Help! Spots, Rashes, and All Things Itchy

We have been noticing lately, more and more, that poor Miss Gia has some itchies that we just cannot seem to get under control.

When she first came to us, she had some not-so-cute rashes on her tummy. We were able to alleviate this by a simple switch to a higher quality food, as well as a few medicated baths.

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For a while, this seemed to curb her problems. However, as spring started to finally arrive in our little piece of Pennsylvania, we noticed our girl doing more itching and licking than ever! We would notice an issue especially after we cut the grass, or she spent a lot of time outside ‘hunting’ in the woods (her favorite!) At first, we could combat the problem by treating her with some liquid Benadryl, but now even that doesn’t seem to be able to combat her itchings!

Caught in the act =/

Caught in the act =/

She will even wake out of a deep sleep to lick or itch at her paws or back end or tummy, and then go right back to dreaming. We are having a hard time telling if this is something that is physical (there are no lumps, bumps, fleas, or rashes) or mental. She will just lick and lick at her paws if we aren’t there to stop her. When we correct her (just with a quiet ‘no’ or by redirecting her to a toy or bone) she will give a big yawn, as though she is worried or stressed. If I had to guess, I would say that it is probably a combination of both.

When we went to our vet, they were pretty blase about it… they told us to try Benadryl (duh, been there, tried that) and Fish Oil (check!) neither of which seemed to do much for our girl. We know that pittie mixes can have a tendency towards the itchies and the allergens, so I know that some of our wise blog friends will have some suggestions for us! We’d love to hear your thoughts to make our girl more comfortable… should we try allergy testing, or is there an intermediate step we are missing?

Thank you in advance for your help!

Top 10 Reasons to Add Georgia to your Family!

Want to hear something crazy? We are approaching Georgia’s ONE YEAR anniversary of rescue. Can you believe it? We certainly cannot.

It was a cold December afternoon, just a few days before Christmas, when LCPO heard of a little red pit bull with newborn pups, slated to be euthanized at a heart-sticking shelter in Georgia. After scrambling to bring them all to safety, the rescue has worked diligently to bring mom and babies back to good health. While all of her pups have found wonderful, forever homes, poor Georgia seems to have been overlooked. Honestly and truly, I cannot think of ONE reason someone wouldn’t want to adopt her. She is about as close to perfect as it gets. (Don’t tell Tonka I said so.) However, I thought I would be proactive, and deliberately tell you all just why we think she is so wonderful.

10. Grooming. Georgia has a shiny, sleek coat. What does this mean for you? She is a VERY LOW shedding pooch, so that means less vacuuming, brushing, and blanket washing! You won’t be carrying little ‘pieces’ of her (hair) around on all of your clothes and coats, either. She feels like velvet under your hands, and is a festive red and white! She also LOVES baths, and sits quietly in the tub for them.

Sitting patiently for her bath

Sitting patiently for her bath

9. Highly Trainable. Georgia is a people-pleaser, and is very motivated by food rewards. This, coupled with her intelligence, makes her a great candidate for easy training and obedience!

Training session with Foster Dad

Training session with Foster Dad

8. Low-maintenance activity level. A short game of fetch and one walk a day are more than enough to keep Georgia’s mind and body active, which is rare for a dog of her age and breed. This makes her perfect for a busy family or college student. She also walks well on her harness and leash without pulling.

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7. Cuddling. Georgia is a professional cuddle bug, who loves nothing more than a lazy Sunday spent cuddling on the couch. She does a great job of finding the perfect spot to snuggle in close beside you!

Cuddling with her favorite.

Cuddling with her favorite.

6. Cats. Georgia lives very successfully with cats! She doesn’t bother or try to chase them, but is content to let them lay down beside her, or even climb on top of her!

Cat's got your tail?

Cat’s got your tail?

5. Training. Georgia is already 100% house-trained and crate-trained. This will ensure a seamless transition into your family, without the worry of stained carpets and chewed furniture that might come with a younger pup! She has even had some professional training classes.

"Look into my eyes, and fall in love."

“Look into my eyes, and fall in love.”

4. Travel Companion. Georgia is very calm and quiet in the car, content to fall asleep in the back seat. She would make a great co-pilot for someone who travels often! At the same time, she has been great for our dog-sitters during extended trips.

Look at all of those smiles!

Look at all of those smiles!

3. Age. At approximately 2.5 years old, Georgia is of the perfect age, as she is young enough to still be spunky and silly, but old enough that she understands most of what is expected of her as a family pet.

