The War on Fleas

     The flea is a hardy insect with a lifespan of six to 12 months. During that time, a pair of fleas could produce millions of offspring. Fleas have survived millions of years in a variety of environments. Some species can leap 15 to 36 inches high. That's equivalent to a man jumping over the 555-foot Washington Monument. All that may be admirable, but fleas on your pet or in your household aren't. Fleas can cause reactions in your pet varying from a mild skin irritation to a severe allergic reaction. Because fleas feed on blood, an extreme infestation can cause anemia or even death in animals. All cats and dogs, and other mammals, too, are susceptible to flea infestations, except for some that live in high elevations or in extremely dry environments. Whether or not you actually see fleas on your pet, they may be there. Scratching, scabs and dark specs, or "flea dirt," found on the skin can all be signs that your pet has become the unwitting host for a family of fleas. Fleas can carry tapeworms, too. If you notice small white rice-like things in your pet's feces or in the hair around his anus, your pet probably has tapeworms, which means he may also have fleas. In extreme cases, an animal may be lethargic and its lips and gums pale. To battle flea infestation requires patience and perseverance, so put on your armor and get to it! Because the life cycle of a flea is three to four weeks, it will take at least that long to completely rid your pet and its environment of the enemy. Different flea control products work in different ways, have varying levels of effectiveness and kill different flea stages (eggs, larvae and/or adults). You'll need to use a combination of products at the same time to be effective. Dips, shampoos, powders and sprays will usually kill the adult fleas on your pet. Using a flea comb regularly will help, too. But more adults may be lurking in your home or yard, and eggs or larvae may be lying in wait, as well. You'll need to rid your house of fleas by vacuuming and washing your pet's bedding once a week, and using a disinfectant on washable surfaces and an insecticide or insect growth regulator in cracks and crevices (sometimes foggers are recommended) every two to four weeks. When using chemical products to control fleas, be very careful. You may be providing too much of a potentially toxic chemical if you use, say, a flea dip and a fogger with the same chemical ingredient. Always check with your veterinarian before beginning your war on fleas. Even if you purchase an over-the-counter product, it's wise to consult your veterinarian for any safety concerns. To assist you with clearing your home of fleas, you may want to consider hiring a professional exterminator (in which case, your veterinarian may be able to recommend one in your area). If yours is an outside pet, you'll need to tackle the yard, too. Sunlight kills fleas, so concentrate your efforts in the shady areas of your yard especially. You can spray your yard with insecticide, or you can battle fleas with their natural enemy, nematodes. Nematodes are microscopic worms that kill flea larvae and cocoons. Apply them to your yard once a month until the fleas are gone. Check with your veterinarian or your pet supply or garden stores to find out more. Flea control has reached new levels in recent years. Today, there are products on the market that you can treat your pet with once a month that will help keep those annoying little jumpers away. Insect growth regulators, or IGRs, are safe and act like flea hormones to interrupt the life cycle of the flea, preventing them from maturing into adult fleas. Lufenuron is one example of an IGR. It inhibits flea egg production, but doesn't kill adult fleas, so flea bites can still occur. Others, such as imidacloprid and fipronil kill adult fleas, and the latter works on ticks as well. Depending on the product used, you may be giving your pet a pill, spraying his coat or applying a liquid substance to one area of his skin; the substance will spread to cover his body. These treatments are available only from your veterinarian and are given once a month.Be very careful to use the products as directed; some may be effective for dogs, but toxic to cats. Consult with your veterinarian before implementing any flea control program. After implementing any flea control watch your puppy real close, sometimes they may have a allergic reaction to it. We have one male Chihuahua that would go hypoglycemia that night after frontline was used.Now that you're armored with some information, you can help your pet win the war against fleas.

