Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Dog allergies? Or is it something else?

When Your Dog Has a Yeast Infection or Alopecia X (Black Skin Disease)


Striker the Pom - Day One
People write to us all the time about how to use DERMagic Skin Rescue Lotion for their dog with hair loss or black skin or general itchiness, especially in the feet.  The largest percentage of these inquiries are from Pomeranian parents whose veterinarians have advised them to “just put a t-shirt on the dog… there’s nothing that can be done.”

When we first developed our products, we were unaware of the disease known as Alopecia X (which, by the way, simply means “hair loss from an unknown cause”).  Our Skin Rescue Lotion and Hot Spot Salve were created specifically to kill yeast, which is a type of fungus that is present on the skin of all dogs.  When it gets inside or under the skin, that’s when it causes all kinds of problems and is very difficult to diagnose, to test for, or to treat by conventional veterinary methods.  One of the results of a systemic yeast infection is Alopecia X or “Black Skin Disease.”  No one says it better than our friends at Nzymes, so please read about “Allergies Vs. Candida Yeast: The Confusion.”

Where does it come from?  Yeast is a type of fungus and it is present as a normal part of the flora on all dogs, internally and externally.  As long as everything is in balance, the yeast causes no problems.  But if a dog’s immune system is compromised or diminished by illness or a poor diet, or if the yeast gets inside the skin through a cut, bug bite or by shaving, the yeast fungus has a perfect opportunity to take control.  (Never shave your dog and do not let your groomer shave him…  the blade simply injects whatever is on your dog’s skin right underneath it, and in the case of yeast it immediately begins to spread until it is systemic throughout the animal.)

Striker - Full coat 6 months later
What can be done to get rid of yeast?  Well, for Poms or any other breed, there is actually something that can be done, and there are hundreds of pet parents out there who have done it with our help, and with the help of the good folks at Nzymes.com.  It takes persistence, patience, and perseverance, and a couple of months or more.  It took a very long time for the infection to take hold, running quietly under the skin or inside the body, and it takes time to reverse it.

What are the top signs of a yeast infection?  Any one of these is a very strong indicator, regardless of how it got started. If there are two or more of these symptoms, it’s pretty much a given that the dog is systemically infected with yeast:

  • Scratching the ears, or head shaking
  • Lethargy and loss of appetite
  • Chewing or licking the feet, and dark rusty-red hair between the toes
  • Cyclic manifestation of symptoms (appearing in the spring and “going away” in the fall)
  • Hair loss on the tail and upper back
  • Speckles (like tiny black dots) on the underbelly or rust-coloration around the genitals
  • A foul funky smell and greasy hair (seborrhea), often accompanied by heavy dandruff
  • Baldness from having been closely shaved
  • Any black skin, especially if associated with hair loss.


So, how do I know if it’s a yeast infection or an allergy? Or something else?  Well, you don’t know for sure at first.  But if the condition responds well to a natural topical antifungal, the hair grows back, the black skin disappears, the itching and licking stop, and the underbelly returns to a normal pinkish white, that should tell you something.  All these symptoms respond to antifungals, especially to DERMagic Skin Rescue Lotion or Hot Spot Salve.  
It could well have been an allergic reaction to something that started all this, like a bug or flea bite or a bad reaction to grain in food, for example.  But what then happens is that the local immune system doesn’t function properly and this allows the yeast to bloom and invade.  This is what many veterinarians can miss.  They generally do not recognize the early signs of yeast, and allergy testing can give misleading false positives in many cases.  So, the pet parent accepts the diagnosis of allergies and spends a fortune on medications for the rest of the dog’s life, which may be considerably shortened by being on these meds long term.

Please write to us and tell us about your experiences with skin problems in your pets!  


