Dry, itchy, red skin on paws, tummies, ears etc. is a too common problem in dogs, cats and horses. The symptoms are pretty obvious; scratching, rubbing, biting and even pulling out hair and fur. Clearly this problem is uncomfortable and even painful.
Vets go after these symptoms with steroids, antibiotics and antihistamines, but these only suppress the symptoms, driving the problem deeper into the body, usually resulting in more and stronger meds prescribed as the symptoms recur. Most importantly, the meds, all with potential side effects, don't get to the cause of the problem.
Vets are usually adept at diagnosing the causes of most skin issues. Is it mites, bacteria, fungus (yeast), allergic reactions to outside influences like chemicals on grass, carpets, bedding, etc.? Or is it an internal cause like a food allergy, genetic hand-me-down? Once they have a diagnosis, they usually prescribe one or more of the above, which is not ideal.
I recommend that you get the diagnosis, but unless your animal is really suffering, hold of on the meds until you've explored less damaging options.
1) Balanced, "species appropriate" diet with raw or lightly cooked meats, veggies and calcium/phosphorus balancing supplements. This really is the foundation for healing.
3) Acupuncture and herbs
4) Stress reducing flower remedies
5) Omega 3's
In the meantime, here's an herbal recipe you can use to create a lovely, gentle "rinse" for your animal. It's even safe to use on open scratches, scabs and sores and helps inhibit bacterial infection.
"Soothing Skin Rinse" c/o Mary Wuff-Tilford & Greg L Tilford
Use the following organic dry herbs in equal parts. (You can choose all of the "c" herbs or just one or two), cover with boiled water and steep as a tea for 10-15 minutes:
bee balm leaves
sage leaves (not for cats)
thyme leaves (not for cats)
yarrow leaves (not for cats)
When cooled, soak your animal's foot or feet for as long as they're comfortable, or pour over the effected area, Don't pour into an ear. Dab the outside or inside of the ear with a soaked cotton ball or pad. You can also soak thick gauze or a wash cloth or towel (preferably unbleached and undyed) with the rise and wrap it around the effected body part so your companion doesn't lick it all off.
Normally you can keep it in the frig for a day or two. Using it cold on your animal, may sound good to you, but it's not likely comfortable for them. Room temperature is better.
In conclusion, if you can use gentle, holistic solutions for skin issues, your beloved will have a much better chance of truly healing and avoiding chronic skin problems. It may take longer, but it will be worth the effort!
Let me know if/when I can help.
With Love, Your Voice of Animals,