Hypoglycemia & Treatment

     In some respects, bringing your small puppy home is like bringing home a tiny newborn human. There are various things to watch for and some do's and don'ts that are helpful. Most important! Most small breeds or toy breeds, may be susceptible to a from of low blood sugar called hypoglycemia, You probably won't experience low blood sugar, but, in the event that you do , it is an emergency. A little bit of sugar, given to your puppy in some form, may save his life. Small breeds, especially Chihuahuas and Pomeranians, have a very small fat reserve around the liver. When they get stressed for some reason (like going to a new home or you going to work), or if they play too hard (using a lot of energy), or miss a meal, (or late), or a worming or flea treatment, or get cold the fat reserve is used up and the body will begin to draw upon the blood sugar for energy. If this condition is left unchecked the puppy will grow progressively weaker (fast real fast) until it fall into a coma and eventually dies. The good news is that this condition is easily arrested and puppies who do experience hypoglycemia will usually outgrow it by 18 weeks of age. Your goal, should be to keep the puppies stress level as low as you can during this time, AND to keep some form of SUGAR in the drinking water, karo (corn) syrup, nutri-cal vitamin paste (is the best and you need to have it on hand, get it before you pick-up your new puppy), (honey is not the best) or pancake syrup, for the first 18 weeks. If you come home or wake-up and find your puppy real week or staggering or just wants to sleep, rub some karo syrup (karo is one of the best it is absorbed thru the gums) on its gums and call a vet. Some signs of hypoglycemia: Signs vary; usually the puppy will get a sad forlorn look on its face, then it will become inactive, eventually staggering, and or falling down, or just laying down, followed by what looks like sleep. This sleeplike condition will turn into a form of tooth-clenching seizures and spasms, followed by a comatose condition, and eventually, death. Not all symptoms may be seen at any one time so watch for any lethargic behavior or lack of coordination. If your puppy seems too sleepy, wake him up, stand him up and make sure he stands and can walk, puppies sleep a lot but should always be ready to play. It's always a good idea to make sure your puppy eats just prior to his being out of your sight for any extended period of time (work, bed at night and so on). You can also boost him with some kind of sugar (not candy), you must make sure to leave some food available and sweet water, at all times

Dangerous Foods for your puppy

  Raw meat should not be given to puppies. Dogs are just as susceptible to Salmonella or Campylobacter diarrhoea as you are. If you feed your dog with raw meat and it catches these bugs, you might catch them from your dog too.

  I would like to explain the dangers behind giving your puppy or dog (bones).

  Feeding dogs bones is a topic. People often give their dogs bones as they assume they can not be harmful as they are full of nutrients and completely natural. As you are well aware, even though both these statements have some truth in them, in my opinion it is never a good idea to feed your dog a bone. The main reason for this is that the dog naturally crack the bones open to get at the bone marrow. If not chewed sufficiently broken fragments of bone can be swallowed, and as stomach acid is very slow at dissolving bone these fragments can cause blockage/perforation of the gut, which if left untreated will be fatal. 

  Different types of bones have different amounts of risks associated with them. Chicken bones for example are a definite no, they fracture into sharp spears of bone when broken, which are one day going to puncture your digestive system. Cooked bones are dry and brittle and can absorb water from the causing constipation and blockage of the intestines. Whilst cooked bones are the main culprit, raw bones can also splinter and perforate the gut (leading to severe illness), which usually requires surgery to repair.

  How harmful is chewing gum for your puppy or dog?
I think if your dog got of hold of one piece of chewing gum it is highly unlikely that your dog suffer from any ill-effect. However, if it consumed a whole packet at once, it is possible that it may cause harm to it. The Animal Poison Control Center is testament to the fact that chewing gum can be toxic to pets. In itself, chewing gum is not however it contains which is highly toxic to dogs. Some sugar-free chewing gums are as much as 70 percent, depending on the brand and whether the product is used as a primary sweetener.  

  Research has recommended that if a 22-pound dog ate the equivalent of 3 to 4 pieces of some gum products the dog should be given medical attention immediately. Significant consumption can cause a sudden drop in blood sugar, which can cause weakness, a loss of coordination and even seizures. These symptoms can occur within 30 minutes of consumption and last for anything up to a day. Treatment would normally include intravenous fluid application with dextrose supplementation

  Why does your dog eat grass, and the other day he was eating dirt.
It is actually pretty common for dogs to eat grass, including plants, earth and even rocks! While some aspects of this simply behavioral, there are some possible medical reasons. You should visit your vet for a thorough examination to rule out any particular ailment, but the primary cause of such behavior is dietary deficiency - talk to your vet about the benefits of certain prescription diets that are best suited to your dogs breed. Some dogs have an instinctive taste for certain substances, sometimes related to a genetic predisposition to a deficiency. For example, some dogs like to eat clay - possibly for its iron content.