Thursday, February 6, 2014

A Special Cat-egory of Bath Products

It's a Cat-astrophe!
Some people think cats should stay out in the barn and catch mice and not get bathed.  Others say, buy a small rubber storage bin, fill it with warm water and detergent, add the cat, put the lid on, and shake a few times.  When opening the lid, be sure to stand well back, and let the furious cat fly around the room in a rage until dry. 



We believe there are better ways, starting with not bathing them very often at all.  Generally, a large part of their day is spent grooming themselves, and they do a very fine job on their own. And most cats totally detest water and will resist it to the point of scratching your eyes out to avoid it.  But long-haired cats can get oily and matted, and older cats may not be able to groom themselves as thoroughly as they once did, and some cats just get into dirty stuff and will need a bath to freshen up.

On average a cat can be bathed two or three times per year. Excessive bathing (any mammal) can strip the natural oils from the skin that are essential for a healthy coat. We recommend that pet parents avoid using medicated shampoos as they can be too harsh for the cat’s skin.  Aside from drying out the skin and coat, these chemical based ingredients can easily be ingested or absorbed through the skin. Check out this short video to observe a perfectly behaved cat loving its DERMagic bath!

So, where is my tiara?
Natural and organic products provide a safer, gentler and more effective alternative for cleansing and conditioning your cat’s skin and coat. Unlike conventional over-the-counter products that contain harsh chemicals and preservatives, DERMagic hand-made shampoo bars are made from organic vegetable oils and essential herbal oils, and nothing else.

Try DERMagic!  Your cat will love you for it!




Thursday, January 30, 2014

Brrr!!! Shiver Me Timbers!!!

Now that winter has roared in most everywhere, there are some things you should consider when letting your dog or cat outside in the snow and ice.
In the great Pacific Northwest, our climate is usually pretty mild around Seattle, and we usually get mostly rain all winter long. But almost everywhere else, there’s snow and ice to deal with and 
often very cold temperatures. 

Here’s what can happen with your pet, what to watch for, and how to prevent or repair any cold-weather damage:
  • Suit up! A little jacket, sweater or fleece coat will really help prevent the skin from becoming dry, flaky and itchy from low humidity and cold temps.
  • Keep them dry! Rain combined with cold temperatures is a dangerous combination if your pet is left outside. If he gets wet from an outdoor potty break in the rain, do him a favor by toweling him off immediately when he comes in. My dogs love a big thirsty towel thrown over them, and then a mini-rubdown, paying special attention to the legs, feet and between the toes.
  • This also gives you another opportunity to make sure his feet and pads are in good shape. Check for any cracks in the pads or any redness between the toes. Put cotton socks on him!
  • A dog nose should be wet, but not necessarily cold. If it’s dry, keep an eye on it for a little while. If it stays dry, moisturize it for him with a little dab of DERMagic Cell Restoration Crème. If it’s cracked or chapped from frosty air, do this a few times a day until it returns to normal. For the month of February 2014, use coupon code "Winter" for a 15% discount on this product!
  • Exfoliate! Alternating from frigid air to overheated and dry indoor air is brutal on a dog’s skin (and the same applies to humans). Your dog’s skin can become very dry, leading to flakiness and itchiness and a vulnerability to all kinds of skin ailments. Nip this in the bud at the first sign of a flake! These usually appear on the rump near the tail, and can be spotted when brushing the fur backwards along the spine. Get rid of it instantly with a single treatment with DERMagic Dead Sea Salt Scrubs! Wet your dog down and massage the salt crystals into his fur until they dissolve. Keep massaging a little while just to give your dog a treat (they love this!), then rinse and shampoo normally! Check out the video on how make your dog feel like a queen or king!  Like magic, the flakes are gone, the pH of your dog’s skin is restored, and no more itchiness!

So, here in the Pacific Northwest, where the weather is always mild, we are a little envious of other locations with lots of snow, crisp temperatures, and where an outing with the dogs takes planning, little coats and sweaters, a hair dryer to get the little snow clumps off, and lots of time.  Our dogs love the snow and they miss it!  Tell us about yours!  We'd love to hear from you and see your Snow Pix!  

