The Advocate editors are working on our September pets issue, which will feature neighbors’ adorable animal companions. But I have a pet issue to address here.

My dog, Mama, has been scratching and biting herself, and whining for me to scratch her, for months now. A neighbor at whom she used to bark viciously is now her best friend since she discovered said neighbor can scratch her too. She was biting at a place on her rump so much that she made a raw, scabby patch. And her new favorite activity is rolling in the grass and dirt.

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Finally, finally, we went to the vet. Seventy two dollars later and we discovered she has allergies. Evidently, most dogs have allergies right now because of the heat and dryness.

So if your dog is biting and scratching, it could be allergies. And it could be fleas.

This story from the Fort Worth Star Telegram says many dogs have “the summer crud”: allergies and/or fleas.

What to do when your pet has the summer crud?

Be sure to treat your pet for fleas, and wipe of its fur with a clean damp towel or unscented baby wipes when they come inside to keep the pollen at bay. Give your dog regular baths, and feed it high-quality dog food. The cheap stuff lacks fatty nutrients required to keep a dog’s coat and skin healthy.