  If your vet finds no particular reason for this behavior, and prescription diets do not help, the behavioris probably not based on a medical condition, and can be approached as a training issue. For example, you could try to stop this behavior by punishment with loud noises or by diversion tactics using toys.  

  Making homemade treats for your dog. Here are some ingredients that should not be used such as garlic or onion, etc.?

  There are lots of human food items that are not good for dogs. Most would require to be fed in large quantities to have an adverse effect. In most the worst symptoms would be temporary diarrhea or muscle spasms, but some (such as chocolate) can have more serious consequences. Foods known to be toxic to dogs include chocolate, onion, garlic, macadamia nuts, green parts of tomato plants, potato peelings, raisins, grapes, rhubarb leaves, yeast dough, hops, coffee grounds/beans, broccoli and pips or stones from many household fruits.

  Has your new puppy or dog has been passing lots of gas lately

  When changing a food it is quite common to see symptoms such as diarrhea and bad gas. As sure you know this kind of change needs to be carried out very gradually over several weeks.

  Is your dogs coat dull. What you can do to give him the shiny coat

 You should look for a dog food with added sunflower or cod-liver oil, or feed him either pet-food or human-grade supplements of sunflower oil. One capsule every other day will be sufficient at first to avoid stomach upset, and perhaps one every day after several weeks. You should notice an improvement pretty quit.

 So is bacon, sausage, pork etc... bad for your dog?

  Pork in itself is as harmless to dogs as chicken, beef or any other meat. However, there is a slight risk of your dog being infected with trichinosis from eating pork. Trichinosis, also known as trichinellosis, is a worldwide, food borne disease caused by a roundworm, uncommon in the United States. Humans and pets who eat raw or undercooked meat of infected animals can develop the disease. Undercooked or raw meat of infected animals contains the roundworm. 

The most important precaution is to make sure that all fresh pork and pork products (all meat of any kind) are properly cooked. Other raw and undercooked meat should also be avoided, especially meat from wild animals.

Raw carrots, and are any other vegetables suitable for your puppy or dog? 

  It is an excellent idea to supplement your dog's diet with fresh vegetables. Many dogs like carrots, and there is nothing harmful about providing a raw carrot. Their diet, as in humans, should consist of a lot of different things in moderation. Your dog can eat any vegetables that humans eat, provided that they are in moderation. A few left over vegetables from the your meal is an excellent addition to your dog's meal.

  What kind of fruits and vegetables are OK for dogs to eat and how often

 This is good, but start slow with a very small amount at first since any sudden addition of a lot of fruit or vegetables to a dogs diet can lead to stomach upset. However, if you introduce the "roughage" very gradually you should not experience any problems.

 You could replace some of your dogs regular diet with a high quality bran or any of the following: Carrots, pear, banana or pepper (non spicy variety!). If your dog prefers food which is not crunchy, try grating or pureeing the additions. Also be aware that some apparently everyday foods can be highly toxic to dogs, such as

The following foods may be dangerous to your pet

  Alcoholic beverages - slow respiratory rate, increased urination, staggering or a wobbly gait, excitement, depression, disorientation, behavioral changes, hypothermia, seizures, cardiac arrest.

Apple seeds - contain amygdlin, a form of cyanide, which is very poisonous to every living thing. Cyanide prevents the blood from carrying oxygen throughout the body.

Apricot pits - Can cause obstruction of the digestive tract.

Avocados - According to the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center and the American Veterinary Medicine Association, avacados can damage your dog's heart, lungs and other tissue. They can also trigger stomach upset, vomiting and pancreatitis.      Avacados can cause difficulty in breathing, abdominal enlargement, abnormal fluid accumulations in the chest, abdomen and the sac around the heart. There is no defined amount that can cause these effects to appear in your pet

Cherry pits - Can cause obstruction of the digestive tract.

Candy - (particularly chocolate—which is toxic to dogs, cats, and ferrets—and any candy containing the toxic sweetener Xylitol).

Coffee - (grounds, beans, and chocolate-covered espresso beans)

Fat trimmings - Can cause pancreatitis.

