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Fighting the Flea and Tick Problem with Only Natural Pet

Disclaimer: This blog post was made possible by Only Natural Pet. I received financial compensation for sharing my opinions about Only Natural Pet and their products. However, My Kid Has Paws only recommends products we believe our readers will value.

Preventing against fleas and ticks is a problem that every pet parent faces. Sometimes the problem is seasonal, but no matter the conditions, prevention should be top of mind for every pet parent. Today, I want to share with you some available options for fighting the ever-present flea and tick problem both for your pet and in your home.

What’s the Big Deal with Fleas and Ticks?

Occasionally when working at the veterinary hospital, I noticed that a few pet parents skipped out on the flea and tick prevention at their pet’s initial veterinary exam. On occasion, they declined due to the expense. Sometimes, they concluded that the prevention was unnecessary because their pet will be mostly inside. Often, pet parents didn’t quite understand the severity of flea and tick problems. It is important, however, to understand that fleas and ticks cause a real threat to your pet’s health.

For example, a tick bite or infestation can lead to Lyme disease, which can be detrimental to the health of your pet. Additionally, fleas can lead to flea bite allergy and dermatitis, which can begin a potentially long list of skin problems.

Health Problems Associated with Ticks (PetMD):

  • toxicosis or hypersensitivity
  • blood loss anemia
  • transmitters of viral or bacterial diseases

Health Problems Associated with Fleas (PetMD):

  • itching
  • hair loss
  • inflammation
  • secondary skin infection

Fighting the Flea and Tick Problem with Only Natural Pet

The reality is that pet parents don’t actually need to know the list of problems associated with fleas and ticks. All anyone needs to know is that they can cause problems for your pet that can be prevented, so let’s talk about prevention!

Is There a Pill for That?

The answer is yes. For a long time, there were only a few options that dominated the flea and tick prevention market. However, these days there are a variety of options that pet parents can choose from:

1) Topical

Topical flea, heartworm, and tick medications are available and are the type of medication most pet parents recognize. Many of these medications will protect your pet from more than one insect intruder. For example, Revolution, a product that I have used on Rooney in the past, prevents against fleas, heartworm, and intestinal parasites.

2) Pill form

Flea and tick medications do come in pill form. We tried one of these products in the past, and they upset Rooney’s stomach, so we discontinued the use of that. The benefit to a pill form or chewable is that your pet doesn’t have to stay dry for 24-48 hours before, and after, application as they do with topical medications. Therefore, these are great alternatives for pets who like to swim.

Additionally, there is no concern regarding kids petting a dog or cat after their the medication has been administered (as is the concern with topical medication).

3) Chewable

Chewables have been common on the market for treating heartworm for quite some time, but are also an option for flea and tick prevention.

What About Collars?

Flea collars are available on the market, and a few have the ability to repel ticks as well. This type of flea and tick repellent is preferred by some pet parents due to their long-lasting effects (up to 8 months).

Are There Any Natural or Holistic Options?

Only Natural Pet, a company that we have worked with before, brought to my attention one of their newest products: EasyDefense Flea & Tick Spray for Dogs and Cats.

Only Natural Pet EasyDefense Spray is a powerful, natural flea & tick repellent for both dogs and cats. Made with NO DEET, pyrethrins, or synthetic pesticides, this flea & tick spray for dogs and cats keeps biting pests off your pet.

In recent years many of the more traditional flea and tick prevention alternatives have been under attack in the market due to some pets having a negative reaction to the chemicals. The active ingredients in the EasyDefense Spray include; geraniol (a natural extract from the geranium plant) and peppermint oil.

The purpose of this specific spray is to provide you with a natural way to fight the good fight against fleas and ticks. That being said, you will need to spray your pet each time they go outside, but the good news is that you can use it to protect your home as well.

If you have been reading this blog for any length of time, you know that I want to hear what veterinarians think about a product, especially one that is so essential to the overall health of a pet, before I make any recommendations. So here is Holistic Veterinarian, Dr. Jean Hofve, to provide you with more information on preventing fleas and ticks naturally.

