, Salem, MA

October 4, 2013

Dog owner nervous to use tick, flea products

Ask Dog Lady
Monica Collins

---- — Dear Dog Lady,

Last winter, I acquired two wirehaired dachshunds — a brother and sister named Hans and Heidi. I love them too much, and I’m so afraid to apply the strong tick, flea and mosquito monthly deterrent products. Heidi is prone to dry skin, and these products are so strong. Of course, the veterinarians tell you to apply the products, but some are so pro-big pharmaceutical companies.

I’ve started to place a clove of streamed garlic in their meals, as I’ve learned the bugs don’t like the odor. I want to be as organic as possible, but I also want to protect my pups. What has been your experience with these products?

Also, do you know of a classically trained vet who’s also pro-organic?

A: Even reading the directions on the package of one of these deterrent products gives Dog Lady goose bumps. The applicant is advised to wear rubber gloves and to hold “applicator upright and snap applicator tip away from face and body.”

If any of the medication gets on human skin: “Wash with plenty of soap and water. Get medical attention if irritation persists.” Just sticking the applicator between darling dog’s shoulder blades and pumping the medicine onto a patch of his skin is traumatic. You must grit your teeth and believe you are doing the right thing.

Shop around for a doctor for your dogs. Dog Lady is not a medical authority, but she believes the relationship between you and your vet is one of the most important you will have during the lifetimes of your two dogs. Certainly, there are some vets who take a more holistic approach, and of course, there are herbal remedies. These cannot compare to the chemical products in preventing tick bites.

One herbal product boasts: “Magnetically infused with Yellow (sic) frequency to repel parasites and Turquoise (sic) frequency to nourish the skin and coat” — admittedly, much more soothing. Unfortunately, the earthy-crunchy spray did not keep the ticks from digging in.

You are wise to be worried but foolish if your fear prevents you from taking the best preventive medical measures to protect your darlings.

Dear Dog Lady,

I’m truly saddened by Ivy’s attitude change ever since I left my Maltese with a loving family to take a weeklong trip. Her change of attitude is only toward me and not to other people. She used to be very loving, affectionate and loyal toward me. She has a routine of giving me kisses, but she’s stopped. I’m not sure if she’s angry with me because I left her for a week or perhaps she enjoyed the other family too much and she would rather have stayed with them. Is there anything I can do to make it better and get our relationship back?

A: The relationship is fine. Just remain patient. Ivy is not mad at you. There are mad dogs — and Englishmen, for that matter — but dogs don’t get mad at us the way humans do. So, it’s always silly to imagine our dogs hold a grudge. Your dog’s routine was thrown off, and she’s still adjusting.

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