Ask Dog Lady: Advice on Pets, Life and Love

Thursday Nov 15, 2012

by Monica Collins

Dear Dog Lady,

My pup has a case of fleas. I’m trying to break her of that with weekly flea baths and the drops. What seems to be a growing problem is gratuitous flaking dry skin, caused, I’m sure, by irritation and the residuals of parasite living. She’s experiencing wide-spread hair loss and acne-like bumps and zits as well. What do you recommend for a plan of attack so that my dog doesn’t scratch herself bald? Or could this be something more serious?

Dear Ryan,

Not for nothing but you wrote this mail on e-stationery from a major financial institution where, presumably, you are gainfully employed. So, please, invest a few dollars in your flea-bitten darling dog. Take her to a veterinarian who can prescribe medication to purge the mites. Also, consult a medical professional about her skin condition. Dogs can develop benign lumps and bumps as they age. These skin perturbations need mapping to track changes over the years. Importantly, you should be in charge of your dog’s food. You can do research about organic and pure foods made without corn and wheat. In a few cases, these grains get under a dog’s skin and can cause skin allergies along with much itching and flaking.

Don’t think you can take care of a dog on the cheap. With such obvious problems as flea infestation and wide-spread hair loss accompanied by skin disease, fork out money for some medical care. You owe it to the innocent creature in your care.

Dear Dog Lady,

My neighbor has a sweet dog he just adopted a few weeks ago. The dog is part Jack Russell terrier. I also think there’s some sort of hunting hound mixed in. The dog is very cute but totally deaf. I have gone online and looked up sign language for dogs. I was wondering if there was any place for classes


Dear Pam,

The shelter where your friend adopted the deaf dog would presumably have information about dealing with dogs who can’t hear. But there’s a wonderfully instructive resource online at This helpful site contains lots of information, including training tips, about living with a deaf dog. The site also directs you to various groups, books, and a listserv for deaf dog fanciers to post. You could ask there about any classes in your specific area.

Dear Dog Lady,

I have a three-year-old bichon frise. He is at home all day while I am at work and does fine. The problem is after work. If I have to go out after dinner, say to the store or to visit someone, he ransacks the home, soiling the carpet or bedding. How can I correct this bad behavior?


Dear Lori,

You can correct the bad behavior by being good to your dog. Bichon frises, aka marshmallow fluffs, do not have bionic bladders. They are living beings and have biological needs. With no human contact, they also bore easily after a long day holding down the fort. You’d tear up the house too without a humane bathroom break. If you’re going to be late, hire a dog walker to provide your pet an outing.

Dear Dog Lady,

My dog is now two and one half years old and still has accidents in the house. She stays in the crate with no problem during the day but in the evenings, she sneaks a pee often on the wood floor in the living room.  She also gets out of bed in the middle of the night and may relieve herself. Any suggestions?

In your column a few weeks ago, you mentioned two products that took the smell of urine away and I can’t find where I placed the clipping. I was wondering if you could tell me what they were?


Dear Todd,

Your dog is old enough to be fully house-trained-if you’ve held up your end of the bargain such as giving your dear pet plenty of exercise and outdoor time. With good training a dog can sleep contained in a crate for up to 12 hours without incident. But when you release her, you’ve got to walk her and allow her plenty of time to stretch her legs and do her thing. Also, walk her before you go to bed so she doesn’t have to get up in the middle of the night.

Besides insufficient training, not being spayed is another reason why a young female dog might be piddling indiscriminately. Make sure she is fixed, altered, sterilized, defeminized, whatever you want to call it. This simple is the humane treatment of a companion animal.

Simple Solution and Nature’s Remedy are two products to cleanse dog urine stains and smells. They release enzymes to wipe away the scent, which always lures a canine back to the scene of the grime.

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