Fleas and Ticks are Still Here!

Don’t you wish fleas and ticks would take a vacation? Unfortunately, these little buggers are here to stay: no retirement, no vacations, not even sick days. If these pests were people, they’d deserve a promotion!

Since fleas and ticks don’t take time off, neither can you when it comes to protecting your pet. In fact, fall is the busiest season for ticks and a favorite time of year for fleas!

Ticks and Fall

Fall is a tick’s favorite season to bite humans and their pets. Why? As the weather cools off (finally), we tend to spend more time outside. We take long walks with our dogs. We enjoy evening tea with our cat in the backyard. And we tend to go on more hikes in wooded areas where ticks hang out.

And it’s not just our fault that ticks seem to tag along more in the fall. They begin feeling chilly this time of year. And until someone knits sweaters small enough, and with enough sleeves for these pesky critters, they’re going to seek warmth by hopping on warm-blooded mammals.

The cold weather also drives tick towards our toasty warm homes. This means just walking your dog in your neighborhood is more likely to result in a tick bite.

What Can You Do to Reduce the Risk of Your Pet Becoming Prey to Ticks?

Ticks carry some painful, dangerous, and disgusting diseases. From Rocky Mountain tick fever to Lyme disease, you don’t want to worry if you find a tick has sunk its teeth into your pet. There are ways to protect your pet and reduce the likelihood of her getting bitten.

1. Keep Your Dog or Cat on Tick Prevention All Year-Round

Prevention is the best route to a healthy tick-free pet. Tick prevention that your dog or cat ingests works from inside out when it comes to tick-borne illness. If a tick latches onto a dog or cat on tick prevention, that tick rapidly gets a dose of poison. This kills the time in time to prevent your pet from catching diseases from the bite.

This also kills the tick in time for it to not make you its next victim.

2. Don’t Let Small Mammals Get a Free Meal Meant for the Birds

If you have bird feeders, it’s a good time to move them further away from your house. Why? If you get rid of the vehicle, you eliminate the hitchhiker. 

The seeds birds knock onto the ground become a free meal for mice, rats, squirrels, and other small rodents that may have ticks ready to drop off right outside of your window.

3. Rake Up Fallen Leaves

Ticks like to hide in leaf litter and moist organic material. If you have fallen leaves, rake them up. The last thing you want is your dog, cat, or child walking through a pile of leaves and stirring up hungry ticks.

4. Mow Your Lawn Regularly

Another way to ensure the ticks in your area to make your yard their home is to mow your lawn frequently. This makes it more difficult for ticks to hide and less likely for them to grab onto you or your pet as you walk past.

5. Check Your Pet Before They Come Inside

Finally, there’s the age-old technique of surveying your dog or cat for ticks. These parasites often aim for warm, damp, or hidden areas. So, thoroughly check your pet’s ‘armpits,’ between their toes, in their ears, and on their belly.

If you find a tick, you’ll need tweezers to remove it. Make sure you have a good grasp on it as close to its head as possible. Don’t pinch or squeeze too tight because you want to remove as much of the tick as you can. Leaving the head can often lead to infection.

Contrary to Popular Belief Fleas Often Fail to Flee During Fall

Fleas also enjoy the fall weather. They love the moisture and dampness we experience here. Do you know what else they like? Your dog or cat’s fur coat. Why? It helps them hide better. It also gives them a sense of protection. Often, fleas find their way into the warmth of your home and refuse to leave in autumn.

What Makes Fleas Thrive in Fall?

  • Fleas can live in temperatures down into the 30s.
  • Small mammals that carry fleas come closer to homes as the temperatures drop and they bring their fleas with them.
  • Fleas can enter your home and reproduce just as rapidly as they would if it were spring or summer.

