Recognizing Signs of Anxiety in Cats

In this article, I am going to talk about recognizing signs of cat anxiety, and how you can help your cat if he is suffering from anxiety.

Sound good?
Let’s dive in

We often think that cats do not get stressed or suffer from anxiety
But this is not true at all.

Cats are emotional animals and just as how we humans can suffer from anxiety your little feline friend could be hurting too.
The worst part is, if we don’t recognize the signs then this can cause your cat to feel even more stressed and can lead to more complicated behavior problems or health issues.
It is essential as cat parents that we understand the symptoms of anxiety in your cat.

Recognizing Signs of Cat Anxiety

Let’s look out for the signs of anxiety so you can help your kitty stay calm if they are suffering from this.

1. Excessive Grooming
Cats are very clean animals and they spend around 30% of their lives grooming themselves to keep themselves clean!
It can be difficult to notice if your cat is over-grooming due to being stressed.
One thing to look out for is if you start to notice your cat losing some part of their hair on their body.
Are they leaving some patches?
This is over grooming which could be a sign that your cat is stressed.

2. Litter Box Avoidance
If your cat has all of a sudden stopped using the litter box then this could be a sign of anxiety.
Your cat will not just stop using the litter box for no reason.
It can be frustrating when they decide to all of a sudden relieve themselves out of the litter box.
So it’s important not to shout at your cat if he does because it’ll make things worse.

3. Aggression
Your cat won’t just all of a sudden become aggressive unless something is wrong with him.
This could be a sign of anxiety.

4. Excessive meowing
If your cat has started to meow more than normal then this is a way of your cat saying to you something is wrong by getting your attention through meowing. This might mean they are feeling anxious and want your attention
This meow would sound like a distress call to you.

5. Hiding
From seeing your cat every day to now seeing him rarely because he’s hiding can mean your cat is feeling anxious.

6. Changes in eating
Have you noticed a difference in your cats eating habit?
Is he eating too much or just stopped eating altogether? This could be a sign of anxiety.
Before you actually determine this, you should take your cat to the vet to rule out any medical condition.

7. Following you around everywhere
If your cat does not want to leave your sight and starts to follow you everywhere, then this could be a sign of anxiety.
You see, cats can suffer from separation anxiety too.
Although this can make you feel loved because your kitty is following you everywhere, it can also mean your cat is stressed too.
These are signs you should look out for in your cat to ensure your cat is not suffering from anxiety.

What Causes Anxiety in your Cat?

Here are some things that may cause your cat to become anxious:

  • New pet: Cats appreciate company although they can get through the day lounging around. If a new pet has entered his territory (your house) then this will cause your cat to become stressed especially if the introduction is not done correctly. This is a significant change for your cat so it’s important to know how to introduce a new pet to your cat.
  • Changes in the environment or moving homes: Moving can be very stressful for us humans, and it can be stressful for your cat too. Also, changes in the climate can stress your cat out too and this can lead to your cat spraying, especially on new furniture.
  • Visitors: New visitors can cause your cat to become anxious so if you are planning on having friends coming over or a family then make sure your cat has enough space for himself should they become scared and worried. It gives your cat some breathing space too.
  • An absence of the owner: If you are away for some time more than usual due to work or just doing overtime, this can cause stress to your cat. Especially if your cat had unfortunately been abandoned earlier in their lives or been kept in shelter
  • Bad experience: Unfortunately cats that have had a bad experience in their past due to being a stray cat or faced some hard times can be a reason for anxiety. If this is the reason, then it is imperative to show your cat extra love and affection.
  • Cat parent being stressed: In this fast-paced world, we live in where we have so many responsibilities, such as work, family commitments, financial situations, it can get very stressful! And if you are stressed, your cat can get stressed too!

These are some of the reasons for your cat to be anxious

Now that we know what the signs to look out for and what can cause anxiety let’s look at how cat parents can help their cats if they are ever anxious and stressed

How to Treat Cat Anxiety

The wrong way is to shout at your cat and get frustrated
I would really advise cat parents to never take this approach and to have patience
Shouting at your cat will only increase the problem and make things worse

Here are some of the things you can do to help your cat when they are stressed and anxious:

  • Spend quality time together: If your cat is anxious then they need you the most. They want attention, love and affection. Give them all this and go extra! Spend quality time with your kitty. Pet him, stroke him and let him take a cat nap on your lap. By doing this, you are giving your cat reassurances that he is loved and this will make him feel safe and secure and more importantly reduce anxiety!
  • Create a safe space for him: Create a cat environment for your cat. If your cat feels stressed due to visitors coming over or you have nephew and nieces who love running after your cat then provide your cat a safe space in the house. For example you can buy your cat a Cat tree or cat shelves where your cat can overlook everything from a height and a distance. Cats are very territorial and they love to see what is happening from the top.
  • Pheromone sprays: This spray is designed to make your cat feel calm especially if they are stressed
  • Play with your cat: You should spend at least 15 – 20 minutes a day playing with your cat. This creates a bond between you and your kitty. This will help reduce any stress your cat may have. it also shows your cat that you love him as you are giving him attention. Your cat will also get the exercise they need and this exercise releases endorphins in your cat’s brains that will help reduce the stress in your cat
  • Stick with routine: Try and stick to your cats routine. Feed them at the same time every day. This regularity helps with their digestive system too

Wrap Up

It may be difficult to keep your cat completely stress free but it’s very important that you know and understand what the symptoms are of anxiety in your cat.

By having this knowledge, you can help your cat as soon as you recognize any of the symptoms. If you suspect something is wrong with your cat then you should take them to the vets to rule out any health issues.

The main thing is shower your cat with love and affection. Spend time with them and play with them with a variety of toys.

They want attention and love. The misconception that cats are self-reliant and don’t need the love is far from true. Showering them with your love and affection will only help reduce your cat from being stressed and suffering from anxiety.

To find out more on how you can show love to your cat, you can check out my article.
How do you tell your cat you love them

About the Author
Ibrahim Raidhan is a cat parent himself and due to his love for cats has created  Catloverhere.com, which is a website dedicated to cat parents.

 

 

 

 Related Products

HomeoPet Anxiety (15mL)

FELIWAY MultiCat 30 Day Starter Kit (48 ml)

Bach Rescue Remedy Pet (0.35fl oz)

Vetoquinol Zylkene 75mg (14 capsules)

Canine Influenza -Infographic

Also known as dog flu, the canine influenza is spreading its way across the United States and affecting more dogs each day. This is a very contagious respiratory disease caused by Type A influenza virus. To make things even worse, there are two different types of A influenza dog flu virus. The first one is the H3N8 virus and the other the H3N2 virus.

H3N8 Virus

The H3N8 virus made its appearance in 2000, and four years later started affecting the dogs in the United States. The virus originated from horses and got transmitted to racing Grayhounds that raced on the same horse tracks.

