Friday, January 15, 2010

Searching for the itch

Jenny came to live with us on September 3, 2007. We adopted her from from Pug Rescue of New England. It is hard to believe it was that long ago already. Her 4th birthday is coming up and it is making me a little reflective. I don't know anything about her breeder or her second home. (If you count the breeder as home number 1.) She came into her third home with lots of GI upset, from what I can tell from her vet records, and was already a stool eater. Her third home didn't work out because she was a resource guarder of food and would start fights with the other dogs in the home. Finding a home with a trainer to adopt her turned out to be just the thing she needed.
My son was so excited to get his very own dog. He had begged for a pug for years. None of our attempts at swaying him towards a french bulldog deterred him. And we sure tried. (having contacts in a breed already is helpful when trying to find another after all) He even collected stuffed pugs and photos of them. When he started saving his own money to get a real one we knew we had to make it happen.
I am grateful that my children let me borrow "their" dogs for my own amusement. Of course it works out for them since I also "borrow" them when it is time to feed and walk them most of the time too. They help out alot with them of course, a family with 3 dogs to take care of ensures there is always something dog related for someone to do after all. And I may be a control freak but I can't be everywhere at once either.
I got a handle on her resource guarding pretty quickly. She just needed to learn how to relax and realize that no one was going to deny her a meal. She still dives after food if it falls on the floor if you don't get a "leave it" out fast enough, but she doesn't attack the other dogs or even get snarky if they go near her anymore when she is eating. She has also learned to share food off the plates we give them to lick when we are finished with dinner. (What, you think dog trainers don't spoil their dogs too? VBG)
I think a big part of her guarding came from treatment she received in her second home. Based on her vet records when she went into her third home she was underweight. The stool eating may have been a response to not getting enough food on her own. Some dogs will learn to resort to "recycling" their food if they are not getting enough. Or if they aren't getting enough nutrients from what they are getting in their diet. I once saw a shelter dog that had been severely neglected, not fed or given water regularly, drinking his own urine AS he was peeing. (And yes it WAS shocking!)
Monday at work we drew some blood for a Greer allergy testing panel on Jenny. She gets these itchy spells that so far is easily managed with over the counter Benedryl. I have also been trying different diets to see if it may be related to food. Proper food trials are tough to do though because you have to be very strict with them. I admit my memory usually fails me here. If she has food allergies this may explain why she had such GI trouble as a puppy. I requested the works, environmental, insect, and food testing. It isn't an absolute as I understand it but I am interested to see if she has any high numbers. This can help me know what to avoid with her. Is it certain foods? Or is it something in the environment? Fortunately she isn't nearly as bad as some of the clients we see at the hospital. But being itchy is no fun for anyone. Hopefully I will learn something that can help her. Until then I thank my stars we have benedryl.
(For proper dosing and to make sure Benedryl is safe for your itchy dog please call your veterinarian.)


Mrs. Lazaro said...

Wow, the time sure flies. It doesn't seem like two years has flown by since you got her. She is such a cutie pie!

P.S. I got the kiddos from the HSKC yesterday. Thanks so much for telling me about them. I just adore them. :]

Marie said...

You didn't tell Mr. L I tipped you off did you? VBG