Saturday, September 25, 2010

Natural solutions to Flea & Tick Prevention

Over the years people always ask me how do you get rid of Fleas or Ticks?

I admit I've had to deal with a flea problem here and there, but have never had an infestation like the one I had when we first moved to Minot many years ago.  The last tenants obviously had pets and didn't do much to take care of them. The carpets were infested with Fleas and the basement was covered in pee.   Sometimes fosters also bring fleas with them and we are always prepared. 

Because there are so many flea and tick products on the market that are toxic I started my search for a more natural solution.  I never liked the idea of having to wear gloves when applying a product to my dogs. 

Here is what we do to rid a house full of fleas and to prevent further infestations as well prevent ticks.

1.    We bathe all dogs and cats with a natural Flea shampoo "Flea B Gone" by Avena Botanicals out of Rockport, ME.  They have an incredible line of herbs and oils.  They also carry a fantastic natural ear mite oil.  Flea B Gone is all natural and can be used on both cats and dogs, as well as puppies and kittens.  The key to this shampoo is the more you suds up your pet the quicker the fleas fall off of their bodies.  I have not found anything else as effective at killing Fleas as this product:

Another company with great pet products is Ark Natural, they carry a Neem shampoo and a Neem spray.  After bathing your pets it is a good idea to spray them with a natural Flea/Tick Repellent such as Neem or Yucca:

Ark Naturals Flea and Tick
Quadruped Flea and tick spray

We have used products from all three companies with great success.  I do like the Yucca spray the most because it has a nice aromatic odor and keeps the dogs smelling good as well as keep their coats shinny and soft.  

Please Note:  Do not use Yucca Spray on Cats as it is not recommended for use on cats.  Use Neem spray instead.

2.    Next, purchase a flea collar, any flea collar.  And open it up and place it in your vacuum cleaner bag.  Now vacuum everything.  You want to vacuum anywhere and everywhere your pets cohabitate with you in your home.  All carpets, hardwood floors, Furniture, Dog & Cat beds, everything.

3.    Once you have vacuumed your home next you want to powder it with a product called FleaBusters or Borate Crystals.  You want to put it in your carpets, furniture, any cracks or crevices in the floors, anywhere a flea would hide.  

I have  used both FleaBusters and Dr. Goodpet's Inside Flea Relief with great success.  How it works is when the flea eggs stay behind, the crystals dehydrate the larvae before they can turn into fleas and lay anymore eggs.  This stops the cycle from continuing.  Most chemical bombs cannot reach certain areas leaving behind eggs that then hatch and start the vicious cycle all over again.

Dr. Good Pet Flea Relief

Note:  Dr. Goodpet also uses an outdoor Flea Relief, which can be purchased as Diatomaceaus Earth.  This powder contains fossilized remains of diatoms(microscopic shells).  The sharp edges cut through flea and ticks  exoskeleton causing them to dehydrate and die.  It's a great product to use in your yard to push back any bug infestation that could target your pets.  This powder can also be used to kill other bugs such as cockroaches, silverfish, slugs, earwigs, ants and more. 

Food grade Diatomaceous Earth is also another natural option to use on your pets.   You can sprinkle it on their coats to protect them from fleas and ticks and can also be added to their food because it is anti-parasitic.  

4.    And finally we also put a supplement of Earth Animals Internal Powder in our pets food.  It helps deter Fleas, Ticks, Black Flies and Mosquitoes!  The dogs love it.  In the 3 years we have been using this product not one flea or tick has been found on any of our pets.  We like the tablets because they are a lot less messy.  We highly recommend this product to any pet owner. 

Earth Animal Flea and Tick Program
Earth Animal Internal Powder (Animal House)

I find this is the most effective way to rid your home of fleas and ticks on the first try.  This method is safe, non-toxic and can be used around pets and children. 

And remember, fleas and ticks are parasites.  The feed off of the weaker pets.  Some things you can do to keep your pets immune system in tip top shape is to feed a good quality diet and keep them well exercised.  

Here is to happy and healthy pets!!!!

Please Note:  I have only listed products with the links to their respective companies in this article that we have used successfully.  There are a number of other companies that have similar products that I am sure work just as well.  But we have only listed those we have used successfully.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Trimming your pets nails

Does your dog Hate having his nails clipped?  Here are some helpful tips to get your dog used to having his/her nails trimmed.  This is a question I get asked often and here are some easy steps to getting your pets used to having their nails trimmed on a regular basis.

The best time to get your dog used to having their nails trim is to start early.  Whether you get your dog as a puppy or you adopt an adult dog. 

1.    Start getting your pup used to having her paws touched.  Touch their paws on a daily basis.  The more often you play with their paws the more used to you holding their paws they will get. 

If you dog pulls away grab a treat and hold it in your hand for them to smell while you touch their paws for a few seconds.  Once you let go of the paw say OK and give them the treat.  Continue to do this until your dog is comfortable enough with you holding their paw.