Luckily, there are some ways to reduce your pet’s exposure to fleas and prevent fleas from infesting your house. And these techniques overlap with your tick checklist:

  • Remove leaf litter and organic waste from your yard
  • Use a prescription flea prevention
  • Don’t let your dog or cat run free near where rodents and small mammals travel

Don’t Make Fall A Flea and Tick Fest

If you need to refill your pet’s flea and tick prevention, make an appointment. Don’t give these bugs a fighting chance to ruin the cool weather and beauty of Grantsburg and surrounding areas for you this fall. When it comes to bugs, prevention will save you time, money, and headaches. Protect your home by arming your pet with the right prevention.

Image Credit: Pixabay

Print Email

The Most Common Chronic Pain Issues Our Pets Face

September is Animal Pain Awareness Month! And for most pet parents, this doesn’t mean much. Their dog, cat, rabbit, or other pet seems to get along just fine. But we want to take the time to pay special attention to the hidden pains some pets face.

When we think of pain, we often think about broken bones, cuts, scrapes, and bruises. These are all forms of acute pain. But when it comes to our pets, it’s helpful to be aware of chronic pain. Chronic pain is sharp or dull pain that recurs or persists over a longer period of time.

Chronic pain is ultimately more complex because it can increase gradually and it doesn’t always have physical, apparent evidence like bruises, bumps, and cuts. Chronic pain also ebbs in severity. Often pet parents think their pet feels better just to find the same pet limping, again, a week later.

Our Pets and Pain

Our pets can mask chronic pain. And from time to time, owners aren’t aware that their sweet pet isn’t sleeping well, has trouble getting up from their bed. Sometimes chronic pain looks more like reluctance or old age. For example, a pet may want to participate and play, but they hold back due to pain. Why? Their pain slows them down or makes them withdrawal more despite the desire to engage.

What Causes Pets Chronic Pain?

Chronic pain can come in many forms and the causes can be just as varied. The most common forms of chronic pain include:

  • Joint pain
  • Cancer
  • Dental pain
  • Digestive pain
  • Skin irritation and rash
  • Urinary infection and issues
  • Skeletal issues like spinal disk slips
  • Post-surgical pain
  • Nerve pain
  • Virus related disease

Many causes of chronic pain are invisible to the untrained eye. Dental disease and discomfort can go unnoticed for weeks, months, and even years, but the throbbing discomfort often comes to light when a pet stops eating or loses a tooth. And the gradual onset of arthritis, cancer, and nerve pain hides within its slow progression. In other words, dogs don't wake up one day suffering from arthritis.

This is why we dedicated this time to chronic pain. We want you to participate in a meaningful way. How can you do that?

How You Can Participate In Animal Pain Awareness Month

Take a moment and evaluate your pet for signs of chronic pain. You see your pet every day. But how often do you take a moment to check for skin irritation or inflamed gums? Here are some basic checks you can knock out in a matter of thirty minutes or less or a few minutes daily for the next week or so.

1. Pay attention to how your pet walks. 
  • Does your pet limp? 
  • Does she seem to walk more slowly than she used to?
2. Notice how your pet lifts herself up after lying down or how she climbs stairs. 
  • Does she seem to hesitate before or while standing up?
  • Do her muscles shake or does she seem weak? 
  • Has she slowed down significantly over the past year?
3. Check for hesitation. 
  • Does your pet pause before jumping? 
  • Does she lag behind on walks?
  • Does she jump or get excited then seem to change her mind?
4. Do a quick dental check. This can be a little tougher with cats (we are happy to help). 
  • Does your pet have any broken teeth? 
  • Does your pet have swollen or red gums? 
  • How much plaque or buildup is clinging to her teeth?
  • Are her teeth discolored?
5. Assess how well your pet rests. 
  • Does your pet seem to have trouble getting comfy? 
  • Does she get up and pace or reposition herself? 
  • Does she wake frequently?
6. Check your pet’s urinary and digestive health. 
  • Does your pet strain to urinate? 
  • Is her urine dark, discolored, or show a presence of blood? 
  • Does your pet throw up or experience diarrhea often?
  • Does your cat cry out while urinating or seem to avoid her litter box?
7. Notice changes in mood or disposition. 
  • Does your pet seem more reclusive or aggressive? 
  • Did her temper seem to shorter? 
  • Does your pet seem to spend too much time sleeping?

