July 25, 2007 Summertime Flea ane Tick Tips

July 25, 2007

Summertime Flea and Tick Tips

Summer is a great time for dogs! More time outside, chasing squirrels and birds, running through the grass chasing the kids and it’s also bug season! Be sure to have your dog and cat on the best flea and tick prevention, my personal preference is Frontline Plus, but Advantage is also good. I stay away from the over the counter products because they contain permethrin or pyrethrins, which do kill fleas at least temporarily, but they are strong pesticides and you need to be aware that many pets have adverse reactions to such drugs.
Flea and tick dips used to be a popular way to rid your dog of the pests and many groomers used to use them, however, there is a lot of evidence now of those same groomers having autoimmune diseases that they think may be due to years of using those chemicals and having them absorbed into their skin. In addition, some animals have extreme adverse reactions to dips and frankly, it’s not worth it. There are much better products available now and you are crazy not to use them. Quit wasting your money on flea collars, powders, dips, and shampoos. You can get Frontline Plus, or Advantage from your vet or you can shop online for them. I’m even told that Rural King in Lafayette now carries Frontline.
Many groomers now will insist that pets be on some type of flea prevention such as Frontline Plus or Advantage so they don’t have fleas in their salons, or have fleas jumping onto other clients’ dogs. That really ruins a groomer’s reputation! Nobody wants to take their pet to a grooming salon and have it come home with fleas!
Just because you don’t see fleas jumping all over you or your house, doesn’t mean you don’t have them. I have a cat that NEVER goes outside, yet I’ve gotten lax in her flea prevention from time to time and noticed her scratching, and after combing through her hair with a flea comb, found one or two. How did she get fleas? Well, that’s simple, we brought them in the house on us, after kids playing in the yard, or mowing the grass, or the dogs brought them in from outside, and they jumped onto the cat due to them having Frontline Plus on them. Poor cats are flea magnets!
When you treat one of your pets for fleas, it’s important to remember to treat ALL of your pets at the same time and remember that even though it’s summertime and all bugs are out where we can see them, there really is no “flea season.” Indiana winters are not harsh enough to kill them all, and even when we do get killing frosts, your dog or cat will go outside briefly and the heat-seeking fleas will say “Hooray! Here comes a dog we are saved! Let’s hitch a ride on his back and get warm, oh and by the way, lets lay some eggs in the house so we can have our 2,000 babies.” I use Frontline Plus all year round. Just like heartworm prevention, if you get in the habit of doing it once a month, you won’t have to worry about heartworm, or fleas and ticks. The money you spend now for prevention is worth it so you don’t have to hire an exterminator, then deal with tapeworm from the fleas, the steroids and vet bills from all the scratching and allergic reactions to the fleas. Not to mention the hundreds of dollars it costs for heartworm treatment that your dog may or may not live through!
You wouldn’t let your children continue to carry head lice and not treat them, even though they got them innocently enough from another child, and you know what a pain that is to take care of, washing all the bedding, clothing, and everything in the house just to rid your home of those nasty louse!
Well, flea treatment is the same way. Too bad we don’t have Frontline for people; believe me I’ve considered putting some on my husband after he’s been mushroom hunting and finding ticks on him! Yuck!
Don’t forget that Lyme disease is also very prevalent in this area as well and I have several clients whose dogs have had to be treated for Lyme disease.
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, the saying goes, and believe me it’s true for your pets health! Get out your calendar; write down when you need to apply your flea and tick prevention and heartworm medications. Do it when you pay your mortgage or rent, so you won’t forget! Remember that Frontline Plus works best if you apply it when the dog or cat hasn’t had a bath within at least 72 hours because it works through their oil glands and if you just bathed them, there is no oil and it won’t be as effective. Schedule your pet’s grooming appointments around your flea prevention so you won’t have to worry about washing it off immediately after applying it or the dog being freshly groomed and you have to wait 3 days to apply it.
Once you get into the habit, it will become automatic and you won’t have to worry anymore about fleas, ticks, or heartworm. Your dog will thank you for it!

July 11, 2007 In Loving Memory of "Bob"

July 11, 2007

In Loving Memory of “Bob”

We had a death in the family this morning. Bob the goldfish died. I know what you are thinking, it was just a goldfish. Actually, he was a .28¢ goldfish from Wal-Mart to be exact. Nevertheless, he was a pet, and member of the family. He even had his own Christmas stocking!
Most people would simply flush the fish down the toilet, however in this family; fish go out with a little more pomp and circumstance. They get a full-blown pet funeral. Complete with tiny little box, and buried in the backyard, grave marked with a flower.
A few years ago, we lost “Ben” the Betta. I tried to convince my son to flush him, but he indignantly informed me that “Mom! God doesn’t live in the toilet!” Now you know why they get a funeral here.
Our pets aren’t the only ones that we do funerals for, if my kids find any dead creature, a dead bird, a baby bird that fell out of the nest or even butterflies, we have to have the ritual, get a box so the kids can bury it in the backyard. Once they found a dead hummingbird, it was so beautiful and to see it close up was amazing. I was fresh out of check boxes, (those work great for coffins) but I did happen to have a little box from McDonalds, actually it held Chicken McNuggets, so the bird was buried in a Chicken McNugget carton, Kleenex lined, of course.
I know this whole story sounds funny and silly, but truly, I’m glad my kids have hearts so big. At least I know they have empathy for animals of all sorts, with the exception of bugs, or wasps at least. A wasp stung my oldest son several years ago, and he has never forgotten it. We were at a store in Carmel once, and when I went to put the packages in the back of my van, they noticed a wasp. I swatted it and knocked it to the ground, sure that I had saved them from the attack of the killer wasp, but that wasn’t good enough. My son jumps up and down on the poor thing yelling, “DIE! DIE! DIE!”
Okay, maybe they aren’t THAT empathetic.
However, I do believe it’s important for children to understand death and dying, and funerals, at least for pets. They’ve yet to attend a human funeral, burying pets is traumatic enough. When your kids lose a pet, no matter how insignificant it may seem to you, have a heart, and let them grieve for it in their own way. Have a funeral for it if you can, and let them help prepare a final resting place. I’m reminded of the funeral scene in the movie “Cheaper by the dozen” when “Beans” the frog dies. Steve Martin gave a eulogy for him, “Beans was a good frog, he hipped and he hopped” . . . That still cracks me up! Let them work through their feelings; they may talk about it for a long time. Mine still talk about losing our pets from time to time. I think it makes them feel better to talk about them and I tell them how much I miss them too. It’s only natural.
While I don’t think Maus funeral home is in any danger of going out of business due to my sons’ pet “mortuary” service, maybe a pet cemetery isn’t a bad idea. I could see a line of children coming with their deceased pocket pets, and my kids making a coffin for them and providing a service. Guess I had better stock up on those disposable plastic containers for makeshift coffins; after all, God doesn’t live in the toilet.