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Health

What To Do About Those Fleas

Fleas are a nuisance both to animals and people, causing both pain and irritation. It was because of fleas carrying bubonic plague that brought about the Black Death starting in the 14th century. It all started in south western Asia, and spread all through Europe, and into Great Britain. It has been estimated that over a third of the population of Europe died during the Plague.

There's Always Good News

The good news is, there haven’t been very many cases of bubonic plague in recent years, so you’re pretty safe from catching that from your dogs fleas (actually, the fleas have to be on rats, or other types of rodents).

The bad news is that you can contract other nasty things, including: Murine typhus (endemic typhus) fever, tapeworms, and Hymenolepis. So, the question is, how do you get rid of these malicious mongrels? Well, if I don’t have any experience treating human flea bites, I have lots of experience with treating flea bites on dogs.There are multiple ways of treating flea bites, with several working better than others. The first method is pretty traditional, although its not very effective. All you have to do is grab a pair of tweezers, and go at it; picking out any black and brown speck of the dogs hair and skin. While this method has to be the oldest available, I don’t recommend it at all. Since one female flea can lay up to 10,000 eggs, this method would be extremely time consuming.  

Three Steps 

There is a three step process in getting rid of a flea epidemic in your household. The first step is

 BATH: bathe your dog with a flea killer shampoo. Lather up your hands with some of this stuff, and scrub down your dog until you are completely satisfied. I recommend about fifteen minutes in the bath - just to make sure the dog is completely covered. After the bath, comes the next step: 

APPLY: Now, you are ready to apply a medicine onto the dog, making sure that the fleas will be completely killed. I reccomend Frontline.This is applied directly to the back of the dog.The medicine will be absorbed into the dog’s oil glands, and then will be distributed evenly throughout the entire body. Any flea on his skin will be killed within twenty four hours. The Final Step is:

 CLEAN: This is the hard part. Everything that the dog has come into contact with needs to either be vacuumed, or thrown into the washing machine. All of the toys, stuffed animals, rugs, blankets go into the washing machine with lots of Soap and Clorox. Vacuum all the carpet and hardwood floors. Most of the flea population lives in the carpet in the larva and pupa stage. Just getting rid of the fleas on the dog is not enough, as more and more fleas will emerge from their eggs. Simply Vacuuming will eliminate most of the eggs and larva, and the rest who make it to adult fleas, will hop onto the dog, only to find a Frontline flea killer all over the dogs skin.

Things Your Dog Should Stay Away From

There are many types of plants, items, and liquids that your dog should stay away from. Even  everyday household items are hazardous to your dogs health. For starters, don't let your dog chew or lick anything that doesn't "belong to him." For example, my dog naturally would like to chew on my shoes and my rug, but that's what his chew toys are for.

I stop him from eating up my rug because I don't want him chewing and licking up other types of foreign objects. Items like hairspray,deodorant, nail polish, soap, detergent, mothballs, lotion, and suntan lotion can all make your dog really sick.

KEEP YOUR DOG AWAY FROM "PEOPLE STUFF"

 

Keep your dog away from pennies. Sometimes pennies will fall out of your pocket onto the floor where little kids and pets can get to them. Because of the zinc found on the pennies surface, it will cause hemolytic anemia, killing your dog if ingested. Antifreeze is also a common cause of death in dogs. Because antifreeze is sweet to the taste, and is sometimes spilt, dogs will naturally congregate to the site of the spill and lick it up. Even once the spill is dry, some residue will still be present. If your dog lies down in that spot and gets the residue on his fur, he will try to lick it off. Antifreeze, snail poison, insect poison, and rat poison are all attractive to dogs. Any type of poison should be kept up high, way out of reach of pets, as well as children.

PEOPLE FOOD IS NOT GOOD FOR DOGS

I discourage feeding your dog table food, as it can be bad for its digestive system. Also, foods like chocolate, onions, grapes, raisons, gum, sweeteners, sultanas, currants, and some types of nuts (like macadamia nuts) are all bad for your dogs health. It wasn't known until recently, but feeding your dog grapes and raisons cause kidney failure which can kill your dog. Chocolate is lethal to dogs because of the coco that's found in the sugary snack. As a result, white chocolate can be used on rare occasions as a special treat. Feeding your dog chocolate will make your dog very sick. Chocolate contains theobromine which is lethal to dogs. A dog will eat a little bit of chocolate without any noticeable affect. But once the dog has that taste in his mouth, he will want more. Theobromine affects the nervous system and the heart rate. If ingested by a dog, it will make the dog restless, its muscles might twitch, it could even get as bad as hyperthermia, coma, and death. Giving your dog alcohol has the same affect on dogs as it does on humans. Also, don't give dogs people medicine. If your dog is hurt and is wining and crying, don't give it Tylenol or ibuprofen. If it is hurt really bad, take it to the vet where it can get treated properly. Tylenol is extremely toxic for your dog. Even though dogs are associated with bones, never give your dog cooked bones. Cooked bones will splinter in your dogs mouth and will not digest properly. As a general rule, keep the dog stuff with the dog, and keep the people stuff with the people. Both shouldn't interact with each other.

DON'T LET YOUR DOG CHEW UP PLANTS

Keep your dog away from suspicious plants. In other words, if you don't know what the kind of plant your dog is chewing on, don't let it chew on it. There are lots of plants that are toxic to your dogs health. Amaryllis, daffodils, ivy, iris, and tulips can all be fatal to your dog if eaten. Ingesting these plants will most likely cause an upset stomach, but it could also lead to coma and death. Caladium, dieffenbachia and philodendron will irritate your dogs throat when it eats or drinks anything. Probably the most dangerous plants are foxglove, lily of the valley, larkspur, oleander, and hops. All but hops affect the cardiovascular system, making the heart stop working. Hops is really dangerous because even small quantities can make your dog really sick, causing malignant hyperthermia.

