Okaw Veterinary Clinic

140 W. Sale
Tuscola, IL 61953

(217)253-3221

okawvetclinic.com

Don't Let your Kids be Fido and Fluffy's Lunch

 

Contents:

Be Ready for Mosquitoes and Fleas
Top 10 Ways to Keep Children and Pets Safe Together

 

 

Be ready for Mosquitoes and Fleas

Spring is getting off to a slow start,  so who would think about fleas, heartworm or ticks now? These short spurts of warm weather actually get these little bugs ready to hatch out with a vengeance. Be prepared and prevent health problems by choosing the right product for your dog or cat according to your pet's lifestyle.

Heartworm disease is spread by the bite of a mosquito. Mosquitoes can start hatching out and biting when the average day time temperature is 40 degrees Fahrenheit. What this means is that on these March days when the temperature rises to 45 or 50 degrees, the mosquitoes will swarm and bite. They go dormant for the night when the temperatures fall but will not die off unless there are a few days well below 32 degrees. Monthly heartworm preventatives are a safe and effective way to prevent this deadly disease. Monitoring your dog for heartworm is important to be sure they are getting the proper dose of prevention every month. There is also a resistant strain of heartworm  that is reaching Illinois so we want to be sure the product your pet is on is working. There are now many different heartworm preventatives that also protect from intestinal worms and even fleas. These medications have different price points, so talk to your veterinarian about what is best for your pet and your budget. 

Cats also get heartworm disease. The testing for heartworm is not as reliable as in the dog, and prevention for them is also important. Revolution is a topical product that is recommended by the American Association of Feline Practitioners for all cats to prevent heartworm disease. In addition to preventing heartworm, Revolution also kills fleas, ticks and intestinal worms. Revolution is safe and easy to use on cats.

Ticks begin to emerge in early spring here in central Illinois. Ticks carry some pretty nasty diseases such as Ehrlichia, Anaplasmosis and of course Lyme's disease. Many of the flea and tick products sold over the counter can be toxic to small dogs and especially cats due to the high concentration of the older pesticides that are needed to kill these pests. Your veterinarian can prescribe much safer and more effective topical and even oral medications to kill and prevent fleas and ticks. Using repellents such as Avon Skin So Soft  is helpful to keep ticks off when you go on hikes or even after time in your yard. 

If you have to remove a tick, use alcohol and tweezers. Some of the extension offices can test the tick to see if any of the diseases are carried by them. 

Fleas - yep, they are still around. Many people have fleas living in the home over the winter because they carried them in over the fall. For a lot of pet owners a year round flea program is best. A flea comb is a good investment to check your pet over regularly. You can find these at a pet store.  Remember 1 flea can lay up to 100 eggs a day which a month later hatch out. The house treatment sprays must contain a growth inhibitor (precor) to be effective.  Most of the over the counter house treatment sprays do not carry this, but the Siphotrol is one available at most veterinarians that does contain the growth inhibitor. Treat all surfaces your pet comes into contact with, and repeat 2 weeks later.

Stay ahead of the bugs and have your dog tested and back on heartworm prevention if you stopped at all. Be sure you have your flea and tick products handy as well. Lastly, check with your veterinarian on the products you use or ask what is best for your pet. This will prevent accidentally toxic problems in your pet.

 

 

Top 10 Ways to Keep Children and Pets Safe Together

Children and pets can grow up together and have a great relationship. Teaching kids to learn how to properly greet a dog or cat and when to step in as a parent and avoid risks is essential for a good experience. Too often adults trust the dog or cat will just tolerate excessive petting, reaching in the bed of a pet, or getting close to a dog with food, toy or water. Then tragedy results. Here are some simple rules to follow to keep everyone safe and happy.

  1. Never leave your child under the age of 5 alone with a dog even for a minute. The child goes with you, the dog goes with you, or the dog goes out of the area of the child.

  2. No food of any kind around dogs and kids. Keep the dog at least 8 feet away from the children when there is any kid of food around anywhere.

  3. Do not let your children grab the dog’s toys away from them.

  4. Do not lay your infant on the floor, or bed with the dog nearby – may trigger predation.

  5. Reward your dog for non-fearful, aggressive, or anxious reactions when your children are loud or active.

  6. Do not allow your children to bother a sleeping dog at all.

  7. Have many shelves, perches and places for your cat to be out of reach of loud active children but in the same room.

  8. Play with your cat 10  minutes a day with a feather toy on a stick – small children can do this supervised.

  9. Do not rush up to a cat, pat it hard or bother it when sleeping.

  10. Have the dog eat alone – no people or children around.

So keep your baby gates to separate pets and kids when the pet is getting tired, or stressed. Teach your children considerate manners around all pets. Also learn the body language of stress in both dogs and cats so you can intervene early. If your dog or cat is regularly hissing, growling, or snapping at your youngsters - do not wait to get help. I offer safe pet - safe child consults through my office and I can work with your veterinarian as well.