When I got home Friday night I was reminded by my phone that it was time for Rigby’s monthly flea medication. Although I’m all for my dog not having fleas, the process of giving the medication is rather an ordeal. An ordeal that lasts about 24 hours.
I say process because, with Rigby, it’s not quite as easy as the package directions make it out to be. Being a Queensland heeler, she has what is called a double coat of hair. From her neck to the middle of her back she’s got what I’d describe as a 2 inch wide ridge of long hair. As far as I’m concerned this coat has three uses – one to shed all over my house and clothes, one to stick straight up in the air anytime she barks at someone walking or riding past the house, and one for moisture protection.
The third use is what makes applying the flea medication so difficult. Regardless of the brand, the gist of the directions is to push the fur apart on the dog’s back, between the shoulder blades, and squeeze the tube of medication onto the dogs skin. Easier said than done. To start, it’s hard to actually find her skin under that dual coat, but that isn’t the hard part. Once the dose has been given, that moisture wicking coat goes to work. Within 10-15 minutes all the medication is no longer on her skin instead it has migrated itself to the end of her coat, leaving a wet blotch on the middle of her back.
For the first few minutes after application and migration, Rigby runs around crazily like most dogs do upon getting wet. But once she realizes it’s not water, my goofy, happy-go-lucky, well-behaved dog loses her ever loving mind for the next 24-36 hours. It makes her rather uncomfortable and she can’t sit still. She tries to lay down but can’t for more than a few seconds. She paces, doesn’t come when called, and won’t eat or drink. I’ve tried to ignore it, but it’s hard to ignore a miserable pacing dog in the middle of the night.
Every time this happens, I threaten to call the vet and ask them how in the heck do I give this medication to a dog with a moisture wicking double coat. But by the end of the next day, she’s back to her old self. And after a month has gone by, I forget about the ordeal and think somehow I’ll apply it better this time around. Which has yet to happen.