My dog Ludo is a big dumb jiggly licky-face mobile lump of wagging cartilage. He’s a good boy when he’s not mangling shoes and slamming into furniture and I do love him. Even though I’m fairly certain that he pee’d in the water bowl this morning. That or some frothy beer was poured in? As fantastically foreign to the realm of known possibilities as both of these scenarios sound, there was definitely trouble down at the watering hole. I couldn’t bring myself to smell it so the truth will never be known. Never a dull moment.
But I digress.
Ludo does this one little thing that drives me completely bonkers – he snacks on himself in between meals. When he’s not gnawing on a leg, he’s scratching at his neck or licking at his crotch. The sound effects associated with all of these activities (ESPECIALLY the slurpy grunty last one) are like an epic pair of Jersey nails being dragged across a pristine chalkboard for me. What’s worse is that he doesn’t have a nice little scratch and call it good, he violently attacks himself and then settles in for the long haul, zoning out completely. He frequently parades around (when he’s not busy self-snacking) with giant wet spots all over himself.
He’ll stop if I yell at him. His fuzzy brown head will pop up so fast his jiggly jowls wiggle as if hit with a 6.4 on the Richter scale. As my comfort is more important than his, I yell at him. ALL the TIME. This treats the symptoms, but not the actual disease, so recently I’ve begun experimenting with potential solutions.
The first was “Sentry Anti-Itch Spray” which, according to the label, provides itch relief associated with dry skin, skin irritations, allergy dermatitis. I lacquered him in it according to the instructions and he instantly broke out in angry patches of flaming red rash. Each patch was evidently insanely irritating and it was pathetic to watch him flail at himself with all limbs trying to get relief. Mom fail.
To help the rash, I glooped Caladryl on him. Topical analgesic, skin protectant, calamine PLUS* itch reliever. (*Emphasis true to label). This relieved the rash, but I now had to scream at him everytime he turned to gobble at his butt because in tiny letters on the back of the label it said “if swallowed, get medical help or contact a Poison Control Center right away”. Boo. Mom fail #2.
Fixated on the hope that his insatiable itching was due to some kind of skin malfunction, I bought some fish oil gel capsules guaranteed to lessen shedding (sweet Jesus, hallelujah) and condition skin. Any benefits that this stuff may produce for the skin and coat were more than outweighed by the havoc they wreaked upon both dogs digestive systems. Their stools became puddles of atomic green muck almost overnight and the fumes that emanated from their rear-ends were plant wiltingly, birds-dropping-dead-from-the-sky-ishly, nose-hair incineratingly noxious. Again with the fail. Their coats look pretty great, though.
Several nights ago I wrangled Ludo into the tub. He resisted mightily at every stage of the game, making the process highly unpleasant for all involved, but I eventually managed to successfully coat him in dip. Even though it’s Winter (technically), mayyyyyybe the problem was bugs? Ludo rocketed out of the tub when done and skittered around on the hardwoods expressing great delight at having survived the torture of the bathroom and hasn’t been scratching as much. Which is nice, although discouraging. Bugs? He also doesn’t smell like something that staggered out of a landfill anymore, which is an unexpected bonus.
This morning I did notice that he still has little red bumps all over his belly and…delicate areas. While inspecting his booboo’s, to my great horror, I watched a flea scurry across his belly.
The dog that lives in my house and sleeps in my BED – has fleas. Petsmart is down three bug-bombs and gosh-wow is a chemical war of apocalyptic proportions being waged indoors. In the words of Fezzig – THERE WILL BE NO SURVIVORS!