How to Protect Your Pets During Flea and Tick Season

Ah, the delight of spring and summer months. You might be eager to dive into those carefree, halcyon days, but you’ll forgive your pet if he’s quite not ready to share in your enthusiasm. If he could talk, he’d probably tell you that he dreads the warm-weather flea and tick frenzy: the itching, the irritation, and, worst of all, possible infection or illness. Keep your beloved pet from becoming parasites’ most appealing, furry snack with the help of flea and tick preventatives and treatments.

Proceed with Care
Consult your veterinarian to determine the safest option for your pet, and always follow the label instructions carefully. Monitor your pet after administering a flea or tick control product, especially if it’s a new addition to your arsenal. According to the AVMA, you should be on the lookout for these negative reactions: anxiousness, excessive itching or scratching, skin redness or swelling, vomiting, or abnormal behavior. If your pet has a bad reaction, immediately contact a veterinarian.

Keep in mind that many flea and tick control products are not intended for the youngest puppies and kittens, nor elderly cats and dogs. In addition, not all products are safe for underweight, sick, medicated, pregnant, or nursing animals. If you have both a dog and a cat, resist the temptation to give them the same medication, unless the product is formulated specifically for both cats and dogs. Finally, know the weight of your pet, and pay careful attention to the dosage level.

Choices, Choices
Lost in a jumble of choices? PetMD outlines the differences:

1) Spot-ons refer to medications that are applied directly to the pet’s skin. The active ingredients will be released over several weeks’ time. Spot-ons are convenient to use, but you must exercise care: Seclude your dog from other pets and from children until the treatment has dried fully. Wear gloves, or wash your hands with soap and warm water after applying the medication.

2) Oral medications provide a simple alternative to topical treatments. Some will work to kill adult fleas and can treat sudden outbreaks and infestations.

3) Sprays and powders are inexpensive ways of controlling fleas and ticks. A powder is rubbed into the pet’s fur. Read all labels carefully, and monitor your pet for side effects.

4) Shampoos typically kill adult fleas on contact; however, they won’t usually stop an infestation or keep the fleas from returning.

5) Dips are concentrated liquids that are applied to the pet’s skin and left to dry. Dips should only be used on healthy, adult pets. Keep the dip away from your pet’s eyes and mouth, and take care to protect your eyes and skin.

6) Flea collars repel fleas and sometimes ticks with a concentrated chemical. Monitor your pet for irritation or hair loss.

Keeping It Simple
If you’re looking for gentle ways to protect your pet during flea and tick season, consider some simple and natural home remedies. For a healthy, adult dog, PetMD suggests rubbing a freshly squeezed orange or lemon onto his fur, or bathing him with a gentle shampoo or citrus-based dish liquid. Tenacious though they may be, fleas are repelled by citrus. Another alternative is to apply rose geranium oil, a natural repellant, to your dog’s collar. PetMD cautions pet owners that this solution is for dogs only – not cats, who may have an adverse reaction to essential oils.

Protect Your Furnishings with Patterned Pet Furniture Covers

Are you tired of solid color pet furniture covers, but you still want to protect your furnishings from your four-legged pals? These quilted, patterned furniture protectors will ease your mind while enlivening your room.

Soil- and snag-resistant properties help protect your furniture from frisky pets who don’t understand “off limits.” In addition, the longer back provides better staying power if your cat or dog does decide to curl up next to you. If these pet furniture covers need freshening up, or if there’s an accident, don’t fret; these furniture protectors are machine washable – simply follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Four furniture cover options are available: a chair cover, recliner/wing chair cover, loveseat cover, and sofa cover.

The pretty English Floral Furniture Protectors feature a botanical print on a natural-colored background; choose flowers in a tea rose or sky blue coloration.

English Floral Furniture Protector Cover Chair

English Floral Furniture Protector Cover Chair

The Seashells Furniture Protectors have a cool, coastal vibe with seashells, coral, and seahorses in medium blue on a wavy striped light cream and champagne background.

Seashells Furniture Protector Cover Medium Blue Chair

Hands-Free Foot Pedal Pet Gate

Your beloved furry pal has a nose for smells (and an eye for occasional mischief), so some areas of the home are best off limits. You might want to keep him from scampering underfoot while you’re cooking a meal or protect him from unsafe areas. Perhaps you just need to get some cleaning done, or you want to restrict him from romping around formal rooms.

The Hands-Free Pet Gate allows you to block off an area of the home but provides easy-open access, even if your hands are full. Whether you’re carrying a steaming dish, a bag of groceries, or a clunky vacuum cleaner, you need to be able to open the pet gate with ease. This hands-free pet gate has a double-sided foot pedal. Step on the foot pedal from either side of the gate to release it – no fussing with latches required! The door opens in both directions. A handsome espresso finish makes this pet gate an attractive addition to your home.

