Top Questions About Canine Heartworms

Thanks to Guest Author Michele Bowie for this article.

Chihuahua short hair (puppy)

Chihuahua short hair (puppy) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

If you have recently adopted a pet dog, you might already be enjoying the pleasures of owning one: exceptional cuteness, an incurable curiosity, and a boatload of energy. Puppies melt hearts daily, and owning one is just about one of the greatest treasures on earth. However, adopting a puppy comes with a price, and that price is responsibility. As a part of your responsibility to take care of your favorite four-legged friend, you are required to take care of his or her physical health. Whether you take your new puppy to the vet or purchase Heartgard for dogs at the best price available, you will find yourself taking on new endeavors in an effort to keep your new friend physically safe.

What are some common health issues your puppy can face?

One of the more obvious health issues your new puppy might experience would be genetic; for example, poodles are prone to receive cataracts. Regardless of whether or not you have chosen a tiny Chihuahua puppy or a little golden retriever as the newest addition to your family, heartworms is a major health consideration to watch out for. Unfortunately, heartworms are very prominent in dogs, causing them to be much more susceptible to the infection. According to the American Heartworm Society, dogs are considered the definitive host when it comes to heartworms.

How do dogs get heartworms?

Picture of a heartworm (Dirofilaria immitis) m...

Picture of a heartworm (Dirofilaria immitis) microfilaria taken through a microscope at 400x. Taken by Joel Mills on April 21, 2005. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

One answer: mosquitoes. If a mosquito is carrying the heartworm larvae and bites a dog, the infection is immediately transmitted. When the larvae grow, they develop and migrate, and then produce their offspring (known as microfilariae). These microfilariae enter the bloodstream.

Aedes albopictus - Tiger mosquito

Aedes albopictus – Tiger mosquito (Photo credit: Camponotus Vagus)

How can I prevent my dog from receiving heartworms?

There are heartworm options available, such as:

  • Injections
  • Monthly pills
  • Topical treatments

Remember, preventing the actual disease is fundamental. After you have your puppy settled into your home, you should ensure to keep him or her safe from any harm. It’s a good idea to purchase Heartgard for dogs at the best price available so that your puppy can be safe and protected at once.

What are the symptoms of heartworms?

Description unavailable

Description unavailable (Photo credit: stefernie)

Although a blood test is the most definite answer you can receive, here are a few signs your puppy might have received heartworms:

  • Lack of eating/inability to eat
  • Loss of energy and lethargy
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • An abrupt collapse
  • A bulging chest
  • Nosebleeds
  • Blindness
  • Seizures
  • Cough

If your puppy has had any of the above symptoms, take him to the vet immediately.

My dog has heartworms—how can I treat it?

There is an injection treatment for heartworms, but the overall cost can be up to $1,000. It’s much better to prevent heartworms in the first place with Heartgard or by keeping your dog out of mosquito-infested areas.

Your puppy will bring you many days of joy and tons of laughter throughout the course of your lives, but don’t forget that preventing heartworms is a crucial step in first adopting your new friend. Make sure to prolong his or her life with a good heartworm preventative so your cute little puppy can grow old with you.

Michele Bowie is the owner of an adorable Chihuahua named Tina. She lives in Philadelphia, PA and works in a vet’s office. She enjoys writing in her spare time.

Want 2 Pet Dogs? Here’s 4 Breeds That Get Along Well Together

Thanks to guest Author Neil Kilgore for this article.

 

English: A Ruby Cavalier King Charles Spaniel ...

English: A Ruby Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Puppy (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Many families find that having two dogs is actually better than having one. This is because the two are companions when the humans are gone to their various activities. But it is important that you carefully combine the two dogs because you really want them to care more about your family than they do about each other. Whole Dog Journal has a good discussion of that dynamic here.

Choosing the breed of your pets

A big factor in having two dogs is the compatibility of their breed. Among the top breeds known to get along with other dogs, here are four to consider:

  1. Golden Retriever–the most popular dog in the US, friendly and calm but loving activity, weighing 55 to 75 pounds when full grown
  2. Bernese Mountain Dog–a gentle giant weighing 70 to 115 pounds at maturity, excellent with children and other pets but the size difference can cause problems
  3. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel–the classic lap dog at 13 to 18 pounds, very dependent upon companionship and eager to please
  4. Bichon Frise–tiny at 7 to 12 pounds, tolerant and friendly

The Golden Retriever and Bernese Mountain Dog are larger breeds known for their amiable personalities. The King Charles Spaniel and Bichon Frise are smaller dogs that are equally gentle. It makes sense to avoid aggressive or highly territorial breeds when you are combining your household pack, because the pack dynamic is unavoidable. Dogs who are naturally inclined to be laid back about things make the adjustments easier.

