Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Summer Safety Tips for Pets

"It’s summertime and the living is easy," or so goes the Sam Cooke song. Summertime means fun, sun, and hopefully lots of play outdoors. But as much fun as summer can be for you and your pet, there are a few safety tips that will hopefully make the warmest of all seasons safe and carefree for all concerned.




Apply Sunscreen

That’s right, you should apply sunscreen on your pet if he or she spends more than just a few minutes outside every day in the hot summer sun. Pets with light skin and short or thin hair coat are particularly prone to sunburn or skin cancer. The sunscreen should be fragrance free, non-staining, and contain UVA and UVB barriers similar to sunscreens made for humans. Consult your veterinarian, but there are some sunscreens available made specifically for pets.

Provide Plenty of Water, Plenty of Shade

Dehydration in dogs and cats is a real possibility during the summer, especially if your pet is the type to run and play outside for extended periods without drinking sufficient water. Telltale signs of dehydration include dry gums, loss of skin elasticity, excessive drooling. Don't let it come to this. Give your active pet plenty of playtime breaks in the shade with access to fresh water.

Don't Leave 'Fluffy' in the Car

You may think leaving your pet in a car for a few minutes is no big deal, but it can quickly lead to heat stroke in dogs and cats. In bright sunshine, your car acts like an oven, becoming much hotter inside than the outside air even. In fact, on a sunny 70 degree day, your car can heat up to over 100 degrees within minutes. So, either take your pet with you or leave him or her at home during shopping trips.

Watch for Unknown Grassy Knolls

Pets love to run, play and just investigate grassy areas. But did you know many lawns are treated with fertilizers and pesticides during the summer? Keep your pet safe this summer by keeping them off unknown grassy areas or find a safe spot in your neighborhood or city, like a dog park. Remember, not all grass is created equal.

Avoid Antifreeze

Even though antifreeze is something to watch out for year round, cars tend to overheat more and leak antifreeze during the summer. Pets find it delicious and even in very small amounts antifreeze is poisonous to dogs and cats. So be attentive when walking your dog around the neighborhood or letting your outdoor cat roam the streets.

Sources: http://www.petmd.com/dog/slideshows/care/summer-safety-tips-for-dogs-pets

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Microchipping: What You Need to Know


Despite your best efforts, accidents can happen. Someone leaves a door ajar, an intrepid pooch digs under a fence, and your best intentions go awry: Your pet escapes and gets lost. If he's wearing a collar and identification tag, chances are good that you’ll get him back.

But what if the collar comes off?

To protect their pets, many owners turn to technology, in the form of identification microchips implanted in their pets. Microchips are tiny transponders, about the size of a grain of rice, that can be implanted in your pet's skin by many veterinarians and animal shelters; some shelters implant one in all pets they place.

Microchips are a good back-up option for pet identification, but should never be the main one.

Reading a microchip takes a special scanner, one that an animal control officer or shelter will have, but your neighbor down the street will not. And if Fido wanders off, it's likely to be a private citizen who encounters him first. That's why, in the event of accidental separation, identification tags are your pet's first ticket home. That said, microchips provide an extra level of protection in case your pet loses his collar and tags. Providing your pets with both tags and a microchip can help ensure a happy reunion if the unthinkable happens.


How and where are microchips placed?

Microchips are implanted just under the skin, usually right between the shoulder blades. This is done with a large-bore needle and doesn't require anesthesia.


How they work?

Each microchip contains a registration number and the phone number of the registry for the particular brand of chip. A handheld scanner reads the radio frequency of the chip and displays this information. An animal shelter or vet clinic that finds your pet can contact the registry to get your name and phone number.


Can a microchip get lost inside my pet?

Your pet's subcutaneous tissue usually bonds to the chip within 24 hours, preventing it from moving. There's a small chance that the chip could migrate to another part of the body, but it can't actually get lost.


How long do microchips last?

Microchips are designed to work for 25 years.


Where can I get my pet microchipped?

