Spring has Sprung!

Well, believe it or not, Spring has sprung. It has been a long snowy winter and everyone is eager to get outdoors.  Even the animals are getting active already.  If you haven’t noticed yet, you soon will, that the skunks are now active. So in the spirit of pet safety, here are a few facts for you. And remember, we are well equipped to remove skunk odor from your furry friend. Happy Spring!

A long, snowy winter usually means that we have been hermits for months and our dogs have not had much exercise. I know my pooch spent most of the winter curled up on the couch. As such, getting out and walking feels so great! However, keep in mind that if your dog has been a couch potato, too much exercise all at once will cause muscle aches for them, just as it does for us. Start out slow and ease your way into your normal walking routine.

While you are out shedding the winter weight, keep an eye out for the critters coming out of hibernation, mainly skunks. They are already out and we have been fielding phone calls for a couple of weeks now for dogs that need to be de-skunked.

Skunks start hunting for food just after dusk, so if you are an evening walker, avoid letting your dog wander to the end of the leash. Keeping your pet close and out of bushes and fence lines will potentially avoid an encounter with any foraging skunks. All it takes for your dog to get sprayed is to sniff a bush with a skunk hiding inside.  Generally, if a wild animal is hiding on your walk route, your dog will know long before you do. A lot of dogs will rush a bush or fence that contains any animal, wild or not.

If you do encounter a skunk and your dog needs attention, we can take care of that. Whether it’s a full skunk bath or a home treatment, we have the product you need. While we can only give a bath during operating hours, we do have a product that you can keep at home for night time skunking. Our thought process is this: if you have a skunk odor remover handy, you probably won’t ever need it, but if you don’t, you will need it in the wee hours of the night.

So, in closing, enjoy the Spring weather, and call us if you need us!

Summertime Care

Summertime, summertime, sum sum summertime…such a lovely tune to remember the best time of year. But with the beautiful weather comes the nuisances of pests. Some pests are annoying and some are down right dangerous. Ticks and fleas are not only a nuisance, they can cause all kinds of illnesses from anemia due to flea infestation to Anaplasmosis or Lyme from ticks. These are very serious illnesses that can be easily avoided with the proper application of a flea and tick repellant.
Some animals cannot handle the application of a repellant so it’s always best to consult your veterinarian before starting any type of prevention treatment.

That said, in our area, Worcester County, the products that we find work the best are Frontline and K9 Advantix.

Frontline works best if fleas are the bigger problem since it kills fleas and flea eggs quite effectively. However, ticks must bite before they start to die which may increase the risk of tick borne illnesses. Frontline has a product for cats as well.

K9 Advantix works really great on ticks since it starts killing ticks as soon as they land on your dog. In our experience, this product works better on ticks than other than other products and it works equally well on fleas. The greater benefit, however, is that it also repels and kills mosquitoes which transmit heartworm. For us, this is our go to product to protect our own dogs. The only downside to this treatment is that it’s toxic to cats so you must keep your cat clear of your treated dog until the product is absorbed completely.

Good grooming throughout the summer season is the best defense against all sorts of infestations. Your groomer should be trained to spot any type of infestation and treat it accordingly and with regard to any treatment you may have already applied.

The other advantage to good summer grooming is that your pet will be much more comfortable in the summer heat.

So, in conclusion, to keep your pet healthy and comfortable, regular grooming and appropriate pest prevention is key. But as always, check with your vet before starting any type of pest treatment.

Enjoy your summer!

Are Ticks a Threat Even in The Winter?

By Vet Depot

Even with snow on the ground, ticks can still be a threat to pets on warm winter days. Remember, ticks have a multi-year life span, so many survive the winter months depending on their stage of life.

Ticks also like to hang out in leaf litter when the weather is cold because it provides them with insulation. So, letting your dog run through or roll in large piles of raked up leaves may not be a good idea. It’s smart to manage your yard to minimize tick exposures. This includes dealing with leaf litter and stacking wood neatly to avoid rodent habitat.

