Monday, July 13, 2009

Bug Bites

This summer has brought with it a host of bugs (blackflies, ticks, mosquitos, etc.), and therefore neverending frustration for Savage and me. Each year he gets insect bites all over his groin area and the insides of his back legs, but this year it seems worse. Each bug bite gets red and raised and extremely itchy, so he licks the area a lot, which eventually causes more irritation. I've not found a safe, effective insect repellant to use on him, though I have experimented with making my own at home with essential oils and aloe. I started applying Benadryl Itch Stopping Cream (diphenhydramine hydrochloride) to his bitten-up belly and in two days it improved immensely. I only apply it once a day and only when I can supervise him for a while so he doesn't lick the cream (though so far he hasn't tried). Savvy is allergic to hornet stings, and one of his vets prescribed oral Benadryl for such situations as what happened back in May of 2007. I've been cautioned not to use both topical and oral Benadryl at the same time, but the topical cream alone is working wonderfully right now.
On the other hand, while researching causes of skin irritations in dogs, I'm considering the possibility that Savage may have some kind of seasonal allergy. In addition to scratching, he nibbles on his feet and footpads often, and is chewing his butt area lately, which can be a sign of atopy or inhalant allergies. I've also read that dogs with seasonal allergies will often develop an ear infection. I'm planning on taking him to the vet very soon for his annual heartworm test, so I'll be asking for their opinions on the allergy theory. Further updates soon!