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2. People. Georgia absolutely adores people! Although her appearance might seem intimidating to intruders, she would only try to lick your guests to death! So while she probably would not excel as a guard dog, this makes Georgia a great candidate for an adopter that enjoys entertaining or has children. She loves all people, male or female, young or old, from the next door neighbor to the vet!

Georgia loves children

Georgia loves children

1. Mental health. A dog like Georgia is the perfect prescription for your mental health! With Georgia in your home, the stress of a bad day never lasts for long. She is such a clown, enjoying a quick bout of the zoomies each night, and even happy to dress up for Halloween. With her pittie smile and kissable-huggable-squeezable self, you can’t help but be happy when you are around this sweet girl!

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Busy as bulls! (pit bulls, that is)

Woo! It has been an exhausting few days around here. This weekend, we enjoyed time with friends, did some Christmas shopping & decorating, took lots of family walks, and even had a visit from a special guest… a local celebrity dog trainer! (We will save that last bit for tomorrow’s post, however.)

There is ALWAYS time for snugglin'

There is ALWAYS time for snugglin’

The hectic schedule didn’t end there. Today began with an early morning trip to the vet. Georgia was due for her rabies shot, and had also been itching more than usual. She was an angel for her exam, took the shot like a pro, and shared lots of tail wags and kisses with the staff. Of course, they just couldn’t get enough of our girl. We received a few comments on what a BIG girl she was (don’t they know it’s just plain rude to comment on a lady’s weight? Really… 75 pounds is not that bad!) We only encountered one other dog while we were there, and while Georgia didn’t seem entirely eager to investigate the stranger, she stayed relaxed and quiet. We also have a new anti-yeast shampoo to try, in order to combat the itchies, so we will keep you posted on that!

After our adventures at the vet were through, we took a trip to Petsmart. Georgia’s previous foster had warned that Georgia could get uncomfortable at public adoption events, so she hasn’t been out and about much since coming to live with us. I figured that a quiet Monday morning would be as good a time as any to give it a try, and so I hooked up her harness and had a buddy for my shopping trip. I armed myself with lots of treats to reward positive behavior. Again, we didn’t meet too many other dogs during our excursion, but Georgia was a model mutt, even sitting politely when presented with a treat from the check out girl.

Georgia does so well in the car. She loads quietly, waiting for her cue to step up. She even waited patiently while I ran in to a store and then the post office. She was content to sleep in the back seat for most of our travels, checking in with me occasionally for a pet or a kiss. Can’t you just imagine her as your permanent co-pilot?!

And there is always time for play!

And there is always time for play!

Please stop by tomorrow for a big fat post with the full run-down of our time with a special dog trainer. We will share our new-found ‘expertise’ with all of you… and don’t worry, it’s free only to our readers! 😉

Keeping the Vet Away

Now, don’t get me wrong. We love our vet. But let’s be honest; no one wants to see their pooches sick, or the multi-figure bill that follows. We have been working to make Miss Georgia a more healthy member of society since she came into our care, but the process began long before that.

When Georgia was pulled from the shelter in the state of Georgia, she was a severely malnourished new mama with major skin issues, and was also determined to be heartworm positive. Our rescue did a great job of improving her major conditions, but when Georgia came to us (almost a month ago, now!) she was still harboring some ailments.

We noticed pretty quickly that while the rescue had identified a few ways to manage Georgia’s skin sensitivities (weekly baths, prescription shampoos, etc.), we felt confident that a change in diet would show a major, and more permanent, improvement in her condition. We switched Georgia to a limited ingredient, grain-free, dry dog food, with a novel protein and carbohydrate source. This can be a great way to identify your dog’s allergies or sensitivities. In Georgia’s case, she has responded much more positively to this new diet. The itching and chewing she used to do almost incessantly has completely subsided, as have the rashes on her tummy and paws.

Look at that healthy, shiny coat!

The other issue that worried us was some sensitivity in Georgia’s spine and hips. She would hesitate or shudder when asked to sit, and would wince noticeably when even the lightest pressure was applied to her hind end. She also had very irregular, sometimes strained, bowel movements. After an appointment with the renowned Dr. David Smolensky, our adored canine chiropractor, we have seen some major improvements in this area. We will continue to make trips to the chiro until her back has strengthened, but feel so grateful that we are able to help make Georgia more comfortable. We can venture many guesses as to what has made her so sore, but all that matters is that she deserves to be free from pain.

