All posts by Sandy McClafferty

How to Tell If Your Pet Has Allergies

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Allergies can be quite a nuisance for humans. The runny noses, itchy eyes, and discomfort get too much to deal with sometimes. Just like humans, animals get allergies, too, and they need medical attention as well. The question here is, how can you tell if your pet has an allergy?

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  • Biting and Scratching

The most common sign that indicates the pet is suffering from an allergy is that it scratches and bites itself like crazy to relieve the itchiness that it feels. Along with this, their skin also gets flushed and inflamed. These allergies could be due to pollen grains or any plants. Bathing your pet using mild shampoo can provide temporary relief. However, a visit to the vet is mandatory.

  • Excess Shedding

Pets can get dandruff as a consequence of certain allergies that cause excessive hair loss and shedding. Dandruff dries out the animal’s skin, as a result of which it feels itchy. When your pet scratches its itchy, flaky skin, not only does it lose its hair, but it also sheds dry skin.

  • Inflamed Skin

Just like runny noses and itchy eyes are common symptoms of allergies in humans, skin infections are common in animals. The skin of animals becomes inflamed and even infected as a result of excessive scratching. If you observe reddened, inflamed, or infected skin, you need to take your pet to the vet so that it can be given the right medicines.

  • Paw Licking

Paw licking is a common habit in cats and dogs, but excessive paw licking can be an indication of pet allergies.

  • Licking of the Anal Region

This behavior is more common in dogs, but it indicates that your pet is having an allergic reaction to something. If the dog is scooting towards its rear and is licking its anal region, it is probably because it is feeling itchy. When you notice this behavior, you should take it to the vet immediately.

  • Respiratory Issues

Allergy-related respiratory issues are common in cats. Cats often suffer from allergic bronchitis due to pollen grains or poor air quality.

Keeping a check for the signs and symptoms listed above will help you figure out whether your pet is suffering from any pet allergies. You will then be able to take them to the vet and get them treated on time.

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Heartworm Awareness Month – What Every Pet Owner Needs to Know About Heartworm

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Heartworm disease is a very serious and potentially fatal disease in animals, especially dogs, cats, and ferrets. It is caused by Dirofilaria immitis, a parasitic worm. This disease can cause damage to vital organs like the heart and lungs, which, in many cases, leads to death. To make pet owners aware of this serious disease, Heartworm Awareness Month is celebrated in April every year. It’s a month where pet owners are taught all they need to know about this deadly disease.

Dogs are definitive hosts, which means that the heartworm thrives best in dogs. Naturally, you cannot protect your dog from getting the disease unless you’re well-informed on prevention methods. To make things easier for you, we have listed down a few things about heartworm that every pet owner should know.

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  • How Do Animals Get Heartworm?

Animals get heartworm through mosquito bites. Small larvae of heartworm are present in the blood of mosquitoes, which are transferred to animals when the mosquito bites them. You cannot tell if the mosquito is infected, and there is no other way for this disease to make its way to your pet.

  • Which Hosts Do Heartworms Prefer?

Dogs are the natural hosts for this parasitic worm. They mature, live, and reproduce in the dog’s body. Cats are atypical hosts, and cats that get heartworm do not survive for long enough for the heartworms to mature. Cats with adult heartworms are found to host only a few (2 to 3) adult worms.

  • What Damage Do Heartworms Cause?

Heartworms are capable of causing lasting damage to the vital organs. They affect the lungs, heart, and arteries. The damage is so severe that it lasts for a lifetime, even if the heartworms are gotten rid of.

  • How Is Heartworm Disease Diagnosed?

Heartworms in the blood can be detected easily by a simple blood test. However, it may take up to 6 to 7 months for them to appear in the blood. As such, a good preventive measure is to get your pet’s blood tested every 6 months.

  • Symptoms of Heartworm Disease

The symptoms of heartworm disease can help you identify it before the infection gets worse. The symptoms include a persistent cough, fatigue after only moderate physical activity, reluctance to exercise, weight loss, and reduced appetite. Heart failure and a swollen belly are normal when the disease gets worse.

  • How Can Heartworm Disease Be Treated?

Treatment of this disease is very expensive, and it is different for all animals. Dogs are given adulticide to kill adult heartworms. The treatment may also include the use of steroids and histamines. In some cases, the dogs are operated on to remove adult heartworms from the chambers of their hearts.

To keep your dog safe from this deadly disease, the best thing to do is to get a blood test done every 6 months so that the presence of any heartworms can be detected during the early stages.

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Adopt a Senior Pet Month – How Your Pet Ages

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Would you believe if we told you that there’s a month dedicated to making the lives of older pets better by helping them find loving homes? Every year, November is celebrated as National Adopt a Senior Pet Month. During this period, people who are looking for pets are encouraged to consider adopting senior pets.

This is a great initiative, but how would you know when a pet is old enough to be called a senior pet? If you’re wondering how dogs and cats age and when exactly they become old, you’ve come to the right place!

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How Dogs Age

You may have heard numerous times that one dog year is equal to seven human years. This ‘seven-year rule’ implies that dogs usually live 1/7th as long as humans. However, this is not a hard-and-fast rule. It varies with the breed of the dog. Let’s have a look at how a dog ages.

The age of the dog is more closely associated with the weight of the dog rather than its lifespan. A dog that is 5-year old and weighs 20 pounds is close to a 33-year-old human being. Similarly, a dog that weighs more than 90 pounds is said to be around 41 years old in human years. Smaller dogs age slowly as compared to their larger counterparts.

Whether a dog is in its puppy stage, the adult stage or senior stage depends on how big it is and how much it weighs. A dog that is fairly large in size may be classified under the label of a senior pet at the age of 5 or 6 years, whereas a smaller breed of dog may fall under the senior pet bracket at the age of 10 to 12 years.

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Age Is Just a Number

You can’t say for sure how pets age. Every pet ages in a different manner and follows a different criterion. Age is just a number when it comes to your pets. Senior pets that are well-cared for can have longer life spans. Although they might start looking old, with white hair and a slower walking pace, your pet can live longer if you take adequate care of it.

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