Our dog Godrick lost all the hair on his legs and paws, then after licking his paws and chewing his feet, he developed paw sores and bleeding cracks. We took him to three veterinarians and spent nearly $1500 on diagnosis, treatment, blood tests, biopsies, shampoos, etc. We ordered every product we could find and tried every kind of sock on the Internet and from pet stores. He removed all of them in less than five minutes. Nothing worked and his paws continued to get worse. Soon, it spread to his nose, eyes, stomach, chest, elbows and even his lips. Hair was coming out in clumps and the veterinarians couldn't give us any diagnosis. The could tell us what wasn't the problem, but not what was causing his symptoms. They said it was allergies, but didn't know if it was his food, something inhaled, contact allergies, or something he was eating.
His paw itching continued until his feet and legs looked like chicken feet. He spent each night chewing and licking his feet until we were so frustrated we started doing our own research. We had to help our dog, and we had to get some sleep. So did he. We had run out of options, so we started experimenting with different ways to keep him from chewing his paws and different topical ingredients we read about, heard about or knew worked on human skin. We contacted breeders, veterinary dermatologists, universities and bought books on biology, skin disorders, allergies, dog digestive systems, anything we could think of that might help.
We started with fatty acids and vitamin E and went from there. With four legs, we could test substances on his legs and see what happened. We found many of the treatments we read about caused his legs and skin to get worse or increase itching. We found that human skin and dog skin react differently. Most importantly, we found that many products sold as skin treatments for dogs contain toxins like tea tree oil, eucalyptus and grape seed oil. If a dog ingests these things, and they always do, it can kill them.
After nearly a year, we developed a mixture, ointment, balm, concoction, whatever you want to call it that worked. We also had to make socks to keep him from chewing his feet and licking the mixture off his legs. We made sure everything was non-toxic, but if it didn't stay in contact with his skin, it wouldn't work. After a few dozen attempts to make a better dog sock, we used elastic hair bands and made a kind of harness to hold the socks up like suspenders. We found no one else had ever made anything like it.
To make a very long story shorter, we thought if our dog had this problem, there might be other dogs and owners with the same issues. We asked everyone we knew if they knew a dog with similar problems and found almost everyone knew someone with a dog that had paw skin allergies, infections, bleeding sores and worse. We started giving away the mixture and giving away the socks we had made. People reported back that it worked and we realized if our friends had dogs with paw chewing problems, people we didn't know must have them too. We decided to name the balm DermaPaw and started a web site. We named the sock harness Stay-Put socks because they actually stayed on the dog and dogs didn't seem to mind them. They didn't lick or chew and the DermaPaw healed their legs, skin and paws.
We thought we might help a few dogs and possibly pay for the web site if we sold it on the Internet. It all started because we wanted to help dogs, but soon we were getting emails and orders from New Zealand, Australia, Canada and all over the United States. Within a few months, we were spending each night making Stay-Put socks and every Saturday making DermaPaw. The letters started pouring in that it worked. We even had several veterinarians order DermaPaw and the Stay-Put socks for their own dogs.
We thought we might help a few dogs by making a web site and selling DermaPaw and Stay-Put socks, but we had no idea so many dogs had problems like ours and we would end up spending all our time on DermaPaw. Every day, we got emails thanking us for making DermaPaw. We started seeing blogs about it on the Internet. It was strange how fast word spread.
Now we have emails taped up on the walls of our house and pictures of hundreds of dogs that our product has helped. It's the best feeling in the world to have done something that seems to really help dogs with bleeding, itchy skin and paws... and help their owners get some sleep.
We still can't believe it's happening. DermaPaw grows more each week and we spend all our time on it. We've learned so much from people who have written us, that we are starting a new web site called www.pawlicking.com where we hope to collect all the information we have gathered and tell people what we've learned.
That's it for now. I have to check the orders and get some in the mail. Thank you all for your support and kind words. It's a wonderful feeling to know you're doing something that actually helps dogs and people who need it. Six months ago, I would have never believed what we were doing would turn into a business helping the sweetest, most loving creatures on Earth. Our dogs have helped us get through some of the worst times in our lives, and now we have the chance to help return the favor, not just for our own dogs, but other people's too.
More later, whenever I get the chance to write.
Scott, Miki, Rainey, Kahley, (humans); Godrick, and Eddie (dogs); and their brother Sammy, our Yorkie who passed away in December after 20 years as my closest friend. He always listened to my problems and never cared about anything except to be with us.