Where Fleas and Ticks Hide in the Fall?

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Fleas and ticks are a year-round nuisance for most of us but, when it comes to the infestations of our yards and our homes, the fall seems to be a particularly terrible season. Here are few areas fleas and ticks like to hide and how to best limit your pet’s exposure to these pesky parasites.

Leaf Piles

The autumn season is probably best known for the beautiful changes it brings to the colors of leaves just before they begin to fall to the ground. Though they may be a pretty sight and a blast for kids (or pets) to play in, leaf piles can also be a haven for fleas, which prefer to congregate in humid areas away from bright sunlight.

Solution: Rake up fallen leaves regularly and immediately bag and dispose of them in a secure trash receptacle.

Tall Grasses/Trees

Ticks love to climb up tall grasses so that they can grab onto a passing animal or human.

Solution: Mow your lawn regularly and trim back branches so they don’t jut out toward walking areas.

Outdoor Feeding/Sleeping Areas

Does your pet frequently sleep outdoors or do you leave out food and water bowls for them? Fleas and ticks recognize these high traffic areas—whether they are trafficked by your pet or a wild animal like a raccoon or possum—and lie in wait until they can latch onto a host.

Solution: Regularly clean out sleeping areas, especially if there are pillows inside. Also, if possible, remove food and water bowls after your pet uses them and/or before nighttime. Raccoons and possums are opportunistic feeders and will eat or drink anything left out. They also are frequently teeming with ticks and fleas.

What if My Pet Doesn’t Go Outdoors Much?

Even if your dog stays close to home, fleas and ticks are canny creatures, and they have ways of making it into your home and onto your pets, even with preventions in place. All it takes is a few fleas or ticks to get established in your yard before you have a full-scale infestation on your hands.

Be Proactive

Visit your veterinarian for advice on the best preventive medications and the safest way to use them. Your doctor will be able to show you the proper way to apply these flea and tick medicines for dogs and recommend just the right dose for your pet’s age and weight. Some people also choose flea and tick preventatives based on their personal preferences or the lifestyles of their pets.

photo source: Pixabay
source: Pet MD

Tips for Preventing Ear Infections in Dogs

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If your pup has floppy ears, allergies, or happens to be an avid swimmer, you’re probably no stranger to canine ear infections. Ear infections in dogs are not uncommon, but using simple, preventive tips can help stop ear infections from developing.

If you suspect your dog has an ear infection, call your vet. “Prompt veterinary care is essential to avoid more serious consequences such as a ruptured eardrum, middle or inner ear infection, and hearing loss,” says Dr. Alli Troutman, a holistic veterinarian at Integrative Veterinary Service in Brookfield, Wisconsin.

Symptoms of ear infections in dogs are hard to miss. “The affected dog is usually shaking his head frequently, may tilt his head with the sore ear usually on the ‘down’ side, and there is often a sour odor coming from the ear,” says Dr. Beth Boynton, Professor of Wellness at Western University College of Veterinary Medicine in Pomona, California. “It may look swollen, red, and full of moist discharge.”

Spare your dog some needless suffering and avoid the expense of extra vet trips with these safe and effective vet-approved tips for preventing ear infections in dogs.

1. Rule Out Underlying Causes

An ear infection is typically a sign that something else is going on with your dog, says Dr. Alexandra Gould, a veterinarian in Tacoma, Washington. “It’s only through treating these underlying causes that ear infections can be prevented.” Causes, she says, include allergies, foreign objects stuck in the ear (like foxtail grasses), hormonal and autoimmune diseases, and tumors.

Very often, allergies are responsible. “Skin allergies bring inflammation to the surface of the body which causes irritation and warmth. The confined space of the ear canal breeds yeast and bacterial growth that further increases the inflammation,” and can lead to ear infections explains Dr. Michael Lund, veterinary staff manager for ASPCA’s Community Medicine Department in New York.

Like us, dogs can react to any number of allergens in the environment, like pollen, grass, mites, and fleas (another reason to protect your dog with proper flea and tick prevention). And what you feed your dog may be the problem, says Boynton. Some dogs have food allergies or food sensitivities, which can predispose them to ear infections. “Dogs in the United States most often react to beef, dairy products, and wheat,” she says.

2. Keep the Ears Dry

“Yeast and bacteria thrive in warm and moist environments—and many dog ears prove to be the perfect Petri dish,” says Lund. This is especially true for breeds like Cocker Spaniels and Retrievers, whose floppy ears trap moisture.

