Post Date Jul 9

How to Treat Flea Allergies aka Dermatitis

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Another great post by guest blogger, Dr. Sara Pizano. I am grateful for her insight and great veterinary advice. Be sure to visit her website (she’s not only an outstanding vet, but she’s quite a cook and baker too!).

Here in South Florida, fleas are certainly a year-round problem but the summer months during the rainy season are especially bad.  Some lucky dogs with no sensitivity to flea bites are not bothered even if they have multiple bites.  But for dogs who are allergic to fleas, the saliva from one single flea can turn them into an itching machine.

First and foremost, make sure your dog is on regular flea and tick prevention.  There are many over the counter items but I have found that none work as well as the prescription products.  That rule goes for any of your cats who may go outside as well.  The variety of products now available can be overwhelming but your veterinarian can steer you in the right direction to prevent not only fleas but ticks and heartworm disease as well.

Fleas prefer to live on dogs and cats rather than humans and the most common places to find them is on the rump and bellyYou may also see black specs and not be sure if it’s flea dirt so just put a few on a wet paper towel.  If the black dots turn red, that’s flea ‘dirt’ or the stool from the fleas who ate your dog’s blood!  Remember to that you may not even see a flea or flea dirt on your dog and the itching can be caused by that one unfortunate bite (there are no products yet to stop the flea from taking a bite).

If all your pets are getting regular flea and tick prevention but you see them in your house, it’s time to flea bomb the house to stop the cycle.  Your yard may also be a hot bed for fleas and ticks so speak to a professional about pest control for your yard.

Once the prevention is under control, it’s time to get that itching under control and your veterinarian may recommend treatments such as:  a special soothing shampoo, antihistamines or a short course of steroids to break the itch cycle.  Unfortunately that may also include an e-collar-the dreaded lamp shade!

Your flea allergic dog will thank you for taking every possible step to keep him comfortable and itch-free!

Post Date Jul 4

Keeping Your Dog Safe on the 4th of July

"dog safety chart 4th of july"

I’d like to thank today’s guest blogger, Sara Pizano, DVM. Sara actively writes about pet related issues on her website: This is an absolutely important and often life-saving topic, and I so thrilled that Sara has taken the time out to write it.

Many dogs are traumatized by loud noises like thunder because their hearing is so sensitive.  The fireworks on the 4th of July are a true nightmare for those sensitive dogs but there are several important things you can do to keep your dogs safe and prevent accidents. First and foremost, many dogs escape from their homes because of fear, without thinking about the consequences. During parties and celebrations, guests may leave a gate or door open so making sure your dog is safely confined during this evening is especially essential.

Having accurate identification on them in the event that they do get lost is the only way to ensure they will make it home quickly.  Two types of identification are needed.  They must have a tag on their collars with your name and phone number so a neighbor can reunite you with your dog.  The second thing they need is a microchip since a collar may accidentally come off.  A microchip is inserted under your pet’s skin by your veterinarian with a number unique for your pet.  A national registry houses the information associated with that number so you can be contacted when that number is scanned.

Lastly, some dogs are so nervous they need medications to keep them calm.  Speak to your veterinarian about some natural products for relaxing your dog or drugs that cause light sedation.

So while you are enjoying your 4th of July celebrations, make sure your pets are safe and sound.  Ideally, your cats and dogs should be inside that evening, but if they do get lost, visit your local shelters as soon as possible to look for them.  They would rather be home!

Post Date Mar 23

How Doxycycline Almost Killed My Dog

"cairn terrier"

First, allow me to preface this post by stating that as a pet lover I believe Doxycycline is an antibiotic that has probably helped thousands-upon-thousands of dogs; mine included. Amy Lou, my beloved rescue dog (whenever possible, please don’t buy a dog, save a life and adopt a pet!), experienced anaphylactic shock (a severe and life-threatening allergic reaction) and nearly died after I gave her Doxycycline. An anomaly for sure!

However, I feel it’s a story worth sharing, as it may help to save your dog’s life! Were it not for an over-the-counter medication, Benadryl, and a prescription medication, prednisone, Amy Lou would be dead today.

Watching her near death experience was painful and scary. The symptoms started with severe itching, to incessantly biting her feet, to her neck and face swelling beyond recognition, to her airway becoming obstructed, to visible parts of the skin appearing darker than a red tomato.

It was very late at night and I had fallen asleep, so it took me a bit of time to wake up and realize what happened. I immediately shoved (gently of course!) 2 Benandryl pills down her throat and a prednisone pill. I suggest you always use a bit of cream cheese and place pills in middle and roll up in a little ball. It goes down their throat much smoother! Easier to administer too. In any event, I knew she wouldn’t make it to the vet’s office in time. I frantically searched for a vile of liquid Benadryl, which I wanted to inject sub-q (under the skin); but couldn’t find it. By the time I managed to regain my exposure, Amy Lou’s condition was improving. Her swelling started to go down, and her facial features were recognizable again. This was a matter of 15 minutes or so. Had I had liquid Benadryl (an oral suspension you can purchase at any drug store), I would have used a syringe and administered it orally. Liquid always absorbs quicker than a pill form of any type of medication.

I am not a vet. I implore you to get the advice of your veterinarian before following my advice. As such, I ALWAYS have Benadryl handy at home. Prednisone as well. Among other medications, are topical antibiotic creams, eye drops (also available at your local drug store) and NOW I have liquid Benadryl bottles in every bathroom cabinet. The general rule is 1 mg per pound. Each Benadryl pill is dosed at 25 mg. So if you have a small dog, split the pill in half.

Benadryl is not a dangerous medication and has little to no effect on the liver. It may make your pet sleepy, that’s a normal side-effect. For any allergy, it’s my go-to medication. Again, you should seek your vet’s advice first. At 3 a.m. it may be difficult to find a vet that’s open, or the exorbitant costs of an emergency vet may be prohibitive on the wallet, so I urge you to make your own pet emergency kit at home. Making your own will be a lot more cost-effective.I ask you to kindly share this with fellow pet lovers. As Doxycycline is prescribed each day and although an allergic reaction is rare, it is a possibility.

As of today, March 23rd, 2013, Amy Lou is a thriving 14 year old dog and is the light of my life.!

Wishing you and your pet/s the best of health,

Gigi Scott

P.S. If you have any pet remedies or stories of your own, please share them by commenting below. You may just save a pet’s life.