Many veterinarians and some animal shelters implant microchips for a small fee. But—and this is very important—just getting a microchip isn't enough—you also need to register your pet with the microchip company.


How do I register my pet?

Complete the paperwork that comes with the chip and send it to the registry, or do it online if that option is available. Some companies charge a one-time registration fee while others charge an annual fee. You’ll also receive a tag for your pet’s collar with the chip number and registry phone number.


Are there different types of chips?

Yes, and that used to be a problem. Competing microchip companies use different frequencies to send signals to scanners, and until recently there was no universal scanner that could read all the different frequencies. That was a problem if a pet had a microchip that a particular scanner couldn't detect. Many microchip companies now produce universal scanners and provide them to animal shelters and animal control agencies at no or very low cost. If your local shelters don’t have scanners, they can contact some of the major manufacturers to ask about getting one.


Are there different registries?

Yes, and that, too, used to be problematic. Different chip companies maintained separate databases. Now, some chip companies will register pets with any brand of chip Also, the American Microchip Advisory Council is working to develop a network of the registry databases to streamline the return of pets to their families.

To obtain a lifetime license for a microchipped pet, the owner must have the microchip implanted by a licensed veterinarian or kennel owner, and receive a Permanent ID Verification Form from that individual. This form must be taken to the Country Treasurer’s Office within 30 days of having your pet microchipped. If not returned within 30 days of issuance, the form is void. To obtain a lifetime license for a pet that was previously microchipped, the owner must have them scanned by a licensed veterinarian or kennel owner to obtain the microchip number. The licensed veterinarian or kennel owner must complete the Permanent ID form, which needs to be turned in to the Country Treasurer’s Office within 30 days of scanning the microchip. If the form is not returned during that time, the form is void and the pet remains unlicensed.



Can a microchip replace my pet's collar and tags?

No. Despite advances in universal scanners and registry procedures, microchips aren't foolproof, and you shouldn't rely on them exclusively to protect your pet. Universal scanners can detect a competing company's chip, but they may not be able to read the data. And if shelter or vet clinic personnel don’t use the scanner properly, they may fail to detect a chip.


What if I move?

You need to contact the company that registers the chip to update your information; otherwise, the chip will be useless. You may be charged a small fee to process the update.


What do I do if I adopt a pet who's already been microchipped?

If you know what brand of chip your pet has, contact the corresponding registry to update the information. If you don’t know what type of chip your pet has, find a vet or animal shelter that can read it.




SOURCE: http://www.humanesociety.org/animals/resources/tips/microchips.html

Monday, March 27, 2017

How CCL Injuries Affect Dogs

Damage to the cranial cruciate ligament (CCL) is the most common cause of canine hind limb lameness and is a major cause of degenerative joint disease in the stifle (knee) joint of companion dogs. The cranial cruciate ligament is critical to stabilizing a dog’s stifle, which is the equivalent of the human knee. When the CCL is torn, the upper ends of the two long lower leg bones (the tibia and fibula, like the shin bone in people) become loose within the knee joint, causing abnormal friction, wear and tear. This, in turn, leads to joint swelling (effusion), stifle joint instability, pain, lameness in the affected rear legs and, ultimately, chronic irreversible degenerative joint changes. Dogs with ruptured CCLs will become lame suddenly, because of the pain associated with this injury. They may feel better after rest, but once they rise, walk around or exercise, the pain will return, as will the lameness. They will just plainly hurt.


Symptoms of CCL Injury

The outward signs of cruciate damage depend upon the severity of the injury, which can range from a partial tear to a complete rupture of the affected ligament. Without surgical correction and appropriate post-operative management, the effects of CCL injuries can progress and become permanent. Most owners of dogs with cranial cruciate ligament injuries first notice a sudden onset of lameness or limping in one or both rear legs. Most of these injuries happen when a dog is romping, roughhousing, running, playing, jumping or engaging in other enthusiastic antics. Owners often report that their dog suddenly stumbled, possibly yelped and then “came up lame.” However, the affected ligament probably experienced excessive wear and tear well before observable signs of damage became apparent.