Hands Free Pet Gate Espresso

Folding Pet Gate Room Divider

As much as you love your furry friend, you’d really like to have one room of the home that doesn’t have a trail of pet hair from one end to the other. Or maybe you’d like to keep those pretty vases or figurines intact (they’re all gleaming toys in the eyes of your pet!). But a traditional pet gate seems like a lot of hassle: finding the right tools, drilling holes, installing it properly… Fortunately, you don’t have worry about these concerns with the Folding Pet Gate Room Divider. This freestanding, four-panel room divider is specially designed with steel pins so that it may fit almost any area of your home. In addition, this pet gate doesn’t require any tools for setup. When you’re ready to put it away or transport it to another area, simply fold it! This convenient pet gate is available in two heights. Pet Gate Room Divider Dark Brown

Most Popular Dog Breeds in the U.S. in 2014

All you trivia buffs and dog owners: Do you think you have your paw on the pulse of dog breed popularity? Can you name the ten most popular dog breeds in the United States? And which pup do you think entered the Top 10 for the first time in decades? Here’s a hint: You might have seen this adorable dog on the television show “Modern Family.” If you guessed the French Bulldog, you’re correct (give yourself a treat)! Take a look at the top 10 dog breeds from 2014, according to the American Kennel Club.

  1. Labrador Retriever
  2. German Shepherd
  3. Golden Retriever
  4. Bulldog
  5. Beagle
  6. Yorkshire Terrier
  7. Poodle
  8. Boxer
  9. French Bulldog
  10. Rottweiler

Microplush Pet Furniture Cover with Bolster

Are you running out of ideas for ways to protect your sofa from your beloved pet, who is quite the super-shedder? Those blankets are getting tugged all over the place, and sheets and towels just look sloppy. You don’t have the heart to banish your four-legged cutie-pie from the furniture. What to do? Breathe a sigh of relief! The Microplush Pet Furniture Cover with Bolster provides your pet with his own comfy spot while it elegantly protects your couch. Choose from three attractive colors to complement your decor.

Measuring 30″Wx30″L overall, this pet furniture protector is meant to cover only a portion of your sofa. You can sit next to your pet without having to share a rumpled sheet or blanket. This soft pet cover has a diamond-quilted, 21″Wx26″L seat, surrounded by plump bolsters on three sides. Your pet can rest his head on the bolsters or curl up enjoy the cozy, secure feeling from being next to them. What’s more, the bolstered design prevents pet hair and dirt from getting in those hard-to-clean sofa crevices.

When guests arrive, you won’t have to be embarrassed by an unsightly pet protector or a makeshift furniture cover. Or, if you like, simply remove the pet cover from the couch to free up sitting space and place it back after they leave. And don’t worry if your pet loves his new home a little too much. If the protector has collected more than its “fur” share of pet hair, just zip the cover off and machine wash it. Treat your pet to his own plushy haven and enjoy spending time with him whenever you like.

Plush Bolstered Pet Cover 30 x 30

Pet Safety Tips for Winter

We want to wish you and your pets a Merry Christmas! When your pets are healthy and comfortable (and spending time with you), the holiday is an especially happy one. Protect your pets from the cold weather with these winter pet safety tips from the Humane Society, the ASPCA, and the AVMA.

Baby, It’s Cold Outside

Keep your pet inside for the majority of the time, if possible. Animals, like people, are at risk for frostbite and hypothermia during cold snaps. If your pet is outdoors for a substantial amount of time, provide him with a dry, draft-free shelter that is large enough to allow for movement but small enough to retain body heat. The floor should be a few inches off the ground and covered with an insulating layer of cedar shavings or straw. Ensure that the shelter doesn’t face the wind, and cover the door with waterproof burlap or heavy plastic. Change the water dish frequently, and substitute metal bowls for plastic ones.

Car Care

Even if your cat is curled up inside your house, a neighborhood cat may have taken refuge near your car or under the hood for warmth. Before you start the engine, check around the car, bang on the hood, and honk the horn to prompt kitties to move to a safer location. Remember to store antifreeze and other chemicals out of pets’ reach. Antifreeze can be lethal for pets, so clean up any spills immediately.

Winter Coat

A longer winter coat protects you best during cold weather – the same goes for your dog! Let your canine friend enjoy the warmth of a longer coat instead of a short style. If your four-legged buddy is short-haired, consider outfitting him in a coat or sweater with plenty of coverage. Have several on hand, so you always have a dry one ready for him.

Snow Day

Healthy, adult dogs may be ready for a little romp outdoors (on the leash, of course), but remember that not all pups fare so well; puppies, elderly dogs, dogs with special medical conditions, and short-haired breeds are more susceptible to cold-weather problems. Even if your dog seems tolerant of the cold, you should still keep a close eye on him. Make sure he’s not whining or shivering, and get him back inside quickly if he shows any signs of hypothermia. Consult your veterinarian immediately if you have serious concerns. Increase food supply for pets who have been playing outdoors.

Paw Protection

Your dog’s paws are almost as cute as his sweet face, so remember to keep them in healthy condition. Check your dog’s paws frequently for cold-weather ails, like cracking or bleeding. You’ll also want to clean his paws after he’s been outdoors. Salt or other chemical remnants can cause irritation; in addition, you don’t want your pet ingesting them later on if he licks his paws.

Just in Case

Sometimes Jack Frost packs a wallop into his winter punch, so be prepared for severe weather and possible power outages. Prepare an emergency kit for your pet, and stock up on pet food. You should also have enough of his medicine on hand to last through at least five days.

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