As I commented in another blog, dog bath pictures may be the canine equivalent of your parents showing your baby photos to your date for the junior prom. But here goes…
Today was Max’s bath day. We usually scrub the Malt twice a week.
Now, I can almost hear some of you crying in dismay about that frequency and winding up the scream generators to give me a good old fashioned tongue lashing about dry dog skin, removing skin protecting oils, irritation to sensitive tissues, etc.
Yeah, yeah, yeah.
The thing is, Max is a very itchy furball. Ever since his puppy days he has scratched and chewed and bitten himself incessantly. It’s an allergy issue. It’s brutal to watch.
The Alpha Japanese Female and I have spent a small fortune trying to decipher the allergy triggers.
Max had that test and this test and the other test too.
We know, for example, that he is not reactive to ever-bearing Siberian quince flowers or caviar and that pre-pubescent winter wheat grass mites are no problem either.
But after a gazillion splotches and scratches and other alchemies that made the Mercedes payments for several canine allergists, we still don’t know what causes the itchies. It is likely a mix of things, a toxic soup of chemicals and botanicals and for all I know, oxygen and sunlight.
When we brought Max to Hawaii from Utah and asked his new local vet about the problem the guy started laughing and said, “You guys are totally screwed now. A white dog with pink skin in Hawaii is victim to an astonishing array of skin irritants and allergy triggers simply because of our year-round warm, humid sub-tropical climate.”
We were almost resigned to a miserable fate for Fluff Stuff but after much research, trial and error we finally landed on a therapy that works at the 90%+ level in terms of providing the Malt with comfort.
It consists of twice weekly baths using Douxo, a chlorhexadrine shampoo and ResiCort, an anti-pruritic leave-on lotion which is also prescribed for cats and horses.
If we are diligent about the routine, Max is a happy pup who still scratches but does not engage in destructive chewing, pulling or gouging of his skin and fur.
So bath time is a near religious event in our tiny condo. It is my job to scrub the Malt.
The first trick is to catch him. Plucking him from his favored position on my easy chair and carrying him to the shower requires deft movements lest he escape and hide under the bed.
I start by dousing him with cool water and I use my hand to slowly wet his face.
Max doesn’t mind baths but he loathes having his face wet.
Then I soap him to the point he resembles a Sta-Puft Marshmallow Dog (note “Ghostbusters” reference) and scrub him from snout to tail.
The scrubbing lasts 10 minutes and, yes, I actually time it on my watch.
After a thorough rinse with cool water and a light pat dry, I apply the no-scratch lotion which has a pleasant peach fragrance that seems appropriate for the pink-skinned Pupperoni.
Finally a slurp of hyaluronic wash into the canals under the floppy ears and we are ready for a thorough toweling.
The post-wash cookie treat is the highlight for Max.
That, and a short nap in front of the air conditioner.
For the next couple days the Pupsicle will be comfy in his skin and then we’ll do it all over again.