H3N2 Virus

The H3N2 virus was initially found in birds, and then it was transmitted to dogs. Now, this virus can be transmitted between dogs and cats. The virus was first detected in 2007 in China and South Korea. In 2015 the H3N2 virus occurred in the United States, and so far it was reported in more than 30 states.

Even though the dog flu is widely spread, the silver lining is: it has a low mortality rate of only 10%. This is probably the silver lining and good news for all dog owners.

Check out this infographic for more facts on the dog flu in order to better help you protect your pooch:

How to Keep them Healthy

The reason why so many dogs get infected with canine influenza is that the virus is easily spread from one dog to another. Your pooch can be infected by being in the direct contact with a carrier, through the air, and through a contaminated object, like a food bowl, toy, leash, or a blanket.

Once a dog gets infected, it takes 2 days for him to develop the first symptoms. The dog will start to cough, sneeze, and develop a fever that is accompanied by the general feeling of lethargy. For both the H3N8 and the H3N2 viruses the first 5 days are the same, and during that time the dog should receive treatment and show signs of recovery.

However, even though the dog seems healthy, he still carries the virus within him and can transmit it to other dogs. It takes 15 days for dogs with H3N8 virus to stop being infectious. On the other hand, the H3N2 stays in a dog’s system for 25 days during which time he can make other dogs sick.

Since dog flu is taking the forms of an epidemic, it is best to take on the preventive measures and keep your pooch protected. The best way you can do that is to vaccinate him for canine influenza. Other methods are less reliable and include isolating infected animals, decontamination, and avoiding contact with potentially ill dogs.

The treatment for the dog flu usually include antimicrobials, anti-inflammatory meds, and IV fluids. Since all dogs are different you should be in touch with your vet and take your dog to regular checkups. This disease also causes loss of appetite; thus it is recommended to feed him with a “dog food to gain weight” diet. These foods have more calories and will help your pooch get back on all four legs a lot faster.

Like with all viruses, the only effective way of protecting your dog from canine influenza is to get him vaccinated. You probably get your flu shots on time every year, why shouldn’t it be the same for your dog?

About the Author

Charles B. Hardy is the founder of pawpawlover.com. Originally a vet, Charle has a tremendous love for dogs and is the owner of a Golden Retriever. He aspires to share his experience with anyone who cares about dogs well-being.

Cushing’s Disease in Dogs

Cushing’s Disease or Cushing’s Syndrome is a condition where the dog’s adrenal glands are producing an overabundance of hormones, specifically cortisone. Veterinarians refer to this as hyperadrenocorticism.

There are three types of Cushing’s disease, and they usually affect middle age to older dogs. Every kind of Cushing’s Disease affects the endocrine system. Any breed of dog can get Cushing’s Disease, but according to the American Kennel Club the Poodle, Boxer, Dachshund, Boston Terrier and Beagle are some breeds to watch. Most patients are elderly dogs over eight years old.

What Does the Endocrine System Do?

The endocrine system is a group of glands in the body which produce and release different hormones. These hormones regulate various body functions. The pea-sized pituitary gland, which is at the base of the brain, communicates with the adrenal glands and tell them when to release certain hormones, such as cortisone or cortisol. The Pituitary gland produces a hormone called adrenocorticotropic (ACTH).

ACTH communicates with the adrenal gland. The adrenal glands are peanut sized and located next to the kidneys. They produce a number of substances that regulate functions in your dog. Adrenal glands produce cortisone, helping to regulate the immune system, blood pressure, and blood sugar levels as well as improving the body’s response to stress. It is also referred to as the “fight or flight” hormone. Cortisone is meant to be produced in small amounts when your pet produces too much cortisone, then other problems develop.

Symptoms of Cushing’s

One reason Cushing can be difficult to diagnose is that its symptoms are similar to other diseases. Many of the symptoms are common attributes in an aging animal, often going unnoticed by pet owners. The overproduction of cortisone causes the dog to have an increased appetite, excessive drinking, and frequent urination. Your dog may not be able to hold his or her bladder and have accidents.

Additionally, your dog may develop a poor coat and act lethargic or sleepy. Hair loss is common and fat forms around the abdominal organs. As the abdominal wall weakens, it causes stretching of the abdominal muscles, giving the dog a potbellied pig appearance. Dogs with Cushing’s often develop skin problems such as skin infections, dark coloring or pigmentation and the inability to heal from skin irritations.

Different Types of Cushing’s Disease

Benign or malignant (less common) tumors can form on the pituitary gland at the base of the brain. Pituitary gland tumors cause 85 – 90% of all Cushing’s Disease in dogs. The tumor can trigger the pituitary gland to produce excess ACTH. This, in turn, stimulates the adrenal glands to produce excess cortisone.

When there is a tumor on the adrenal gland, the prognosis is more severe. These tumors have a 50/50 % of being benign or malignant and are more common in larger breeds.

Cushing’s disease can also be caused by excessive use of steroids, such as prednisone and dexamethasone. This is referred to as iatrogenic Cushing’s syndrome. Steroids are often given for legitimate medical concerns such as immune disorders, certain cancers and to reduce inflammation. However, their prolonged use can in turn trigger Cushing’s disease.

Diagnosing Cushing’s Disease

Cushing’s Disease is not always easy to diagnose. Veterinarians use a couple of necessary tests to check for Cushing’s. A blood test and fecal test. A urine test examines the cortisol: creatinine ratio to see if they are elevated. The ACTH stimulation test looks at how well the adrenal gland is functioning. The vet takes a blood sample before your dog receives a shot of ACTH. A few hours later your dog gets another injection of ACTH to see how or if it the hormone effects them. A normal response will cause the cortisone level to rise a small amount. If the cortisone level starts high and climbs higher after the injections then that is a good indicator for Cushing’s.

Another test that your veterinarian may utilize is a low-dose dexamethasone suppression (LDDS) test. In this test, the dog receives a shot of the hormone dexamethasone. This hormone inhibits adrenal production. If the cortisone level doesn’t lower then your pet have a tumor that is interfering with normal hormone production.

Additionally, the vet may take an abdominal ultrasound which allows them to see the size and condition of the adrenal gland to ascertain how it is functioning. A CT or MRI may be taken to look for any metastatic spread of the disease.


Treatment Options

Treatment is determined by what type of Cushing’s syndrome your dog has and how severe the symptoms. If your pet is experiencing mild symptoms, then you and your vet may wish to monitor and begin treatment when the symptoms become more severe.

The most common form of Cushing’s Disease, pituitary-induced, is also the most complicated to treat. There are several drugs that your vet may prescribe. The most widely used drugs are trilostane (Vetoryl) and mitotane (Lysodren). These drugs suppress the production of cortisone but have potential side effects so your pet should be monitored closely while taking medication. Vetoryl (trilostane) has been found to be effective in pituitary- and adrenal-related Cushing’s in dogs. According to the FDA, the most common side effects are:

  • Poor or reduced appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Lack of energy
  • Diarrhea
  • Weakness

More serious side effects can occur, such as bloody diarrhea, collapse, and severe sodium/potassium imbalance. Lysodren is a drug most often used on humans for chemotherapy that is not used often.

