Monthly Archives: May 2012

Pet Profile: Greyhound

The Greyhound is a large dog with a unique, slim build. Known for its speed, it can reach a velocity of up to 45 miles per hour. Despite this overabundance of energy, the Greyhound still makes an excellent pet that is calm and gentle while indoors.

Physical Characteristics

The Greyhound’s arched back and long legs allow it to stretch and contract with minimum effort, making it one of the fastest animals on land. While running, the dog’s tail actually acts like a brake and rudder.

There are two strains of the Greyhound: AKC and NGA. The American Kennel Club (or AKC) type is often much taller and narrower than the National Greyhound Association (or NGA) type. They also have longer necks and legs, deeper chests, and their backs are more arched. NGA Greyhounds, on the other hand, have bunched up, less aesthetic muscles, but are faster than their counterparts.

Both types have smooth, short coats which come in various colors, including, black, blue, white, red, and liver, but NGA Greyhounds have thicker, less sleek coats and are more likely to develop patches of hair loss around the thigh or leg area.

Personality and Temperament

Though the Greyhound has an independent temperament, it is always eager to please. Referred to as “the world’s fastest couch potato,” this breed is very sensitive, timid and can be reserved around strangers. Indoors, the dog is very placid, quiet, and well-mannered, but while outdoors, it will chase anything small that moves. The Greyhound will also generally behave well with other pets and dogs it has grown up with.

Care

Regular exercise in the form of an occasional run and a long walk on leash is good for the Greyhound. It loves to chase and run at great speeds outdoors, so it should be only let out in safe, open areas. The breed also requires warm and soft bedding and does not like living outdoors. It is easy to maintain its coat — just an occasional brushing to get rid of dead hair.

Important Information for Using Flea and Tick Products

Flea and tick season is here so it is time to learn the right way to protect your dog.  Before you buy and use the medication on your dog it is essential to know the facts.  Here are some tips on how to properly keep your dog safe from fleas and ticks this season.

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Find the Proper Product

When deciding which flea and tick products to use on your dog, you need to carefully read the labels on all products. It’s very important you purchase the correct dosage for your dog, and that you use only approved products for your dog’s particular age, weight, health status, and species. Use special care if your dog is very young, very old, pregnant, nursing, sick or debilitated, or if it has had a previous sensitivity to any of these products.

Double Check the Label

Dogs should only be given flea and tick products designed for use on dogs. While they may not be harmful, products made for cats may not be as effective on dogs. If you also have a cat, do not use your dog products on your cat, as they can be harmful to a cat’s health. Always ask your veterinarian’s advice, even when you are planning to purchase your flea and tick products from a online supplier or pet store.

Use Only the Required Amount

Once you’ve read all the directions for proper application, be sure that you use only the amount required for your dog. Do not use more flea and tick product than indicated and do not use more than one product at one time. One flea and tick product (spot-on or spray, etc.) should be all that is necessary to kill or repel fleas and/or ticks for the time period indicated on the package.

Prevent Accidental Contact

To prevent accidental contact with topical products during application, disposable gloves can be worn to protect your skin. Washing your hands thoroughly with soap and water after application can also reduce exposure to the chemicals. Keep children or pets from touching or playing with the dog after application to allow the product time to absorb or dry, and read the instructions for proper disposal of empty product containers after use.

Watch for Adverse Reactions

For the several hours following application of a flea and tick preventive product, keep an eye on your dog for any reactions or sensitivity to the product (vomiting, diarrhea, drooling, seizures, severe depression, etc.). This is especially important when using a particular flea and tick product for the first time on your dog. Keep the packaging for the product for at least a day after application so that you have information on the kind of ingredients used, as well as contact information for the company that manufactured the product.

React Quickly If Things Go Wrong

If you notice any unusual behavior shortly after applying a preventive product, call your veterinarian immediately. Bathe your dog completely in soapy water and rinse its coat with copious amounts of water.

Pet Profile: Toy Poodle

The Toy Poodle is the diminutive version of the Standard Poodle. Retaining the Poodle’s elegant appearance and personality, the Toy Poodle proves the old adage: great things do come in small packages.

Physical Characteristics

As it descends from the working retriever stock, the Poodle’s body is a reflection of its athletic background. Many standards list the Toy Poodle as 10 inches (or under) at the highest point of the dog’s shoulders. This square-proportioned dog also has an elegant appearance and a proud carriage. It moves with effortless, springy, and light strides; its coat is dense, curly, and harsh. The Toy Poodle’s conventional clips (or hairstyles) originally served to insulate and protect the dog’s chest and joints.

Care

The Toy Poodle is not meant for outdoor living, but it enjoys moving to and from the yard. Its coat requires to be brushed on alternate days. When hair sheds, it does not come off easily, but gets tangles, thus causing matting. Clipping is recommended four times annually, while the feet and face require monthly clipping. Most of the Poodles need professional groomers, but owners of the dogs can also learn the grooming procedure. Poodles require plenty of physical and mental exercise — indoor games, short walks, etc. — as well as interaction with humans.

