It’s a Dog’s Life

The Sentosa Fairy

Online forums can provide an amazingly amount of help for cruisers and expats alike. The Grenada Cruisers Facebook page, the similar ones for other areas of the Caribbean proved invaluable when trying to source a spare part or an odd foodie item. During my initial weeks in Dubai I found the help and support from the ladies of the Expat Woman forum invaluable for locating items and services in a new and very big city.  And here in Singapore there are several such forums mostly aimed at expat mums some open some not but all usually a cornucopia of local knowledge.

However sometimes the casual browser whiling away a few idle moments (Who am I kidding? I can waste a whole couple of hours before breakfast unless I keep my FB habit in check) I find the responses to someone else’s odd problem serves mostly to entertain or worse annoy. I now studiously avoid threads on “helpers” as few expats seem to realise they are employers and their paid servant is not supposed to dictate the terms of the relationship or it will end in tears usually those of the sad momma with a sweet baby who can’t say no to her wilful maid. My sympathy lies actually with the employees, women who leave their young family many miles away to earn a little extra to put their children through school but find themselves in debt to the agent who arranged their flights, work passes and employment. They work six days a week, cleaning, cooking and childminding and are expected to sleep in the tiny bombshelter or on the wet kitchen floor. Keeping in the background, unseen by visitors yet blamed for the slightest sign that the hostess may have fallen short in terms of dust, plumped up cushions or supplies of coffee and biscuits. Rant over and anyway I have digressed.

Some threads however have me laughing out loud – the original question may be serious enough, though sometimes I wonder if the poster is really pulling the forum members’ collective leg. However the responses even allowing for the fact that for many expats English is a foreign language, set me giggling – do people actually ever read back what they’ve typed before pressing “post” or realise they can edit their faux pas?  So for your delictation and delight here are the highlights from a recent doggy tale… I have removed names protect the innocent but the texts are the contributors’ own and I’ve refrained from any (scarky) comments until almost the end:

“Good morning ladies, my golden retriever has been visiting the vet for her skin problems for the last few weeks. Whenever she finished her medication, she starts to scratch herself again and her skin seems red. We have stopped chicken in her diet, only salmon dry food for breakfast and fresh apples, fresh minced beef with sweet potatoes for dinner. Is there something I must avoid? Any advise? Many thanks.”

A: Don’t wash her, there has been a lot of discussion about this before I’ll try and find the link.
A: Sorry can’t get link to go in here, likely a yeast infection and sweat, if wash too often dogs own oils don’t work, if going to wash use tea tree oil based product rather than oatmeal stuff, if you do a search on the forum for dog and yeast the thread will come up with everyone’s advice

B:  Try getting her to eat raw papaya, it helped my boxer a bit. Agree re the washing. Keeping her cool is another good thing. Good luck. X

C:  Our lab eats only fish & salmon based food. Try one with less ingredients maybe. Maybe skip the beef for a few days and see if that helps.

D: Yes too much washing will further deplete the natural oils and contribute to discomfort and infection in dry patches.

 E: Hi there our darling weimanara got to the stage where he started getting bald patches and was bleeding. It broke my heart.We did everything vets told us including diet of frogs and yam and steroids and nation prices and shampoos etc. nothing helped!!!He went to my friends for 3 weeks and came back cured including hair grew back. We stopped all medication except for Zyrtec when gardeners . My friend used Johnson’s baby shampoo so we have continued that and continued to feed same as she did ie chicken and rice with carrots onions and garlic and purina dry food.

F: It seems a lot of dogs have this issue here. Look into “Dr. Pitcairn’s Complete Natural Health for Cats and Dogs”. Your dogs immune system is down due to steroids or antibiotics. His book includes recipes and suggestion for vitamins including vitamin C which helps with skin issues

G:  We changed our dogs to a vegan food and the difference has been amazing.

H: It must be the food. There is something you give her that she does react on. My sister had it and she is just giving her dog now a special food. If you want me to ask her I can do it later in the day.
I: Countless dog owners have developed the same problem since moving here. It’s really odd to think that every dog all of a sudden became allergic to dog food after they arrived?… Living in the states my dog ate everything!! Having said that, we do feed my dog a fish based dog food now and give her fish oil and it does seems to help. I think the humidity really takes a toll on the dogs skin. Best of luck to you…. Been there!!

J: Avoid anything sweet…

K: I’ve read a lot that beef is also a well known pet allergy food…I would try eliminating that..and either choose a limited ingredient kibble or start home cooking to see what works……

L:  My dog suffered for a long time with skin allergies here so I had him blood tested at the vet for what not to feed him. They sent the blood to the US for testing. So are years of feeding him chicken turns out he was allergic to it and lamb. But I do believe the climate here has a lot to do with it also as he never had a problem until moving here.

OP:  No [K], no grains, no meat or poultry content, no artificial ingredients.

[ED: so just what are you feeding your poor dog on then – cabbage? Ah no I seem to recall you listed apples, salmon, minced beef and sweet potatoes…]

M: My cat(!) has the same issues and apparently she is allergic to protein. You can buy special food for them but very expensive as well… Of course…