My Dog Smells Like Doritos!

Written by Jeanne Champagne, Director of Boxer Rescue of NWA Published in Northwest Arkansas Health & Wellness Online Magazine 

Several years ago, RiMisc. Pics downloaded 5.4.10 002ley, the youngest of our 4 grandsons told us that our boxer, Hooch, “smelled like Doritos.”  We thought it was funny, as we could smell him, too, but never associated it with a chip. All the baths in the world didn’t take away “that smell”, but later Hooch broke out in a rash on his feet. To no avail, we tried the meds given to us by the vet, Epsom salt soaks, apple cider vinegar baths, another vet, more meds, fish oil, yogurt, vitamin E… still, “Mr. Dorito” retained his reputation.

Finally, we found another vet who, as he walked in the room, took a sniff and said, “Ah, this boy has a yeast infection!” and sure enough, about a month of a strong anti-fungal medication later, took care of the problem for years.

Since then, we have had many rescued boxers.  You never quite forget that “Dorito-y” smell, and I can recognize it quite consistently every time.

Normal levels of yeast are present naturally in the body (dogs and humans); however, when the immune system is out of balance, there can be an overgrowth of this flora. Generally, when the yeast gets out of balance, there is an odor that some people describe as “moldy bread” or “cheese popcorn.” You may have been told otherwise, but it is NOT normal for dogs to stink!

If your dog is scratching continuously, licking his paws, has ear odor, and is “butt scooting” or “smells like a Dorito” consider the following:

1)      Does your dog have the problem in one or both ears? Are all 4 paws looking blotchy and being licked, or just one?  If it’s both ears and all paws, it could be a yeast infection.

2)      Check out your dog’s food ingredients: Yeast must have sugar to grow and spread. Avoid corn, wheat and rice and other high carb dog food and sugary additives such as honey, corn syrup, or sweet potatoes and look for dog food that is sugar free with low-glycemic vegetables.

Add some anti-fungal foods such as a small amount of garlic or a few drops of oil of oregano which are anti-fungal and anti-yeast. Also add some pro-biotics like a dollop of yogurt in their food every meal.

3)      The overabundance of yeast must be removed from your pets’ skin by disinfecting them. The ears can be disinfected and cleansed with a solution purchased from a pet store, or you can use witch hazel and large cotton balls to remove all that black waxy build up and debris. It won’t go away by itself – you simply have to clean it! Do not use Q-tips.

4)      When there is a yeast infection, it’s important to also clean your dog’s feet, armpits, groin and anus, — disinfecting those parts is needed to prevent it from worsening in the hot humid months. Large dogs like boxers will need the remedy in the tub, using a bucket to ensure the rest of their body gets a good dose.

5)      Remember that the yeast lives under their nail beds and in places you can’t get to if the dog’s paws are not fully submerged. To 1 Gallon of water, add 1 Cup of hydrogen peroxide and 3 cups of white vinegar as a foot soak. You can do this up to 4 times daily if your dog’s infection is bad enough. After the dog’s been well dipped (use a bucket to cover all his fur and let the solution drip down his sides; run it on his undersides as well.

6)      DO NOT RINSE – you want the solution to stay on their skin to serve as an antifungal; it should reduce the dog’s urge to lick as well.

7)      After shampooing, anti fungal rinses can be used all year and as often as 3-4 times weekly. For a scented, antifungal spray use 1 cup white vinegar, 1 cup of lemon juice and 20 drops of tea tree or peppermint oil to 1 gallon water. Pour from the neck down, but avoid use of this solution on their head. Ensure that your dog’s armpits, feet, groin and around the tail are saturated. Do not rinse but use a sham wow or towel to dry.

So how do you KNOW if your dog has a yeast infection?

Your dog will show signs of extreme itchiness and will scratch, chew, bite, lick and rub at his skin. He may appear almost frenzied in his scratching. He may have a red scabby rash that appears hot to the touch, experience a loss of hair, have dandruff or oily fur and often dogs have an offensive “cheesy” odor – these are pretty sure signs of a yeast infection. An advanced yeast infection make dogs so miserable they sometimes won’t even want to eat, can get depressed, or even grumpy.

Before your dog gets a new nickname like “Dorito” or “Cheese Puff” take steps to ensure food is well balanced and the yeast overload is combated with low sugar food, frequent  baths, and a visit to the vet – however, stay away from steroid shots, they work for a while but often the yeast comes back with a vengeance. Remember to ask your vet to call in the prescription to your local pharmacist for the generic price of $4 – they sell many prescriptions that animals also take.

Goodbye Doritos!

Fleas, Ticks and Mosquitoes, Oh My!

