The spring weather is starting to arrive in Seattle and here at Central Bark we could not be more excited for it but with the warmer weather comes the beginning of the dreaded flea season; which many veterinarians say has come earlier in 2016 than previous years. Thankfully with a little knowledge we can all avoid the battle of the fleas!
First, how do we know if our four-legged friend has fleas?
- Are they excessively scratching, licking or biting at their skin?
- Take a flea comb and run it down the length of their back, if there’s fleas you will see small brown oval shaped insects on the comb.
- Check their fur for flea dirt (flea dropping), spread their fur back to the skin and if there’s a chance of fleas you’ll see small black flakes resembling pepper on the skin. If you’re lucky you might see a flea scurry away as you look at the skin.
Are we positive for fleas? Don’t worry, here’s what to do next:
Treating our pup: First we want to get them a bath! During the bath you want the shampoo to sit on them for approximately 10 minutes to ensure the killing of all fleas on them. Following the bath we want to wait at least 24 hours before applying any topical flea medication; these medications are spread using the dog’s natural oils in their skin which are removed during a bath.
Treating the house: If you have caught the invasion of fleas early you may not have to treat the house but I would recommend at the least washing your pet’s bedding and any other blankets they regularly frequent. A non-toxic way to kill flea eggs, larvae and adults in the house is to sprinkle food-grade* diatomaceous earth (crushed diatoms) on any bedding, couches, carpet and dark corners especially around baseboards. Fleas thrive in dark warm climates so focus on spreading the diatomaceous earth there. The longer you can wait the better before vacuuming all of it up but shoot for a couple hours to overnight before vacuuming it all up. The best thing to do in the following days and weeks is to vacuum, vacuum, vacuum!
Our four-legged friends and our house is flea-free so how do we keep it that way?
1.Use a monthly preventative flea treatment; there is a wide variety of options for monthly flea control and it really depends which you prefer and what works best with your dog. Options include: flea collar, spot-on topical treatments, oral pills, natural oils, flea powders and flea spray.
2. Keep the grass in the yard short, some also regularly sprinkle diatomaceous earth through their yard on a regular basis to keep any fleas out of the backyard.
3. Wash your pet’s bedding regularly
Want more information on Diatomaceous Earth? Check out this article or this article.
We want to hear from you! What are your favorite methods for flea control? What’s your experience with the all-natural flea repellents?
*There are a couple types of diatomaceous earth, you want to make sure you get food grade diatomaceous earth which can be purchased at most pet stores at a local hardware store.
February is Pet Oral Health Month! Clean teeth and gums are an important part of keeping your dog happy and healthy but it’s one area that a lot of pet parents let fall to the side. As daunting of a task as brushing your dog’s teeth may seem, it’s doesn’t have to be! Below are some tips and tricks to help make developing an oral care routine an easy, fun task for you and your dog!
Let’s first start with the supplies:
Don’t have a dog toothbrush? Dog toothbrushes designed for dogs are great but in a pinch you can also use a soft bristled children’s toothbrush, a finger toothbrush or a clean sock wrapped around your finger.
Worried about the chemicals/ingredients of dog toothpaste you find the pet stores? There are multiple DIY dog toothpaste recipes available online all of which contain ingredients that are probably already in your kitchen.
Thinking about using human toothpaste to brush your dog’s teeth? Don’t do it! Never use human toothpaste when brushing your dog’s teeth- it contains ingredients that are harmful to your dog when ingested.
On to the actual teeth brushing:
We’re new to teeth brushing, where do I start? Start off with letting your dog lick the toothpaste off your finger for a couple teeth brushing sessions. Graduate to rubbing their teeth/gums with your finger for a couple sessions. After that let them lick the toothpaste off the toothbrush for a couple sessions. Then you can try and brush a couple teeth working your way up each session to brushing more teeth. If your dog protests at a certain step then review the previous step. We want to make sure that it’s a positive experience so always make sure to end any session with positive reinforcement i.e. treat, toy or attention.
My dog won’t let me brush all his/her teeth! Don’t get discouraged, if your dog is already comfortable with letting you brush only a couple of teeth at a time, do short sessions making sure to end each one with positive reinforcement i.e. toy, treat or attention and work your way up. There’s no rush and no need to force teeth brushing on your dog; take your time and it’ll pay off in the end!
How often should I brush my dog’s teeth? Vets suggest daily brushing of dog’s teeth but brushing 3-4 times a week will help prevent the buildup of plaque.
Are there certain areas to focus on when brushing the teeth? Yes! Make sure to get the canine’s and the upper back molars where food tends to get caught.
Lastly, the entire oral care routine:
Do I have to do more to maintain good oral health for my dog? Yes, in conjunction to regular teeth brushing you also want to get a veterinarian to checkout your dog’s teeth. Some dogs even with regular teeth brushing will need a professional teeth cleaning to remove built up plaque. There are also more you can do at home to aid in good oral health, see question below.
What else can I do at home to maintain good oral health for my dog? In addition to regular teeth brushing, you can feed supplements (check out your local pet store for options) or provide treats/chews that help reduce plaque buildup. When purchasing chews and toys make sure to take into account the size of your dog and how active of chewer they are. Not sure which one to get your dog? Ask your local pet store and they’ll be able to give you the best toys for your dog.
Lastly and most important, make sure whatever your oral care routine includes, to make it a positive experience for your dog! Incorporate toys, treats and playtime as rewards and it’ll make developing as well as maintaining an oral care routine a breeze!
Still have questions about dog oral health? Leave your comments below!
Do you know everything you should about Canine Influenza?
We at Central Bark have not had any cases of the Canine Influenza H3N2 (dog flu) but want to make sure that all our clients are well informed and have all the knowledge to keep their dogs safe. Below is some general information; we are encouraging all dog owners to speak with their vet about preventative care.
What is it?
Canine Influenza H3N2 is a highly contagious respiratory infection that is caused by Influenza A virus in dogs.
Is my dog at risk?
Dogs who are routinely around other dogs in daycare, dog parks, grooming salons or social settings are at a higher risk for exposure to the virus. H3N2 is a relatively new virus in the United States, therefore dogs, regardless of age or breed, lack immunity to this specific influenza virus. The American Veterinary Medical Association says almost all dogs who are exposed to the virus will become infected and approximately 80% will show symptoms. Much like the human influenza infection, dogs who are puppies, older or with health issues are most susceptible to showing severe symptoms.
What are the symptoms?
There are two groups of symptoms: mild and severe. There is a 2-4 day incubation period for the virus before dogs generally show symptoms.
•Soft, moist cough lasting 10-30 days
• Reduced appetite
• Discharge from nose and/or eyes
• High Fever
• Clinical signs of Pneumonia:
o Increased respiratory rate
o Trouble breathing
Is there a vaccine for Canine Influenza H3N2?
A very effective vaccine is available through your veterinarian; the vaccine does require a booster before full immunity is obtained. Central Bark is not requiring a vaccine for daycare or boarding but is strongly encouraging everyone to get their dog vaccinated if they regularly attend dog parks and/or daycare/boarding.
Should I be concerned about my dog coming in for daycare/boarding at Central Bark?
Everyone at Central Bark is keeping a very close eye out for symptoms on all dogs who come in for daycare, boarding, and/or grooming but we are urging parents to also keep an observant eye out and not bring in any dog(s) who are exhibiting symptoms and to call their vet immediately.
Want more information? Check out American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) Website for more information:AVMA WEBSITE