A few weeks ago I walked by my bathroom to find my Persian, Mogwai, in one of his favorite spots, the bathroom sink. His majesty was patiently waiting for some mere human to turn on the faucet so he could drink the fresh streaming water rather than the stagnant stuff in his water bowl. While he is busy lapping up the water straight from the mouth of the faucet, I decided to take the opportunity to brush out his ridiculously thick, fluffy white hair. Though Mogwai is a beautiful cat, he is by no means clean or dainty. His fluffy white coat works as a great replacement for a feather duster as it attracts all kinds of things. That’s why I gave no second thought to the small black fleck of dirt that was crawling around in the jungle gym of hair. Crawling? Dirt doesn’t crawl! I took a closer look and saw eight legs waving at me. It was a deer tick! My indoor only, pure bred cat, who lives in the suburbs, in the cool month of October had a blood sucking parasite on him. Fortunately, I apply a flea and tick topical on him every month, including the colder months, just for this reason. Both I and my dogs stroll through my yard on daily basis, providing a perfect opportunity for one of those little guys to hitch a ride inside. With the colder months quickly approaching, the fleas and ticks want to come inside and out of the cold.
Despite the appearance the first few frosts that everyone deems the end of flea and tick season, these pests are still lurking around outside. We see patients come in to the office during the months of November and December who are still showing evidence of fleas and ticks. For this reason, we recommend flea and tick topical products year round for all pets. Even pets who never step outside your door can fall prey to the nuisance of flea and tick infestations (as I experienced first-hand!). One flea can produce up to 2,000 eggs in areas that are harder to clean such as your carpets, furniture, and if you spoil your pets like me, your bed! Once you discover fleas are sneaking a free meal from your pet, it can take at least 3 to 6 months to get things back under control again with the help of topical products. It is easier to play keep up rather than catch up. This can be achieved with an easy, once a month application of a topical. If you have questions about topical products, or other methods of flea and tick prevention, call the office to speak to the staff about how you can protect your pets from these creepy crawlers.
Rock Salt Dangers to Your Pet
When winter snow and ice arrive many people use ice melters to keep their families safe from slips and falls. Did you know that most ice melters contain salt that can damage your hardscapes or injure your pets and children? Dogs are especially vulnerable to the corrosive characteristics of salt. Health problems can include dermatitis, inflammation of the paws, and serious gastrointestinal problems.
What makes rock salt and ice melters containing salt dangerous to pets?
Exposure to salt and salt-based ice melting products can cause dogs severe dermatitis, inflammation of the paws and serious gastrointestinal problems including vomiting and internal burns of the mouth and digestive tract. For dogs, in particular, exposure to these products can mean an unhealthy winter and unplanned trips to the vets’ office. The problem is that when dogs are let out they frolic and eat the snow and many of the ice melt products sit on the surface of the ice until they melt. Dogs either ingest these ice melt pellets or they get frozen into their paw pads. Later when they are inside with higher temperatures the ice melts and dogs begin to lick their paws. The salt can heat up as high as 175 degrees and not only burn their skin but their mouth and digestive system.
A national survey of more than 500 consumers living in cold weather states showed that an alarming 62% of consumers were not aware that salt and salt-based ice melting products pose a health danger to pets who digest or come into contact with these products. The survey also revealed that 60% of the respondents said they use rock salt or salt-based ice melters in their households.
There are many different brands of pet-friendly rock salt available. The key is to read the labels because the products that are pet-friendly will specifically say so. A general rule of thumb should be that if it does not explicitly say the product is pet-friendly, it is not. Additionally, if the product has ingredients with hygroscopic chemicals, such as calcium chloride and magnesium chloride, avoid using them.
Where to Purchase
Pet-friendly rock salt can be purchase at any home improvement store. Many more eco-friendly products can be purchased online or in specialty stores. Wherever the product is purchased, read the label. Do not be persuaded to purchase a specific brand simply because it has a cute looking animal on the package. It can still be hazardous to your pet.
This Dog is Going to Cost Me How Much?
How Pet Insurance Can Help With Unexpected Cost
Pets can bring happiness into any household. However, have you ever sat down and considered the cost you may incur over the years? The cost can be higher than you think because you want your pet to be healthy and do what is best for them. Pet insurance is a great option to help with those costs and making a better decision on what you can do for your pet.
There are several pet insurance companies for you to choose from. It is always a great idea to shop around for insurance plans before you commit to one company to make sure that you get the best coverage at the best price for your pet. Most pet insurance companies will not cover a pre-existing condition, so it would be most beneficial if you get an insurance policy early on in your pets’ life. There is also the benefit that it will be much less expensive per month then if you get a policy after your pet has already developed a medical problem.
Most insurance companies offer different policies and insurance packages to fit your budget. You can choose a policy that will cover everything from the yearly physical exam and vaccines to a routine surgery. Or you can get a policy that simply covers those unexpected emergencies that you may have to deal with at some point. Whichever policy or plan you may choose, it will help you to take another step in the right direction of taking the best care of your pet.
How does Pet Insurance work?
When you purchase your policy, insurance companies can require a physical for the animal and/or a year of records from your vet. If the animal is accepted into the plan, there usually is a required waiting period before coverage goes into effect because of insurance fraud (yes, it happens on the pet side also). You will be paying a monthly premium just as you do for your own health insurance. Unlike your health insurance, you don’t just present your animal’s insurance card, pay a co-payment, and receive care for your animal. You’ll be paying for your animal’s treatment up front and will be reimbursement by the insurance company later. Many vet offices will gladly fill out your forms or assist you in providing the pet insurance company with appropriate documentation. The nice thing about most pet insurance plans is that you can still keep your regular vet and your animal will still receive the same care. You’ll still have the same sense of assurance regarding your
animal’s welfare. Submitting a claim simply involves some paperwork and the upfront cost of the visit to the vet until you receive reimbursement. A check in the mail is always a good thing. This check won’t automatically reflect the exact amount as your vet visit. The pet insurance company will subtract any deductibles and co-payments based on the plan you choose.
Pet insurance can be a very helpful thing to have, so before you adopt that new puppy or cuddly kitten, consider the cost and look into insurance to benefit you now and in the future.