Spring Checklist for Your Pet's Health & Happiness
With the warmer spring and summer months ahead, there are several pet health tips to help keep your pet in good health. As temperatures rise across the United States, it's important to be vigilant with prevention against parasites such as fleas, ticks, and heartworms.
While long standing products such as Frontline Plus and Advantage II have often been the first choices of pet owners and veterinarians, newer oral flea preventatives are becoming a simple and mess-free solution to pet owners across the country. A few popular oral flea preventative brands include Trifexis, NexGard and Comfortis.
The American Heartworm Society recommends year-round prevention to combat potentially fatal heartworm disease, which is transmitted by mosquito to both dogs and cats. Heartworm disease is certainly much easier to prevent than to treat, not to mention, it is also safer and on your pet. (Note: There is no treatment for heartworm disease in cats - only prevention.) While Heartgard Chewables and Revolution are often popular amongst veterinarians, generic and less expensive alternatives such as Ivermectin-Pyrantel are just as effective, and for less.
With the warmer months also come the increased likelihood of allergic reactions to insects, bees, molds, dander, pollens and ragweed.
Common symptoms seen this time of year include:
- Increased sneezing with eye and nose discharge
- Itching and licking
- Acute allergic skin reactions of the ears and skin, as well as hives
As a result, having a few skin allergy remedies and treatments on hand can be helpful:
- Antihistamines (Diphenhydramine and Chlorpheniramine)
- Topical shampoos (1-800-PetMeds Oatmeal Shampoo and Aloe Vera, Malaseb Shampoo and Malapet Medicated Shampoo) to help reduce exposure to contact allergens and subsequent allergic skin symptoms
- HomeoPet Hot Spot Drops to help reduce allergic skin reactions
Keeping pets inside in cooler environments is also helpful in reducing excessive heat exposure, as well as contact with potential allergens. There isn't a better time of year than the warmer spring and summer months to add fish oils and Omega 3 fatty acids to your pet's diet with the addition of supplements such as Brite Coat Chews or Super Pure Omega 3 Soft Chews. Fish oils work to not only reduce skin inflammation, but also carry other health benefits throughout the body. If necessary, prescription drugs such as Atopica for Dogs and Atopica for Cats may be acceptable alternatives than to corticosteroid use for allergy relief in pets.
As the weather heats up, it is critical to keep dogs and cats well hydrated by providing access to fresh and cool water. Pet drinking fountains are a perfect solution in these situations. On hot summer days consider providing fresh ice cubes and frozen veggies which can also help dogs cool off from hot temperatures.
The summer season is also a great time to detox pets from chemicals and poisons that build up in the body over time. Five great cleansing herbs to consider using in pets include burdock, dandelion, milk thistle, nettle and psyllium. Note: Consulting with a holistic veterinarian is recommended before using any herbal therapies.
The dog park can also provide a place for spring and summer fun for our animals. In order to get pets accustomed to the dog park, visit the park during off hours and gradually introduce your pet to other dogs so he or she feel comfortable. Due to the exposure to other animals, it is important pets have current vaccinations and are on a flea preventative to reduce the risk of contracting fleas.
Whether your pet is at the park or playing at home, don't forget to spoil your pet with fun new toys! A great toy to get both you and your pet active is the Booda Tail-Spin Flyer. This soft and flexible toy flies and floats, which dogs love to chase and retrieve. The Wing-A-Ball dog toy is an interactive toy dogs love, which also floats, and offers an added benefit of being great for the teeth and gums. Another toy especially for medium-to-large breed dogs that like to chew, is the Durable 10-inch Football Dog Toy. This football is easy for your dog to chew and carry and makes a wonderful toy for outdoor fun at the dog park.
Lastly, we can't forget about outdoor activities for cats! Outdoor cat pens can be used so cats also can enjoy the fresh outside air. The Kittywalk Outdoor Cat Enclosure is a versatile outdoor cat playground that allows cats to safely hang out and soak up the warm sun. This cat enclosure includes a 6 ft. long tunnel with a door, shade awning and hammock, and a 3 level 5 foot vertical enclosure. Another useful outdoor enclosure for our feline companions is the Kittywalk Portable Outdoor Cat Tunnel. This tunnel can be attached to most pet doors, and is perfect for use on the deck, patio or apartment balcony. The Tunnel makes a safe and secure place for cats to get fresh air without worry of escape or injury.