Symptoms of this condition that owners may notice include:
- Lameness in one or both hind legs; may be non-weight-bearing; may come and go; may come on very suddenly
- Limping or reluctance to use one or both hind limbs, which worsens with exercise and improves with rest
- Weakness
- Abnormal posture, especially over the back and hip areas
- Reluctance to rise, run or jump
- Morning stiffness that takes time to “warm out of”
- Sitting at an odd angle, with a hind leg slanted off to one side
- Swelling (effusion) around the stifle joint
- Atrophy (withering away) of the muscles of the affected limb

All or only some of these signs may be noticed by owners. However, regardless of the severity of the injury, the signs of CCL damage usually become worse if they are not treated, because the pain felt by the dog increases as the stifle joint progressively deteriorates.
Dogs At Increased Risk

All breeds and both genders are susceptible to this injury. Rottweilers, Labrador Retrievers, Staffordshire Bull Terriers, Newfoundlands and other active, large-breed dogs seem to be at an increased risk of suffering from CCL damage. Most affected animals are in good body condition and are not systemically ill at the time of their injury. Rupture of the CCL can happen in any dog at any age, but it is more likely to occur in young, active animals. When a cruciate ligament ruptures in one leg, there is an increased chance that the CCL in the other leg will eventually become compromised, probably because of the increased weight that will be required to support the other leg as it heals.


Goals of Treating Canine CCL Injuries

When a dog suddenly comes up lame in one or both hind legs, its owner should take it to a veterinarian as soon as possible. Left untreated, damage to the stifle (knee) joint usually is progressively degenerative; any chance of reasonable recovery wanes without treatment. A dog that favors an injured leg for a long period of time also runs a significant risk of eventually damaging some part of its “good” leg, because it is being over-used. The goals of treating canine cruciate ligament (CCL) injuries are to relieve pain, improve stability and function of the stifle joint and minimize the progression of degenerative changes.
Treatment Options

Dogs that injure their cranial cruciate ligament suddenly (acutely) should start medical management as soon as the injury is diagnosed. “Medical management” means treatment with medication and other sorts of supportive care. Conservative medical management of CCL injuries includes administration of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), subcutaneous or intravenous fluids, rest, exercise restriction and possibly corticosteroid therapy. Steroids should not be given at the same time as NSAIDs, because severe gastrointestinal and other adverse side effects can occur when these two types of drugs are combined. Sometimes, medical management without surgery is all that is needed for small dogs, older dogs or dogs whose CCL is only stretched or partially torn. However, in most cases, surgical stabilization of the stifle joint is the only effective way to treat this injury and reduce the risk of future degenerative damage to the joint. Torn or ruptured cruciate ligaments will not re-attach or re-grow without surgical intervention.

There are a number of surgical options for stabilizing the stifle joint, and more are being developed all the time. Some of the current techniques include intra-articular grafts, extra-capsular suture stabilization, tibial plateau leveling osteotomy (TPLO), tibial tubercle advancement (TTA), arthroscopic reconstruction and medial meniscal release. A detailed description of these surgical techniques is beyond the scope of this article. A dog’s veterinarian is the best one to assess its injuries and select the best surgical procedure in any given case. Frequently, a general practitioner will consult with or refer the dog to a veterinary orthopedic specialist, because selection of the “best” surgical technique remains controversial even among experts.

After surgery, the dog normally will be managed medically with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, and possibly other drugs or supplements to promote healthy cartilage repair (these are called “chondroprotective agents”). A number of chondroprotective supplements are available, both over-the-counter and by veterinary prescription, to help keep cartilage and joints well-lubricated. These include polysulfated glycosaminoglycans, glucosamine, chondroitin sulfate, hyaluronan, Vitamin C, omega 3 and 6 fatty acids and MSM, among others. These can be quite effective in reducing inflammation and relieving pain.

