog never has skin problems anymore.

Only use dog shampoo on an animal, and try puppy or sensitive skin shampoo. Human shampoos have different ph balance, which is bad for your animals, It screws up their coat and skin, along with their hormonal balance.

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December 3, 20070 found this helpful

I couldn't possibly read all these posts so I may say what somebody already said,,,I would stick with what my VETERINARIAN says and leave the home remedies alone. Maybe I feel this way cause I've been married to a vet for many, many years and I've seen all sorts of itch and skin problems made worse by trying this and that and not ever finding the problem. You use Frontline and still have fleas. Something's wrong here! Frontline WORKS! I would first of all cut his hair very short (it'll grow) so he and you DOCTOR.

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By Shane (Guest Post)
January 9, 20080 found this helpful

From what I have learned form educated experts you have to shave the dog and apply antibacterial medicine to the affected areas. The problem is it sounds like moist Eczema so you need to dry out these areas by shaving to air out and applying antibacterial solution. This can also have a root cause of a food allergy so avoid foods containing grain especially corn.
So switch food but do it gradually or the dog will get the runs.
If that dont do it you might have to get more extensive in a process of elimination to find out what the dog is allergic to.
Start with a base food of duck or fish and potatoes this provides meat and starch the dog needs then go from there.
I am in the same battle and this is what I have learned so far Be Blessed!

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By (Guest Post)
July 4, 20080 found this helpful

Lots of interesting ideas here. When I was growing up, we had a golden retriever that developed a condition that sounds like this, and someone (not a vet) said it was mange. Regardless, it made our dog miserable, and did have a terrible odor, though I don't recall that it smelled like bleach. A neighbor who owned a dog boarding kennel suggested that we (gently) swab the rash with straight hydrogen peroxide several times a day until the rash healed up (inexpensive, at the drug store). This stuff doesn't cause any discomfort, and the rashes did always heal after a few days.

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By Mary (Guest Post)
October 20, 20080 found this helpful

Try bathing you dog with liquid Tide (washing powder) its good for killing fleas and ticks my mom and sister have used it for years you can use a spray called bitter apple to spray on the spots he's biting on I've used it on two of my poodles their hair is coming back and looks beautiful,

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By Bev (Guest Post)
December 15, 20080 found this helpful

I can't believe most of theses posts are recommending Bleach and Tide baths. How harsh. I wont even use this stuff on my clothing. Ph balanced cleaner or shampoo should be used to bathe only once a month. I use my shampoo.

A natural food based multi vitamin like the Shaklee brand, not synthetic vitamins, B-Complex, Garlic, Omega Guard and Optiflora have given my dog relief after under going antibiotic treatments leaving him with hot spots (skin infection). He smelled like yeast. I also switched to a dog food called Blue.

Usually hot spots are due to a lowered immune system from all the antibiotics dogs get in their diet, low nutritional value foods, treats and over prescribing of antibiotics. Could be allergies too, which again is caused by lowered immune function.

His coat is incredible now and rarely sheds. Get to the problem and that is boosting the immune system, not covering it up with lotions, potions and harsh remedies.

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August 7, 20130 found this helpful

Sorry to hear your poor Dogs suffering. This is a common problem caused by numerous factors. Change your Veterinarian ask about other name products but mainly try and establish where all these fleas are coming from and take action to eliminate them.

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September 22, 20130 found this helpful

Hi There,
I know this is an old posting, but I need to put in my 2 cents. About there being something wrong,when advantage/frontline don't get rid of all the fleas necessarily. I have had that happen also, and our long time vet said that our area was experiencing a huge flea infestation, and if one of the topical products didn't work, try the other brand.

Also that these were becoming ineffective more and more, because the fleas were developing a tolerance to them. I don't understand how, since fleas life spans are so short.

I too take issue with using these in the first place.They die from ingesting a poison that has gone throught my dogs system. How can it not hurt my dog? Maybe not now, but you never know. Think of how many times,we're told that somethings safe and effective, and then it's pulled from market from serious side effects that took years to develop.

I had 4 dogs and 3 cats at that time,and among other things I did,I read to use dawn dishwashing detrgent.Run of the mill,plain dawn.It's obviously safe,or it would'nt be used to clean wildlife that's been covered in oil,from a spill.

When I could see a flea/fleas,i put a dab of dawn on it,and it died right then.also,when bathing,I'd do the same.I also had flea combs in every room,and flea combed all 7 religously.The dogs loved it,the cats..not so much.

I was really relieved to read that your 4 legged child was so much better.Oh...and as other's have already said,a dog that has a flea sensitivity/allergy can really suffer from just ONE flea bite.

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May 21, 20160 found this helpful

Try WEN Cleansing conditioner for dogs, it does not dry out there skin, over time it might help your dogs coat. I use it on my dog she has a beautiful coat. I do have her on a allergy medicine to control her itching.

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