2.    Place the nail clippers near their food bowl.  This will allow them to see the clippers all of the time opposed to just when you cut their nails.  You don't want them to associate the clippers with the stress it may have caused them while you clipped their nails.  Pick them up and put them down near the dish while your dog watches you.  This way when you pick up the clippers next time to clip their nails it will keep your dogs level of anxiety down, making it easier to clip their nails.

3.    Now that you are ready to start clipping.  Start slow.  Start with one nail.  After you clip the first nail, give the dog a treat.  If the dog will allow you to move to the next nail with out fidgeting repeat this process.  Trim one nail and give a treat right after.  Eventually, the dog will become more comfortable after each trimming expecting something positive to come along after each nail trim. 

Please note: If your dog allows you to trim one nail, but is still very anxious.  Start this process by clipping one nail a day.  Then clip a second nail and a third nail once your dogs anxiety level starts to drop.   And if your dog is very anxious at the sight of the clippers start with the dogs back feet.  Place your body between the dogs back feet and the dogs face so the dog cannot see the trimmers.  Then slowly move forward to the front paws.  And remember be patient.  If all you can do is one nail a day for a while, just stick with it.  Keep it positive.

4.    Once you have been able to complete the above step with all of your pups toes in one sitting, now you can back off the treats, to one treat for every other toe to a treat every paw, all the way to a treat every other paw.  The key is to keep your dog comfortable during the process.

5.    If you are not sure how far to cut you can always look underneath your dogs nail.  You will be able to see a portion of the nail hollow stop by a meaty part.  Click just before the meaty part. 

Note:  If your dogs nails are very long and the quick has grown with the nail the best thing to do is to start clipping your dogs nails more frequently, and just cut small amounts at a time.   The quick eventually will start to move back on it's own.

The key to cutting your dogs nails is keeping it a positive experience for your dog and for you.  The less anxious you are, the less anxious your dog will be.    The more positive things your dog can associate with clipping his/her nails the easier it will be each time. 

The same process can be  used on cats.

As a rule we trim nails once a week. The key is the more often you trim your dogs nails the more comfortable they will be each time.

And remember don't be afraid to ask for help! 

Happy Clipping!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Fun dog game!

One of our favorite games
Not a winter game!

There are so many fun things to do when the weather is nice out like it was today.  Unfortunately over the past couple of days we have skipped our daily walks because of Fia's seizures.  We were committed to going to Barks in the Park today in Gardiner but never made it.  Tyson and Kara were ready to go but I didn't want to leave Fia behind, and worried that she might have a seizure if we brought her to the Park. 

So we stayed home again.  Tyson and Kara really needed to burn some energy so we all spent the afternoon on the deck.  And we played one of our favorite games "Bobbing for Toys"!  If you are wondering what we mean here are a few things you will need:

1 Kiddie pool
3-4 Balls or toys that float.  Preferably tennis balls (more dogs add more toys!)
And Dogs!

All you have to do is fill the pool up and toss the toys in the pool and watch the dogs take care of the rest.  This is a fun game that keeps the arousal level down.  Even dogs that normally wouldn't chase the ball will play this game. 

It's a great way to get the dogs worn out and keep them cool at the same time!  Even though water is involved, we do recommend on very hot days to play this game and all others in the late afternoon or early evening to avoid heat stroke.  Heat stroke is very serious and is preventable.  During those very hot days it is best to keep your dogs indoors where it is cool.  

Happy dipping!!!  Enjoy our videos!

Summer time fun games
Summer time fun games 2

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Rainy days!

It's been raining all day in Maine today.  The dogs are snuggled together wondering when will it ever stop.   Not that either of them want to go romping and stomping in the rain.  But they are definitely missing out on their daily walk.

So what will we do?  On rainy days we like to do the usual stuff, from naps to chasing balls through the kitchen into the living room.  Tyson thinks he's made of paper, but at least the ladies are willing to make a quick trip outside in the rain.

So what things can we do while we enjoy this weather from indoors? 

Well it's definitely a great time to spiff up on our training skills.  We practice everything from Sit and stay to touch and watch me.

One of my favorite games is hide and seek.  If you've never played this with your dogs it's a real easy and fun game.  And it is a great game that helps improve recall, because your dog learns to always be looking for you!  All you have to do is start easy, hide in a place where your dog can see and hear you first.  When your dog finds you make a big deal about it and then give him/her a treat.  Then do it all over again, each time making it harder and harder for your dog to see you.  So that each time he/she has to use her nose and ears to find you! 

Another fun indoor game we like to play is find the treat!  This is a great game to teach your dog how to use his/her nose!  We pick a room, fill a few water bottles I've already poked holes in and place them in inconspicuous spots. Then I tell the dogs to find the treat!  Always fun and rewarding!

There are 101 things to do with your dogs indoors on a rainy day!  The key is to make sure you are always having fun!