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Friday, May 30, 2008

How Not to Groom a Pekingese

Haiku Friday
itchy sneezey dog
vets says let’s see some pink skin
sad naked Peke now

Blitzkrieg is allergic to corn and wheat. Once I switched him to an allergy free diet, Blitzkrieg stopped power scratching. The hair grew back on the bald spot he made from scratching himself so much and his temperament improved. (Anecdotal evidence suggests that a corn free diet helps dogs with fear or aggression issues.) In other words, as long as I kept Blitzkrieg away from corn and wheat, he was itch free and life was good. It’s difficult because both corn and wheat are in almost every dog food or treat out there, from the cheapo doggie junk food brands to the expensive made with human-quality ingredients brands, but the benefits are definitely worth the truble.

Last spring, Blitzkrieg started scratching himself with a vengeance again. A trip to the veterinarian was in order. After a through exam (which Blitzkrieg absolutely hated) the vet suggested that we shave do a “therapeutic shave down” so we could see if Blitzkrieg had some sort of rash or lesion that may be the cause of the new itching and scratching. I agreed.


This is what I dropped off at the vet/groomers.
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This is what I picked up later that day.

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I had a naked dog! I honestly didn’t recognize Blitzkrieg when they brought him to me at the vet’s office. He looked like some weird mutant Pug! He wasn’t scratching himself anymore, but he sure was pissed off at me for doing this to him.

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Thankfully, Blitzkrieg’s condition was nothing serious. The vet said Blitzkrieg has seasonal allergies that we easily treat with medication during the pollen season.

Eventually we all adjusted to the mutant dog haircut. Blitzkrieg came to terms with it once he went to agility class and realized that he was able to run across the dog walk and not pant as much afterward. Pekingese and other brachycephalic breeds (smash faced dogs) are more susceptible to heatstroke than their non-smash faced dog brethren. I took advantage of Blitzkrieg’s severe summer ‘do and took him to a few more summer festivals than in previous years because I didn’t have to worry as much about Blitzkrieg overheating and getting heatstroke in the summer sun.
In addition, I got some interesting comments about my freaky little Peke. My personal favorite came from a drunk guy at a music festival who yelled a crossed a parking lot at me, “Hey! Your dog sure has a big dick!” How do you answer that one? Do you answer that one? If so, what is the polite thing to say? “Um…thank you?”

Lately, friends and neighbors are asking me if I’m going to shave Blitzkrieg for the summer again. I’m not sure. Before we rescued and rehabilited Blitzkrieg, he was beaten when he was groomed. That’s why our boy is missing an eye and some teeth. The shave down allowed me under a behaviorist’ guidance to work with Blitzkrieg through his fear of being hit on the hindquarters with a hairbrush. Now when I even say the word brush, it sends Blitzkrieg into a happy tizzy because it means he has a chance to earn treats. (That's a very good problem to have, in my book.) However, the sound of clippers still terrifies him. The vet had to sedate Blitzkrieg last summer before the groomer could groom him. I want to spare Blitzkrieg as much doggie trauma as I can.

Therefore, the springtime dilemma is to decide whether I should or should not cut Blitzkrieg’s coat for summer. Then, if I do decide the boy needs a haircut, how short do I go? My childhood dogs were strictly wash and wear. Double coated dog grooming is still new to me. What do you do with your double-coated dogs in summer?

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