Written by Jeanne Champagne, Director of Boxer Rescue of NWA Published in Northwest Arkansas Health & Wellness Online Magazine  Revised June 2014

While country living may seem a big dog’s “dream,” there is a price to pay for sharing space with wild critters. Deer can transport ticks, and squirrels, opossums and raccoons have enough fleas to keep Frontline Plus and K9-Advantix in business for decades. The most important thing to consider are the diseases that fleas, ticks and mosquitoes can potentially inflict on your furry pets.

From Lyme disease to Ehrlichiosis (ticks are the carriers) to Heart worm disease (mosquitoes are the carriers) to tape worms (fleas are the transmitters), protecting your pet  from becoming hosts to these parasitic disease vectors is something to seriously consider. But it’s not just the country setting that carry the intruding critters. City dwellers must deal with these intruders, too.

 There are many things you can do on your property to decrease the number of fleas, ticks and mosquitoes and therefore minimize the risks of certain diseases that can inflict your pets. Understanding how fleas, ticks and mosquitoes receive a personal  invitation to move in and feast on you and your pet is key to controlling them.

 Ticks are second only to mosquitoes in carrying disease from one person to another, but ticks are the number one vector in transporting disease-causing organisms (bacteria, viruses, protozoa) to your pets. Resilient and wide spread from country sides to city parks, ticks hang out on the edges of leaves and branches to ambush the unsuspecting hosts that brush against the vegetation where they lie in wait. Ticks love rotting wood, tall grass, weeds, or leaf and brush piles, so keeping lawns mowed, leaves raked and brush piles removed is one way to minimize their presence.  But don’t be fooled; ticks can live without food for up to a year!

Transported by other pets, wild animals or even the wind, these adaptable arachnids come in many species, all of which have one thing in common: they like blood. Some tick species feast on at least three different hosts before they actually die, and ticks can carry the infections of one host (or pet) into the bloodstream of another host (or pet).  Check your pets daily to remove any ticks that might have attached. In most cases, ticks need to be on the host for 4 or more hours before transmitting diseases such as Lyme or Ehrlichiosis.

 Fleas find their way to your pet via other flea-infested animals (opossums, squirrels, raccoons, your neighbor’s flea ridden dog.) The female flea is also known as the “living salt shaker” because her eggs are sprinkled all over the environment. When the flea egg matures, the adult parasite hops a ride onto its host – your pet – for a blood feast.  Dogs often have an allergic reaction to flea saliva proteins, which causes itching and skin dermatitis; it only takes a few fleas to cause this condition. A flea ridden pet can become anemic if these parasites feast continually on their blood.

Because fleas and ticks are sunlight and humidity sensitive, they will find protection under leaf piles, tall grass, shrubs and bushes and in shaded crawl spaces or under porches. Keep grass cut, shrubs trimmed and leaves raked to minimize the chances of a flea infestation. Wash your pet’s bed in hot water at least once a week to keep fleas and their eggs at bay.

 Mosquitoes are the culprits that carry heartworms to dogs by feasting on an animal that has been infected by the microfilariae. Within 10 to 14 days, microfilariae (heartworms) mature to the larval stage inside the mosquito. When this same mosquito bites your dog or cat, the infective larvae enters into the pet’s bloodstream through the mosquito’s bite. The larvae take about 6 months to mature into adult heartworms which have a lifespan of up to SEVEN years!  Heartworms are fatal to pets if not treated.

 The best way to keep mosquitoes as far away as possible is to eliminate their ideal breeding  ground which is mostly standing water found in stagnant bird baths or pet water bowls that aren’t changed regularly, stagnant ponds, pails and buckets that have stagnant rainwater or any standing water that isn’t replaced at least a few times a week.

To control fleas and ticks, you can dust the property with food grade diatomaceous earth (according to label directions) over the area where the dogs have free reign. Diatomaceous earth is a natural product made from ground shells (it is like a powder, but the small diatom shells slice up parasites like ticks and fleas without harm to children, adult humans or pets.) Many spread Diazinon or other products outside the dog area to control ticks transported by the many deer and other wildlife we have in our area.

We have yet to find any natural products that work well enough to keep the dogs free from these disease carrying parasites, therefore we do use monthly flea and tick control such as K9-Advantix, Frontline Plus, Nexgard or Pet Armor to ensure the dogs are provided the most protection.  Purchasing these products from your veterinarian offers one great advantage (though you’ll likely pay more than you can find on line)- companies will usually guarantee their products if you can prove you bought it from your vet.

Whether you live in the country or within city limits, it is important to keep your beloved pets as free from fleas, ticks and mosquitoes as possible not only for their comfort, but also for their health.  Talk to your veterinarian about the best way to control these parasites on your furry friends, and if you use any pet control, whether natural or not, be sure to follow manufacturer’s instructions.