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.
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!
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?
Fall has arrived! Unfortunately fall brings more than just Seahawks and PSL’s; there is also a higher risk of Giardia. Below is the quick & dirty facts every dog owner should know about giardia.
What is it?
Microscopic parasite that inhabits the intestines of their host for part of their lifecycle. It has a multi-form lifecycle including the cyst form & reproducing form.
The reproducing form stays in the intestine of their host, while the cyst form is shed through feces and goes on to infect new hosts.
What are the symptoms?
Diarrhea (sometimes bloody diarrhea), gas, vomiting, nausea, weight loss and abdominal discomfort.
It is possible to have giardia and be asymptomatic (showing no symptoms at all).
How did my dog get it?
Bad news here, it’s hard to figure out because the dog just has to ingest the giardia cysts. Giardia can survive long periods of time in certain conditions; here are the numbers the CDC gives us:
Cold Temperatures (approx. 39.2°F) = 7 weeks
Room Temperatures (approx. 77°F) = 1 week
Dry, warm surfaces experiences direct sunlight= few days
Moist, cool environments = several weeks
Less than 50°F (lake water, winter-time puddle water) = 1-3 months
Greater than 50°F (fall-time river water, puddle in summer) = less than 1-3 months
Greater than 98.6°F = 4 days
Can I get it from my dog?
It is unlikely because there are multiple types of giardia and the type that infects dogs doesn’t infect humans. However, the type of Giardia that does infect humans can be transmitted to dogs which then can be transmitted back to humans.
How is it diagnosed?
Vets will test a fecal sample for the presence of giardia proteins using the ELISA test. This generally isn’t a standard test including in the annual fecal testing suggested by vets so if you are concerned ask your vet about it.
How is it treated?
Good news! It’s fairly easy to treat, the common treatment is a broad spectrum de-wormer and an antibiotic usually lasting 5-7 days. Sometimes there are multiple rounds of treatment needed in order to clear the giardia. There is no over the counter (OTC) medication available so a visit to the vet is required for treatment.
For further information check out the CDC website for reliable information: CDC Giardia