As Georgia lays curled up beside me, snoring, I also recognize an improvement in her general attitude. Her weight has decreased to a more manageable level, and she has become a happier, more active pooch. She still prefers to cuddle up for couch time, over exercise any day! But play time lasts longer, and we see more pittie-smiles every day!

“You have not lived until you have done something for someone who can never repay you.”

If you think you might know someone who would be interested in adopting our sweet girl Georgia, please share her story! Any questions about Georgia or the adoption process can be directed to me (Stephanie!) at sel1490@gmail.com.

Wet Behind the Dog Ears

So fresh and so clean, clean.

Looking lovely!

One thing that will be important for Georgia’s forever family to know, is that she has some allergies and issues with sensitive skin. These are under control now, but when she is nervous and/or in a new environment, the itchies seem to creep right in. We are able to manage these with a special diet (NutraMax), and weekly baths. Yes, I said weekly baths. 3 times per month, these baths are done with a Selsun Blue shampoo, and once per month, we use a special medicated shampoo from the vet. The good news, is that these baths also serve as her flea treatment… no creepy crawlies to be found on this lady!

The even better news?! Georgia is a rock star in the bath tub. Okay, no, she is not belting out ballads like Joan Jett & Pat Benatar. However, Georgia is an angel during bath time. She sits patiently, lounging in the warm water, and soaking up all the lovin’ that she can. I was able to ask her to sit and stay, and then I left the bathroom (door open!) to go get my camera. She didn’t even shake off until she had a towel covering her! Post-bath, our bathroom essentially looked as if no dog had been there at all! (Until it was time for Tonka & Gaige baths… ugh! Black hair everywhere.) After she was all dried off, she did a few zoomies through the house, and took a nap. What a sweetie pie! Now she is extra clean and shiny and smelly-good.

In case you don’t believe us when we tell you how great Georgia is with kitties, here is a video of our cat tormenting her… and of course, Georgia takes it all in stride!

We are excited to announce that we will have our very first guest post on Monday! Tune in then 🙂 Have a great weekend everyone!

Every Doggy Needs Some Doggy

It has been two weeks since Georgia joined our family, and I think that it is safe to say that she is finally starting to let down her guard and truly settle in. Georgia is such a sweet girl, and loves everyone she meets, but I can’t shake the feeling that she is like a trauma victim. She seems to be enjoying her time here, but also prepared for the inevitable change. This poor girl has never known a truly loving, secure home that didn’t have an expiration date. With every home she has been moved to, she seems to become more restless. Thankfully, this lack of security hasn’t manifested into any negative behaviors, but I can only imagine how Georgia will blossom with a permanent home to call her own.

Yesterday was a very eventful day in our house! In the morning, I went on a walk with Tonka & Georgia. This was the first one without Foster Dad holding Georgia’s leash, so the dogs were in closer proximity. They were perfect!

Excuse the poor quality of my iPhone 4…

Georgia seems to be relaxing more around Tonka, and is learning to enjoy his presence. She has never displayed any aggression towards him, but seemed nervous around him at first. I think that before we know it, the two will be great friends.

Whatcha doin’ back there, Foster Bro?

Poor widdle couch potato was exhausted after our hike!

After dinner, Foster Dad helped make a kong for Miss Georgia! Georgia has some sensitivity to different foods and dyes, so she is on a special diet (just a specific brand of food that can be found at Petsmart). When she is having a reaction to a food, or if she is feeling more nervous than usual, she will lick at her tummy and paws.

Trying to give herself a pedicure!

We wanted to try using a stuffed kong with her, so that when we are gone, she will have something to occupy her time. Georgia made sure to dictate what should be placed inside of the kong…

“Ok now Foster Dad, heavy on the cheese, light on those crunchy orange carrot thingies.”

Georgia offers some closer supervision.

Finally, once that task was complete, we decided that now was as good of a time as any to try clipping her toe nails. This girl was way overdue for a pedicure! Naturally, I made the assumption that because her toes were a bit overgrown, she must not be a fan of the procedure. I couldn’t have been more wrong. Georgia was an angel for her pedicure, letting us clip and trim without any fuss from her. She is just such an easy pup!

If you think you might know someone who would be interested in adopting our sweet girl Georgia, please share her story! Any questions about Georgia or the adoption process can be directed to me (Stephanie!) at sel1490@gmail.com.