Monthly Archives: July 2013

How to Protect Pets From Fleas and Ticks

We all suffer through it: the keening buzz, the telltale sting, the insatiable itch that sends your fingernails—or hind leg—scrambling to provide sweet, skin-raking relief. Whether you are of the two-legged or four-legged variety, we all have to weather flea and tick season. Being human means you can take preventative measures like applying bug spray or choosing not to slather yourself with perfume and tromp through the woods in your shortest shorts smelling like the world’s sweetest blood-filled eclair. Dogs and cats, however, will need a bit of help if they hope to emerge from flea and tick season with their fur still intact.

1. The Perils of Having Blood: The adverse effects of blood-sucking pests affect canine, feline, and homo sapien alike. Fleas could leave your pets with patchy pelts or scabby skin, and if they accidentally ingest a flea infected with tapeworm, they might soon be facing a new infestation. Lyme’s Disease and West Nile Virus are diseases you and your pets could contract from just one bite from the wrong bug.

2. Nip It in the Blood: The EPA is a treasure trove of preventative measures that can be taken to protect yourself and your pet. Indoors, vacuum daily in suspect areas and wash pet furniture every two to three weeks. Outdoors, keep brush and grass maintained and preferably as far from your house as possible. Interestingly, a moat of wood chips and gravel between your yard and the wood line will deter any pests hoping to turn your home into an all-you-can-eat buffet.

3. Don’t Overdo It: All joking aside, serious health complications can occur in your pet if pesticides aren’t used correctly. Elderly, pregnant, allergic, or ill pets may be particularly sensitive to pesticides, so read those instructions carefully. Don’t use pesticides meant for adult pets on the young, and don’t use cat flea preventative on a dog and vise-versa. Finally, keep a close eye on your pet after the initial administration—if he or she appears to be having a reaction, apply a mild soap and liberal amounts of water to its fur right away. You’ll want to hang onto the package too in case these side effects do occur—further instruction on how to handle the reaction or contact the manufacturer might be included.

As the EPA points out in the start of the article, pesticides may not even be required with proper prevention tactics. Keep on top of the pest problem, and you’ll be sparing yourself a host of future problems this summer!

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Filed under Cats, Dogs, Pest Control, Pet Health

How to Keep Pets Safe Over the 4th of July

You take your pet everywhere—to the grocery store, the drive-thru—so he’s undoubtedly coming to your Fourth of July cook-out too. Except, he probably shouldn’t. “What?” You cry. “But I wanted to show off Bentley’s star-spangled top hat! And it just isn’t a party until Lola’s muzzle-deep in the potato salad!” Although it’s hard to imagine a Fourth of July away from your pet, it might be time to (figuratively) loosen the leash, for reasons like wayward sparklers, tasty-looking lighter fuel, firecracker-curious children, and, above all, the deafening noise! Any animal sitting calmly through a fusillade of stroboscopic explosions is a strange one indeed. If you truly want to make this Independence Day enjoyable for all involved, here’s what to do:

1. Sad But True: Leave all four-legged family members at the door! Large crowds and shrieking fireworks are major stressors for pets, who may bolt blindly away and get lost. PetMD suggests sound-proofing your home (think noise-blocking curtains) for the truly noise-phobic, who might cower at the other summertime frequenter, the thunderstorm.

2. Furnish a Happy Place:’s Veterinary Medicine submits that background noise, like the TV or even therapeutic dog music, provides ample distraction from the chaos outside. A kennel or a pet bed positioned strategically in the corner and away from windows acts as a sanctuary from all the “festivities” as well.

3. Let’s See Some ID: If you must venture outdoors with your pet for anything, keep him on a leash or in a pet carrier, or you’ll spend July 5th tacking “Missing Pet” signs to telephone poles. Double-check your pet’s ID tags to make certain they are up to date before the fireworks begin.

4. A Little Peace & Quiet: If you don’t mind missing the show, you and your pet can always scoot out to a more secluded place to enjoy the summer night. Somewhere rural, with a low concentration of houses and people, is preferable. Go stargazing, catch lightning bugs—bring the top hat, if you feel so inclined!

5. Noise Phobia: Consider the possibility that your pet might be noise-phobic. Veterinary Medicine lists trembling, excessive drooling, barking, howling, loss of appetite, loss of bladder or bowel control, and feverish attempts to hide in or escape from its enclosure as symptoms. If you suspect your pet might be noise-phobic, consult a veterinarian for treatment. With every new storm system that moves through your area, your pet develops the potential to exhibit worse and worse symptoms and behaviors.

Bottom line—don’t involve your pets in Fourth of July festivities. Playing frisbee is all well and good, but the moment the fireworks go off, the party will be over for your pet. Do your best to keep him comfortable, safe, and, most importantly, at home. After all, it’s only for one night!

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Filed under Dogs, Pet Safety