I take Benadryl for my allergies.
Consort takes Benadryl for his allergies.
The dog takes Benadryl for his allergies.
When it comes to Benadryl, I buy in bulk.
When I took the dog in for an exam, not long after he came home, the vet pointed out his runny eyes and the red skin between his toes. “Allergies,” he declared, and I was unsurprised; his nightly scratching, combined with his tags jingling, had been our lullaby since he arrived. The vet offered several suggestions, the cheapest and easiest of which was Benadryl, every day. Because I am fond of the cheap and the easy, I took him home and promptly popped a pink and white pill into his mouth. I massaged his throat firmly, felt him swallow, and we all went on our way. I felt smug in that “Look at me getting this accomplished” way; the dog appeared stunned, but cheered himself up by having a good long scratch.
An hour later, I found a slightly chewed pink and white pill on the ground. I picked it up, first puzzled and then challenged. Hide your pill in your cheek will you, I thought, tucking it in some peanut butter. We’ll just see about that. The offering of peanut butter was gratefully accepted; the chewy anti-histamine surprise in the middle went down without comment. I didn’t find it later, and the scratching seemed less vigorous. Success!
Twice a day, I would make him his peanut-butter delivery-device; twice a day, he would uncomplainingly take his pill. The fun of watching a dog eat peanut butter twice a day was just an added bonus. What wasn’t an added bonus was any effect on his allergies. After the first day or so, not only did it not seem to be working, he seemed to be scratching more, more actively chewing at his paws. All through the day and night, I would hear his tags jingling, an aural reminder that the problem wasn’t fixed. I mentioned to a friend who bred dogs that I was having this problem. She asked me a few questions, and when I got to the “He certainly likes his peanut butter” part, her hand flew to her mouth in dismay.
“What…?” I said in suspicion.
So, it seems that many dogs are allergic to peanuts. They can also be allergic to wheat, soy and corn, otherwise known as the Three Horsemen of Kibble. I could take him in for expensive tests or, as my friend suggested, just cut everything with peanuts, wheat soy and corn from his diet, continue the Benadryl, and see if the itching stopped. Since I already had him on a raw-meat diet, this wasn’t a huge transition, but I did have to check all of his nibbly-treats I had been using for obedience training for the dreaded fillers. A half-hour later, I had determined that only one of his treats was completely without peanuts, wheat, soy and corn. I had also noticed I wouldn’t be getting that half-hour of spare time back at the end of my life. I bought him filler-free treats, which were gaspingly expensive. Benadryl might have been an easy fix, but it certainly wasn’t a cheap fix anymore.
We were now back to the original problem; the dog has a world-class talent for not taking pills. At first, I tried putting the pill in a bit of meat, only to find that the dog had somehow would remove all the delicious meaty bits with his tongue, leaving a virtually unmarked pill in the food bowl, mocking me. I then tried putting the pill down his throat and holding his jaw shut with one hand while massaging this throat with the other and petting his back. Yes, what I did required three hands; I was so desperate for an itch-free life that I evolved. Fat lot of good it did me or the dog. Later in the day, I’d find a moist and dented pill on the floor, being batted around by the cat. One morning, he came in to wake me up, put his paws on the bed and, next to my focusing eyes, carefully placed a Benadryl. He then sat down on the ground and scratched. I leapt from the bed, grabbing the pill, and grabbed the dog in a headlock. I wedged his mouth open as I sat down on the ground and, wedging his mouth open, crammed in the pill and commenced to throat-rubbing. Consort woke at this point and, blinking, squinted at this domestic vision.
Skipping formalities, I said “You’re going to have to feed the kid her breakfast. I’ll be here making him take a pill for at least another twenty minutes.”
One of the unexpected benefits to communicating in the morning with a night-person is that they are very accepting. All behavior displayed before 10 a.m., be it Reiki for dogs or eating breakfast, strikes them as equally bizarre. Consort stumbled out of bed and weaved toward the kitchen. The dog and I stared at one another. His eyes were gazing at me reproachfully, but at least they seemed less runny.
“Just take the pill, dude,” I said softly to him, fondling his esophagus. After a few minutes, I declared him pilled, and let him up. He trotted off quickly before I could change my mind, a dog with simple needs; to be loved, to be fed expensive food, to scratch deeply and fully, and to find a private place in which to eject the pink and white invader.