"Fido is scratching and smells bad again!" This is a call that we receive regularly this time of year. Dogs begin to scratch, biting and thumping at themselves at all hours of the day and night. Sometimes considered seasonal, meaning a change in seasons will bring it on, the itching and scratching can introduce bacteria into the skin, which can, in turn, cause infections. Those infections are what the owners are seeing and smelling.
The culprit? Usually, fleas! On dogs with sensitivities, one flea can wreak havoc. One bite can cause a dog to itch and bite for days, even weeks. Imagine you are bitten by a mosquito. How long is that spot itchy? For some of us it is fairly well tolerated and the itch subsides in a few days. For those us who are sensitive,that darn bite continues to :bug" us for considerably longer than that, and can cause a puffy, reddened, and very itchy lesion to form at the site. Sensitive dogs suffer the same fate, but are not able to suppress the scratching or get relief from balms, lotions, or creams. So, what can you do?
First, get your pet on a vet prescribed flea and tick control. Second, keep your pet properly groomed; have them regularly bathed and get longer hair combed out or trimmed. Next, when your pet begins to itch, quell it quickly with distraction, treats, and, if necessary, the cone-of-shame.
Lastly, if your dog has areas of baldness, lesions, redness, or seeping areas, don't hesitate to get them in. Waiting only increases the recovery time and adds stress to your pets existence. The sooner the problem is addressed, the sooner your pet will be back to his or her happy self
When we stopped at the clinic, he stood up and checked out his new surroundings. Worried he might bolt because he wasn’t in a carrier, I scuffed him to take him in. Many cats are somewhat insulted by scruffing, but he didn’t move a muscle. Upon his introduction to the clinic and staff, he maintained his self-assured dignity and graciously greeted each staff member. Immediately aware that this was not her cat, the Doctor was also in awe of his cool, collected demeanor. He quickly took over the offices and made himself at home. Twice he stood on his hind legs in an effort to look out the window of the door we had come in through. Jumping up into a window sill, he looked out a window, apparently getting his bearings. He then jumped down and went to sit, dog-like, in front of the door and asked to be let out. Of course, we couldn’t, but I had promised him that if he did not have a microchip and he did not belong to the Doctor, I would take him back to where I had found him. I reminded him of our conversation and went about my duties, leaving him in the office area with the Doctors and staff. He alternately meandered about, jumped up to look out the windows, sat in chairs, and sprawled on the floor kneading his paws. They provided him with a litter box and a deluxe meal, which he ate with relish.
When five o’clock arrived, I carried him back out to the car for the return trip. No tour this time; he immediately assumed the position of a seasoned traveler by plopping on top of a cushion in the back seat. I drove back to where I found him and the only sound he made was when I took a right hand turn a little fast and the cushion slid across the seat. He rode the cushion across the seat like a surfer and gave one reproachful yet quiet “meow”; looking up at me as if to say, “Hey! Watch it, would ya?”
When we arrived at our destination and stopped, he climbed into my lap and looked out the window. I told him that I hoped I was doing the right thing and that I was going to trust that he knew where he was and opened the door expecting him to bolt for freedom. He did not. He jumped out of the car, walked about four feet and stopped looking over his shoulder at me. He meowed once and walked over to a landscaping tie and hopped up onto it. He stood there gazing at me. I said “Goodbye”, closed the door and drove away, glancing into the rear view mirror occasionally to watch him as I left. He stood in one spot and watched me until I began to turn onto the highway. As I pulled onto the highway and glanced back one last time, he sat down and began to clean the remains of his meal from his face. My heart was touched by a cat today.
My life was touched by a cat today. He was a large spotted tabby, with a white bib, toes, a dart of white up his face, and rings on his tail. As I was finding a parking spot, he came strolling out of the grass and sat to wait as I finished parking the car. When I shut off the engine, he walked over to the driver’s side door and sat about four feet away, giving ample room for me to open the door; which I did. He approached the car with the aplomb of a doorman at a high-class hotel and put his front feet on my floorboard and with not so much as a by-your-leave, hopped in. I reached down and gave in a caress and he turned around and hopped back out. I followed him as I was intending to take a lunch-time walk on a near-by trail. The cat lay in the gravel of the lot while I changed my shoes, rolling around occasionally, doing those amazing stretches only cats can do. As I stood up and turned to lock the car, he stood, too. I said goodbye and turned to begin walked toward the trail access. I hadn’t gone but 20 feet, when an inquiring feline voice announced that he was still with me.
I continued walking, curious to see what he would do. He followed me to the trail, which was immediately adjacent to an arterial road busy with traffic. He seemed completely unconcerned and I became apprehensive that if I crossed the road, I would be leading him into danger. I altered my plans and turned towards the west and away from the road and the handsome cat marched along with me. I wondered where he lived and where he would bail out on me, but he continued like he hadn’t a care in the world. A dog barked close by, and he merely looked in the general direction. A Veterinarian I work with lived about 3 miles away and had been missing a cat for few weeks and I began to speculate that maybe this was her cat and that I smelled familiar enough to warrant following. I took a photo with my cell phone that I sent to the office. They told me to bring him in as the resemblance was fairly strong and if he was not the missing cat, we could scan him for a microchip. I had walked about a half-mile and Mr. Kitty was still with me. As I turned to go back, he trotted ahead to lead the way for a time. Amazing! As we walked back to the car we were passed twice by cyclists and the cat was completely unfazed. He seemed to have complete faith that no one would squish him. We continued our stroll back to the car where I picked him up and put him in the back seat. He took one lap around the entire car, stood up to look out the windows and then settled to lie across the seat while we drove the short distance to the clinic.