Thursday, December 6, 2007

scratch scratch

A few weeks ago, we began being awakened in the middle of the night. The bed was shaking, metal was clanging. No, it wasn't a train going by, it was our dogs scratching non stop. Their tags were clinking, their legs scratching furiously, and their teeth gnawing on their own skin. I would come home from work, and the living room would be covered with fur that had been removed by their toe nails from scratching so much.

Why were they scratching? I ruled out bugs, being it's November and freezing. No bug could survive. Misty has seasonal allergies in late summer, but all pollens are pretty much gone after a few hard frosts. Dry skin? Food allergy?

Off to google I go. Everything I read, said the primary culprit of dogs scratching is fleas. Well, I haven't had a dog with fleas since my first year with Munchkin. Plus, flea season is long gone. So, on to the second cause - allergies. Can't be seasonal allergies, but it could be food allergies. Dogs are allergic to all sorts of food, including wheat, corn, and even different types of meat.

I analyzed what new foods and treats I had been giving the dogs. I couldn't come up with any new ingredient that might be making both dogs scratch. Plus, most articles indicated that it would be very rare for two dogs in the same household to be allergic to the same thing.

I decided it had to be just dry skin, from the change in weather and the fact that we had finally decided to turn the heat on in the house.

I went to one of my favorite dog catalogs, and ordered some "skin and coat" vitamins and fresh salmon oil from Iceland. Both contain omega fatty acids, and are known to help dogs with allergies and skin problems. Unfortunately, they can take a month or so to become effective.

I resorted to giving Oreo Benadryl at night. This seemed to help a little, but it may have just been knocking him out, not helping his allergies. He still woke up at 4AM scratching. I've started calling Oreo, "Sas-scratch-iwan".

After a week on the fish oil, the dogs' coats were so shiny. I have never seen them looking so good. They loved the vitamins and fish oil on their food. I know the supplements are good for their overall health, but they didn't seem to be doing anything for their scratching.

Jeff was rubbing Oreo's belly one day, and found what he said was a flea. I was in disbelief. How could a flea survive this bitter cold? Had to be a fluke.

The next day, I was checking out Oreo's skin, and came across another creepy crawly. Then, I found one on Misty.

Yep, my dogs have fleas. In December. In Upstate New York.

Off to the cabinet for some flea control.

Another week has gone by, and the scratching has been greatly reduced as the fleas are slowly killed off. I've been vacuuming everything everyday and washing all the dogs' coats and bedding. I'm sure within a couple more weeks, we will have two scratch free dogs, and our vibrating bed will become stationary again.

Since I spent all that money on the fish oil and vitamins, I have continued giving it to the dogs. They like the taste and it's good for them.

Unfortunately, it seems to make their poop smell really good. Good enough for dogs to want to eat, especially when it's sat outside long enough to be frozen like a popsicle. Gross.

1 comment:

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