Notice that Dr. Jean Hofve mentions a few things to keep in mind when opting for a natural solution. Pet parents need to be very diligent about protecting all of the pets you have in your home, and your home itself. Basically, if you are going to opt for a more natural solution, it will take more work on your part.

In addition to the diligent use of natural products, and the essential oils they contain, pet parents will need to make sure all the pets in the home are bathed regularly, and the home is cleaned as frequently as possible (PetMD).

Additional Steps

If you are interested in the natural remedies of Only Natural Pet, they offer the EasyDefense Spray as part of a larger natural kit to help protect your pet and home against fleas and ticks. As discussed by Dr. Hofve, the best way to implement a natural solution is to take a comprehensive approach.

What remedies or natural treatments have you tried to prevent fleas and ticks? Are you interested in trying Only Natural Pet EasyDefense Spray? 

You can order online at Only Natural Pet and receive free shipping and save 20% by using the code AFLEA20SF and clicking here.

OR, you can enter our giveaway and receive a $50 Gift card to Only Natural Pet!

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Do You Know Your Pet’s Vitals?

The answer to this question may not seem important now, but at some point most pet parents will need to know their pet’s vitals to be able to monitor their health and know when they need treatment.

Today, Carol from Fidose of Reality and I, are going to share with you some important information about your pet’s vitals so that you can protect your pet’s health, should concerns arise.

Temperature

For both dogs and cats, a normal temperature is between 100 and 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit. (VetStreet)

The most common way that a dog or cat’s temperature is measured by veterinary professionals is using a digital rectal thermometer. Unless it is recommended by a veterinarian, you shouldn’t need to take your dog or cat’s temperature at home. However, if you are instructed to do so by your veterinarian, you can find more information on how to measure your dog’s temperature at home in this VetStreet article.

If you take your pet’s temparture and it is outside of the normal range and you see evidence of diarrhea or bloody stool, contact your veterinarian immediately. 

Heart Rate

Heart rate varies significantly from one pet to the other. According to VetStreet, a dog or cat’s heart rate can vary anywhere from 60 to 140 beats per minute. A faster heart rate will often be found in a small dog, a puppy, or a dog who is not in very good shape. Because I check on Rooney’s heart rate, I know that his tends to be a bit on the faster side.

How to check your dog’s heart rate?

You can check your dog’s heart rate in two ways.

You can feel your pet’s heart rate by gently placing your hands on their chest, or you can feel their heart rate through their femoral artery located in their thigh (see photo).

Respiratory Rate

Respiratory rate is a really important measurement for a pet parent to know. It’s a clear indicator of your dog’s discomfort and can help you determine an emergency if you dog is at risk for overheating.

If your dog is panting frantically and is glassy-eyed, don’t count anything except the minutes it will take you to get to a veterinarian. Your dog is in critical condition from overheating. – VetStreet

A dog who is at rest should breath somewhere between 10 and 35 breaths per minute. If your dog is panting and the symptoms are combined with the description above, you may be in an emergency situation.

Vitals Monitored by Your Vet

Do You Know Your Pet's Vitals?

Photo credit: http://www.vmdtechnology.com

While the top 3 vitals are the most important for you to know as a pet parent, I want to share with you some other important information that is typically monitored at the veterinary hospital. The chart above is an example of how your pet’s vitals might be tracked if they are being hospitalized. To provide some additional transparency for pet parents, let me discuss what a few of these items mean.

Attitude

BAR stands for Bright, Alert and Responsive. This means that your pet entered the hospital looking like they feel okay; tail-wagging, normal energy, and behavior. Another descriptor that could be used here is NDR, which stands for Not Doing Right. This description might be used to describe a pet who seems lethargic, unresponsive, and sick. (PetMD)

MM = Mucous Membranes

Specifically, veterinarians and their technicians are looking at the color of your pet’s mucous membranes. If you want to check your pet’s mucous membranes, all you need to do is gently lift their lip and check their gums. You want to see bright and pink mucous membranes (i.e. gum tissue).

What you don’t want to see are membranes that are grey, white, purple, or tacky.

