This week has been all about the itching and scratching for one reason or another. I've made the title photo of this blog our Daisy Basset as she was incredibly itchy and scratchy when she first came to stay with us permanently, thankfully not anymore. It seems that with the very mild Winter we had and the warm temperatures since Spring has meant an abundance of the dreaded fleas. As pet owners this is one of the things we fear. As with everything, prevention is definitely better than cure. It is extremely hard to get rid of the little blighters once they have set up camp as squatters. You not only have to treat your dog but their bedding area, your home and soft furnishings, your car and any other pets in the house. If you're anything like me, if I get bitten, I react with a big red itchy lump. Imagine that ten fold, that's how your dog must feel.......miserable.
I have a concern that Advocate isn't working as effectively as it once was. Do you remember a few years back when we all used Frontline until the Vets switched to Advocate? Well I suspect that the fleas, being the clever little bleeders that they are have built up a resistance to that now too. My best advice if you have a flea problem is to speak to your Vet but do also consider the natural alternatives to preventing the problem in the first place. Remember the treatments you get from the Vet are chemicals, a poison as it were. If they're effective enough to kill fleas, what else can they do? I have a patch of my leather sofa missing from one of my Hounds rubbing on it after he'd had his Advocate and I remember thinking at the time, if it can take the leather off my sofa, what is it doing to his skin? Just a thought. Do also remember that any of the products you can buy "off the shelf" in the shops are never going to be effective enough to deal with an infestation and sadly in some stories I've seen, some dogs have had awful reactions to those spot-on products.
Talking of dogs' skin, if your dog starts itching and scratching or is sore and it is not because of fleas, before rushing to the Vet, think of all the other things it may be. Dogs like us, are susceptible to any environmental changes. Ask yourself, have you changed soap powders that you wash the dogs bedding in? You may not have changed food brands but have the usual ingredients changed in any way? Is there a particular pollen or seed at the time of year that your dog may be allergic to? Have there been any major changes in the home perhaps the introduction of a new pet? Change of furniture or anything that could mean the dog is stressed? All of these factors need to be considered. Personally, I always start with the diet. What goes in is so important and the skin is the one place that will show if the dog is trying to rid its body of a toxin. Look at the ingredients of your dog's food and I mean really look, you'll be surprised. Some of these convenient packaged foods you get from the supermarket are the equivalent of junk food. I know that if I ate McDonalds (or indeed any other leading junk food brand) and nothing else, my skin would break out in spots, it would be itchy and flaky and generally dull. Well guess what? It's the same for your dogs. Would you feed your child nothing but McDonalds every meal? Effectively that's what you could inadvertently be doing with your dog.
Anyway, enough of that.......stop scratching! This week has been as busy as ever with grooming and we had Dudley the Chocolate Lab a new visitor for a spruce up and what a lively boy he was.
I've bitten the bullet (if you'll pardon this pun) and my ultrasonic toothbrush is on order. The hounds will be extremely pleased to be my guinea pigs for this! I must ensure it does what it says before offering it out as another of my services. Pearly whites all round?
Walkies has seen Polly the Wheaten join us again on a few and we're still missing little Chewie who funnily enough has been having some skin problems. We hope he will soon be sorted and back in the pack.
Last weekend, we had a lovely walk up on Cissbury Ring with some friends and we saw the group of New Forest Ponies who have been protecting the land since the beginning of the year up there. We followed this with a huge meal at The Gun in Findon which I am pleased to say is extremely welcoming and dog-friendly so go and check it out!
The hounds' fancy dress outfits are prepared and on Sunday we will head off to the social event of the year......The Basset Hound Owners Club Annual Fun Day. I will make sure we get plenty of pictures of all the fun! It is tinged with sadness this year as some of our friends' lovely hounds won't be there so it will be a little difficult but we shall honour their memory.
Whatever you're up to have a lovely weekend and let's hope Summer has finally returned after a brief absence.
Take care and much love as always.