Usually, allergy talk is reserved for springtimebut here in Austin, environmental irritants are a year-round issue (one of the few drawbacks to living somewhere that doesn’t really experience winter). The pollen, mold, and grasses cause problems for just about every person I know: Even I, someone who was never affected by seasonal allergies while living in New Jersey, am nearly bedridden throughout January due to all the cedar in the air. What’s more, they cause problems for pets, too.
August was when we first started noticing my dog, Charlie, scratching herself more than usual. She scratched so much, in fact, that she started to keep us up at night. At first, we tried to ignore itwe didn’t think anything really bad could come of some harmless scratching (could you tell we’re first-time dog owners?)until one day we noticed a patch of fur missing from the top of her head. Even worse, the skin was raw and bloody.
Obviously concerned, we brought Charlie to the vet the next day, where we discussed possible allergies to Charlie’s food or indoor environment, as well as tested for potential fungal infections. We knew it wasn’t the food, and Charlie had been fine in our apartment for the nine months before the scratching happened. The fungal tests also came back negative. The vet said we could give Charlie steroids to help with the itching, but also said that they could damage her health in the long term. So we ruled that out, and instead opted to try to ease her skin troubles naturally: Feeding her a fish oil capsule each day to reduce inflammation, and giving her frequent oatmeal baths to take the itch away. When the scratching got really bad, we’d give her a quarter of a Benadryl tablet so everyone could at least get some sleepthough I felt pretty unhappy about consistently feeding my dog OTC antihistamines.
Fast forward to November. Charlie’s still scratching like a fiend, and has lost a significant amount of fur on her sides and hind legs. She’d also developed some hot spots on the raw skin from biting and licking at it. I felt really terrible, but I still didn’t want to put her on the steroids. That’s when I found DERMagic . An all-natural skincare system, the line consisted of a peppermint and tea tree oil shampoo, plus a lotion and salve made with aloe, vitamin E, lanolin, beeswax, and plant oils. The testimonials on the website sort of made the products sound like a miracle cure, so I was skeptical. But I wanted Charlie better, and I didn’t want to use drugs–so I asked for a sample kit.
Adelia Richards, the creator of DERMagic who has a background in organic chemistry and has two dogs of her own, was super nice, and I received my DERMagic samples just a few days later, on Friday afternoon. We bathed Charlie with the shampoo (which smelled great, by the way!), applied the lotion, and put a t-shirt on her so she couldn’t lick any of the stuff off. We applied the lotion twice more on Saturday and again on Sunday, and by Sunday evening, noticed that all of the raw, red spots on Charlie’s skin were gone. What’s more, she slept through the night on Friday and Saturday, and was scratching much less overall.
I’ve been using DERMagic for five days now. Not only has Charlie’s skin and scratching continued to improve, but the fur is now growing back on the bald patches around her hind legs. The DERMagic system calls to bathe dogs once a week with the shampoo, apply the lotion twice daily for the first week, once daily for the second week, then however often is necessary to keep itching and irritation at bay. That’s something I can live with.
Am I exactly sure what’s behind Charlie’s skin problems? No. But after a lot of research and observation, I’m fairly convinced environmental allergies are to blame. I could bolster her immunity against the allergens with steroidsand if there was absolutely no other option, I would. Fortunately, though, there is another option, and that’s DERMagic. Hooray!