Garlic - comes from the Allium family, and counts onions, leeks, chives, and shallots as relatives. Onions, and to a much lesser degree garlic, contains a compound called n-propyldisulfide, as well as small amounts of thiosulphate. When taken in large amounts, oxidative damage can occur in the red blood cells. The effect reates Heinz bodies and the body will reject these cells from the bloodstream.

Grapes - generically speaking it’s because grapes and raisins can cause rapid renal failure (kidney failure).

Gum - (can cause blockages and sugar free gums may contain the toxic sweetener Xylitol).

Hops - (used in home beer brewing)

Macadamia nuts - locomotory difficulties, tremors, paralysis, labored breathing.

Marshmallows - are safe for dogs to eat as long as they are given in moderation.

Moldy foods - Do I need to say.

Mushroom plants - There are several types of toxins in different types of mushrooms. These can cause anything from kidney and liver failure, (with abdominal pain), to delirium and hallucinations, to vomiting and diarrhea to seizures, coma and possibly death. The symptoms can start anywhere from 20 minutes to 8 hours after ingestion of the mushrooms.

Mustard seeds

Nutmeg - seizures, tremors, central nervous system problems, death.

Onions and onion powder - discolored urine, diarrhea, vomiting, hemolytic anemia, labored breathing, liver damage.

Peach pits - Can cause obstruction of the digestive tract.

Potato leaves - and stems (green parts)

Raisins - generically speaking it’s because grapes and raisins can cause rapid renal failure (kidney failure).

Raw Salmon & Salmonoid Fish - Carries a bacteria that if left untreated can be fatal in 7 to 10 days. Symptoms include high fever, gastrointestinal upset, dehydration, enlarged lymph nodes.

Rhubarb leaves - Kidney failure, tremors, salivation.

Salt - excessive salt intake can lead to hypernatremia, a condition where a dog's bloodstream has higher than normal levels of sodium.

Tea - (because it contains caffeine)

Tomato leaves and stems - (green parts)

Walnuts - When dogs eat the seed hulls, they can get an upset stomach and diarrhea. The real problem is the fungus or mold that attacks walnuts after they get wet, which produces toxins.

Xylitol - (artificial sweetener that is toxic to pets)

Yeast dough

 I am not a Vet and this information was compiled from various sources

Winter Pet Care

It's that time of year--the leaves are almost done falling, the time has fallen back an hour, and some parts of the country are looking forward to ice, snow, and freezing cold temperatures. Now's the time to snuggle up in front of a fireplace with a warm kitty on your lap or a puppy at your feet. But before you settle down to your long winter's nap, take some time to learn how to keep those animals as warm and comfortable as you are.

Cold weather can be hard on pets, just like it can be hard on people. Sometimes owners forget that their pets are just as accustomed to the warm shelter of the indoors as they are. Some owners will leave their animals outside for extended periods of time, thinking that all animals are adapted to live outdoors. This can put their pets in danger of serious illness. There are things you can do to keep your animal warm and safe.

Take your animals for a winter check-up before winter kicks in. Your veterinarian can check to make sure they don't have any medical problems that will make them more vulnerable to the cold.

Keep your pets inside as much as you can when the mercury drops. If you have to take them out, stay outside with them. When you're cold enough to go inside, they probably are too. If you absolutely must leave them outside for a significant length of time, make sure they have a warm, solid shelter against the wind, thick bedding, and plenty of non-frozen water. Try leaving out a hot water bottle, wrapped in a towel so it won't burn your pet's skin.

Some animals can remain outside safely longer in the winter than others. In some cases, it's just common sense: long-haired breeds like Huskies will do better in cold weather than short-haired breeds like Dachshunds. Cats and small dogs that have to wade shoulder-deep in the snow will feel the cold sooner than larger animals. Your pet's health will also affect how long she can stay out. Conditions like diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease, and hormonal imbalances can compromise a pet's ability to regulate her own body heat. Animals that are not generally in good health shouldn't be exposed to winter weather for a long period of time. Very young and very old animals are vulnerable to the cold as well. Regardless of their health, though, no pets should stay outside for unlimited amounts of time in freezing cold weather. If you have any questions about how long your pet should be out this winter, ask your veterinarian.

