Dog Tick and Flea Control
Posted April 30th, 2017 at 7:00AM EST
Q: How did my dog get fleas or ticks?
A: Your dog may have gotten fleas from another infested animal or by wandering through high grass. The pests can either hop onto your animal or simply hide and wait in a brush until it is dislodged.
Q: Can fleas and ticks get my dog sick?
A: When blood-sucking fleas are feeding, they are puncturing the animals skin and injected their saliva. This can cause allergic reactions in dogs, causing them to bite and scratch. In extreme infestations, the fleas can actually cause anemia and death in an animal. Fleas can also transmit various diseases to our pets: tapeworms, Lyme disease, tularemia, and many more that have the potential to kill.
Q: Are fleas and ticks worse in some areas?
A: Most fleas that plague dogs in North America require moisture to stay alive and reproduce. This is why areas such as the Gulf Coast and Southeast regions are particularly dangerous areas. This does not mean you can't find ticks inland to the north, in fact there are very few places in North America where you do not have to worry about ticks. The upper Midwest and Northeast is where the notorious Lyme disease tick resides, causing a lifelong condition that includes severe joint pain.
Q: Can I stop worrying about fleas and ticks in the winter?
A: Generally no, even in the most extreme of Canadian winters there are only a few months were the threat of fleas and ticks is completely gone. To err on the side of caution, we suggest to always remain vigilant for any signs that your dog may have come across these pests.
Q: How do I control fleas and ticks?
A: The most important preventative measure you can take is to ask your veterinarian for a recommended topically applied flea control product (usually applied between the dog’s shoulder blades). Keep in mind that a moist home and materials such as carpet can be a perfect haven for fleas and ticks. Brushes and weed in the backyard are another place where fleas can reside. Finally, a Zippy Dynamics dog coat dramatically reduces the surface area on your dog that a flea can latch onto. After an outing in flea or tick-prone areas, always inspect your dog for any sign of fleas or ticks, especially around their ears and eyes.
Winter Safety for Dogs
Posted December 3rd, 2016 at 7:00AM
adapted from The Association of Professional Dog Trainers (APDT)
Many parts of the country experience extremely cold weather that presents challenges for dog owners. Familiarity with cold weather health hazards can keep your pet safe while allowing both of you to enjoy the outdoors.
Temperature Related Conditions
- Puppies, senior dogs and dogs with certain disease conditions (such as thyroid conditions) are more susceptible to cold temperatures. Temperature related illnesses require immediate removal to a warm, dry environment and medical attention by your veterinarian.
- Hypothermia can result from extended exposure to cold and is a life-threatening condition. Watch your dog for signs of shivering, shallow breathing, weak pulse or lethargy.
- Frostbite is a temperature related tissue injury and most commonly occurs on ears, tails, scrotum or feet. Signs include discolored skin (red, pale, or grayish) swelling, or blisters. Check your pet often for signs of frostbite which may be hidden beneath fur.
- Car antifreeze (Ethylene Glycol), is a deadly poison that has a sweet taste that attracts dogs. As little as 1-2 teaspoons can be lethal to a small animal. Clean up all spills and consider switching to a Propylene Glycol product that is safer.
- Salt and ice-melters can act as a skin irritant. Make sure to wash your pet’s feet off after coming indoors. Dogs with long fur and/or short legs should have their stomach areas cleaned off as well.
- If you normally have your pet’s fur clipped or shaved, keep the length longer in winter to keep your dog warm. Nails may require more frequent trimming since your dog is spending more time indoor on soft surfaces.
- If you bathe your dog at home make sure he is completely dry before going out. You may even want to switch to a waterless shampoo for the winter.
- Examine the pads of your dog’s feet for signs of cracking or irritation. A pet-specific foot balm will help condition the pads.
- Dogs with short coats or low body fat (Chihuahuas, Greyhounds, Miniature Pinschers etc.) will benefit from
a water-resistant sweater or coat when outdoor temperatures drop.
- Boots are a good way to protect feet and pads from salt and chafing.
- Keep your pet on a leash in cold weather as more dogs are lost in the winter than in any other season. Unleashed dogs may also run onto partially frozen bodies of water.
- Limit the duration of your outdoor trips to minimize chance of frostbite or hypothermia.
- Don’t let your dog eat snow. The snow may cause stomach upset or there may be hidden objects in the
Special Considerations for Outdoor Dogs
- You should bring your dogs inside for the winter if possible.
- If bringing your dogs inside for the season is not possible your dogs must have warm, windproof shelter, preferably heated.
- Dry, clean bedding is essential to keeping warm and straw or bedding needs replenished all winter season
- Water & food can easily freeze. Use heated bowls to prevent freezing and make sure that the electrical
cords are out of reach of your pets.
- Outdoor dogs will burn more calories (up to 30%) and need extra food. Make sure that you are feeding additional rations during cold temperature.
Winter Training Tips
- Basic obedience training and cold weather safety practices will allow you and your pet to enjoy winter weather
- Make sure that your dog or puppy is comfortable with having their feet wiped & handled. Keep towels near
the door and making foot-wiping part of your daily routine. Reward your pet for allowing you to examine the
condition of pads, check for ice in between toes, and trim fur (if required).
- Obedience training for loose leash walking will make slippery walks safer for both pet and owner.
- Commands like “leave it” can save a dog’s life when confronted with a pool of antifreeze or an unknown
object in the snow.
- Recall (coming when called) can keep a dog from running onto a partially frozen body of water or away
from another winter hazard