Spring is Invasion Time

A tiny black speck appears on your arm; a brand new mole, you surmise.

“But moles don’t move, and moles don’t hop,” you cry in surprise.

You feel a prick on your neck, and suddenly, on your nose, appears another black speck!

Spring is a wonderful time of year, and it is especially welcome after the tough winter we have had. However, in the dog world, it’s also invasion time. With temperatures warming, conditions are just right for an unwelcome invasion of fleas and ticks. Fleas are nasty little creatures that can travel rapidly through animal hair and are extremely tough to pick off your dog. They can also hop onto humans!

Although they do not have teeth, they have piercing mouthparts that cut into the skin of their victim, and suck blood. One flea can consume up to 15 times its own body weight in a single day, and then when it takes a rest from drinking blood, as it pulls out of the animal, it leaves a bit of its own saliva behind, which is what makes flea bites itch. Fleas are more than just an irritation!

If a flea swallowed by your pet contains tapeworm larvae, the dog may get tapeworms, and there are also other diseases, which are transmitted by fleas. The average life span of a flea is about six weeks, and during that time, one female flea can produce more than 600 eggs. That means that just one flea can produce enough eggs to create a huge problem, and if you see one flea, you can be sure there are MANY more present.

The smart thing to do is to treat your animals BEFORE just one tiny critter is found. Once the pet is infected, the problem automatically extends to the home and the yard, and is more difficult (and expensive) to treat. There are many safe, relatively inexpensive products that will eliminate flea and tick problems. Talk to your vet about which product is best for your specific situation.

We discourage the use of flea collars, which may kill the fleas in the neck area, but the rest of the body may still have fleas. We are also uncomfortable with the thought of children touching and breathing the chemicals in flea collars. Our choice is spot-on products that can simply be applied at the base of the neck, and then are absorbed and transported in the oil glands. These liquid treatments will kill the fleas on the animal within 12 hours and he will be infestation- free for a month. With consistent application, your pet will be protected.

Be aware, however, that there are some differences in available products. Some of the cheaper ones are, in my opinion, dangerous. Others are simply not effective. Your vet can help you select the best option, but don’t wait until you are faced with a flea invasion. Act now. PREVENTION IS THE ANSWER!

Fall has Arrived

It’s official… fall has arrived, and after an unusually hot, dry summer, most of us welcome a break from the heat, and enjoy the changing season. However fall is a time of many potential dangers for our four-footed companions. Our dogs may show signs of health problems, and just like humans, mild illnesses may resolve on their own, but we need to be alert to signals of health problems and act appropriately BEFORE the illness spirals out of control.

It is important to remember that fall is party time for fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes! When these pesky critters appear in the spring, responsible pet caregivers immediately begin to use pest protection programs for their animals, but many feel that once the weather has had a few cold days, the flea problem disappears. The fact is that fleas are more prevalent in the fall than at any other time of the year.

Throughout the summer, the flea population has increased, and as the weather cools down, they instinctively seek out warm places to survive and lay eggs. Unless flea preventatives are used well into the winter, problems associated with flea infestations including flea-bite dermatitis and possibly tapeworms may develop.

Ticks have been abundant this summer, and they are still alive and well! These pests are tough and can hibernate and survive very cold weather. Then there are mosquitoes which are more than just inconveniences, as they pose serious health risks! Unlike fleas and ticks that live on your dog, mosquitoes drop by for a quick meal, and then are gone, but they have the potential to transmit life-threatening diseases such as heartworm.

We encourage pet caregivers to be diligent in the consistent use of vet approved flea, tick and heartworm prevention products. It is easier to expend a little extra energy, time, and money to prevent these problems than it is to treat them!

Fall provides some of the best walking weather. Most animal caregivers underestimate their dogs’ exercise needs, but with this beautiful Fall weather outside. Grab a leash and a friend and hit the sidewalks or trails with your furbaby.

Remember that destructive behavior may lead to a diagnosis of separation anxiety or other behavioral problems, and while these conditions do exist, in many cases the behavior is actually the result of an energy surplus. According to animal trainer, Jenna Stregowski, before you blame your dog for inappropriate behavior, ask yourself if she is getting enough exercise. Many dogs need at least one or two hours of exercise EVERY day, and with everyone’s hectic lifestyle, most are lucky to get fifteen minutes. Because dogs cannot talk, we must rely on the signs that they give us when it comes to analyzing our dog’s health.

So get out there and get walking!