Your vet will prescribe enough of the drug to reduce symptoms but hopefully not bring about side effects. These medications will need to be administered for the rest of the dog’s life and your pet will need regular veterinary checkups as well to monitor the cortisone levels.

If your dog has an adrenal tumor, then surgery is the most common option. This surgery is complicated and expensive. If the tumor is benign, then a dog often makes a full recovery. If the tumor is malignant, it may only buy your dog some time as while it grows back. Medication can be prescribed in lieu of surgery.

Treating Cushing’s disease that is caused by overuse of steroids is complicated. You and your vet will want to discuss the reason steroids were given in the first place and what would be the effects of withdrawing the steroid. Cortisone should be withdrawn slowly, and your dog should be monitored throughout the process.

Dealing With Cushing’s Disease At Home

Now that you have a diagnosis and a medical treatment plan you are probably wondering what you can do to help your pet be comfortable and have a quality life. Once medication begins, it takes a week to several months for symptoms to be reduced.

If your dog has had surgery to remove a glandular tumor, they need to be monitored for internal bleeding. The incision should be closely watched for signs of infection.

Cushing’s disease causes excessive thirst so make sure your dog has plenty of clean water available. Since they may have mobility issues, keeping several bowls of water in different rooms is a good idea. Your dog will also have an increased appetite.

With drinking more water, your dog is going to have more frequent urination. You may notice the urine is paler in color which is a result of consuming more water. Your dog may also have more accidents and leak urine while they are sleeping. Use puppy pee pads in your dogs sleeping area and inside areas to protect your floors. Remember this is an accident and a result of your dog’s illness. Do not discipline your dog but try to give more frequent outside breaks and acceptable pee areas inside.

You may notice that your dog’s body composition changes. One of the symptoms in Cushing’s Disease is abdominal belly fat and a pot-bellied pig appearance. This can also lead to stretched skin on the back and a bony spine appearance. Keep in mind that your dog still wants attention and affection from you. However, as their body composition changes, they may desire attention in a different way.

Life Expectancy

Dogs with the pituitary gland type of Cushing’s Disease are expected to live three years longer on average. Since Cushing’s often occurs in elderly dogs some dogs may simply die of old age and not necessarily the disease. This disease can be controlled with medication, but it is not curable. Treatment is expensive, and your dog will need a regular check-up every 3 – 6 months to monitor the condition.

If your dog has had a successful surgery to remove a tumor on the adrenal glands then they may make a full recovery from the disease. In some cases, the tumor may grow back.

About the Author

Ame Vanorio is a freelance writer who specializes in blogs and articles on pets, wildlife, and veterinary topics. She lives on her farm in Falmouth, Kentucky with 5 fabulous dogs and numerous other pets.

What to Feed a Dog with an Upset Stomach

Stomach problems are very common in dogs. Almost every dog will go through some tummy upsets at some point. Mostly the stomach problems are minor and clear up after a few days. However, if an upset stomach persists, especially with vomiting and diarrhea, it can be a major problem.

Causes

Stomach problems in pets could be a result of many factors. From poor diet, allergies, infections, food intolerance or ulcers. Coffee is very toxic to dogs; it leads to vomiting, diarrhea, tremors, or even death. Keep caffeine away from dogs as it can put them in life-threatening situations.

The most important thing to remember is to monitor your dog’s symptoms closely regularly. This will help in getting a definitive diagnosis of the symptoms. Stomach problems could also be a symptom of underlying diseases including:

Gastritis – This is the inflammation or infection of the stomach lining. It causes a dog to vomit profusely accompanied by diarrhea. Sometimes there can be blood in diarrhea. Gastritis can be caused by infectious agents like bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites. Gastritis can occur due to a bad reaction to certain medications like NSAIDs. Gastritis can either be acute or chronic.
Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) – IBD still does not have an exact cause. Classic IBD symptoms include chronic diarrhea and/or vomiting. It is not curable but very manageable after an endoscopic biopsy is done by the vet.

General symptoms

Dogs naturally nibble at grass whenever they have stomach pains. Some common symptoms of an upset stomach in dogs include

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Blood in vomit
  • Blood in diarrhea
  • “Growling” sounds in the stomach area
  • Retching
  • Lethargy
  • Dehydration
  • Abdominal Pain
  • Lack of Appetite
  • Excessive drooling
  • Gagging
  • Fever
  • Bloating

Preventive Measures

Taking good care of your pet means feeding it the right type of food as well as taking precautionary measures. Here are some great feeding tips that will help your dog avoid coming into contact with common stomach upsets.

1. Hydration

Make sure your dog drinks clean water. Establish a routine of always emptying the water bowl after a few hours. Stagnant water is great breeding ground for bacteria and fungus. You could give your dog fresh cooled distilled water or regular tap water. Hygienic hydration will prevent bacterial related stomach problems.
Check on the hydration levels of your dog. This can be done by a simple exercise to establish skin elasticity. Pinch the skin, if it quickly pulls back your dog is okay. If it pulls back at a slower rate, chances are your dog is a little dehydrated.

2. Food

Pets, especially dogs should be fed with a specific diet by breed, weight and other genetic factors. If your pup is getting all the necessary nutrients in its diet, there is less chance of getting an upset stomach.
If you are planning to switch diets, do so in stages. When pet owner movea to a residence they might suddenly change diet which may cause an upset stomach in dogs. Dog’s stomach takes longer to adjust to new foods and may cause them to get stomach growls. It is also important to limit the amount of human food you feed your pet.
Feeding animals scraps off your dinner table denies your dog the nutrients they need. Dogs will also form a habit of clamoring at the table whenever food is prepared in anticipation of food.
This may be a bit embarrassing if you have dinner guests at your home. Some types of human foods may not go down well with dogs’ digestive system. These foods may be toxic to canines, causing stomach ailments.

What to do if your canine has an upset stomach?

Generally, if you notice your dog is having signs of stomach upsets there are a series of home remedies he can take to alleviate the pain. It is important to assess your dog’s condition in case it is a serious condition that needs immediate veterinary attention,

1. Stop all food and water intake – This is done to ensure the contents of the dog’s stomach are empty. It can be hard since we all love our dogs, but it’s a useful step in reducing stomach upsets. This can be done over 12- 24 hours, and it helps reduce vomiting and diarrhea. Fasting helps the stomach lining to rest if it was previously inflamed
During this fasting period, make sure that he has access to lots of cold fresh water. You could feed them ice cubes or chilled water. If you suspect tap water is the source of the problem, you could try giving your canine purified water or bottled water. Increasing the water intake helps in relieving stomach upsets faster.

