Small flakes from my itchy dog!


11 Years
Apr 10, 2008
Meet "Tails"
He was sleeping like that and the flash woke him. Though he was a "free" puppy, I've already spend over $1k on vet, training, grooming and toys. He's my third dog, so I'm not truly a novice.

He's about 13 months old, and is the result of an unspayed mutt + some neighbors Border Collie. My guess the mom had some German Shep in her. When I picked him up at ~8 weeks of age he had a terrible flea infestation, so bad I ended up looking like I had chicken pox (as I am allergic as well I learned).

My dilemma is that I pick up/vacuum constantly these sesame sized (and colored) flakes of ?????? from my dog. They don't look like bugs, but something similar to flakes of wax.

After many showers, trips to the vet for drops, and inside living. I believe he is flea free! He is on Sentinel (fleas, heartworms, hookworms, roundworms and whipworms) and gets Nutro Max with a supplemental Fish Oil. HE IS STILL ITCHY. The last time I went to the vet, they said that many puppies are and they usually grow out of it. But sometimes he's still so itchy he uses the carpet if scratching isn't enough.

I have no idea what's plaguing him. As far as switching food I was thinking to something with fewer ingredients and limit the grains to rice. If it's something preventable or stoppable I would like to do everything in my power to help him.


12 Years
Jul 26, 2007
East Texas
After working in a pet store with premium dog foods I would say switch his food. A lot of dog's skin problems can be followed back to what they are eating. The majority of most grocery store brand dog foods are filled with corn, beef, and other by-products.

Think about it. Dogs are carnivores. People don't post in the predator section because dogs, foxes, coyotes, or wolves are getting into their garden and eating their corn they are eating the birds. Realistically there is going to be some vegetable matter in dog foods as a filler. If it was ll meat it would be to expensive. You definitely do not want corn to be the first ingredient.

I know Nutro Max is a premium dog food, but it is on the lower end. If you have a store near you that is still able to get Nutro's natural Balance Lamb and Rice lines, I would try that. It is a little more expensive but unlike the Max line (which is Chicken and Rice - I believe); their premium line is lamb and rice. However due to changes in the economy US citizens are consuming less lamb than before. Therefore Nutro is phasing out a lot of their lamb and rice diets because in order to get the ingredients they are having to pay more for premium/ choice cuts instead of the left over stuff. If they do that they have to charge more for their food. Nutro also has a few formulas like Venison and Brown Rice that you might try. I think that one is a limited ingredient one though... They have treats to finish their line off as well.

It might be better if you go to a dog food that currently isn't having any problems with their ingredients like Dick Van Patten's Natural Choice. They have some awesome foods and they have treats to finish their line. They are more expensive but if you are having trouble with Nutro I would try them. Some of their formulas include Duck and Potato, Sweet Potato and fish, and several others.

Other benefits o switching to premium dog foods include:

The dog has to consume less dog food: therefore, they eat less, meaning they poo less.

Depending on where you buy it, most premium dog foods back their products. If you are unsatisfied with the results or your dog one eat it they will buy it back from you.

There are more but it is late and I can't think good.


11 Years
Apr 10, 2008
I HAVE been planning to switch his food - I stated that in my original post. I had him on Nutro Natural Lamb and Rice originally - same itchy issue. The MAX line is actually more expensive than Natural Choice variety here. As I should have been more specific, he's getting Nutro Max NATURAL. There is a named meat ingredient first, not corn. Even so, some dogs who switch to higher protein ~40% foods cannot digest it well either. Most dogs do much better on it.

Ingredients listed here:
Chicken Meal, Wheat Flour, Ground Whole Wheat, Rice Bran, Poultry Fat (preserved with mixed Tocopherols, a source of Vitamin E), Corn Gluten Meal, Ground Rice, Lamb Meal, Natural Flavors, Yeast Culture, Calcium Carbonate, Monosodium Phosphate, Potassium Chloride, Choline Chloride, Dried Buttermilk, Dried Kelp, Dried Egg Product, Lecithin, Zinc Sulfate, Iron Sulfate, Vitamin E Supplement, Iron Oxide, Garlic, Ascorbic Acid (source of Vitamin C), Biotin, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Niacin, Calcium Pantothenate, Vitamin A Supplement, Manganous Oxide, Thiamine Mononitrate (source of Vitamin B1), Vitamin D3 Supplement, Riboflavin (source of Vitamin B2), Calcium Iodate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (source of Vitamin B6), Menadione Sodium Bisulfite Complex (source of Vitamin K activity), Folic Acid, Copper Sulfate.