In many cases, good dietary management and weight loss alone can dramatically reduce the pain and other symptoms that accompany CCL damage, as overweight dogs tend to suffer more from this injury than do fit dogs. Moderate, regulated exercise and/or exercise restriction can stimulate cartilage growth and help delay joint degeneration, and long controlled walks in early or mild cases of CCL damage may help prevent loss of rear muscle mass. Physical therapy, hydrotherapy (swimming and other water exercises), passive flexion and extension of the affected limb and controlled low-impact on-leash walks often are incorporated into the recovery process. It takes a long time – often months – for a dog to heal from CCL surgery. During much of that time, the dog should be strictly confined and only walked outside on a leash to potty.

Other, less traditional techniques that may or may not benefit affected dogs, in addition to medical treatment, might include: massage therapy to stimulate blood flow to the stifle area and reduce joint stress; application of acupuncture and/or acupressure techniques; use of herbal or other non-regulated supplements or homeopathic “remedies”; and other forms of supportive care that may help to ease pain, increase circulation, speed healing and otherwise promote wellness, relaxation and comfort. Some of these adjunct approaches lack controlled studies of their effectiveness and may not have established quality control methods or ways to assess their benefit to dogs with partially or totally torn or ruptured cranial cruciate ligaments. Chiropractic adjustment or manipulation of dogs with musculoskeletal conditions is highly controversial among veterinary professionals, unless it is performed by or under the direct supervision of a veterinarian with orthopedic expertise.
Prognosis

Dogs that undergo surgical correction of injured cruciate ligaments have a very good prognosis for return to long-term, pain-free function. Stabilization of the stifle joint, post-operative treatment with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications, and judicious rehabilitation typically result in rapid resolution of the pain that caused the lameness. If joint effusion (swelling) and discomfort persist, some dogs respond well to steroid therapy at immunosuppressive levels (but not at the same time as NSAIDs are being administered). Owners should know that following damage to the CCL in one leg, the other leg is at a greatly increased risk of suffering a similar injury – even if the first injury is surgically corrected. The contralateral (or “good”) limb is forced to bear an unusually large amount of additional weight, stress, wear and tear before surgery on the “bad” limb takes place, and also during the long recovery process, which typically takes months.




Source: http://www.petwave.com/Dogs/Health/ACL-Injuries/Symptoms.aspx

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Common Household Dangers for Pets

Many common household items can pose a threat to our animal companions—even some items specifically meant for pets could cause health problems.

To protect your pet, simply use common sense and take the same precautions you would with a child.

Although rodent poisons and insecticides are the most common sources of companion animal poisoning, the following list of less common, but potentially toxic, agents should be avoided if at all possible.



Dangers just outside your door
Antifreeze that contains ethylene glycol has a sweet taste that attracts animals but is deadly if consumed in even small quantities; one teaspoon can kill a seven-pound cat. The HSUS recommends pet owners use a safe antifreeze in their vehicles. Look for antifreeze that contains propylene glycol, which is safe for animals if ingested in small amounts. Ethylene glycol can also be found in common household products like snow globes, so be sure to keep these things out the reach of animals. Read more about antifreeze hazards »
Cocoa mulch contains ingredients that can be deadly to pets if ingested. The mulch, sold in garden supply stores, has a chocolate scent that is appetizing to some animals.
Chemicals used on lawns and gardens, such as fertilizer and plant food, can be easily accessible and fatal to a pet allowed in the yard unsupervised.
De-icing salts used to melt snow and ice are paw irritants that can be poisonous if licked off. Paws should be washed and dried as soon as the animal comes in from the snow. Other options include doggie boots with Velcro straps to protect Fido's feet, and making cats indoor pets.
Cans and garbage can pose a danger when cats or smaller dogs attempt to lick food from a disposed can, sometimes getting their head caught inside the can. To be sure this doesn't happen, squeeze the open end of the can closed before disposing.
Traps and poisons Pest control companies frequently use glue traps, live traps and poisons to kill rodents. Even if you would never use such methods to eliminate rodents, your neighbor might. Dogs and cats can be poisoned if they eat a rodent who has been killed by poison (called secondary poisoning).
Threats inside the house
Cedar and other soft wood shavings, including pine, emit fumes that may be dangerous to small mammals like hamsters and gerbils.
Insect control products, such as the insecticides used in many over-the-counter flea and tick remedies, may be toxic to companion animals. Prescription flea and tick control products are much safer and more effective. Pet owners should never use any product without first consulting a veterinarian. Read more about potential poisoning from flea and tick products »
Human medications, such as pain killers (including aspirin, acetaminophen and ibuprofen), cold medicines, anti-cancer drugs, anti-depressants, vitamins and diet pills can all be toxic to animals. 
Keep medicine containers and tubes of ointments and creams away from pets who could chew through them, and be vigilant about finding and disposing of any dropped pills.