He says the best preventive for these types of dogs who are predisposed to ear infections is cleansing and drying the ears every five to 10 days. If your dog is a swimmer or is bathed regularly, clean his ears as soon as possible after water exposure. “This ensures the moisture is adequately removed to prevent yeast and bacteria from getting a chance to colonize the ear canals.”

Dr. Jill Abraham, a board-certified dermatology specialist with Blue Pearl Veterinary Partners in Midtown, New York, suggests placing a cotton ball in the ears during bath time to keep them dry. “You don’t have to push the cotton ball in deep, it can rest at the opening of the ear.”

After the bath, remember to remove the cotton ball and dry the ears. “After a bath, you can use a dry paper or cloth towel to dry the inside flap and around the opening of the ear canal.”

3. Keep the Ears Clean

To clean the ears, Abraham suggests the following routine. Lift up the earflap, then fill up the canal with a vet-recommended solution, or soak a cotton ball with solution and squeeze the liquid into the canal. After gently massaging the base of the ear for 20 to 30 seconds and letting your dog shake his head, use dry cotton balls or soft towels to wipe off debris. “You can use cotton-tipped applicators in the folds inside the ear flap, but don’t insert any into the ear canals,” she says. “This could push wax and infection deeper down and damage the ear drum.”

What Is the Best Ear Cleaner for Dogs?

Lund advises against home-made ear-cleaning solutions like diluted hydrogen peroxide, vinegar, and rubbing alcohol. “At-home remedies are often half water, and water in the ear is what can predispose many dogs to ear infections.” Instead, ask your vet for a recommendation based on your pet’s specific needs.

4. Consider Supplements

Of course there is no substitute for a nutritionally complete diet made from high quality ingredients, but the following supplements may be used as part of your strategy for preventing ear infections. Always check with your veterinarian before feeding your dog supplements.

If allergies are at the root of your dog’s ear infections, a daily omega-3 fatty supplement can help. These supplements can reduce inflammation, which may lessen the risk of ear infections, says Lund. Omega-3 fatty acids, like those found in fish oil supplements may “decrease inflammation associated with skin allergies that often appear in a dog’s ears and feet.”

A malfunctioning immune system can make your dog more prone to infections, so maintaining balance is essential. A probiotic supplement can balance the normal bacterial flora within the intestinal tract and promote an appropriate immune response. “A healthy gut is a happy gut, and a happy gut is a healthy immune system,” says Troutman.

5. Reconsider Plucking Ear Hairs

Plucking your dog’s ear hair can be beneficial, but it’s not appropriate for every dog. “I stick by the old adage, ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,’” says Abraham. If a dog has healthy ears and has not had infections, she often advises pet parents not to pluck. “But, if a dog with very hairy canals keeps getting ear infections then it can help to keep the canals free of hair.”

If you do decide to pluck hair from your dog’s ears, this is probably not something you want to try at home, unless you’re experienced. Overly-aggressive plucking could lead to pain and cause more ear problems.

“I don’t advise pet owners try plucking ear hairs at home on their own. This is best performed by a groomer or veterinary professional.”

photo source: Pixabay
source: Pet MD

How to Celebrate Responsible Dog Ownership Month

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People often associate September with the start of school, football season, and Fall — it’s also Responsible Dog Ownership Month. So while you’re planning your seasonal fun, consider these seven ways to celebrate your dog and practice your own Rresponsible dog ownership.

1. Exercise

Like people, dogs require exercise. While it’s easy to fall back on the traditional walk around the block, responsible dog ownership requires dog owners to discover the kind of exercise their dog loves. While some dogs live for their daily walk, others may prefer a faster pace, in which case a run or strenuous hike with elevation changes might be more appropriate. For other dogs, play is key. A rigorous game of fetch or tug-of-war might prove the best exercise for a playful dog who craves attention and stimulation, along with physical activity. Some dogs even like to swim or run agility courses.

To celebrate Responsible Dog Ownership this month, expose your dog to lots of different types of physical activity and notice which one seems to result in the most energy, joy, and exhaustion. Once you’ve discovered what kind of exercise or dog sport appeals most to your dog, you can celebrate responsible dog ownership all year round by committing to doing the activity on a regular basis.