2. Reintroducing solid food – After the fasting period is over, re-introduce solid foods. This mainly consists of a bland diet. During the recovery phase, make sure that you do not add any oils, fats or spices to the food.
Give small portions, as you gradually increase the amount of food and water offered over time till you reach the amount of a full meal for the dog. However, if your dog is still not feeling well enough to eat solid foods, try some chicken broth.
Try starting out with boiled white or brown rice. Prepare the rice to be a little mushy and serve in gradual small portions.
Next get some low-fat chicken meat as another form of food. Chicken has proteins which energize your dog and help in the recovery. Make sure you remove the skin and bones, feeding only the tender meat. Chicken meat goes well with rice or porridge and may be serve 6-8 times during the day.
Pumpkin also serves well for upset stomachs. Go for canned pumpkin and mix it into a soup. Because pumpkin is an excellent source of fiber, it helps dogs with vomiting and diarrhea problems. It has an agreeable taste, and your dog will love it.

Probiotics

Probiotics play a very big role in maintaining your dog’s overall health and helps in the recovery from upset stomach. The World Health Organization defines probiotics as “live microorganisms which when administered in adequate amounts confer a health benefit on the host.” The word originates from the Latin preposition pro meaning “for” and the Greek word bios which translates to “life.” In simple terms probiotics are the good bacteria that a dog needs to prevent and treat many diseases.
Probiotics are usually present in your dog’s gastrointestinal tract and block the development of harmful bacteria in the body. Some of these harmful bacteria include E. coli, Salmonella, and Clostridium perfringens, which cause stomach upsets in dogs.
Here are some active probiotics that help in relieving stomach upsets in dogs:

Yogurt

Yogurt helps with inflamed intestines. It is a natural probiotic that alleviates an upset stomach. Administer two or three spoonfuls a day for best results. Also, avoid the flavored brands and go for plain yogurt. Probiotic digestion supplements help in maintaining normal bowel function, as well as hardening of stools

Kefir

Kefir is a rich source of natural probiotics, made of fermented food that is great for relieving stomach upsets for your canine. Kefir is comprised of milk, kefir grains, yeasts, proteins, lipids and sugar. Most dogs love Kefir as a topping on their food or as a separate snack. Kefir is readily available at the grocery store but make sure you go for the unsweetened version. You can also make your own water kefir or coconut kefir at home.

Organic goat milk

Raw goat milk is rich in natural probiotics. Most people prefer it to cow milk because goat milk has very little concentration of lactose. Lactose contains sugars that may aggravate the upset stomach. Goat milk is also easier to digest than cow milk.

3. Observation stage – If your dog is responding well to the natural remedies, they should have no more vomiting or diarrhea. Lethargy should also have dropped off. Keep an eye out for any resurgence of symptoms.

4. Returning to the normal diet – Take your time and slowly transition your dog from the bland diet to the normal diet. A week should be enough while starting with a ratio of a bland diet to dog food at 1:4. Gradually increase the ratio throughout the week until you fully transition to dog food.

In case the stomach upset persists, do not hesitate to visit your veterinarian as quickly as possible.

Wrap Up

Prevention is the best way to avoid stomach upsets in dogs. Provide your dog with clean water, the correct foods and additional supplements. Most stomach upsets are very preventable. It is important to monitor your dog’s behavior if your dog is acting sick or not as his normal self. Look at what they could have eaten or drunk. This will help in identifying the cause of the problem. The home remedies are great for treating a vast array of stomach problems. If you are not sure about your dog’s symptoms seek immediate veterinary attention.

About the Author

Kathryn Brown is a freelance writer. She lives in Orlando, Florida with her husband and her pet Duke. When she’s not out exploring other countries, she spends most of her time teaching others how to work remotely while her pit bull, Annabelle, lounges alongside. She’s also an advocate for dogs like hers and aims to spread awareness everywhere she goes and make the pets feel included in the new world of technology.

Insuring Your Pet: Your Many Options

Just as sure as the sky is blue, the unexpected will happen to your pet. It’s not something we all want to think or be overly preoccupied with, but an unexpected sickness or accident may happen to your pet.

Why is Pet Insurance Important?

  • Two out of every three pets will experience a significant health problem during their lifetime
  • A pet receives emergency medical care every 2 ½ seconds
  • One in three pets will need emergency veterinary treatment every year
  • Dogs under the age of one are 2.5x more likely to have an unexpected visit to the vet

Now we can’t have our pet encased in a plastic bubble for the rest of its life. They need to be able to do fun pet things: Your dog needs to walk, run, play and socialize with other pets. And your cat needs to do the same. But incidents will happen, and your pet will sooner or later require medical attention.

Pet insurance is structured in the same way as health insurance is for humans. The premiums you pay vary depending on the scope of coverage, pet characteristics (age, breed, overall health), deductibles, and claim limits (annual, lifetime, treatment). A major component of premium costs relates to whether a policy covers preventative care. Policies can be simple, just covering shots and exams to more broad coverage, which can cover hereditary conditions.

Other interesting facts about pet insurance is that it is regulated as property and casualty insurance, not health insurance. 91% of pet insurance policies cover dogs. Accident and illness coverage average about $535 annually for dogs and $335 annually for cats. Finally, cancer, which is diagnosed in 12 million pets annually, will set an owner back an average of $2,033.

How Can I Pay?

One of the most significant impediments for people not being able to go to the vet is a lack of funds. Veterinary procedures can run up to several thousands of dollars, and this can leave some pet owners in a bind. In the worst situations, a pet owner may have to choose between taking care of their own financial obligations or the health or even the life of their pets.

There are many solutions available to help owners who are in these stressful situations. Pet insurance is now available through pet specific providers like Trupanion and Healthy Paws. Insurance conglomerates like Nationwide have pet plans to go with their many coverage packages. Crowdfunding sites like GoFundMe and YouCaring present online platforms where the community can donate to a pet-specific cause. Furthermore, there’s a new option that combines insurance and crowdfunding models to provide a way for pet owners to pay for each other’s expenses together.

Despite a tiny percentage of pets being insured in North America, pet insurance is now being considered by millennials and younger professionals who are choosing not to have children. It is because of this group of individuals that decide to become “pet parents” and are considering adding pet insurance to their standard plans, instead of having children. Companies are now considering adding pet insurance to their health, vision, and dental packages.

The next option pet owners should consider for funding pet expenses is through crowdfunding. When most people think of crowdfunding, they think of Kickstarter and Indie-a-gogo, which are mostly used by tech entrepreneurs to help seed their early stage startups.

Crowdfunding Is the Way to Go

Crowdfunding has become prevalent for charity and donations. Websites GoFundMe and YouCaring have been the most popular sites for funding those who have suffered through some sort of misfortune or are afflicted by ailments and are needing of financial help. These crowdfunding sites can be used by pet owners who do not have the financial capabilities to care for their pet. They need only to turn to the crowd, their friends, family, and anyone who cares for their cause.

If the unexpected were to happen to your pet, it is very easy to set up a GoFundMe campaign. Also, you can share your campaign on social media with your inner circle and your community.

