Whole Dog Journal's Blog April 5, 2013

A proactive use for your dog’s health calendar

Posted at 03:00PM - Comments: (4)

I have calendars that are dedicated for noting things about my pets’ health. Time and time again they have come in handy when trying to investigate an abnormal condition. In recent months, notes on the calendar (and the clipped-out ingredients lists from their food labels, taped to the dates that I opened the bags of food) helped me put it together that Tito’s stool get loose every time I feed him a food that contains lamb, and that Otto is reluctant to eat foods that contain any fish or fish oil (probably due to oxidation in the fragile fish oils). Someday, I hope to be smart enough to use them to ANTICIPATE problems that arise annually.

In recent weeks, Otto has been licking and chewing himself more than usual. I told him to “knock it off!” several times without thinking much about it, before I finally thought to check him for fleas. I didn’t find a single flea – not on him, nor on Tito nor the cats. Huh, I thought. That’s as far as my thoughts went.

Today I was going back through some old blog posts, looking for a reference to something I had written about a couple of years ago, when I saw a blog post I wrote on March 22, 2011.  It was about spring allergies in dogs. In it, I mentioned that Otto had been licking and chewing himself – severe itching is the most common symptom of allergies in dogs -- and that the pollen counts were off the charts.

I grabbed the 2012 calendar dedicated to notes on Otto and Tito (the cats have a separate one). There it is, on March 11: “Otto licking/chewing daily.”

Okay, hello, three years in a row? Otto starts licking and chewing in March? Ya think maybe I could use this trend and start being proactive rather than reactive? In early March each year, I could start bathing him more frequently (or at least wiping his coat several times daily with a damp towel), and making him sleep inside (slightly more protected from the veritable rain of pollen that is coating our deck right now). I could also dose him with some mild antihistamines on bad pollen days (like I do for my own spring allergies).

Thank goodness for online calendars: I’m setting up an alarm for March 1, 2014. “Consider Otto’s spring allergies.”

Does your dog suffer from any annual or seasonal conditions?

Comments (4)

My dog used to chew up his front feet in April, until I put him on a limited ingredient diet of venison and sweet potato. He also tends to get mucousy stools and has to go quickly like IBS in humans.

Posted by: Nancyk | July 27, 2013 2:47 PM    Report this comment

I feed a raw diet to my boy and that helps him with his allergies. As for bathing, it helps to rinse with ACV and let it dry on the coat(Apple Cider Vinegar) but make sure to use the best kind - Bragg ACV is usually easy to buy. If the skin is broken mix the ACV with water 50/50.

Posted by: 376NYC | April 9, 2013 8:39 PM    Report this comment

I use two Android to keep track of my dogs health.

To make sure I remember tasks like monthly medications or seasonal tasks or even longer tasks, I use Checkmark ToDo by GreenbeanSoft. It allows you to set tasks with due dates which may or may not repeat. The tasks may repeat on a set schedule (the third Wednesday of every month or the 15th) or they may repeat when the prior task was completed. Because I run the app as a widget on my home page, I see everything which is past due, due that day, due that week, etc. every time I turn my phone on.

To keep track of health issues, I also put entries in Note Everything. It allows me to file notes similarly to the way Windows has folders and files in Explorer. I have used it many times when the vet had a question about a past event.

By having the apps in my phone I have a health history with me when we need to make an emergency trip to the vet or when we are traveling.

Posted by: Susan T | April 9, 2013 12:17 PM    Report this comment

One of my Westies first exhibited her skin allergy symptoms (by licking/chewing enough to remove the hair on her legs) in April of the first year of her life (August birthdate). Although her skin allergies now manifest year-round, it is worst in the spring and summer. Interestingly, I think she also has respiratory seasonal allergy to something in the air in Santa Fe, NM, as she has been sneezing and sniffling since we arrived here 3 days ago! Benadryl BID seems to help.

Posted by: janey | April 9, 2013 11:24 AM    Report this comment

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