Fleas and Ticks Pose Problems for Pets

<b>Fleas and Ticks Pose Problems for Pets</b>“></td>
<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – It happens every summer — your dog spends a lot of time outdoors, whether he is playing, hiking or camping, only to end up with swollen ticks on his ears or belly hours later. But parasites, such as fleas and ticks, are not just a summer menace. They can infect pets at any time.

Banfield Applied Research and Knowledge (BARK), Banfield Pet Hospital’s (www.banfield.net) internal research team, recently reviewed more than 2.2 million health records obtained from dog and cat visits in 2009. Fleas are the most common parasite in kittens under six months, middle-aged dogs and senior dogs and cats. Their research also shows that May is the peak season for ticks, and October is the peak season for fleas, making parasites an ongoing concern for pet owners.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Lyme disease, which is carried by ticks, is the most commonly reported vector-transmitted disease. And research suggests that dogs are twice as likely to develop Lyme disease as humans living in the same area.

Parasites are more than annoyances — they spread disease, not only to your pets, but to other members of your family as well. Fleas and ticks “are responsible for potentially severe allergic reactions, tapeworm infections and can cause severe anemia and death in young, sick or debilitated pets,” explained Jeffrey Klausner, DVM, MS, DACVIM, senior vice president and chief medical officer for Banfield.

Preventing fleas and ticks is a critical part of a pet’s health care, but pet owners should speak to their veterinarian before attempting treatments.

“Flea and tick preventive care products, like powders, sprays and spot-on treatments, offer varying degrees of efficacy and safety. Additionally, the huge number of products available can make selecting the proper preventive care product overwhelming to Pet owners,” said Karen Johnson, DVM, vice president and client advocate for Banfield.

Getting flea and tick products directly from your veterinarian helps ensure pet safety, as veterinarians instruct pet owners in proper dosage and application. Pet owners should also ask veterinarians about flea and tick products approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, such as FirstShield.

“At Banfield, preventive care is the cornerstone of our practice — that includes everything from routine vaccines and twice-annual comprehensive physical examinations to recommending the safest and most effective flea and tick preventive product that is right for the pet and their family,” said Johnson.

For more information, visit www.banfield.net.

Tips to Keep Kitty Healthy, Happy

<b>Tips to Keep Kitty Healthy, Happy</b>“></td>
<p>(<a   href=NewsUSA) – Cats are low-maintenance, attractive pets. They’re warm, they’re soft, their purrs sound soothing, and nothing looks cuter curled up on a windowsill. No wonder Americans keep more pet cats than any other nation.

But taking care of a cat can be more involved than some people may think. Medical problems, for example, catch many cat owners off guard. And while cats do not need the level of attention that dogs require, they do need grooming and physical activity.

Here are some tips to keep your kitty in the best health possible:

– Keep your cat indoors. Going outdoors puts cats at risk — they can encounter dogs or wild animals, cars, fleas and ticks or other cats, who may carry contagious diseases. Worse still, domestic cats can decimate local songbird populations. For the health of the planet, as well as your cat, it’s best to keep cats indoors. Outfit your cat with a collar and an ID tag in case it slips outside.

– Get your cat spayed or neutered. Spaying and neutering can help protect your pet from certain cancers, while also helping the problem of cat overpopulation.

– Choose the best food possible. Many inexpensive cat foods contain plant-based fillers and low-quality meat. Cats were meant to eat an extremely high-protein diet, so look for organic brands of cat food that do not contain chemicals or fillers. Always supply fresh water.

– Keep kitty away from toxins. Don’t choose kitty litters that contain dubious chemicals. Instead, choose a biodegradable, flushable, septic-safe cat litter, like World’s Best Cat Litter (www.worldsbestcatlitter.com). The cat litter is made from whole-kernel corn and controls odors and clumps better than other litters. The litter doesn’t contain silica dust, making it an ideal choice for people and pets with allergies.

– Take your cat to the vet for regular check-ups. Catching potential problem areas before disease develops can extend your cat’s life.