The best cases of a GoFundMe campaign being successful relies on how much exposure the campaign receives. Often times a news report from your local station will mention a GoFundMe campaign raising funds to help an individual. Also, if you are extremely active on social media, your campaign will receive a lot of eyes because you have a lot of online friends. Unfortunately, some pet owners are not able to get local news coverage or have a professional publicist at hand. Also, not every pet owner, no matter how many times they post their pet’s picture on Instagram or Facebook, have a large following. We can conclude that crowdfunding through sites like GoFundMe can generate a lot of funding from the caring community but it requires a lot of legwork or a bit of luck to create the exposure and the buzz.

The option that combines insurance and crowdfunding the best would be an upcoming startup like Eusoh (pronounced you-so). This startup provides a platform where pet owners can come together and join groups to share pet expenses together. Simply, this site allows people to “pool” money together in case something happens. Traditional insurance works in this same way, but you’ll be paying substantially more, and your monthly premiums are part of the insurance companies’ revenue.

Eusoh requires a low monthly payment of $10 a month to use the service. It also requires a first-time “pledge” or payment, which will be used to cover the expenses of the group. You will be using these funds or someone in your group will be using it. Whoever it may be or whose pet is the beneficiary of the funds, you are making an agreement with your fellow group members and Eusoh users to help pay pet expenses as a community.

What happens is that when there is an expense, you will pay your share of the invoice. Your share of the costs will never get too high. The reason for this is the technology behind eusoh: The platform expands and brings in other users from other groups to help pay for costs. The occasion of this happening will be very seldom, but rest assured, eusoh has taken the steps to ensure that you, your group, and other members will not pay too much.

How does this differ from insurance?

Basically, you are obligated to pay your insurance premiums every month. With Eusoh, you’ll be paying only for the subscription and your share of the costs. The system will not allow your share to get too high. Altogether, studies from insurance companies have found that pet owners will save at least 20% monthly on Eusoh. And if there are cases where no one in your group has any expenses, the only thing you pay for is the subscription fee. If nothing happens to anyone’s pet, no one has to pay a share.

Eusoh works similarly to insurance because it allows people to create “risk pools” but it won’t hanker you down with ever-increasing monthly premiums. And compared to crowdfunding sites, you don’t need to acquire exposure or local news coverage or a large social media following for your campaign. Eusoh already has a large user base that is ever increasing. And as the user base increases and when you do the math, overall savings for everyone will be greater. Simply, the more people using Eusoh, the less you have to pay.

Wrap Up

The options pet owners have when the unexpected happens to their pets are many. From the traditional insurance, to the Internet-based crowdfunding to the hybrid, crowdsourcing site, Eusoh. With insurance, costs will vary due to the breed, age, and overall health of your pet. The success of crowdfunding is correlated to the amount of exposure a campaign receives. And the hybrid option, Eusoh, is a new and somewhat complex concept. Whatever option you choose, it should be enough to cover your pet expenses now and in the future. We implore everyone to research these options and find out which one saves them the most money and time.

About the Author
Joe Cayetano is the Marketing Manager for Eusoh.com, Eusoh is a new crowd sharing platform that provides an affordable and transparent way for consumers to share expenses using scalable technology and the power of community in today’s sharing economy. Joe is the proud owner of a Golden Retriever and he is an avid lover of horses.

How Sleeping With Your Pet Can Reduce Anxiety

Did you know that 96% of pet owners consider their furry friend a member of the family? In fact, over half of pet owners across the country allow their four-legged companions to sleep in their room with them. Whether you fall in line with the majority or draw the line when it comes to sleeping with your pet, having your pet nearby while you catch your ZZZs may improve your sleep and your health.

One study found that 74% of pet owners reported mental health improvements from pet ownership. In fact, research by the Anxiety and Depression Association of America found that positive human-animal interaction reduces psychological stress and increases levels of oxytocin in the brain (aka the hormone that creates a calming effect when released).

Here’s why this is a big deal – seven out of ten adults in the US say they experience stress or anxiety that interferes with their sleep daily. With this in mind, here are four reasons you may entertain the thought of sleeping with your pet.

1.Having your pet nearby helps you feel safe

One study by the Mayo Clinic found that people who sleep with their pets improve their sleep quality due to increased feelings of safety and security.

The opposite of safety is fear. When we experience fear, our body physically can not relax. That’s because our fight or flight response is triggered. The sympathetic nervous system releases neurotransmitters, such as adrenaline, dopamine and noradrenaline, that increase our alertness. When the levels of these neurotransmitters are high, it is nearly impossible to fall asleep.

Having a pet around to help you feel safe, especially if you live alone, decreases the presence of stress hormones.

2. Stress keeps you up at night. Pets help alleviate that stress.

Speaking of stress, it can be difficult to wind down after a long day. At night, cortisol levels (aka the stress hormone) should naturally decrease. However, when you have had a stressful day, cortisol levels stay elevated, leaving an adverse effect on your sleep quality.

Here’s the cool part. Remember that hormone oxytocin we talked about? Oxytocin counteracts the effects of cortisol. That means if you are stressed, your animal’s presence can calm you.

Snuggling up to your pet at night may just be the remedy you need to help you relax and fall asleep.

3. Reduce anxiety

Not only do pets lower stress levels, their presence can even ease anxious thoughts. Like stress, anxiety is a common culprit of robbing hours of sleep we so desperately need. In fact, anxiety disorders are a common cause of sleep disorders and vice versa. Have you ever found yourself lying wide awake, staring at the ceiling, mind racing? That’s what anxiety does to your mind.

It’s believed that dogs and other service animals can sense when anxiety levels are on the rise. Having a pet nearby will take the focus off you and allow you to focus on your companionship. Not to mention, loneliness is a common trigger of anxiety. Having a pet around to keep you company will do you some good!

4. It helps your pet too

We aren’t the only ones that suffer from anxiety – our pets battle anxiety too. Allowing your pet to sleep with you enables your pooch to reap many of the same benefits you do. If you can ease your pet’s anxiety on your own, Healthy Pets offers a variety of anxiety control tablets for your animals.

Lack of sleep comes with a long list of health and wellness problems. Sleep deprivation puts individuals at a higher risk for heart disease, high blood pressure, mood disorders, immune disorders and much more. If you find yourself suffering from lack of sleep, consider sleeping with your pet. They may just help more than you think.

It’s safe to say, sleeping with your pet isn’t for everyone. If you have allergies, doctors recommend leaving your pet off the bed. Additionally, if your pet isn’t fully trained, you may find your sleep more disruptive than peaceful. But, in the case of an accident, try this Urinase Enzymatic Odor & Spot Eliminator from Pet Health Solutions.

The litmus test allowing your pet to sleep with you depends on if they disturb your sleep or not.

Wrap Up

The final tip is to make sure you have the right sleeping arrangements to experience the benefits of sleeping with your pet. Make sure you have enough space to stay comfortable and undisturbed all night long. After all, the purpose is for your pet to provide more benefits to your sleep than harm.