Pain Management for Pets

Don’t let chronic pain rain on your pet’s joy. We can help your pet cope with and even overcome chronic pain to restore a better quality of life. If you answered “yes” to any of the above questions, it’s a good idea to bring your pet by for an exam.

We can look in those ears to see if she’s scratching herself raw from allergies, mites, or yeast infection. We are also happy to peer deep into your dog’s mouth to assess those chompers that might make eating a painful experience.

Joint discomfort and arthritis can often be treated with NSAIDs and a diet. A quality bed can also help your pet sleep better.

But the most beneficial thing you can do for your beloved pet is to identify the source of her pain.

Let’s work together to say “Good-bye!” to chronic pain for pets. Give us a call today to give your pet the opportunity for less pain.

Image Credit: Pixabay

Print Email

The Flea Life Cycle

What is the most faithful bug in the universe? The flea! Once they find a dog or cat they like, they stick to them. So, if fleas commit for life, what exactly does that mean? Well, we have everything you need to know about these itchy little insects (and probably a bit more than you want to know).

A Close Look at the Flea Life Cycle

Stage One: An Egg is Laid

All fleas start their lives as eggs. And boy do female fleas have some laying power: an adult flea can lay between 10 and 60 eggs per day! And when you take into account the average lifespan of a flea—60 to 100 days, those eggs add up! In fact, one female flea can lay 2000 eggs!

The number of eggs and the reproduction rate of fleas depends a lot on their climate. You’ve probably even heard the myth that fleas go dormant during the winter. Unfortunately, we wish this one was true. But fleas happen to love the same temperatures we do. They thrive in temperatures from 75 to 95-degrees. They enjoy humidity.

Where do fleas lay those eggs? On your dog or cat. Some of the eggs get knocked onto the floor, their bedding, or elsewhere.

Stage Two: A Larva is Born!

After two days to two weeks, more than half of the flea’s eggs will hatch into developing larvae. Some eggs will stick around and hatch later on when the temperature and conditions are ideal.

These larvae have the natural instinct to hide from the light. This means they may end up in tiny dark crevices like between floorboards, under the bed, or deep in your carpet.

And like all babies, these proto-fleas need to eat. So, they spend about two weeks feasting on their favorite food: flea dirt. What is flea dirt? If you didn’t think flea larvae was charming enough, they feed on the feces of adult fleas. Ew! Right?

Stage Three: Cha-cha-cha-changes! Larvae to Pupae

While you probably associate cocoons with beautiful butterflies or moths, they are also an important part of the flea’s life cycle. After two weeks of eating poo, larvae spin themselves cocoons. This is when the larva goes into its pupae phase Where it will emerge a mature and hungry adult.

The pupae phase can differ in length depending on conditions. The adult flea will break free when the conditions are right. This may be two weeks or even several months. When they sense a tasty host to feed on, they pop out of their cocoons and come to life.

Stage Four: The Egg is All Grown Up: The Adult Flea

Adult fleas survive by indulging in a blood meal from mammals. After one meal, an adult female flea can start the cycle all over again by beginning to lay eggs.

Other Not-So-Sweet Flea Facts

  • Only 10% of the fleas potentially in your home live on your pet
  • Only 5% of fleas are at the adult stage at one time. The rest are eggs, larvae or pupae, waiting to mature.
  • The entire life cycle of the flea can last between two weeks and six months.
  • Fleas can carry tapeworm larvae and infect your pet with these disgusting parasites.

Stop Those Fleas in Their Tracks

Ending the flea life cycle is a matter of interrupting the cycle. Prescription flea medicine does just that.

Oral prescription flea medicines make their way through your pet’s system and wind up in your pet’s fat. When a flea bites your pet, they ingest the medicine which renders them sterile. This means any eggs they lay cannot survive.