Health

This dog has a lifespan of 12 to 14 years and may suffer from minor diseases like trichiasis, entropion, cataract and lacrimal duct atresia, and major aliments like progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), Legg-Calve-Perthes disease, patellar luxation, and epilepsy. Urolithiasis and intervertebral disk degeneration are sometimes noticed in the breed. To identify some of these issues, a veterinarian may run hip, knee, and eye exams on the dog.

Pet Profile: Yorkshire Terrier

Lovingly referred to by dog fanciers as the Yorkie, the Yorkshire Terrier is a miniature dog breed developed in England in the mid-19th century. Though small in stature, the Yorkie’s large personality brings a love for adventure, activity, and affection to every human family that is lucky to have one in their lives.

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Physical Characteristics

The Yorkshire Terrier has a confident carriage, a compact body, and a sharp, smart expression. The hallmark of the Yorkie is its coat color: a clear shade of tan with a dark steel blue hue. This coat, which is fine, silky, long, glossy, and straight, may be cut in various styles, but is generally trimmed to floor length for dog competitions, giving it a neater and more elegant appearance, and easing its movement.

Personality and Temperament

Although the dog may be small in size, it is bold, curious, and always ready for an adventure. Yorkies are known to be stubborn and can be assertive towards small animals or unfamiliar dogs, a reflection of its terrier heritage. And while the Yorkie has a tendency to bark excessively, making it an excellent watch dog, it can be trained to remain quiet as well.

Care

The Yorkie loves to exercise, often playing indoors without much encouragement. It should regularly be taken outside for short leash-led walks, however. The dog’s long coat requires brushing or combing every other day to avoid tangles ot rubbish getting caught up in the coat. The Yorkshire Terrier is primarily an indoor dog – it is not a breed that should be allowed to live outdoors.

Health

The Yorkie, with a lifespan of approximately 14 to 16 years, is prone to minor health problems, such as patellar luxation. Occasionally, tracheal collapse, portacaval shunt, progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), Legg-Perthes disease are seen in this breed. To identify some of these issues, a veterinarian may run eye and knee tests, along with a liver ultrasound.

Where do Dogs get Fleas or Ticks?

Even if your dog stays close to home, fleas and ticks are canny creatures, and they have ways of making it into your home and onto your pets, even with preventions in place. All it takes is a few fleas or ticks to get established in an area to set up a full-scale infestation of your yard, your dog, and your home. Here are five common ways your dog gets fleas and/or ticks.

Other Animals

No yard is an island unto itself, and squirrels, raccoons, feral cats, and other small rodents will find ways to get into your yard, carrying fleas and ticks along with them. This is one reason not to encourage wild animals to come into your dog’s domain by leaving out offerings such as corn, nuts, and seeds. Even a bowl of water, left out for when your dog is outside, is an invitation for other animals to hang about.

Human Transportation

You and your human visitors can also be unwitting carriers of fleas and ticks. Anyone coming into your home could be a carrier of fleas. They can be brought in from the person’s own home or pet without their knowledge. If you like to spend time hiking in areas where fleas and ticks are prevalent, it’s easy for a few to hitch a ride on your pants leg, socks, shoes, etc.

Outside the Home

Anytime your dog goes out into the world — even if only for short walks around the block; play dates at the local dog park; a visit to the veterinarian; a stint at the boarding kennel; a trip to the groomer; a ride in the car; etc. — he/she is being exposed to the opportunity for fleas and ticks to hop aboard.

Landscaping

For the outside, there are some plants that are known for their flea repelling characteristics, and it is worth it to try anti-pest landscaping. However, it is often easier and more effective to use chemical pesticides and repellants for yard and perimeter treatment, especially when dealing with a flea or tick infestation that is already in full progress.

Ignoring the Problem

If you suspect there are fleas and ticks in your area (and there probably are), don’t ignore the problem. Use flea and tick preventives year-round and inspect your dog periodically. It’s much easier to start early, keeping parasites from getting a foothold, than it is to try to eradicate them after they have had a chance to breed and establish themselves in your home and on your dog.

Stop Those Unwanted Fleas!

With the warm weather from Spring and Summer upon us, it is definitely time to start thinking about flea and tick season.  There are many ways to prevent fleas from biting your dogs; here are some easy ways you can help you pup this season!  Remember to visit www.petcarechoice.com for all of your flea and tick medications this season! Find them at the lowest prices and best discounts!

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Clear the Yard

Keeping your lawn, bushes, and trees trimmed back will help control your home’s outdoor flea population. You can also use outdoor chemical treatments, but remember, these products are toxic and can have harmful effects if there’s accidental contact. (You may want to warn your neighbors before each yard application so they can protect themselves from incidental contact with the chemicals.)