About the Author
Lisa is a freelance writer from Raleigh, NC that has suffered from anxiety and insomnia since her teenage years. Due to her condition, she is passionate about educating on the importance of sleep health and how pets can help ease anxiety. When she isn’t writing, you can find her practicing yoga or working on mastering a new recipe to try!

Feeding Fido Treats – What You Should Know

When it comes to feeding Fido, we often don’t think the odd table scrap here or occasional treat there will make much of a difference in their diet–however it can. So today we want to share with you the importance of understanding some basic nutritional rules when it comes to feeding your dog treats.

Understanding these basic ideas will enable you to give your dog tasty and nutritious treats while not upsetting their diet, weight or health.

Even though treats are a superb aid for positive reinforcement in dog training, they should not be used so freely. The consequences of overfeeding a dog can result in obesity and numerous other health issues for your dog. Today we will share some tips for you to think about when you next feed Fido a tasty treat!

Basic Dog Nutrition and Diet

A dog’s diet has been historically comprised of protein and fats with minimal carbohydrates.

As dogs share common ancestors with wolves, their physical appearance and anatomy (e.g., teeth and digestive tract) suggest they are carnivores. However, as we can see from feed manufacturer mistakes in the 80s and 90s; strict meat-only diets will cause many health issues for a dog.

So, a dog’s primary energy source should come through proteins and fats being transported by water and fortified with vitamins and minerals.

When we speak about nutrition for dogs, the nutrients are typically referred to as the big six. Any living organism requires these six nutrients to survive as they provide energy, enabling them to function and grow.

The big six represent a classification of nutrients which are deemed essential for life, these are:

  1. Water
  2. Protein
  3. Fat
  4. Carbohydrates
  5. Minerals
  6. Vitamins

Water is widely considered the most essential nutrient from the big six for your dog and any living organism. Water accounts for anywhere from 65 to 80% of a dog’s body mass. It is fascinatingly complicated, and without which, life cannot exist as it dissolves and transports nutrients to your dog’s cells.

Behind water, protein and fats are essential to consider because of their natural supply of energy for your dog.

One of the reasons we are so interested in treat nutrition is that it is entirely controllable by the pet’s owner.

So now you understand some basic concepts regarding your dog’s nutrition, and we can explore three tips for how treats can support and contribute towards a healthy and balanced diet for your dog, or, in some cases, how treats and snacks contribute towards ill-health and obesity in Fido.

Three Tips for Feeding Fido Treats

When it comes to feeding Fido tasty and healthy treats you should understand:

  • How Many Treats to Feed
  • When to Feed
  • What to Feed

How Many Treats Should You Feed Fido?

It’s probably something you haven’t considered closely. How many snacks are too much for your pooch? Can science put a number on it?

The odd table scrap can soon add up to a considerable number of calories.

For example, some scraps like part of a banana, a piece of bacon and a spoon of peanut butter combined can be over 200 calories. Whilst 200 calories for a human can be considered a healthy sized snack we need to understand what size fits your dog.

A dog should consume anywhere between 20 to 30 calories per pound of body weight to maintain their weight depending upon the following parameters:

  • Size
  • Weight
  • Sex
  • Activity Levels
  • Spayed
  • Season

For example, a dog with a target weight of 30lbs should consume around 600 calories.

So, when we look back at the earlier table snacks given, contributing a vast 200 calories, this is over 30% of your dog’s daily nutritional intake – not good!

It’s important we look at treat size relative to calorie consumption. The golden rule is no more than 10% of your dog’s calories should come from treats.

So for your 30lb dog, they should consume around 50 calories of treats per day and no more.

That’s easy to work with, right? You can easily calculate your dog’s calorie intake and take 10% of that, and you have the magic number… not so fast.

It’s not just about how many calories should be in the treat, we must also know when is the best time to feed a dog treats.

When Should you Feed Fido His Treat?

Typically, a puppy should be fed four meals consistently throughout the day. This is to prevent their stomach from stretching due to overfeeding because of their high-calorie requirements during their juvenile stages.

After six months old, it’s considered safe for your dog’s meal intake to be reduced down to two meals a day. Normally, breakfast and dinner.

So, assuming your dog is being fed at a normal routine, which is essential for their well-being, you should feed Fido treats at different times during the day from their meal times.

It’s a good idea to combine treat time with training. Treats are one of three main applied uses of positive reinforcement dog training; the other being toys and praise.

So, a good idea would be to feed your dog treats to reward positive behavior or traits during a training session. The training should take place at least one hour after meal time. So a good time to feed Fido some tasty treats would be anywhere from between 11:00-16:00.

What Should You Feed Fido as a Treat?

Now you know how many treats to feed Fido (10% of his daily calorie intake) and when to feed him, it’s time to understand what to feed him.

The selection of treats to feed your dog comes down to 2 choices:

  1. Commercial (i.e. Shop Bought) Treats
  2. Homemade Treats

If you decide to try and make your own dog snacks, stick to either simple recipes or single ingredient snacks, such as eggs. It will make nutritional control much easier. However, you shouldn’t always target a specific vitamin or mineral with a snack, your dog’s dietary requirements should come from a balanced core diet fed at breakfast and dinner.

If you are purchasing commercial treats for your dogs, always start with the label.

It’s very easy to be led astray by keywords such as “organic,” “protein,” “healthy” or “vitamins” on the front of the treat packaging.

Make sure you always turn over the packaging and read the nutritional information, make sure the treat mirrors what a healthy dog diet should be. Look for relatively high protein and fats with a smaller number of carbohydrates. Look for the ingredients, something you can’t understand or spell? It’s probably best to move on then. Only feed your dog snacks you know and know what’s inside.

Wrap Up

Three Golden rules for feeding Fido treats. Hopefully, you have learned more than the importance of these rules and started to pick up on some fundamental concepts for dog nutrition.

Nutrition has a significant role to play in your dog’s health, especially the big six, and should be understood by pet owners.

If you feed Fido sensible treat portion sizes (10% of his calorific intake/day), at ideal times during the day (11:00am – 4:00pm) which contain reasonable amounts of protein, fats, vitamins, and minerals (e.g., eggs) then he will be all the happier and healthy for it.

About the Author

John Woods is a dog lover, enthusiast and author at All Things Dogs. He has studied animal behavior and welfare and is on a mission to educate 40 million dog owners on how to care for dogs.

Delving into the Depths of Fish Evolution

Fish were the first ever vertebrates on our planet, without them, we wouldn’t even exist. The first fish provided the basic body plans and shapes for millions of future species of animals. We pretty much owe our success to these early fish.

The earliest fish didn’t look much like the fish we know in today’s world. They first appeared after the Cambrian explosion which started around 542 million years ago. Before this explosion, most organisms were really simple cells.

These early fish had no backbones, and no jaws. They were small and worm-like and are known as Agnatha. Agnatha literally means ‘no jaws’ in Greek.