Exercise For Dogs And Puppies

Exercise for your canine is an essential. Not exercising your dog or puppy can lead to health problems. They also tend to be more anxious when home alone. Here are some “Do’s” and “Don’ts” for exercising with your dog.

Try These:

Play with your dog. He/she usually doesn’t exercise much unless their owners do it with them. Try to always have time for them.

Play with your dog. He/she usually doesn’t exercise much unless their owners do it with them. Try to always have time for them.

Make sure you give him/her lots of water before and after exercising. Dogs can get heat strokes and get dehydrated quickly, even after running a short distance.

Stop whenever he/she wants to. If it has had enough, go inside, or quit exercising. It is most likely he/she needs to drink water, or potty.

Do not try these: 

Jumping is not an exercise to do often. Some jumps are OK for adult dogs, but don’t have your puppy jump too much. This can lead to hip problems later on, and he/she could lose his/her balance and fall, which could cripple your puppy. If you want your puppy to jump, only have it jump over small obstacles (such as putting a stick in between chair legs), and do not have it jump more than 7 minutes at a time.

Don’t leave your dog in a crate all day. Your dog (or pup) shouldn’t be closed up all day only to go outside when it needs to. Make sure it is housebroken if an inside dog, and if outside, have a fenced-in yard so he/she has freedom to run about.

Don’t pull your dog or jerk it with the leash. Doing this could cause a serious throat injury which could lead to death. Exercising your dog keeps both of you happy. Try exercising your dog whenever he/she wants to. Usually puppies sleep 20 hours each day, and adults average 15-18 hours. Whenever it is awake, it either needs to park (potty), eat, play, or rest. Here are some game or exercise ideas for your puppy:

Games and Activities:

Hide and Seek is fun for dogs. Hide and see if it can smell where you went!

Tag is also good. Your dog or pup might not know how to run from you, but it will come for you if you run!

Tug-of-war is always fun!

Playing fetch is fun for both dogs and pups. Puppies enjoy it immensely. Retrievers and Retriever crosses have a natural instinct to bring the bone or stick back to you.

Kong ® toys are very entertaining for both dogs and people! Put a dog biscuit in one and watch as your canine tries to get it out. They can stay in a pen for a whole hour and be focused on getting the biscuit out of the Kong ® !

Also, for another great game, wash a soda can and put it on its side. Get your dog to place it right-side up. Click when he gets close, and click and give him a jackpot when he does the behavior you want

Fun And Games

If you have a few minutes to play with your dog, who still has puppy in him. He’s getting extremely hyper from lack of exercise. What will he enjoy the most? Well, we of course can't know exactly what kinds of games your dog enjoys the most, but here is a "top ten" list my dog likes. Who knows, this could be the guide to your dog’s top ten favorite games.

10. Jump

This could include jumping through a hula hoop, or jumping over someone’s legs if they’re sitting in a chair and have them propped up on another. This requires a little bit of training, but in the end, your dog should really enjoy ‘Leap’ (especially if you have a few treats in your hand). They may even get to the point where Fido leaps without even wanting a treat, just for enjoyment.

9. Hide and Seek

It may take a while to teach your dog how to hide, but it’s easy for her to do the seek part! Just run off and hide real quick, and she’ll follow you. She gets the idea that you’re playing a game when she enters the room and can’t see you. So she hunts.

8. “Find it”

This is a fun favorite at our house. Our dog has learned to use his sniffer and hunt a certain object hidden in the room. You let him smell the object (an old hat, or a toy that you only use for the ‘find-it game’) and you make him wait outside the room. Once you’ve hidden it, say, “Find it!” the dog enters the room, sniffs around, and hunts down that object. It is a hilarious game that is challenging for the canine, and funny for friends and family to watch.

7. Monkey in the Middle

This is pretty self-explanatory. The dog is always in the middle, and you and a friend throw a tennis ball back and forth. Let her catch it every now and then.

6. Tug-of-war

Our dog loves his tug-toy so much. Every now and then he and I have a tug-of-war match. He usually beats me. Once I was sitting in the floor and he pulled me all the way across the room!

5. Kong

This is the ideal game for special occasions - i.e. when you’re out of the house or are leaving your doggie alone for a while. This toy is especially made to put treats inside and stay inside until the puppy finds a way to get them out. Putting peanut butter inside is even more fun for her, because even if she gets the treats out, there’s always a little peanut butter in there that she wants. Getting the treats out of the Kong can last for hours, with no puppy getting tired!

4. Chase Another

This is my favorite. I chase him (and it is very hard to catch him) then I run away and he chases me. Then I chase him…etc.

3. Fetch!

Throw a tennis ball as far as your yard (or local dog park) will allow you to and have Puppy fetch. (to teach her retrieve, see 52 tricks in 52 weeks)

2. Frisbee

This is another “Fetch” idea, but our dog likes it with the Frisbee better. It flies much nicer and Caspian even catches it in the air most of the time. It’s his second-to-favorite thing to do! But his first favorite is….

1. Flashlight/laser pointer

We don’t do this but every now and then. Our dog knows that it’s the flashlight or pointer that produces that object on the floor, but he loves to chase it anyway! It’s his most favorite thing. If he hears the flashlight ‘click,’ on, whether he’s asleep or upstairs, he comes running.

I hope these  help! And remember that pretty much whatever game you make up for you and your dog, you can bet that they will love it.

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