I have limited my future switch to one of the Natura lines (Innova, Cal Natural, etc.), as the Dick van Patten has had some recalled products as well. Though food can be one option, not all allergies are food-related. However, I do know that wheat is a leading allergen. I only give occasional treats (and it's usually just his kibble) so whether one brand makes treats or not is not the issue.

I didn't want to have a great debate on dog food. I have read enough to make an educated choice on food.

This thread was to see if there were any other potential sources or known causes that would result in grainy flakes. I do not believe it is skin.


11 Years
Sep 23, 2008
Fly Creek, NY
I'm sorry, I have no idea what to tell you. Maybe get a pic of the flakes if you could? What could it possibly be other than dry skin, though? I can't think of any other logical conclusion.

BTW -- your boy is adorable!!
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12 Years
Oct 20, 2007
Metamora, Illinois
NO wheat- no corn, get him off that food, and onto something that has neither of them and you will see a difference..
I use the Fromm food on my show dogs, or you could get a grain free food, like Taste of the Wild. or the Orijen. Innova is good food.
Should clear him up. I would bet it is an allergy to one of the food ingredients..
I have two girls that are on grain free..

Where are the flakes coming from? his back? lower body? could be an enviromental allergy, like to your carpet, or his bed.. something in your grass, do you have it treated by Chemlawn or the like?


12 Years
Jul 1, 2007
Western, NY
Yep,NO corn! My dog was the same way and is much better off the corn, even if it's way down the list stay away from corn of any kind.
There is a not so expensive dog food I found to be ok too but I can only find it at Petsmart around here. It's called Avoderm, I had mine on the vegitarian version and she did great, but she just needed larger quantities per meal in comparison. I would try the chicken or lam and rice ones first.
How are his/her ears?

Picky Chicky

11 Years
Sep 22, 2008
Holly Grove, VA
We rescued our pup Sara (German Shephard) and immediately noticed something was up with her tail... took her to the vet and she actually had mange. Poor baby. So we got the special shampoos, antibiotics, and went through that mess. As soon as her hair started growing back, she was back to biting her tail and scratching a lot. We took her back to the vet a couple of times, and did the same thing.

Now then, she's been ok for awhile, but I noticed her ears started getting scabbies. Like a bad Mommy I picked at them with a wet wash cloth and her ears were just raw raw raw. Poor baby. Then I noticed she had scabbies and sores on her underside.

After another vet visit we've got her on a month of antibiotics. She tested negative for mange, and we're just trying to figure out what in the &%@ is going on. It looks like after a week her antibiotics are helping the sores to heal... I just hope she gets over it. She's only a year and a half... maybe.

Here's my baby girl Sara... you can see where she lost hair in her tail. I also included a picture of her checking out the new coop in her backyard.




12 Years
Jan 23, 2008
my dog has dry skin and flea allergies, we got an all natural tea tree based shampoo and spray that works wonders. The tea tree oil cleanses the pores and reduces the itch. We also go a dog food with no corn, as mentioned its a pretty common dog allergy.
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In the Brooder
11 Years
Jul 17, 2008
Sounds like it may be cheyletiella mites to me. I had a friend with Yorkies that had them and the skin had a lot of flaking and was very itchy.
I have shown dogs for 20+ years and used to use expensive meat based foods. The "best brand" varies depending on how much money the company puts into advertising.
The dogs would eat bird seed from under the feeders if thy got the chance. If you notice when wolves eat they eat the by-products first...heart, liver and stomach and its contents. They bury the meat for a week or two until is is "well tenderized"
I now feed a balanced chicken and corn food and my dogs do better then on the ultra premiums.

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