There are only two jawless fish which still exist; they are the Hagfish and the Lamprey. The Lamprey gives us a good idea of what these early fish would have looked like.

 

Towards the end of the Cambrian period, which lasted for around 50 million years, other eel type fish known as Conodonts, and small bony plated fish known as Ostracoderms, began to evolve and appear.

Conodonts had a notochord (a flexible rod) running through their body, similar to cartilage and were anywhere from 1 to 40cm in length. Ostracoderms were around 12 inches long and had gills designed specifically for breathing. Before this species, gills were used both for breathing and feeding.

The Pikaia was one of the next heavily studied fish, through its fossils. This fish like creatures has four essential features which are thought to be the prerequisite for vertebrates as we know them today. This leaf-shaped animal had:

– A head (obvious head, separate from the tail)

– Bilateral symmetry (same shape either side)

– V-shaped muscles

– A nerve cord running throughout its body

It is the nerve cord that laid the foundation for all future vertebrates. The cord in the Pikaia was not surrounded by a bone or tube so this fish cannot be considered a vertebrate, but instead was a chordate.

It is thought that the first true vertebrates were the Haikouichthys, and the Myllokunmingia, however – they still didn’t have jaws.

The jaw was an essential development which allowed fish to feed more easily, and become predators. Given that almost all of jawless fish are now extinct – it’s obvious to see why this was a crucial development for them.

The first jaw is thought to have evolved during the Silurian period around 430 million years ago, in Placoderms and spiny sharks. Placoderms were heavily armoured fish with bony plates; they ruled the waters during their short time. They were mostly small in size, but some reached lengths of 3-4 metres. They became extinct during the end of the Devonian period, around 80 million years later. Spiny sharks were only around 20cm in length and whilst they didn’t evolve and diversify as much as the Placoderms, they did survive for longer. They became extinct during the Permian period, 290 million years ago.

Also during the Silurian period, Chondrichthyes (cartilaginous fish) and Osteichthyes (bony fish) developed.

The Devonian Period stretched from 358-719 million years ago, and is also known as the age of the fish. This period saw a huge increase in diversification of fish as they evolved and developed into many different shape and sizes.

The Osteichthyes developed during this period into two main groups:

1. Ray finned (Actinopterygii)

2. Lobe-finned (Sarcopterygii)

Tetrapods (vertebrates with true legs) evolved from the lobe-finned fish, and they are the ancestors to all land-dwelling creatures.

Earth then experienced another mass extinction – the largest in the Earth’s history during the Permian-Triassic periods. It wiped out around 96% of marine species, but they bony fish were able to recover and diversify again.

Wrap Up

With over 29,000 species of bony fish currently alive, they make up around 95% of all fish and form the most diverse group of vertebrates on the planet.

The fish that we see in the oceans today are a result of millions of years of fascinating evolution.

Infographic link: https://www.fishkeepingworld.com/evolution-of-fish/

 

About the Author: 

Rob Woods is a third generation fish keeper and has raised freshwater fish since childhood. He currently has a 150 gallon freshwater tank and has educated over 250,000 people through his blog Fishkeeping World.

The Ultimate Deck Safety Guide

Did you know that over 45,000 adults and children are injured on decks every year? While it seems like an absurdly high number, it doesn’t even include pets! Decks that are old, rotten, damaged, or otherwise faulty can pose a hazard to your friends and family members, including furry ones.

To prevent deck-related accidents, the International Residential Code sets minimum requirements for safety when constructing a deck. They specify that a deck must have a guardrail if it is over 30” higher than the ground, and the guardrail must be at least three feet or 36”. Balusters must be able to resist 125 lbs of pressure applied horizontally and vertically. Openings in railings must be spaced under 4” so nobody – human or animal – can fall through. Stairs are required to have handrails. All this to say that the proper construction of a deck is paramount to its safety.

Check out this infograph to give you more deets on what’s considered safe for your pup to walk on:

 

It’s important to consider that since decks are outside, they are subjected to the elements and all sorts of wear and tear. However, some weak points can’t be ignored. If parts of your deck are decaying or you see piles of sawdust falling out from underneath, it could be due to pests (carpenter ants, termites, etc). Look out for large cracks in the wood or patches of discoloration that could signal rot or structural problems. Mold and mildew can cause wood to become slippery and lead to accidents, and can also indicate structural problems. If you see rust on the fasteners, give the deck a thorough inspection, as rusty fasteners can snap and cause accidents. Any wobbling of the deck or the rails should be inspected by a professional, before someone goes to lean on it and they break. A deck can hold up for many years, but it needs to be maintained regularly to be safe.

Pets and kids should generally be supervised when playing outside on the deck. Consider blocking off the stairway with a dog or baby gate. In the summer months, the surface of a deck can heat up just like a sidewalk, so make sure you check the temperature with the back of your hand. If it’s too hot for your hand, it’s too hot for their paws! If you have a grill, empty the grease trap to deter dogs. Make sure to leave water out for your pets, but note that anything more than 2 inches deep can be a drowning hazard for small children. Finally, get down on your hands and knees and check the deck for splinters, raised nails, and other objects that can snag and cause injury.

Having a deck is an awesome way to enjoy the summer months with friends, family, and pets. Deck accidents are all too common, but you can take measures to keep everyone safe. By following building codes, performing regular inspections, and supervising deck time, you’ll be able to enjoy many more outdoor get-togethers, and make sure no one falls through the cracks.

About the Author: 

Real estate company Redfin came up with the Ultimate Deck Safety Guide for maintaining the safety and integrity of your deck for years to come. Read on to learn how to ensure your deck is up to safety code, how to perform a deck inspection, and tips for keeping kids and pets safe while maintaining the life of your deck.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Natural Ways to Kill Fleas

Let’s face it, using spot-on flea treatments is the easiest method in eliminating fleas. A few drops each month is all you need to keep pesky parasites at bay. Flea collars are also popular and easy to use, just slip it onto your dog’s neck.  However, the chemicals present in these products could be taxing your dog’s health since some dogs are more sensitive than others. What is more, it could also harm the environment.

Needless to say, choosing natural ways to kill fleas is the way to go. You don’t have to hunt for rare plants or make putrid concoctions. You can actually eliminate fleas by simply grabbing a few items found inside your home or outside your backyard. Here we look at naturally the best flea treatments for your dog and cat.

Natural Home Remedies For Killing Fleas

1. Pantry Staples

Yes, you read it right. You can kill fleas using normal everyday pantry staples such as the following:=

Apple Cider Vinegar

Fleas (as well as ticks) cannot stand the smell of vinegar. Make a diluted solution and use it to rinse your dog after each bath. Allow your pet to dry au naturel. The water and vinegar solution will kill existing fleas and repel new ones. Vinegar also deodorizes your dog and gives a sheen to his coat.