2. Health and Wellness

Another important responsibility is scheduling and attending regular veterinary check-ups for your dog, seeking appropriate dental care, and providing proper nutrition. A dog’s medical needs vary with age, so it’s important to discuss with your veterinarian what your dog needs at any particular stage of life. Most dogs require annual vaccinations, but some veterinarians recommend holding off on certain vaccinations after a dog reaches a particular age.

Your veterinarian can also advise you on any necessary dental care for your dog, such as regular cleaning.

Regarding your dog’s nutrition, you may need to consider several factors, including age, weight, activity level, allergies, etc. Your vet can help you ascertain the proper amount of food for your dog, as well as any special dietary needs your dog may have. Some vets may recommend grain-free diets or special food for dogs prone to gastrointestinal issues.

Celebrate Responsible Dog Ownership Month by setting up an appointment with your vet for a regular exam, as well as a discussion of your dog’s vaccinations, dental health, and diet.

3. Training

There are many fun ways to bond with your dog, from enjoying a morning walk to snuggling on the couch. Training is an excellent way not only to make your dog safer, better behaved, and more social, but also to strengthen the bond you share. From Canine Good Citizen to puppy socialization and dog sports, there is sure to be a class or event that you and your dog will enjoy.

Once you’re aware of all of the opportunities available, identify what your dog needs and work from there. If you’re not sure what training would be best for your dog, the AKC GoodDog! Helpline is a good starting place.

4. Travel

It’s important to make sure there’s a plan in place for your dog if you need to travel without them. As with training, many options exist, including professional dog sitters who make daily visits to your dog, dog walkers who make sure your dog continues to exercise while you’re away, and boarding kennels where your dog can stay while you travel. Celebrate Responsible Dog Ownership Month by making sure your travel provisions are optimal for your dog’s safety, well-being, and comfort, as well as for your own peace of mind.

5. Socialization

Socializing your dog is important at any stage of a dog’s life, from puppy to senior, and can prove a fun and fulfilling way to celebrate responsible dog ownership. Younger dogs and puppies can benefit greatly from early exposure to situations and circumstances that they are likely to encounter in their everyday life, while older dogs may need help coping with the arrival of new pets or children in the home.

Basic socialization can include regular, positive exposure to other dogs of various sizes and ages, exposure to different types of people, visits to dog parks, meet-and-greets on a leash, etc.

A socialized dog may enjoy a safer and more fulfilling existence, since their ability to remain well-mannered in a variety of circumstances can reduce the likelihood of undesirable or dangerous behaviors.

Safety

The familiar “safety first” instruction is no less relevant in the context of dog ownership. A concrete way to engage in responsible dog ownership is to ensure that your dog thrives in the most secure environment possible. yard features adequate fencing and, if your dog spends a lot of time outside, provide clean, fresh, accessible drinking water, as well as shelter from the elements, at all times.

Before heading out for a walk, make sure your dog’s collar, harness, and leash are in good condition. Are all straps sturdy and unfrayed? Are all clips in working order? You may also want to make sure your dog’s equipment fits appropriately. Pups can easily slip out of a collar that is too loose, while a collar that is too tight can be uncomfortable and even restrict a dog’s breathing.

Despite these efforts, dogs may sometimes still find ways to get loose. To increase your dog’s probability of returning home safely in the event of an escape, microchip your dog, enroll in AKC Reunite, and outfit your pup with tags displaying their name and your contact information.

7. Emergency Preparedness

From the recent wildfires in the west to the approach of hurricane season in the east, being prepared to take care of your dog in an emergency is an important part of dog ownership. Emergency preparations for your dog can include outfitting windows in your home with stickers notifying emergency personnel that a dog is inside, setting aside food, water, and medications for use in an emergency, and preparing a canine first-aid kit and “go-bag” for your dog. In advance of an evacuation, identify dog-friendly hotels and create an evacuation plan that includes your dog. To get started, fill out the AKC Reunite Emergency Plan.

photo source: Pixabay
source: American Kennel Club

Tips For Bath Time Fun with Your Pets

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Whether it be a cat or dog you wish to bathe, the most important thing to remember (especially with those frisky felines) is to start ‘em young. Yep, we mean as babies.

But even if they are babies, you can’t just toss them straight into the bathwater (as apposed to throwing the baby out with the bathwater). You need a strategy, or a plan, or something to help you get those fluffy bundles of joy ready for a lifetime of enjoying a splash in the tub.