Cats will curl up against almost anything to stay warm--including car engines. Cats caught in moving engine parts can be seriously hurt or killed. Before you turn your engine on, check beneath the car or make a lot of noise by honking the horn or rapping on the hood.

If you live near a pond or lake, be very cautious about letting your rambunctious dog off the leash. Animals can easily fall through the ice, and it is very difficult for them to escape on their own. If you must let your dogs loose near open water, stay with them at all times.

If you light a fire or plug in a space heater to keep your home toasty warm, remember that the heat will be as attractive to your pets as to you. As your dog or cat snuggles up to the warmth, keep an eye out to make sure that no tails or paws come in contact with flames, heating coils, or hot surfaces. Pets can either burn themselves or knock a heat source over and put the entire household in danger.

It's a good idea to have your furnace checked for carbon monoxide leakage before you turn it on, both for your pets' health and your own. Carbon monoxide is odorless and invisible, but it can cause problems ranging from headaches and fatigue to trouble breathing. Pets generally spend more time in the home than owners, particularly in the winter, so they are more vulnerable to monoxide poisoning than the rest of the family.

Pets that go outside can pick up rock salt, ice, and chemical ice melts in their foot pads. To keep your pet's pads from getting chapped and raw, wipe her feet with a washcloth when she comes inside. This will also keep her from licking the salt off her feet, which could cause an inflammation of her digestive tract.

If left alone outside, dogs and cats can be very resourceful in their search for warm shelter. They can dig into snow banks or hide under porches or in dumpsters, window wells, or cellars, and they can occasionally get trapped. Watch them closely when they are loose outdoors, and provide them with quality, easily accessible shelter.

Keep an eye on your pet's water. Sometimes owners don't realize that a water bowl has frozen and their pet can't get anything to drink. Animals that don't have access to clean, unfrozen water are more likely to drink out of puddles or gutters, which can be polluted with oil, antifreeze, household cleaners, and other chemicals.


      If a dog shows symptoms of heatstroke, take steps to gradually lower there body temperature immediately. Follow these tips, and it could save her life:

  • Move the animal into the shade or an air-conditioned area.

  • Apply ice packs or cold towels to her head, neck, and chest or immerse it in cool (not cold) water.

  • Let it drink small amounts of cool water or lick ice cubes.

  • Take it directly to a veterinarian.


   Water, water and more water. Whether you're indoors or out, your pet needs access to lots of fresh water and shade all day during the summer, so check that water bowl several times a day to be sure it's full of fresh cool water. If you and your pet venture forth for the afternoon, take plenty of water for both of you. Remember to keep water in the shade not in the sun.

 Never leave your pet in the car. In nice weather you may be tempted to take your pet with you in the car while you travel or do errands. Though it may seem like its cool outside, the sun can raise the temperature inside your car to 120 degrees in a matter of minutes, even with the windows rolled down (an then someone may take them also). If you need to run some errands, this means leave the furry ones at home.

 Watch out for humid days. Just like us, humidity interferes with animals' ability to rid themselves of excess body heat. When we overheat we sweat, and when the sweat dries it takes excess heat with it. Dogs only perspire around their paws, and that is not enough to cool the body. To help rid themselves of excess heat, dogs pant. Air moves through the nasal passages, which picks up excess heat from the body. As it is expelled through the mouth, the extra heat leaves along with it. Although this is a very efficient way to control body heat, it is severely limited in areas of high humidity or when the animal is in close quarters.

 Bring them inside. Dogs shouldn't be left outside unsupervised on long, hot days, even in the shade. They can dump there water over and, Shade can move throughout the afternoon, and pets can become ill quickly if they overheat, so keep them inside as much as possible. If you must leave your pet in the backyard, keep a close eye on them and bring them in when you can. And never take a inside dog and move them out all at once.

Watch out for antifreeze. Hot weather may tempt your pet to drink from puddles in the street (that is not go), which can contain antifreeze and other chemicals. Antifreeze has a sweet taste that dogs and cats like, but it's extremely toxic. They may also be looking for shade and fall asleep under cars. When you're walking your pet, make sure that they don't sneak a drink from the street. Dogs and cats even birds will drink antifreeze any time as it had a good sweet taste to them, but it is very very toxic to them, and will kill them in a very painful death.

 I am not a Vet and this information was compiled from various sources