CRT

While checking your pet’s mucous membranes, your veterinarian or veterinary technician will also check your pet’s CRT, which stands for Capillary Refill Time. The best way I can explain how to measure your pet’s CRT is to gently press on their gums and see how long it takes the color to return (like checking a sunburn). If it takes 2 seconds or less to refill, your pet is within the normal range. However, if it take more than 2 seconds, then it is considered an abnormal CRT which might be indicative of dehydration, lack of blood flow, or lack of oxygen.

Other Metrics

While your pet is in the hospital, it is really important that someone is keeping track of their walks, water and food intake, and urination and defecation. Not only does this type of documentation make sure that every pet in the hospital gets the appropriate care no matter how busy things get, but it also provides your veterinarian with some additional insights regarding your pet’s health.

Knowing When You Can Monitor & When It’s an Emergency

Emergencies happen. As a pet parent, I am a fan of the phrase, “when in doubt, call your veterinarian”. You know your pet best and if you feel like their behavior, disposition, or overall health has changed (i.e. vomiting, diarhhea, increased or decreased urination, water intake, food intake, or defecation), call your veterinarian or emergency veterinarian.

However, at some point in your pet’s life you might need to monitor their vitals and their overall health. You should always do so with the guidance and direction of your veterinarian. That being said, I believe that knowledge is power. Knowing what the parameters of your pet’s health should be will make you that much more informed as a pet parent.

For more important information, and to read Carol’s Mom perspective on this topic, please visit Fidose of Reality.

medicine versus mom

Embark Dog DNA Test – Learning More About Your Dog

Dog DNA Test is a term that is somewhat controversial among veterinary professionals.

Mostly because the early dog DNA tests didn’t provide a lot of information, and lacked accuracy. Similar to pet insurance however, dog DNA testing has evolved in recent years and in a very positive way. One such company that is helping Dog DNA Testing to evolve is Embark.

Embark Dog DNA Test - Learning More About Your Dog

How is Embark different than existing Dog DNA tests?

Embark really sets themselves apart by using a Dog DNA test to provide pet parents with more information than just breed. An Embark dog DNA test provides you with information on Breed, Health, Traits, and Ancestry based on the 200,000+ genetic markers and 160+ genetic diseases they have identified. Each piece of information helps pet parents not only better understand their pet, but also helps them make better decisions regarding their pet’s health.

Embark Goes Above & Beyond

Embark was founded by Ryan and Adam Boyko, two scientists and researchers who spent many years discovering the genetic basis for many dog traits and diseases. Ryan and Adam created a research partnership with Cornell College of Veterinary Medicine and Spencer Wells, a well-known figure in consumer genetics, to create Embark.

Embark is clearly a company that is invested in the well-being of pets and their future. How do I know? They are interested in collecting data that will allow Animal Scientists and Veterinarians to improve dog wellness. As research partners of the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, Embark has a fantastic platform to conduct research. They also work with breeders so that the health of dogs in the future can be improved and preserved.

Embark Dog DNA Test - Learning More About Your Dog

So Who Did We Test?

While Rooney’s DNA test would have provided me with excellent information regarding his overall health, I was interested in learning more about what their test could offer someone who had already paid for a DNA test in the past, but was looking for something more. So, I turned to my friend Megan and her Hound Mix, Harrison Ford.

The Results

After receiving Harrison Ford’s DNA results, Megan was delighted to learn that Harrison Ford carried no genetic markers for known diseases, and she was provided with a percentage breakdown of HF’s breed profile.

In addition to Breed and Family Profile, Embark also provides information for every Breed Family identified in your dog’s DNA.

For an Animal Science major, the next offer from Embark was one of my favorites! They used Harrison Ford’s mitochondrial DNA and Y chromosome to identify where his maternal and paternal ancestors were from and how they got there.

Now, if you are interested in learning more about the science behind your dog’s DNA, this is only scratching the surface. Embark provides you with a full advanced analysis and profile of your dog’s DNA as well.

So why is all this information important?

While Embark cleared Harrison Ford for 24 common conditions in his breed mix, Megan can research any extra health conditions associated with Harrison Ford’s breed mix so she can know what to look out for. Meaning, Megan has an opportunity to research diseases and conditions that are typical for Australian Cattle dogs, among other breeds, so that she can keep her eye out for early symptoms and signs.