Dr Adelia

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Rosemary, Dew of the Sea

For many years, DERMagic has focused on bringing the best, most effective, natural skin care solutions to the pet industry. That means using only the finest organic ingredients in our products. One recurring herb you’ll see in our products is rosemary and we want to tell you why.

Rosemary (rosmarinus officinalis) is an herb native to the Mediterranean. This woody, fragrant herb was always well known for its healing power. The name itself comes from the Latin ros (meaning dew) and marinus (meaning sea), which translates to “dew of the sea”. According to Greek legend, rosemary was draped around the neck of Aphrodite as she rose from the sea. Later, it was seen in Christianity when the Virgin Mary spread her blue cloak over a white-blossoming bush, turning the flowers blue. The shrub is even now often referred to as the “Rose of Mary”.

Rosemary in full bloom
The history of the plant includes historical tales of Hungary, when Queen Elisabeth of Poland used it to “…renovate vitality of paralyzed limbs…” and to improve gout. In Australia, it was used on Remembrance Day to signify memory and it was used throughout Europe as a remembrance of the dead because of its remarkable ability to improve cognition and memory. Egyptians used rosemary for incense in cleansing rituals, and during the plagues of the middle ages, it was used to drive away evil spirits and protect against infection. We like it in our kitchen because it converts an ordinary hunk of pork into an exquisitely flavored roast tenderloin!

But that’s not why we use it at DERMagic. We use the finest rosemary essential oil from Spain for its medicinal properties and there are many. Rosemary has been proven to stimulate blood flow to the brain, reduce damage to the nervous system, and decrease the effects of aging. It has even been shown to improve cognitive function and scientists are studying its effects on nerve cells.

This brings us to the many benefits of rosemary for the skin and coat of our pets. Rosemary has a stimulating effect on nerves, and especially hair follicles, which helps to encourage hair growth. It has a warming effect on cold limbs and can help alleviate arthritic pain aggravated by cold winters.
A Most Prolific Producer!
Rosemary contains many biologically active compounds, including antioxidants such as Carnosicacid and rosmarinic acid. It also contains camphor, caffeic acid, ursolic acid, betulinic acid, and rosmanol. These acids are wonderful for revitalizing skin and refreshing arthritic limbs. Fleas and ticks hate it, so it makes a wonderful rinse for ridding your pet of these pesky critters. And it serves as a natural preservative, extending the shelf life of our products in addition to making them smell fabulous. But perhaps most importantly, for our purposes, it helps to restore hair loss, also known as Alopecia X (or "hair today, gone tomorrow" syndrome).

These are just a few of the reasons we use rosemary in so many of our products. We’ll take a look at some of our other wonderful ingredients, including Shea Butter, whole-leaf certified organic aloe, and more. 

Until then, plan to plant some rosemary in your herb garden this spring. It's delicious in almost everything and its scent when you brush by it is uplifting, almost spiritual. Revel in it.

 

"Where Rosemary flourished, the woman ruled."
        - Unknown





Monday, October 14, 2013

DERMagic receives Outstanding Employer Award!

We are beyond thrilled to make this happy announcement… Are you ready?



DERMagic Skin Care for Animals has just received the coveted Outstanding Washington Employer award from the Community Employment Alliance (CEA) and Association of Washington Business (AWB)!

Yes, it’s a lot to take in, but we couldn’t be more proud. When we first started this business, one of our goals was to reach a point when we could give back to our community. We are so proud to say that we have reached that goal.

This award celebrates our support of the Northwest Center, a leader in promoting the rights and independence of infants, children, teens and adults with developmental disabilities. DERMagic now employs five part-time employees from the Northwest Center, who make product samples and label some of our products. 