Poisonous household plants, including azalea, dieffenbachia (dumb cane), lilies, mistletoe and philodendron. See our full list of poisonous plants »
String, yarn, rubber bands and even dental floss are easy to swallow and can cause intestinal blockages or strangulation.
Toys with movable parts—like squeaky toys or stuffed animals with plastic eyes—can pose a choking hazard to animals. Take the same precautions with pets as you would with a small child.
Rawhide dog chews may be contaminated with Salmonella, which can infect pets and humans who come in contact with the chews. This kind of treat should be offered to a pet only with supervision, as they can pose a choking hazard as well.
Chocolate is poisonous to dogs, cats and ferrets. Read more about why chocolate is dangerous to dogs in this FDA PDF »

Fumes from nonstick cooking surfaces and self-cleaning ovens can be deadly to birds. Always be cautious when using any pump or aerosol spray around birds.
Leftovers, such as chicken bones, might shatter and choke a cat or dog. Human foods to keep away from pets include onions and onion powder; alcoholic beverages; yeast dough; coffee grounds and beans; salt; macadamia nuts; tomato, potato and rhubarb leaves and stems; avocados (toxic to birds, mice, rabbits, horses, cattle and dairy goats); grapes; and anything with mold growing on it. See our full list of people foods that might harm pets »
Tools for keeping your pet safe

The HSUS recommends that pet owners use all household products with caution. We also recommend that you put together a pet first aid kit (for dogs and cats) and have a manual readily available.

If all of your precautions fail, and you believe that your pet has been poisoned, contact your veterinarian or emergency veterinary service immediately. Signs of poisoning include listlessness, abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, muscle tremors, lack of coordination and fever.

You can also call the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center hotline 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 888-426-4435 for a fee of $65 per case. If you call the hotline, be prepared to provide the name of the poison your animal was exposed to; the amount and how long ago; the species, breed, age, sex and weight of your pet; and the symptoms your pet is displaying. You'll also be asked to provide your name, address, phone number and credit card information.

Source: http://www.humanesociety.org/animals/resources/tips/common_household_dangers_pets.html

Friday, January 27, 2017

Common Dental Problems in Pets

Got Something in Your Teeth?

Dental disease is one of the most common diseases diagnosed by veterinarians. Affecting both dogs and cats, it can occur in pets as young as 2-3 years of age. In fact, veterinarians report that the majority of the dogs and cats seen have some degree of dental disease by age three. Fortunately, proper oral care can help prevent your pet from having to experience the following types of illnesses.



1. Plaque and Tartar

Plaque and tartar begin to build up on your pet’s teeth, affecting not only the tooth itself but the tissue around your pet’s teeth. Tartar and calculi appears as tan or brown colored deposits on your dog or cat’s teeth.

2. Periodontal Disease

As your pet’s dental disease progresses, periodontal disease begins to occur and affects the tissues surrounding your pet’s teeth. Gingivitis (inflammation of the gums) is one of the first changes to occur. However, the majority of dental disease occurs below the gumline, where a pet owner is unable to actually see the damage being done to their pet’s teeth.

3. Toothache


Have you ever experienced a toothache? This is likely the type of pain that your pet is experiencing on a regular basis because of dental disease. In fact, the discomfort can be severe enough to cause your pet to stop eating and even begin to lose weight.