5. Playtime

Toys and play are essential before you even get your pet into the tub. Play with them in the bathroom and bring in favorite toys. Basically, you’re teaching them the bathroom is not a scary place.

Of course, like kids, toys in the tub are fun for your pet, too (though only the ones made of plastic). Pets especially love toys with treats hidden inside them. We say bonus points for the types of toys with treats that clean the teeth and sweeten the breath!

4. Water Temperature

Puppies and kitties are very sensitive to hot and cold. Just make sure the water is lukewarm, so their sweet, sensitive, baby skin won’t burn. Also, hot water can be a shock to an animal that has never had the luxury of a bath. Remember, this is their first time in the water!

3. Water Wings

We’re not saying you need those floaty devices that are so popular in teaching the young to swim. But for a young animal who’s never really been put into a pool of water, porcelain against paws can end up in a horrible sliding, scrabbling, scared event that no one wants.

A non-slip mat to perch your pet on is the perfect alternative to them sliding into the great white abyss of your tub. Your pet will have something to cling to and bathing won’t be traumatic — or seem like a bad rehearsal of Ice Capades.

2. Bubble, Bubble

Fortunately, no toil and trouble this time. But we will the best way to make bath time fun is getting your pet high-quality shampoos, conditioners, and spritzers, which are hopefully made in exotic locales using exquisite ingredients.

Of course, such luxe doesn’t have to cost a paw and a tail. In fact, some of the best are available at very reasonable prices. So find a brand (or brands) your pet likes.

1. Treat Time!

During, before, and especially after … treats are a definite essential to any bath time. But make sure they’re healthy (sorry, no bacon). We love handmade, organic, healthy, delicious treats. Think Dean & Delucca. Think Harrods. Think luxe but with an affordable price tag.

And if you want more karmic bang for your hard-earned bucks, buy from small purveyors over large conglomerates. They’ll also have your pet’s health and welfare in mind. Small people often have the biggest hearts.

photo source: Pixabay
source: Pet MD

Tips For Bath Time Fun with Your Pets

Blog

Whether it be a cat or dog you wish to bathe, the most important thing to remember (especially with those frisky felines) is to start ‘em young. Yep, we mean as babies.

But even if they are babies, you can’t just toss them straight into the bathwater (as apposed to throwing the baby out with the bathwater). You need a strategy, or a plan, or something to help you get those fluffy bundles of joy ready for a lifetime of enjoying a splash in the tub.

5. Playtime

Toys and play are essential before you even get your pet into the tub. Play with them in the bathroom and bring in favorite toys. Basically, you’re teaching them the bathroom is not a scary place.

Of course, like kids, toys in the tub are fun for your pet, too (though only the ones made of plastic). Pets especially love toys with treats hidden inside them. We say bonus points for the types of toys with treats that clean the teeth and sweeten the breath!

4. Water Temperature

Puppies and kitties are very sensitive to hot and cold. Just make sure the water is lukewarm, so their sweet, sensitive, baby skin won’t burn. Also, hot water can be a shock to an animal that has never had the luxury of a bath. Remember, this is their first time in the water!

3. Water Wings

We’re not saying you need those floaty devices that are so popular in teaching the young to swim. But for a young animal who’s never really been put into a pool of water, porcelain against paws can end up in a horrible sliding, scrabbling, scared event that no one wants.

A non-slip mat to perch your pet on is the perfect alternative to them sliding into the great white abyss of your tub. Your pet will have something to cling to and bathing won’t be traumatic — or seem like a bad rehearsal of Ice Capades.

2. Bubble, Bubble

Fortunately, no toil and trouble this time. But we will the best way to make bath time fun is getting your pet high-quality shampoos, conditioners, and spritzers, which are hopefully made in exotic locales using exquisite ingredients.

Of course, such luxe doesn’t have to cost a paw and a tail. In fact, some of the best are available at very reasonable prices. So find a brand (or brands) your pet likes.

1. Treat Time!

During, before, and especially after … treats are a definite essential to any bath time. But make sure they’re healthy (sorry, no bacon). We love handmade, organic, healthy, delicious treats. Think Dean & Delucca. Think Harrods. Think luxe but with an affordable price tag.

And if you want more karmic bang for your hard-earned bucks, buy from small purveyors over large conglomerates. They’ll also have your pet’s health and welfare in mind. Small people often have the biggest hearts.

photo source: Pixabay
source: Pet MD