Flea Traps

You can easily devise a homemade (and non-toxic) flea trap, or purchase a ready made one at a hardware store. To make one at home, set a small dish of soapy water on the ground near a light source (using an attached night light or lamp) overnight. Attracted by the warmth and light, fleas will jump into the water and become trapped.

Household Sprays and Foggers

After cleaning your home, you can use sprays and/or foggers that will kill the adult fleas, as well as the larvae and eggs as they hatch. These products are available at your veterinarian’s office or pet supply store. Care must be taken when using these products, as they can be toxic to fish, birds, dog, cats and children. Read labels carefully and ask for advice from your veterinarian before attempting to use these products.

Clean House

Fleas are notoriously difficult to get rid of, mostly because you have to continually clean your home as well treat your dog for infestations. To successfully eradicate fleas, you need to vacuum your home thoroughly and throw out the bag when you’re done. And don’t forget to wash your dog’s bedding and clean his toys with warm, soapy water. Finally, vacuum your car. Fleas love to hide in dark, warm places.

Powders and Sprays

Flea powders and sprays are also relatively inexpensive, and should also be used cautiously. These products can cause irritation to sensitive, unprotected parts of the body in both people and their pets. Make sure to protect the mouth and eyes, and take care that neither you nor your pet breathe this treatment in.

Powders and sprays require more frequent reapplication than spot-on medications.

Flea Dips

Unlike shampoo treatments, dips are diluted with water, topically applied, and left on. These chemical products can be very potent, and misuse can lead to a potentially toxic reaction. Prior to using flea dips on your dog, make sure to read the instructions and carefully follow them according to your dog’s size, weight and age. Do not use on pregnant, nursing or young pets less than four months old.

Flea Collars

Another inexpensive flea control option is to fit your dog with a dog collar. The efficacy of flea collars can depend on several factors, like how bad the infestation is in your immediate area. Flea collars should be worn next to the skin. Put two fingers under the collar to prevent securing it on too tightly. Also, keep an eye out for scratching around the collar; some dogs are extremely sensitive to the chemicals.

Flea Shampoos

Sometimes the best first line of defense in guarding your dog against fleas is bathing him with medicated flea shampoos. It is inexpensive, and one of the most common ways people treat and protect their pets against parasitic infections. Flea shampoos don’t provide long-lasting protection, so at the height of flea season, it is generally recommended to use the shampoo every two weeks.

Oral Medications

Using oral medications along with spot-on treatments will help control a serious flea infestation. Flea control pills disrupt the life cycle of fleas, but do not kill adult fleas on contact. But giving your dog pills (usually once a month) is a good choice for people who have small children in the home. There is a significant decrease in exposing children to potentially irritating topical treatments.

Spot-on Treatments

Despite the name, this is a very effective way to protect your pet. The applied drops create a full body water-repellent shield that won’t wash off, even during swimming or playing in the rain. Spot-on medication can also stop the active progress of the flea life cycle. Select a treatment based on your dog’s size, weight and age — too little won’t work, and too much can potentially poison your pet.

Herbs for your Dog’s Health

Herbs have long been used to treat and prevent ailments in people, and apart from smelling good and adding an extra something to your cooking, certain herbs can help out your dog, too. Here are five that are very likely to help you save a few bucks on vet visits — and saving money is always a good thing.

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1. Aloe Vera

This spiky leafed herb’s medicinal value has been appreciated since ancient times. You’ll be glad to know it’s also good for your dog. Aloe Vera can be either applied topically — using the natural gel in the leaves as a treatment for burns, scrapes, and minor irritations — or given internally to help with conditions such as gas, constipation, and infections.

2. Calendula Flowers

The bright and sunny flowers of this easy-growing herb may be used to treat cuts, scrapes and wounds, both on you and your dog. The flower petals, meanwhile, can be applied directly as a wound dressing, or made into a tea to be used as an antiseptic wash. The antiseptic quality of the herb helps prevent bacterial growth, which is good news for your dog and bad news for the bacteria.

3. Ginger

We’re not talking about the movie star stranded on Gilligan’s Island, but the herb. Not only is the root of the ginger herb delicious, but it’s been highly prized for centuries as a medicinal herb. It can be made into a tea or tincture, and is excellent at settling a doggy’s upset tummy.

4. Goldenseal

Sadly, goldenseal has nothing to do with gold, seals, or even a magical seal made out of gold (that would just be silly). This herb is a powerful antibiotic that prevents the bacteria from latching onto the cell walls. It can be used as a tincture, tea, or wash for dogs with eye infections or weepy eyes. It’s also useful in treating stomach and bowel ailments.

5. Milk Thistle

Milk thistle protects the liver against damage and also improves liver function. In fact, it’s an important extract to use if your dog has been on any medicine that may affect the liver.