4. Systemic Illnesses

Besides being a persistent source of pain for your pet, dental disease can also cause more serious systemic illnesses, such as kidney disease and possibly heart disease.

5. Bad Breath

Bad breath (halitosis) is one of the first signs of dental disease in pets. If your dog or cat has breath that smells as though it could knock you over, it’s time to have your pet checked for dental disease.

6. Retained Baby Teeth

Also known as retained deciduous teeth, retained baby teeth are commonly seen in dogs, particularly in small breed dogs. If these baby teeth do not fall out normally and are allowed to remain in your dog’s mouth, they can cause crowding because of the extra teeth and can even make it difficult or impossible for the permanent teeth to erupt properly.

7. Stomatitis

The inflammation of a pet's oral mucuous membranes, also known as stomatitis, can affect wide portions of the mouth and can be quite painful. Although dogs can suffer from stomatitis, it is more common in cats.

Better Teeth Means Better Health

Proper oral care begins with regular brushing of your pet’s teeth at home. However for pets that simply will not use a toothbrush, there are numerous types of dentrifices available that can help keep the teeth clean. These include chews, special toys, oral rinses and more. Ask your veterinarian for advice about the most appropriate choice for your pet.

Don't Forget the Vet Visits

Proper oral care also means regular examinations by your veterinarian. He or she may be able to do a preliminary examination on your pet’s mouth while your pet is awake. However, in most cases, your dog or cat will need to be sedated or anesthetized for a proper oral examination. This examination may even include X-rays of your pet’s teeth. It will also include a professional cleaning, removing the tartar and calculus from both above and below your pet’s gumline as well as planning and execution of any other dental work that needs to be performed for your pet.


Source: http://www.petmd.com/dog/slideshows/general-health/dental-problems-bad-breath-in-dogs-cats

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Cold Weather Safety Tips

Exposure to winter’s dry, cold air and chilly rain, sleet and snow can cause chapped paws and itchy, flaking skin, but these aren’t the only discomforts pets can suffer. Winter walks can become downright dangerous if chemicals from ice-melting agents are licked off of bare paws. To help prevent cold weather dangers from affecting your pet’s health, please heed the following advice from our experts:



Repeatedly coming out of the cold into the dry heat of your home can cause itchy, flaking skin. Keep your home humidified and towel dry your pet as soon as he comes inside, paying special attention to his feet and in-between the toes. Remove any snow balls from between his foot pads.

Never shave your dog down to the skin in winter, as a longer coat will provide more warmth. If your dog is long-haired, simply trim him to minimize the clinging ice balls, salt crystals and de-icing chemicals that can dry his skin, and don’t neglect the hair between his toes. If your dog is short-haired, consider getting him a coat or sweater with a high collar or turtleneck with coverage from the base of the tail to the belly. For many dogs, this is regulation winter wear.

Bring a towel on long walks to clean off stinging, irritated paws. After each walk, wash and dry your pet’s feet and stomach to remove ice, salt and chemicals—and check for cracks in paw pads or redness between the toes.

Bathe your pets as little as possible during cold spells. Washing too often can remove essential oils and increase the chance of developing dry, flaky skin. If your pooch must be bathed, ask your vet to recommend a moisturizing shampoo and/or rinse.

Massaging petroleum jelly or other paw protectants into paw pads before going outside can help protect from salt and chemical agents. Booties provide even more coverage and can also prevent sand and salt from getting lodged between bare toes and causing irritation. Use pet-friendly ice melts whenever possible.

Like coolant, antifreeze is a lethal poison for dogs and cats. Be sure to thoroughly clean up any spills from your vehicle, and consider using products that contain propylene glycol rather than ethylene glycol.

Pets burn extra energy by trying to stay warm in wintertime. Feeding your pet a little bit more during the cold weather months can provide much-needed calories, and making sure she has plenty of water to drink will help keep her well-hydrated and her skin less dry.

Make sure your companion animal has a warm place to sleep, off the floor and away from all drafts. A cozy dog or cat bed with a warm blanket or pillow is perfect.

