Your Pet Questions Answered!

I’ve conned asked our vet to answer reader questions, so if you have a question about your pet, ask them here! We will do our best (and within applicable laws) to get you answers.

Summer Pet Tips

It’s Summer! It’s time to play in the yard and at the lake! It’s a time for fun with your family pet.

Here are some tips for a safe and happy summer:

  1. NEVER leave your pet in the car
  2. Don’t let your pet ride unsecured in the car or in the back of a truck
  3. Watch out for fertilizer and other poisonous plants, even Cocoa Mulch
  4. Keep plenty of water for your pet
  5. Don’t let your pet play unsupervised in the pool/lake, use a life jacket if necessary
  6. Don’t forget flea and heartworm preventatives
  7. Make sure your pet has a new collar and tags
  8. Go for walks in the early morning or evenings when it is cooler outside
  9. Provide shade if your dog spends a lot of time outside
  10. If you live in an area prone to natural disasters, prepare a disaster kit for your pet and yourself

Dog Collar Sensitivity

It is natural for us to think that all dogs can wear a collar with no problems; however, some dogs are senstive about wearing a collar as well as letting anyone tug on it. Many dog bites occur because the act of grabbing the dogs collar or even wearing a lead startles the dog. Today we are going to work on desensitizing your dog to collar grabs. Got your treats? Let’s get started.

Pick a quiet place away from distractions to work with your dog.

Ask him to sit (if he knows that command) and give him several treats without touching him.

Next touch his head with one hand and give him a treat with the other.

Now, touch under his chin and reward with the other hand.

Continue touching and treating, gradually moving closer and closer to his collar.

Once your dog is comfortable with being rubbed around and under the collar, start moving the collar back and forth. You will want to work up in time to how long you can move the collar or grab at it.

Keep training sessions short, 5 minutes or so to keep both you and the dog comfortable.

If you have a non-aggressive puppy you can approach this in a different way by frequently interrupting play sessions by taking your puppy by the collar, asking him to sit, praising him, offering a treat, and then letting him go back to play.

Repeat this throughout the day, reaching for his collar faster and faster the more you practice.

Nutro Cat Food Recall

Nutro Products has announced a voluntary recall of select varieties of NUTRO® NATURAL CHOICE® COMPLETE CARE® Dry Cat Foods and NUTRO® MAX® Cat Dry Foods with “Best If Used By Dates” between May 12, 2010 and August 22, 2010. The cat food is being voluntarily recalled in the United States and ten additional countries. This recall is due to incorrect levels of zinc and potassium in their finished product resulting from a production error by a US-based premix supplier.

For more information, visit the Nutro Web Site.

Natural Flea Care for the Green Dog

In the past, flea control has been done pretty much exclusively with chemicals. These chemicals have been linked to nerve damage and even death for some pets. With the number of pet deaths rising from chemical flea controls, we decided to look for safer alternatives.

The first thing you will want to do is clean up your yard, keep your bushes and your shrubs trimmed up. You will also need to rake up any stray leaves that are hiding under the porch areas and around shrubs; these are areas where fleas like to hide. If you have flowerbeds, consider using some cedar mulch, as the cedar is a natural flea repellent. You can also add cedar shavings to your dog’s house and bedding to help repel fleas.

In addition to cleaning up your yard, you can also use plants that help repel fleas in your landscaping. A few plants that help repel fleas are:
•    Lavender
•    Mint
•    Pennyroyal (repels mosquitoes too)
•    Eucalyptus
•    Sage
•    Rosemary
•    Thyme
•    Wormwood
•    Lemongrass (great for mosquitoes!)

Once you have the yard in order, you can add beneficial nematodes that will help control fleas by killing them in the larval and pupal stages in the soil. Nematodes are multi-cellular animals that live in the soil and are commonly called roundworms.

In addition to nematodes, you can also use a natural product called diatomaceous earth, or D-Earth. D-Earth is a powdery substance that is made from the crushed fossils of single-celled plants. It kills fleas by destroying the waxy coating that covers them. It also dries out the flea’s bodily fluids, killing them. It can be sprinkled around the yard and even on your pet’s bedding. Not only does D-Earth repel fleas, it also repels roaches, silverfish, ants, bed bugs, flies, lice, scorpions, crickets and more.

Now that the yard is taken care of, its time to take a look at your dog and preventing and removing fleas on him. You will want to check him periodically for ticks and also for fleas. Make sure you do this outside, you don’t want fleas in the house! Using a flea comb, brush your dog, after each stroke, dunk the comb in soapy water this will kill the fleas. Do this until you have combed the entire dog. If you find a tick, use a Tick Key to remove it properly. When you are finished, dump the flea water down the toilet to prevent spreading them back into your yard or home.

Once your dog has been combed, you can also bathe him in a natural shampoo that contains oils that repel fleas, such as Rosemary Mint Buddy Wash. These natural shampoos gently cleanse the skin and are pH balanced with pure ingredients and botanical extracts, you can even use it on puppies (unlike chemical flea treatments).

If you still prefer to use a spot on, there are some natural alternatives available. Natural Defense by Sentry kills fleas, ticks and mosquitoes for up to four weeks. It has natural ingredients, including: peppermint oil, cinnamon oil, lemongrass oil and thyme oil. Just be careful there have been reports that some dogs are allergic to it and it may discolor white fur. Another alternative to a spot on is a Citronella spray by Doc Ackerman, it uses citronella oil, pennyroyal oil, eucalyptus oil, and more to help repel pests.

There are also some natural supplements that help prevent fleas in your dog, one is Brewer’s Yeast with Garlic from NaturVet. The yeast will assist in controlling shedding and promote healthy skin while boosting the immune system. The combination of the two seems to be a one-two punch against fleas and many dog owners have had great success using just the supplement.

Visit PetSupplies4Less.com and see all of our Natural Pet Products.

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