A male Golden Retriever named Tucker.

A male Golden Retriever named Tucker. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Planning for your pets

But there is more to a multi-dog household than breed compatibility. Veterinary Partner suggests that combining a male of larger breed with a female of smaller breed will use the natural inhibitions of aggressive behavior from male to female and large to small in your favor. There will be adjustments as each member of the pack finds their place; you and your household members will be considered members of that pack so be diligent to stay “alpha”. It is extremely important that you work with each dog individually and know not only the general breed characteristics but the personality of your own pets.

Bernese Mountain Dog

Bernese Mountain Dog (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A multi-pet household is common and most owners will tell you that the extra investment in time and training is well worth it. Take the time to do research on the animals you are considering and make your choice with an eye on the future: your dogs will be with your family for a long time. Think about who will be in the home at the end of your pet’s natural lifespan and be aware of each breed’s tendency toward specific health problems.

With two or more dogs, your vet expenses will be at least double. Knowing what to expect with the breed you choose will help you deal proactively with potential problems. Owners of multiple combinations in these breeds; the Golden Retriever, the Bernese Mountain Dog, the King Charles Cavalier Spaniel, and the Bichon Frise, are all pleased with their choice and glad to have more than one canine companion.

 

Neil Kilgore is the Jack (Russell) of all trades at Greenfield Puppies in Lancaster Pa. He regularly blogs about dogs, breeders and puppies on the Greenfield Puppies website.

How to Keep Cats Off Your Car

If you have cats in you neighborhood or you own a cat or two, coming outside to see these cuddly creatures comfortably resting on your vehicle may be a common occurrence for you. However, there are a number of humane ways to repel cats from your car and prevent the paw prints and scratches these furry creatures can sometimes (unintentionally) cause.

Cayenne Pepper
One effective method for making sure cats don’t end up on your car is to sprinkle a little cayenne pepper around your automobile. Cats are repelled by the spiciness of the herb, and will learn after a few days that coming close to your car means nasal irritation and stinging paws. Of course, it may also be effective to sprinkle a little of the pepper on the hood of your car as well. You may have to use this remedy for a few days until all the cats in the neighborhood get the point.

Mothballs

English: Mothballs

English: Mothballs (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Or, you can hang mothballs all around your car, including on the roof of your vehicle. Yes, the smell is very strong and unappealing. But cats feel the same way about the odor of mothballs that most humans do. Once the animals get a whiff, they are very likely to stop taking naps on your car.

Wolf Urine
While this may not be the most appealing option, spraying wolf urine from the local hunting and game store all around your car could scare the neighborhood cats from jumping on top of your vehicle. The wolf urine will indicate to the animals that there are predators nearby, which is especially frightening for indoor cats. Using this method for a few days could prove to be effective.

Pet Alarm 
Installing a motion-sensitive pet alarm may scare away cats with the noise it makes if the animals get too close to your car. You can set it up on the roof of your vehicle each evening when you park your car to ward off felines throughout the night.

Timed Sprinklers

English: Lawn sprinklers in operation at the in .

English: Lawn sprinklers in operation at the in . (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If you don’t have a garage and want to make sure that your car doesn’t have paw prints or scratches from cats once your vehicle is parked, set up a few timed sprinkles in your yard, close to your vehicle. This way, if the cats get too close to the car, they’ll be sprayed with water and run the other way. It’s a common perception that cats hate water, and this is somewhat true with the exception of a few house breeds, so setting up automatic sprinklers may be an effective solution.

ScatMat
A ScatMat is a device you put on your car that shocks animals with static and teaches them not to perch on your vehicle. You can put the ScatMat on or around your car to reinforce to the cats in the neighborhood that your car is not their playground. After you’ve had the mat out for a week or two, you may be able to put it away, as the cats will associate your automobile with static shock. However, it’s a good idea to keep the ScatMat on hand in case any new pets move into the neighborhood.

These are just a few of the remedies you can use to prevent cats from ruining your car. In many cases, it may take a combination of these methods to truly solve the problem.