Remember, if it’s too cold for you, it’s probably too cold for your pet, so keep your animals inside. If left outdoors, pets can freeze, become disoriented, lost, stolen, injured or killed. In addition, don’t leave pets alone in a car during cold weather, as cars can act as refrigerators that hold in the cold and cause animals to freeze to death.

Source: http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/general-pet-care/cold-weather-safety-tips

Friday, December 2, 2016

Keeping Fleas, Ticks, and Mosquitoes Away… Even in the Winter


For those of us with pets, we look forward to winter as a time of respite from the bugs that torment us and our pets. We look forward to a break from the sprays and gels and powders and medicines … all the things we try on our pets and in our home to keep the blood suckers at bay. However -- and we hope you are sitting down as you read this -- winter does not necessarily spell the end of bug season. Consider the following …




A New Housemate: Fleas and Ticks

The flea is a very persistent and resilient pest with a very complicated life cycle. It is even capable of surviving in outdoor temperatures as low as the upper 30s. As long as an adult flea can find a suitable host to feed from (such as wild animals or your pet), it can stay warm and healthy through the cold season. Their pupae remain settled in their cocoons until it is warm enough to come out -- as long as they have been placed in a location where they are protected from freezing cold (for example, a garage, covered patio, or basement).

Flea pupae can remain dormant for over a year until the surroundings have reached ideal temperatures. Once conditions are ideal (either inside or outside), the pupae will complete their development and emerge from their cocoons en masse, resulting in a surge of activity both on and off your pets.

Generally speaking, 65-80 degrees Fahrenheit with 75-85 percent humidity is the ideal temperature range for growth and reproduction of fleas. All they need is a warm place in which to settle and lay their eggs. For the majority of pet owners who keep their homes at a consistently warm temperature throughout the winter season, this can mean that a flea population, once settled indoors, can remain active all year long.

For residents of the southern states of the U.S., where the winter season may only go as low as the 30s, fleas will often stay active throughout most or all of the winter season. Only sustained cold (less than 30 degrees) and low humidity levels will kill off outdoor eggs, larvae, and adult fleas.

The best time to fight fleas is during the winter, when there is the best chance that they will become less active and fewer in number. Regularly vacuuming the areas where your pet spends time and continuing regular flea treatments throughout the winter season are the best ways to combat them before the next flea season is in full swing.

Ticks are also capable of surviving winter temperatures when they are able to find a host to feed from or a warm location to hide in during the coldest weather months. Generally, adult ticks will still be a threat when temperatures hover around 45 degrees Fahrenheit.

For this reason, if your pet spends time outdoors in the winter, tick prevention is still a good idea. And since most medications are designed to thwart both fleas and ticks, it's a good idea to use preventive medications through the year.

Year-Round Heartworm Treatment

While most geographical areas do enjoy a seasonal respite from mosquitoes, the southern climes are still captive to their buzzing, blood-sucking schemes -- even in the winter. Mosquitoes, of course, are carriers of the heartworm parasite, a life threatening nematode that can cause severe disease and even death. (Note: the heartworm actually takes up residence in the lungs. Read more about the symptoms of heartworm infection in dogs and cats.) Even in areas where residents do not have to worry about mosquitoes during the winter, their return in the spring and summer months can catch you off guard. It is best to be pre-prepared.

To safeguard your dogs and cats against heartworm infection, veterinarians suggest using heartworm prevention medication year-round. This is a much easier method of prevention, since you won’t have to remember when to star, or find yourself rushing to get the medication, and you won’t have to worry about having your pet tested for heartworms before beginning a new round of medication in the spring.




The final word on avoiding parasitic infestations of any kind is to use preventive techniques. Remember that while fleas, ticks and mosquitoes may seem to be merely nuisance pests, they are actually capable of causing severe health problems, from the above mentioned heartworm infection, to skin disorders and infections, to anemia. As the old axiom goes: It is better to be safe than sorry.


Source: http://www.petmd.com/dog/seasonal/evr_multi_flea_tick_mosquito_care_during_winter