Not to mention, they have both now contributed to protecting the health and wellness of future generations of pets.

Now, it’s your turn. Do you want to know more about your dog and their genetic health? If so, visit Embark to get your dog DNA test.

Is Your Pet Improving Your Mental Health?

Many Americans are aware that the concern regarding mental health and stability among adults is increasing.

Approximately 1 in 5 adults in the U.S.—43.8 million, or 18.5%—experiences mental illness in a given year” – National Alliance on Mental Health 

The term “mental illness” refers to conditionals such as bipolar disorder, depression, or schizophrenia (Newsweek).

While research regarding mental illness grows, so does the research surrounding pets and their positive affect on our mental health. Therefore, today, I would like to discuss some of the ways our pets improve our mental health.

Nurturing – It’s Important

According to the American Institute of Stress (AIS), the ability to care for living things is necessary for human health even though it has become increasingly under appreciated. Nurturing and caring for another being is associated with beneficial improvements in mental and physical health. Why is this important? Because the inability to care for other beings and social isolation can cause a person to be more likely to be diagnosed with depression and illness. Therefore, having a pet in your life provides you with the nurturing opportunities you need to decrease your risk of being diagnosed with depression or other mental illnesses.

It is important to note that the ability to care for something includes pets, but is not limited to cats and dogs.

The pet-health link has been well established for relationships with dogs, cats, birds, mammals, reptiles, aquarium fish and horses. A prominent researcher in this field also suggests that similar benefits may extend to individuals who care for their gardens, farmers actively tending their crops, 4-H children with pet animals, as well as bird watchers and wild bird feeders.” – AIS

Is Your Pet Improving Your Mental Health?

Improving Physical Health

While this discussion is primarily focused on mental health, there are very strong links between mental health and physical health. So whenever pets are improving our physical health, they are also improving our mental health.

People with any chronic physical disease tend to feel more psychological distress than do healthy people. Poor physical health brings an increased risk of depression, as do the social and relationship problems that are very common among chronically ill patients. – PsychCentral

So, how exactly are pets improving our physical health? 

There are so many ways that pets improve our physical health. Here are a few examples:

  • Pets can lower blood pressure and decrease your heart rate in stressful situations due to the comfort their presence provide by being in the room. (The Review)
  • Studies showed an improvement in “Activities of Daily Living” in elderly individuals. The people were better able to perform physical tasks and reported feeling more positive about different aspects of their lives (VCU).
  • Pets reduce a person’s risk of getting heart disease.

Owning pets is associated with reducing your risk of heart disease, and there are a variety of reasons that may be at work that influence this relationship. – American Heart Association

  • People who walk their dogs are more likely to have the daily required amount of exercise.
  • Some research has shown that there is a possibility that pet owners can have lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels

Social Interaction versus Isolation

Pets provide us with social support in a variety of ways. Not only do they improve our ability to connect with people in the same room, but they also encourage us to be more social and leave the house. Additionally, their ability to improve our heart health and physical health, also fights depression.

For example, the combination of heart disease and depression can cause twice the reduction in social interaction than either condition alone. – PsychCentral

So Much More

As research regarding the Human-Animal bond grows, the evidence suggests that pets help us in more ways than originally considered. According to the National Center for Health Research, people with pets are healthier in a variety of ways.

Some research studies have found that people who have a pet have healthier hearts, stay home sick less often, make fewer visits to the doctor, get more exercise, and are less depressed. Pets may also have a significant impact on allergies, asthma, social support, and social interactions with other people. – National Center for Health Research

In conclusion, your pet(s) is (are) improving your mental health in the following ways:

1) Providing you with a being to care for which decreases your chances of being diagnosed with mental illness or depression.

2) Improving your physical health, which directly affects your overall mental health.

3) Improving social interaction and decreasing social isolation which also decreases your chances of becoming depressed.

4) Being there. The evidence suggests that the benefits of pets in our lives is cumulative. They have a positive effect on us that overall improves our physical and mental health.

Did you know that pets improve mental health?

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