Make Fleas Flee!

We have one more joke for you:

What did the dog on flea prevention say to the vet? 

“Long time, no flea!”

If knowledge is power, you’re one powerful pet owner with everything you need to know about fleas. So, it’s time to give us a call and make an appointment to scratch that itch your dog or cat can’t shake. Don’t try to fight a flea infestation alone, you’ll quickly get outnumbered and overwhelmed.

Protect your pet from fleas. Give us a call and schedule an appointment today!

Photo Credit: Pixabay

Print Email

Importance of Your Pet’s Immunizations

All it takes is one look into your pet’s eyes to feel the urge to want to protect them. Maybe you have a fence to keep your dog from running into the road or you have microchipped your cat in case she sneaks out. But have you considered how vital your pet’s vaccinations are to protect them?

Vaccinations can prevent your pet from catching a deadly contagious disease and keep them from bringing zoonotic diseases into your home. Immunizations often lengthen pet’s lifespans and dramatically improve their quality of life.

What Do You Need to Know About Your Pets Vaccinations?

Don’t skip your pet’s annual exams and make sure your pet is protected because:

  • Vaccinations prevent your pet from getting certain illnesses.
  • Prevention of diseases is less costly than treatment.
  • Vaccinations can extend your pet’s life and give you more years of cuddling and love.
  • Vaccinations give pet parents peace of mind. If your dog or cat gets loose and runs into the woods, they may be exposed to wild animals that carry distemper, rabies, and other deadly diseases.
  • Immunizations protect humans from zoonotic diseases (ones which can be passed from pets to their owners or vice versa).
  • Some vaccinations are legally required for your pet.

Puppies, Kittens, and Newly Adopted Pets Need Core Vaccinations

When you first bring a new pet into your family, you will want to bring them by as soon as possible for a health check and vaccinations. We will work with you to schedule your new fuzzy family member’s immunization schedule.

Why It’s Vital to Set Up an Immunization Schedule for Your New Pet

The way vaccinations work means it is imperative to stick to a schedule and vaccinate a pet early. If your pets are exposed to a disease or virus without any vaccinations, their body may not be able to fight it off. This makes new puppies, kitties, and recently adopted pets more vulnerable to deadly diseases.

Vaccines help pets build up their body’s resistance to deadly viruses and diseases by developing antibodies from a series of vaccines. This helps ensure that your pet’s immune system will jump into action if they ever are exposed to the disease.

Don’t Skip Those Annual Exams

Equally as important as those first immunizations, keeping your pet’s vaccinations up-to-date protects them from some illnesses. In Wisconsin, your dog or cat is legally required to have current bordetella, DHLPP, and rabies vaccines.

Summertime Canine Vaccination Spotlight

If you’re planning on bringing your dog to the dog park, on a recreational hike, or even on a doggie playdate, don’t skip the canine flu shot.  Dog flu can be passed from dog to dog with just a sneeze, sharing toys, or drinking from the same bowl.

Canine flu is also commonly transmitted between dogs in boarding facilities. Help your dog stay at the top of her game with a simple flu shot.

What Diseases Can We Help Protect Your Pet from Contracting?

Along with rabies, bordetella, and DHLPP, we can help protect your pet from:

  • Lyme disease
  • Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever
  • Leptospirosis
  • Coronavirus
  • Distemper
  • Canine Influenza (dogs)
  • Chlamydia (cats)
  • Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis (cats)
  • Calicivirus (cats)
  • Feline Leukemia (cats)
  • Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (cats)
  • Feline Infectious Peritonitis (cats)

Vaccinations do more than just preventing illness, they help prolong your pet’s life and provide peace of mind. Don’t skip your pet’s vaccines.

We want to assist you in providing years and years of loving memories and joy with your dog or cat. If you have questions about your pet’s vaccination status, health, or annual exam, please give us a call.

Photo Credit: Pixabay

Print Email