The sun is finally shining, bees are buzzing and flowers are blooming. Our incredibly wet Seattle winter has turned into spring and here at Central Bark we could not be more excited for the warmer weather. Spring also prompts us to spend more time in our yard or the outdoors but this also exposes some unexpected health risks to our dogs if they ingest plants. With April being National Pet First Aid Awareness Month as well as Lawn and Garden Month, here’s a list of common toxic plants to keep an eye out for in your yard and gardens.
Flowers are beautiful to look at but they can be toxic if ingested by our dogs, here’s a list of toxic plants that might be in your yard or garden:
Lily of the Valley
Do you have a fruit trees or vegetable/herb garden? Below are some of the toxic (if ingested) plants to look out for:
Apricots*/Plums*/Peach*/Cherry* (stem, leaves and seeds)
Apples*/Cranberries (stem, leaves and seeds)
Sweet Potato Vine
*These fruits do contain pits/seeds; in addition to being toxic they can cause intestinal obstructions if ingested depending on size of pit and dog.
This isn’t a complete list of all the toxic plants to dogs, if you want more check out ASPCA’s extensive list which includes pictures, the toxic component and the scientific name of all the plants.
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.
It’s Pet Wellness Month! This month is focused on educating pet owners on the importance of annual wellness checks and preventing disease. Our pet’s health is important and we’re responsible for keeping them healthy all year long. Unfortunately for our pets, allergies are not just limited to us. Our four-legged pups are susceptible to common allergies as well, so here are some of the most common allergies for dogs:
Seasonal allergies: Just like human seasonal allergies, dogs are vulnerable to seasonal pollen allergies. These allergies usually present a bit differently in our four-legged friend than with us though.
Other allergens: This category is vague because almost anything can be an allergen; it can vary from your dog being allergic to specific plants, mold, dander, prescription drugs, dust mites, etc. There is such a wide variety of allergens that if your pet is experiencing allergy symptoms is it beneficial to discuss it with your veterinarian.
Food based allergies are very common in dogs but sometimes hard to pin down to exactly what ingredient is causing the allergy symptom. There are multiple low-ingredient dog food brands on the market that allow you to try different protein and grain sources. Testing different ingredients of dog food is a long process since results can take weeks or months to present themselves but it’s worth it in the long run for a healthy pup!
Spider and other insect bites
These allergies can come out of the blue and you probably won’t know until your pup experiences bites or stings and see the allergic reaction. The severity of the allergic reaction can vary just like it does in humans from mild to severe.
Common Allergy Symptoms:
Increased licking of paws/swollen paws
Itchy, watery eyes
Skin rashes (Red, itchy or scabed patches of skin)
Many mild allergies can be treated with some benadryl or hydrocortisone cream but severe allergies may require more intense treatments. Of course food or drug allergies once diagnosed can easily be fixed with avoiding the allergy causing ingredient in your dog’s diet. If your dog is presenting with symptoms of allergies, it is best to discuss this with your vet; treatments vary greatly depending on the severity of your dog’s allergies and the type of allergy.
We want to hear from you! Do you have a dog that has an allergy? How’d you narrow down your dog’s allergy? Do you have a non-traditional method for keeping your dog’s allergy under control?