DEAR DR. FOX: I read one of your articles about shampooing dogs who have allergies with Selsun Blue. I have shampooed my dog twice, and it really did help: She quit biting her paws and scratching so much. But the smell is horrible.
About five or six hours after shampooing, my dog smells so toxic, with an ammonia smell, it can make your eyes water. I even did a final rinse this time with vinegar and water, hoping that would take the smell away; it did somewhat, but the smell is still there.
Should I continue to use of the Selsun shampoo? How do I get rid of that smell, since this shampoo works so well? I know my dog is happy about not itching all the time, but I am sure the smell is bothering her as much as it bothers me. -- D.A., O'Fallon, Missouri
DEAR D.A.: I have recommended Selsun Blue medicated shampoo for dogs for decades. Use it once every seven to 10 days to control seborrhea -- a greasy skin condition -- which may be related to low thyroid function. Too much shampooing can disrupt the healthy balance of skin bacteria and make the sebaceous glands hyperactive, so all things in moderation.
The ammonialike smell from your dog may upset the dog as much as you, and you will see on the label that the product does contain ammonium and sulfide compounds. So after thoroughly rubbing in the medicated shampoo and then allowing it to stay in the fur for a few minutes, a vigorous rinsing with warm water spray would be advisable.
Part of the odor issue may be a form of detoxification; the shampoo releases sebaceous secretions from skin glands that produce a foul odor because of what you are feeding your dog, or because of some underlying health issue, possibly affecting the kidneys or liver. So a full wellness examination may be advisable.
Try my home-prepared dog food recipe posted on my website -- many dogs smell sweeter when given whole, fresh foods. Add supplements such as fish and coconut oil and brewer's yeast to his food. A little turmeric, ginger and oregano in the food can also provide various benefits.
After the Selsun Blue shampooing, which you may not need if a change in diet stops the paw-chewing behavior, try misting the fur thoroughly with a natural herbal product, such as PetzLife's Bath-Eaze, a bathless shampoo and conditioner. For details, visit petzlife.com.
Keep me posted on your progress.
DEAR DR. FOX: I have read about the benefits of wheat grass for cats, and I have bought it several times for my indoor cats, who love it. The problem is that they gobble it down and then throw it up. Is its purpose to be a purgative? If not, how do I give it to them so that they don't munch on it and then spit it up? -- C.S., Baltimore
DEAR C.S.: Our two cats both love catnip, but one of them usually vomits within seconds after eating the dried herb. Vomiting may have some purging value and certainly can help clear cats' stomachs of fur balls. This may also be the case with wheat grass or other sprouts for some cats. But to get any nutritive benefits from sprouts, I would chop up a teaspoonful and mix in with your cats' regular food every four to five days.
Pet Owners Report Hemp (Marijuana) Products Helpful in Relieving Pain
According to a survey published in the Spring 2016 issue of the Journal of the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association (JAHVMA), 64.3 percent of dog owners and 66 percent of cat owners felt that the consumption of hemp products helped their pets either moderately or a great deal.
A team from the Department of Clinical Sciences at the Colorado State University College of Veterinary Medicine conducted the survey. A link was provided to the survey from a website of a company that sells hemp products for animals. Responses were anonymous.
Six hundred and thirty-two people responded to the survey, with 457 using or having used a hemp product for their dog and 104 people using or having used a hemp product for their cat.
In addition to the relief from pain, 50.5 percent of the dogs and 44 percent of the cats were perceived by their owners as having either moderately or greatly improved sleep habits from the use of hemp products.
When it came to anxiety, 49.3 percent of dog owners reported that the hemp products helped moderately or a great deal. For reducing inflammation in cats, the owners perceived the products were similarly helpful in 56.3 percent of the felines.
The most common side effects reported by both dog and cat owners were sedation and overactive appetite (dogs: 22 percent, 15.9 percent; cats: 19.2 percent and 16 percent).
(Send all mail to email@example.com or to Dr. Michael Fox in care of Universal Uclick, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106. The volume of mail received prohibits personal replies, but questions and comments of general interest will be discussed in future columns.
Visit Dr. Fox's website at DrFoxVet.net.)