Dog booties to beat those buck moth caterpillars!

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NEW ORLEANS —  Ever been stung by a buck moth caterpillar?  You wouldn’t forget it — and neither would your dog. Some people say it feels like a cigarette burn.  The LSU Ag Center says it’s your skin being “punctured” by rows of “spines” on the caterpillar’s body, filled with “venom.”   Bottom line:  beware. This is the season for those caterpillars to come crawling out of oak trees all around town, and if you’re not careful, one misstep could stop you in your tracks. A certain woman I know, who shall remain anonymous, once hoisted her 30-pound  pooch on her hip until she could flag down a passing car and beg the driver to rush her and the dog to the nearest veterinarian’s office.  The woman had taken her dog for a stroll when it stepped on a caterpillar and began to wave a paw, pitifully, in the air.  It really does hurt that bad. But Haydee Denis may have found the answer. Denis says she was tired of pushing her toy poodle, Kiki, in a “dog stroller” during the day and looking for a “non-caterpillar area” at night where Kiki could relieve herself without getting stung.  So Denis started calling local pet stores “asking if they had anything available that would protect (Kiki’s) paws from the caterpillars.” When she couldn’t find anything locally, she started searching online and bingo:  dog booties! Denis’ search led her to a Florida company that makes little boots that look like adorable baby shoes — not necessarily intended to protect our local dogs from stinging caterpillars — but Denis says they work. The company is called – and its website offers everything from  “orthopedic boots” for dogs  to “doggie sandals and slippers.”  As the company puts it:  “From fashion to fitness to all-weather protection, we’ve got your dog’s paws covered.” Denis is a believer. The booties she chose for Kiki are zip-up, pink and white mesh, with a Velcro ankle strap.  According to the product description on the company website, the boots also feature a “deluxe anti-slip rubber sole with super flexibility and movement.” Haydee loves them, and apparently Kiki does too. “It just pains me to see people walking their dogs over the painful caterpillars,” says Denis, “and then seeing the poor pups limping.  Not my Kiki!”    


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