Ticks tend to indulge in three big blood meals over their lifetime. The first typically comes in the summer after hatching. Those larval ticks are usually disease-free and often use a mouse for their first meal. They hang out over the winter and come out as nymphs the following spring. Through May and June, they are actively hunting for a meal – a deer, mouse or pet will do. The third meal is generally in the fall right before the adult tick reproduces and dies. If the adult tick doesn’t find a good meal in the fall, it may stick around through winter and into the spring. Realistically, your pet is at risk for tick bites all year long.

Food Sensitivities vs. Food Allergies

A Look at Food Sensitivities and Allergies in Dogs
by VETDEPOT on JANUARY 11, 2013

Two types of food sensitivities affect dogs: food intolerances and food allergies. They aren’t the same thing. Food intolerances are a digestive problem with digestive symptoms. They are often caused by digestive disorders or by a lack of the enzyme(s) needed to digest a certain food. For example, dogs or people who don’t produce the lactase enzyme can’t break down a sugar in milk called lactose. These people or animals are lactose intolerant. Food allergies, on the other hand, are hypersensitive immune system responses to a food. Allergies may also produce digestive symptoms, but skin and respiratory symptoms are typical, too.

Symptoms Are Key to Differentiating Between Canine Food Sensitivities

The symptoms your dog experiences are important for determining whether you’re dealing with a food intolerance or a food allergy. Again, intolerances cause symptoms associated with the digestive tract and function. Bloating, gas, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and other general digestive discomfort are typical signs of an intolerance. These may present with an allergy, too, but other symptoms, such as itching, rash, hives, sneezing, coughing, or wheezing are more likely.

Why Distinguish Between the Types of Food Sensitivities?

The distinction between these food sensitivities is important because it affects whether your dog can ever eat the problem food. Depending on the degree of intolerance, your dog may be able to eat a little of the offending food without problems; the severity of symptoms is generally tied to the quantity consumed. With an allergy, though, the offending food must be avoided entirely. The severity of the reaction isn’t related to the quantity eaten, and even a morsel can trigger a serious reaction. Plus, allergies generally become worse with repeated exposure to the allergen, and allergic responses are typically much more serious than digestive disturbances caused by an intolerance. Allergies can even be fatal.

What Foods Are Usually to Blame?

Dogs may have an intolerance or an allergy to any food. They may also be sensitive to seasonings, fillers, additives, or other ingredients in food. The most common allergens include wheat gluten, meat and meat byproducts (including beef, poultry, pork, lamb, rabbit, and seafood), dairy, and soy. If your dog is allergic to one food, it’s likely she’s allergic to others, too. Canine food intolerances are often to the same foods.

How Do You Figure Out Which Foods Are Responsible?

Any chronic symptoms are cause to consult your veterinarian, and this holds true if you suspect your dog has a food sensitivity. Your veterinarian will guide you through the process of identifying the source of your pet’s problems. Deduction begins by taking your dog off all the foods and ingredients she eats and replacing them entirely with foods she’s never eaten until all symptoms clear up. Next, you add the old foods back in gradually, one by one, and wait for symptoms to return. If a whole food causes problems, the allergy or intolerance can be diagnosed. If a food with multiple ingredients triggers a response, more exclusions and additions will be needed to narrow down the offending ingredient.

The Killer Frosts are Coming…

The ones that kill fleas and ticks that is. Here in the pet service world, we wait with bated breath for the heavy frost that kills these pesky insects. Unfortunately, it takes at least three really good, heavy frosts to kill off the fleas and ticks and drive the rest into hibernation. And until that happens, Autumn is the time of year when your animal is most at risk for bringing them indoors. The hot weather certainly brings with it an abundant supply of fleas and ticks to combat, but we are all armed and ready to fight with the various products on the market. However, most people stop using commercial products once the cool weather starts, assuming the danger is over. Because of this mindset, fleas and ticks get a free ride…right into your home via your pet.

The reason we see a rise in flea infestations this time of year is that we not only get lax with the preventative treatments, but also the fleas are desperate to get somewhere warm, and your pet is the perfect place to snuggle in for the upcoming winter.

So…if you get the creepy crawlies like I do when you see fleas and ticks, keep up your preventative treatment until there has been three hard frosts. And then for good measure, give one more month of treatment to catch any stow-aways that may have found a warm place in your pet’s bed.

Happy hunting!!!