Warm weather is finally here!!!
Here are a few tips to make summertime safe and enjoyable for you and your pets.
• Cars: Never leave your pet in a car, even for short periods of time. Though you enjoy taking your best friend on a ride with you, the temperature in a car can rise very quickly and become a severe danger to your pet.
• Housing: Be sure that your pet has housing that is in the shade and out of the rain and wind and ideally, slightly off the ground to ensure a dry floor of his house. Even an outdoor animal needs the protection of a well placed house: he should have a dry, cool place to go when temperatures rise in the mid day.
• Water: Make sure that there is always fresh water. Dogs and cats release heat only through their paws and panting and are susceptible to heat stroke and heat exhaustion once the temperature starts to rise.
• First Aid Kit: Jogging, swimming, playing ball and other activities are infinitely more enjoyable with our special friends, but with all this increased activity, the potential for accidents also increases. Go to www.avma.org/firstaid for the ‘must haves’ in your pet first aid kit.
• Allergies: Like humans, many dogs suffer from allergies. Common allergens are pollens, dander, grasses, trees, and fabrics; any airborne particle can potentially become an allergen. Wiping your pet off with a damp towel after being outside will remove many allergens. For more information – http://www.veterinarypartner.com/Content.plx?P=A&S=0&C=0&A=597
• Coca Mulch Danger: While cocoa mulch smells wonderful, it can be toxic to pets if ingested. Be sure to read the label on your mulch as cocoa mulch is sold by many gardening and home improvement stores. It contains theobromine which is a xanthine compound that can be lethal to animals if ingested. For more information www.snopes.com/critters/crusader/cocoamulch.asp
• Now that gardening is in full swing – use care to see that your pesticides and fertilizers are kept in a safe area away from curious animals.
Your Pets and Water Activities……………..
• Have a life jacket available for all dogs that are on boats
• Clean ears after swimming to help prevent infection
• Always check feet for cuts or foreign bodies after swimming.
• Keep fishing tackle out of reach.
It’s that Season Again…..Fleas and Ticks
Flea and tick season is here and this year is proving to be a banner year for both. There are many flea and tick control products on the market and unfortunately, many do not work well or can be toxic to your pet. Please come by and see us if you need help selecting the best product for your pet.
Homemade Flea Repellent: You can make a natural flea spray by cutting up six organic lemons, boiling them in a quart of water and letting them sit to steep for a few hours. Use at least one lemon per pint of water. Strain the lemon water into a spray bottle and lightly spray your pet’s fur. Do not spray the lemon mixture in your dogs face: spray on your hands and gently wipe on the face, avoiding the eye area or open wounds or scratches.
One of the most underrated tools for fighting these critters is the flea comb. It is wonderful at removing flea eggs as well.
Ticks: Tick is the common name for small arachnids who feed on the blood of mammals and birds. Ticks are carriers of a number of diseases, including Lyme disease. Ticks live and breed in grasses and forested regions and will attach themselves to passing humans or animals in search of a blood meal. Once fed, the tick will lay eggs sometimes 30,000 at once. It is important to control ticks for the prevention of disease in your animal and the safety of your family.
Ticks are extremely small and often will only be discovered once they are engorged with the blood of your pet. The tick’s head is often buried in the skin of the pet which makes removal tricky: the whole tick needs to be removed.
• Removal of Ticks: If you find a tick that has attached to your pet, it should be removed. Before removing ticks, place dish washing soap on a cotton ball and place over the area where the tick attaches to the skin for about 30 seconds, then gently pull out with tick tweezers. The dish soap aides in suffocating the tick and making it easier to remove.
• Caution: Many “natural” flea and tick products call for the use of essential oils. Do not let your dog or cat smell undiluted essential oils directly. These can be very irritating to their sensitive sinuses.
Have you had your pet tested for Heartworms?
The heartworm (Dirofilaria immitis) can be up to 14 inches long and the adult stage lives in the heart and pulmonary arteries (the arteries that carry blood from the heart to the lungs) of an infected dog. Dogs become infected through mosquito bites. The worm prefers to live in the pulmonary arteries where it is surrounded by and nourished by the blood being pumped from the heart. If the worm infection is heavy (over 25 worms in a 40 pound dog) the worms begin to back up into the heart.
• Testing for and prevention of heartworm disease is simple. It involves a blood test (only 4 drops) to determine whether the parasite is present. If the test comes back negative then once monthly medication is given to prevent infection. Medications available on the market are PREVENTATIVE: they do not treat the existence of heartworm.
• Heartworm infestation is dangerous; untreated dogs may die. While heartworm disease can be treated, treated dogs go through weeks of discomfort while the worms are killed and expelled from their bodies.
• Before you begin using a monthly medication, ensure that you have your dog tested. It is dangerous to give heartworm medication to your dog without first testing for the existence of heartworms.
DO CATS GET HEARTWORM?
• Absolutely, but in cats it is vastly different than in dogs.
• The cat is not the natural host like the dog.
• Where a typical dog infection would involve 25 -100 worms, a typical cat infection typically has less than 6. However, because the cat heart and vessels are so much smaller a single worm can be lethal.
• In dogs, heartworm disease is a problem primarily of obstruction of blood flow whereas in the cat the problem is the inflammatory reaction caused by the worm’s presence.
• This inflammatory reaction can be widespread and affect not only the lungs and circulatory system, but the kidneys, gastrointestinal tract and nervous system as well.
• The good news is that, just as in dogs, feline heartworm infection is 100% preventable.
• The American Heartworm Society recommends monthly preventative for all cats in heartworm endemic areas.
• Helpful sites for more information include: www.knowheartworms.org and www.petsandparasites.org/cat-owners/heartworms.html
Lake City Animal Clinic Emergency Number: 574-453-7381
ASPCA Poison Control 888-426-4435
(A fee applies)