– Provide entertainment and exercise. Buy safe, natural-fiber toys. A string or a pointed flashlight can give cats activity. You should also consider providing pots of grass and scratching posts.

Prevent Pets from Bringing Fleas and Ticks Home

<b>Prevent Pets from Bringing Fleas and Ticks Home</b>“></td>
<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – Spring is a time of rebirth and rejuvenation. Invigorated by warmer weather, many of us make our way outdoors to soak up the new found sun. But despite the cheerfulness outside, spring can often bring unwanted critters indoors -; by hitching a ride on our pets.

Before people take their pets for hikes or nature walks this spring, they should consider precautions to protect their pets – and themselves – from fleas and ticks.

A flea or tick infestation is no fun for the whole family. Flea saliva can cause anemia, dermatitis and transfer tapeworms – a dangerous internal parasite. Worse, fleas reproduce quickly and can infest whole homes, requiring professional extermination. Perhaps more harmful than fleas, brown dog ticks and Lyme-disease-carrying deer ticks typically enter homes through pets as well. Once in the home, they can begin laying up to 5,000 eggs at a time.

There is no need for pet owners to lock their dogs and cats inside all spring and summer. In fact, the National Pest Management Association, a 75-year-old non-profit organization committed to the protection of public health, food and property through proper pest management and homeowner education, offers these tips to Americans hoping to protect their pets and their homes from fleas and ticks:

– Avoid tick habitats such as low-growing, brushy vegetation along the edge of the woods or a trail.

– Check your pet thoroughly after you have been in potentially tick-infested areas. Finding and removing all ticks helps prevent disease.

– Check pets frequently for fleas and flea dirt, especially after being outside. Look for excessive scratching and licking.

– Bathe pets after walks or playtime with other animals, as fleas can jump from host to host.

– Talk with a veterinarian about prevention and treatment options available to kill fleas and flea eggs.

– Wash pet bedding, collars and plush toys.

– Wash bed linens and vacuum carpets, floors and furniture frequently. Empty vacuum bags and throw the contents away in an outside receptacle.

– If you suspect a flea or tick infestation, contact a licensed pest professional immediately to treat the pest problem.

For more information and tips, visit www.pestworld.org.

Protect Your Pets From Fleas and Ticks

<b>Protect Your Pets From Fleas and Ticks</b>“></td>
<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – Ask pet owners what they consider to be the most frustrating part of having a dog or cat, and fleas and ticks will likely be high on the list.

From powders and sprays to dips and pills, the array of products available to combat these annoying insects can be a difficult road to navigate for even the most dedicated pet owner. But choosing the wrong product or applying it incorrectly can be dangerous.

“Dogs and cats have different needs, especially when it comes to flea and tick control, and applying the wrong product can be harmful to a pet,” said Dr. Jordan Siegel, technical services veterinarian for Wellmark International. “Some people are too busy to read the labels or they simply get products confused, particularly if they have more than one dog or cat.”

Wellmark International, located in Schaumburg, Ill., has created topical applicators designed to eliminate that confusion and make applying flea and tick treatment easier.

Zodiac Spot On is the company’s easy-to-apply monthly treatment that controls flea and tick infestations. Its Pet Specifix applicators feature cat-head shapes for felines and dog-bone shapes for canines to help pet owners keep track of the treatment they need for each pet. In addition, the applicators are color-coded to match pet weight ranges to help avoid accidental misapplication.

Because just one adult flea on a pet can lay up to 50 eggs a day, which can end up in a home’s carpet and furniture, it’s important to break the flea life cycle. Ticks can be more harmful than fleas because of their ability to spread Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever and other infections to humans.

Here are some tips on applying flea and tick treatment:

* Don’t use a product on a species other than the one for which it is registered.

* Select products that contain both an adulticide and an insect growth regulator. This one-two punch will kill adult fleas and ticks while preventing flea eggs from maturing into breeding, biting adults.

* Read and follow all product label instructions.

* Treat all pets in the household, not just those with the flea problem.

* Institute an ongoing treatment and prevention program to avoid reinfestations.

For more information, visit www.zodiacpet.com or call (800) 950-4783.