What medication would you recommend for my German Shepherd that is licking?

Our question this week was:

Dr. Debra – What medication or food would you recommend for my 10-year-old German Shepherd that might help her to stop licking? She has licked all her fur off her abdomen and half way up her sides, also her feet. I have stopped feeding her Purina Complete and now have her on "Lassie" which is a lamb and rice food instead of a corn based food, she recently had a gastrointestinal infection and since the antibiotics she is not itching or licking quite as much. She also suffers from Dysplasia for which I am giving her Glucosamine. Is it advisable to give her a buffered aspirin for pain relief?


Dorthy Raasch


Hi – thanks for your email. You wrote that your 10-year-old German shepherd has a history of hip dysplasia and some gastrointestinal infection and is licking her fur off. You asked what medication you can give to stop the licking.

What you should or could give really depends on the underlying cause of the itching/licking. I'd recommend that you see your veterinarian to determine if the underlying cause is allergies or parasites.

Medications that work for allergies include benadryl® and steroids such as prednisone. But is important to treat the underlying cause of the problem and without examining your dog – I can't tell the underlying problem. For example, if the itching is from a food allergy, a hypoallergenic diet is recommended. As far as diets – there are some very good anti-allergic diets (if that is the underlying cause) – such as those by Hills Science Diet or IVD (Innovative Veterinary Diets). If the itching is from an infection, antibiotics are recommended. Or if the itching is from a contact allergen – such as wool, avoidance of that substance is recommended.

As far as giving aspirin for pain – I'd discuss this with your vet. There are newer and better drugs for pain relief in dogs that he or she would probably recommend. Those medications are discussed in the article – Hip Dysplasia in Dogs.

Articles that might be helpful to you are Atopy in dogs and Itching in Dogs. The itching article gives you lots of possible causes for itching and might be very useful.

Best of luck!

Dr. Debra

To read most recent questions Click here!

Click here to see the full list of Ask Dr. Debra Questions and Answers!