Moreover, add a few drops of apple cider vinegar to your dog’s water bowl. When your dog drinks his vinegar-infused water, his blood and skin will turn too acidic for fleas to feed on. You may also sprinkle a few drops of vinegar to your pet’s belongings to ensure great success.

Baking Soda
Lay down a generous amount of baking soda on your carpeted floor. Using a broom or brush, make sure to rub it down deep into the fibers of your carpets and rugs.
Baking soda or sodium bicarbonate works by burning adult fleas. However, you need to make this a weekly habit in order to kill the new generation of fleas.

Salt

To further boost the effects of baking soda, pair it with finely ground salt. Salt works as a dehydration agent; thus, drying up adult fleas. Combine salt and baking soda and sprinkle it all over your carpeted floors. With this combination, you can also target flea eggs and larva. Leave the mixture for two days before you vacuum.

2. Citrus Fruits

Fleas can’t tolerate citrus smells as much as vinegar. Why not make your own dog cologne? Combine 150 ml of witch hazel, 250 ml of lemon/grapefruit/orange juice to a ½ liter of vinegar and water solution to boost its effects.

If making such is too much a trouble, simply rub a freshly squeezed citrus fruit on your dog’s fur. As an added bonus, your dog will smell fresh all day long!

3. Rosemary Herbs

Rosemary can be made into a rinse water for your dog’s next bath. This woody perennial herb features antiseptic properties that will ward off fleas and leave your pet’s coat silky and smell sweet.

Likewise, you may grind rosemary to create your own homemade flea powder. You may also add other herbs such as peppermint, fennel, wormwood, and rue to strengthen its effects.
Massage the powder on your dog’s coat and sprinkle some of his belongings. You may also sprinkle some on your furniture and carpeted floors.

4. Botanical Plants

Another great way to keep fleas away is to grow a few plants around your house. Some plants secrete natural oils that effectively repel fleas. This includes the following:

Citronella
Citronella is a grass-like plant that could grow up to 6 ft. tall. Its extracts and oils are used as a bug repellent in numerous commercial products such as lotions, shampoos, and sprays.

Catnip
Allow your dog to play and roll in your catnip bushes to ward off fleas naturally. According to research, catnip is actually more efficient than Deet.   

Basil
Plant basil in small pots and place it indoors. Its leaves expel certain compounds in the air that deter fleas and other insects.

Lavender
Lavender is an aromatic plant with lovely purple flowers. The relaxing scent it gives off is troublesome for fleas.

Thyme
Grow thyme in shady areas, especially those places where your dogs usually hang out.

Neem
Make a warm aromatic bath using boiled neem leaves. Neem leaves deter fleas in all life stages. You may also burn neem leaves to repel fleas outside your yard.

Peppermint
Peppermint wards off fleas due to its scent. Its leaves can be used to relieve itchy flea bites.

Pennyroyal
Pennyroyal is another member of the mint family, which has been used as a natural repellent for many centuries.

You may also keep small pots of these plants inside your house as well. Just make sure to expose them to sunlight from time to time.

5. Nematode

Nematodes are your best friends during flea season. Don’t forget to add nematodes to your yard, particularly in areas where your pets usually hang out. Nematodes are parasitic roundworms that love to feed on fleas.

6. Light Trap

Drown fully grown fleas by setting up a light trap. Combine a tablespoon of liquid dish washing soap into a small bowl of water. Next, place the bowl in the areas of your house where fleas are rampant. Place a desk lamp right or a candle right above the bowl to attract fleas.


7.  Weekly baths
Make a habit of bathing your dog at least once a week. As much as possible, use an organic dog shampoo but if you need to be frugal, know that lemon-scented liquid dish washing soap also does a good job. 


8. Thorough Cleaning

Grab the most powerful vacuum you can find and start vacuuming your house. A vacuum cleaner with powerful suction power ensures no flea egg or larva remains hidden.

You need to get rid of every single flea in order to eradicate them from your household. This includes flea eggs that are well concealed in the fibers of your carpets and rugs.

Pay close attention to areas that don’t get a lot of sunlight such as underneath furniture, behind doors, etc. Make sure you hit all the nooks and crannies inside your house. You should vacuum your house at least once a week and don’t forget to throw away the vacuum bag after each use. It is best to use your homemade anti-flea sprays right after you vacuum.

Also, don’t forget to wash your dog’s belongings using the hottest water and dryer temperatures to kill fleas lurking inside the corners of his bed cover, pillow, toys, etc.

Dangers of Fleas and Their Bites

According to Dr. Adam Denish of Rhawnhurst Animal Hospital in Pennsylvania, fleas cause a wide range of problems to our dogs beyond the obvious truth that a single flea bite is absolutely irritating. The tiny flea also poses big health risks to you and your canine companion. This includes the following:

1. Flea Allergic Dermatitis
Flea allergic dermatitis is characterized by severe itching, as well as excessive scratching and chewing that leads to crusty lesions and hair loss. Some pets are more sensitive than others; thus, a few flea bites could easily escalate into this condition.

Bear in mind that open wounds could lead to bacterial skin infections. Therefore, treat the problem as soon as possible to avoid further complications.

2. Tapeworms
Tapeworm infection is the second medical issue caused by fleas. These segmented parasites resemble maggots and can grow up to 12 inches long inside your pet’s intestines. Nevertheless, humans can also contract tapeworms from fleas.

Fleas are carriers of tapeworm eggs. When accidentally ingested, the egg within the infected flea will grow inside the host’s body. Tapeworm causes weight loss and an itchy rear.

Although contracting tapeworms is unlikely in adults, small children are at a greater risk since they often play outdoors. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, children pass proglottids (segments of tapeworms) during bowel movements.

Go to your veterinarian or healthcare provider as soon as you suspect your pet or child has contracted tapeworms.

3. Flea bite anemia
Another problem involving fleas is flea bite anemia, which can be fatal in small dog breeds, puppies, and senior dogs. Nonetheless, even large dogs can fall prey to flea bite anemia, especially if your dog is having a heavy flea infestation. Pale gums, lethargy, and low body temperature are symptoms of low red blood cell count.

Conclusion


Fleas cause distress to your dog and bring a lot of stress for you, too. Once they decide to take residence in your house, they can drive your entire family nuts due to their itchy bites. To make matters worse, these tiny parasites also have the power to bring medical problems as well.

Since eradicating pesky fleas demand a lot of time and effort, many pet owners resort to chemical applications. However, it doesn’t always have to be like this. When it comes to eliminating fleas, nature has a bounty of ways to help.

So before it escalates to a heavy flea infestation, get rid of fleas as soon as possible. You may have to do some of these tips several times over. Nevertheless, using natural remedies to kill fleas guarantees your family’s safety. Plus, you are helping Mother Nature by doing so!

About the Author

Lisa Jennings is an editor for DogBedZone.com a dog blog that provides helpful tips and guides for dog owners. Lisa enjoys writing, hiking, and surfing the California coast in her free time with her chihuahua Maxx.