Friday, July 9, 2010


Zac is a little bit of a nervous dog. He’s a little obsessive and a little jittery. He doesn’t have any disorders that can’t be kept in control though. He doesn’t have horrible separation anxiety, but he definitely doesn’t like it when we are away for a long time. He doesn’t do anything destructive, he just licks. And chews. And scratches. And licks. And chews. And scratches. The good part is that he doesn’t chew on furniture or shoes or anything that doesn’t belong to him. The bad news is that he chews on himself. He will fixate on a small spot on one of his legs where there is absolutely nothing wrong and lick and chew at it until there is something wrong. Apparently this is not completely uncommon, because when we brought him to the vet to see if it was really something bad that he was trying to rid himself of, we asked if there was anything we could do to stop him. The answer was no, but he was diagnosed with what we call a “lickanoma”. I’m not entirely certain if that is the real name for the problem or if that was just the name that we heard, decided we liked and started using. Either way it’s kind of catchy in its absurdity.

He also has an unpleasant tendency to scratch the fur off of his ears. He has pretty bad allergies, so that could be part of the reason for the scratching, but usually he does it just because he’s uncomfortable about something completely unrelated to allergies. Usually that something is more that he doesn’t like the temperature of the room or the softness of the sheets. He’s nervous, but he’s also spoiled.

To try to combat some of the nervous behavior, I purchased some items I thought might be helpful. I got on line and ordered the “Calming Treat Capsule”. This item looks like a multi-colored, elongated egg. One side has holes in it, and the other side has little bumps on it. Coming out of one end are three short ribbons. Presumably the bumps are to massage and calm the canine whilst chewing. I’m not entirely certain what the holes are for, and the ribbons just seem dangerous since if they detach and are eaten they can get stuck in a dog’s colon and cause a variety of problems.

As I have always said, I will try anything if I think it will make my pets happier, healthier and more well adjusted. This particular product did none of those things. What it did do, is give Bobo about 13 seconds of entertainment as she chewed a hole through the hole-side, and it was very interesting to Nugget who is always looking for the next best thing.

All this said, I can’t definitively state that the product is ineffective. For all I know in situations other than mine, it might be perfectly calming. I never got an opportunity to make a real judgment since Zac never got a chance to chew on it. He did give it a sniff or two, but that had neither a calming nor any other effect. I suppose if someone held a gun to my head, I could say it was relaxing because after Zac got up to sniff it, he went back to bed. But that’s really no different than any other day. At 11, if he’s not chewing on his leg or scratching his ears, he’s pretty much maxed out asleep. So all in all this would have to be a “who can really tell” report. It was entertaining to Bobo for that 13 seconds, but for $5.99 it should last longer than 13 seconds. I wouldn’t recommend it, and I certainly would buy one again for my dog, but the cat does seem to like it.

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