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A Good Dog! Magazine Product Test Report
by Ross Becker
Is your dog tormented by constant scratching? Tired of the expense and frustration of the on-again, off-again cortisone cycle?
We've been testing a product for several months now, with great success. It's called Skin-eze™, and it's a mix of herbs and spices that can stop the scratching and chewing that makes your dog crazy.
When we were based in Charleston, South Carolina, Chops and Katie had many reasons for scratching, although we never really knew which one was the culprit. There was pollen in the spring, summer and fall from the beautiful flowers and trees. There were gnats much of the time, and, all year round, mosquitoes swarmed in from the lovely salt marsh across the street. Not to mention the fleas ...
Chops would roll around to scratch her back. Or she would have me start at the top of her head and gradually move her body under my hand until I had scratched every inch of her back. Katie became known as "Stevie Wonderdog" because she would back up against a protrusion on a chair and rock back and forth, her head rolling in pleasure. Things got so bad that the dogs would even try scratching their backs on prickly bushes in the yard! Ouch.
At the height of it all, the late-night scratching and chewing would keep us up -- either with the bed shaking or the tags rattling outside the bedroom door. Even putting the dogs in their crates didn't let us sleep -- scratching on top of a metal crate pan is not a pleasant sound.
We turned to our favorite veterinarian, who is an expert at veterinary acupuncture, homeopathics, and herbs. It turns out that he already had a solution. The product is called Skin-eze, and it's a natural food supplement containing herbs and spices. The first version of Skin-eze that we tested was in the form of vile-tasting, large tablets. The only way to get the dogs to eat them was to cover the tablets with canned cat food and let them lick the whole concoction off a spoon. Even then, the dogs would sometimes spit out the pill.
But the results were miraculous. Within a day after starting Skin-eze, the dogs would stop scratching and chewing. And as long they were on Skin-eze, the dogs stopped ripping themselves raw. They were calm and happy, and didn't chew or scratch at all. Katie's skin, which was bright pink, turned white overnight. It was the most amazing thing to see. Where there was a mosquito bite, you could see just a little dot of red. All around it was pale white skin. And the bites didn't bother her!
You could see the relief written on the dogs' faces. They slept quietly for the first time in months, and we slept, too. The dogs were allowed back on the bed, and everyone was happy.
We had some of our other testers try Skin-eze. Becki Reynolds, whose five Miniature Schnauzers were covered with fleas while testing a certain ineffective flea product for us, also found fast relief. In particular, Max, her oldest, interrupted his non-stop chewing and scratching. Months of agony stopped overnight.
Sandra Hill-Cowan in Coconut Grove, Florida, also tried Skin-eze at our suggestion. Her Bull Terrier was a different dog when taking Skin-eze.
The only drawback we found was that the dogs didn't like the flavor and didn't want to take the pill. We suggested to the vet that he add some flavor that would mask the bitter taste. So he came up with a new version which is more palatable.
Our dogs love it as a chewable treat, or you can break up the pills and hide them in canned food. You can also crumble the pills, mix the powder with warm water, and make a thin gravy to pour over your dog's food. When we gave it a try, our dogs scarfed down dinner, and, a few hours later, their scratching stopped. (Tougher cases may take four days or up to four weeks.)
What are the magic ingredients? Reading the label proves to be an exercise in unintelligibility. Some of the "herbs and spices" are listed using their scientific names while others are not. We pinned the busy vet down long enough to get him to translate all of the ingredients.
Skin-eze contains Tang-kuei, which is Angelica root. It's an herb in the parsley family, whose roots and fruits are used in flavoring. Then there's Arctium, which is fruit of the Great Burdock. Burdock is a weedy plant with purplish flowers surrounded by pricklies.
Probably the most interesting ingredient is cicada. This is actually cicada moltings -- the outer shell of the noisy insects of summer nights.
Then there's calamus gum, which is from the dragonsblood plant. Other ingredients include salvia, which is a scarlet-rooted plant, foxglove root, sophora root (bitter root), and extracts from the well-known yellow-blooming forsythia. There's also some licorice root, kochia seeds (from the broom cypress tree), stem of Schizonepeta tenuifolia, and siler, which is Ledebouirella seseloites. All are ingredients listed in the Herbal Medicine Materia Medica book, a practicing herbalist's guide to herbs.
Obviously, there's no guarantee that Skin-eze will be a complete solution for your dog's problem. You'll still need to deal with the fleas and whatever else is causing your dog to scratch and chew. But Skin-eze can bring some much-needed relief to your dog, providing the break needed to let his body heal. It brought about peace and quiet and happy dogs in our house. The vet has used it successfully on thousands of dogs, including such notorious scratchers as Shar-peis, Westies, Jack Russells, Goldens, Greyhounds, and Labs.
Reprinted from Good Dog! Nov./Dec. 1995. ©1995, 1999 Good Dog! Magazine. All rights reserved. MAY be reprinted without permission. Subscribe at www.gooddogmagazine.com. Article updated 3/10/01.