Larissa prepares samples of DERMagic shampoo bars!
The Community Employment Alliance and Association of Washington Business Outstanding Employer Award honors Washington State businesses, government agencies and non-profit corporations that have made exceptional efforts to employ people with disabilities; and who by their recruitment, hiring, retention, and promotion policies are role models in their community. Employers are commended for their efforts on behalf of people with disabilities throughout Washington State during an awards luncheon at the Kitsap Conference Center in Bremerton, WA.

We are very proud of this award and will continue to strive towards community initiatives that improve the lives of pets and their people.  
A special thanks to the Northwest Center for creating such a stellar network of people, and to the Association of Washington Business for continuing to support this important cause. Together we are stronger!  

Wags and woofs…

Adelia

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

SuperZoo 2013!!

Greetings, Folks!

It's that time of year again...  Time to hit the road for SuperZoo!   This is the primary pet industry trade show that we participate in, held every year in Las Vegas, NV, at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center at the end of the Strip.  Usually it's held in late September when the heat is almost tolerable, but this year, for reasons we cannot fathom, the show was moved to July 22-25, when eggs are hard-boiled just sitting in their cartons.

We are hoping that folks who usually bring their doggies to this show will leave them home in air-conditioned comfort this year.  It's just too darn hot for animals in Vegas.  Imagine what it will be like to touch bare feet to volcanic temperatures on the pavements at high noon!  Ouch.

But never mind all that!  We plan to stay indoors, and we will never see actual daylight if we play our cards right (no pun intended).

We are launching two new products at this show!  Check out our brand new Rosemary Mint Conditioner Bar!  This is the perfect companion to our organic Shampoo Bars, so easy to use, so economical, and no liquid mess and waste!  And your dog will be sweet smelling and ultra soft for weeks.

And our newest product is just for cats: our amazing Rosemary Feline Shampoo Bar!  This product is 100% organic and safe for both cats and kittens, and even puppies!  You won't believe the shine.

We'll be driving across the desert with our vehicle packed to the rafters with our booth and show supplies, maybe stopping along the way to take some amazing pics at Zion National Park and Bryce Canyon. So, wish us luck, or better yet, if you're in the biz, come see us at Booth 1231 in Nature's Pathway.   We'll have some great deals on Show Specials, free shipping, and samples galore.

Don't miss this show!  It's the best of the year!  We are going to have some fun, so come join us!  :D


Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Fun & Healthful Dog Food from Kitchen Scraps


For all of you who have asked us for advice on feeding their pets, I wish we could.  We are not experts in animal nutrition, so all we can talk about is what we do for our little muttlets!

In short, we mainly feed raw and organic selections made from beef, chicken, turkey and occasionally bison.  We buy from a local manufacturer, and keep it frozen until we’re ready to feed The Skids. 

Chicken/Turkey Gourmet Blend

But this can be expensive!  So what we also do is save our cooking scraps and make homemade meals from fresh, wholesome people food.  Here’s how: 
  • First, no grains (wheat, barley, oats, corn, rice, etc.), no potato or sweet potato.
  • For carbs, add carrots and carrot peelings and fresh or fresh frozen apples.
  • For green, add broccoli stems and spinach
  • For meat, use everything left on the bird (chicken or turkey) except the bones.

It takes a month or two to accumulate enough scraps from cooking, including complete chicken and turkey carcasses, with everything going into doggie bags in the freezer.  Then, when the freezer is bursting at the seams, we thaw it all out and blend it together in the Cuisinart, supplementing a little fresh carrot, apple or spinach, as needed.  I freeze it all in convenient meal-sized zipper baggies! There’s nothing in this blend but really tasty food, and The Skids go crazy for it! 

We supplement their “store-bought” raw meals with this very tasty treat.  It’s fresh and wholesome, I know exactly what’s in it, and they thrive on it.  But your dogs might be different.  We are not soliciting comments on our choices, nor are we recommending that anyone else do this, but for those who have requested ideas, here’s one we enjoy doing for our furkids! 

Enjoy!