Spring Care of Pets

Spring into action now that spring has sprung to ensure your pet is prepared for the warmer weather.

You will need to groom your pet to remove the remains of its winter coat and you should watch for the hundreds of fleas and ticks that are organising their assault on your pets. These nasty parasites have just stirred after their winterýs rest. Mosquitoes are all a buzz and are ready to spread heartworm disease. Even flies and worms are set to worry your pets.

But, pounce on prevention and you can be done with the cure!

The Hair of the Dog

Have you noticed the tumbleweeds of cat and dog hair wafting over the floor lately? Itýs a sign that you need to get into grooming to make your pet more comfortable and to prevent further fur balls making a mess in your house.

At present, you should be grooming your pets on a daily basis to remove their winter coat.

A visit to your vet or pet shop will reveal a fascinating range of products designed to make grooming easier. Look for a Zoom Groom. This is a nylon brush with large, soft tongs which will gently strip the dead hair from your pet's coat. Zoom Grooms are available for dogs and cats and come in several forms. An added advantage of the Zoom Groom is that, being nylon, it can also be used to massage shampoos and flea rinses into your pet's coat - just the thing when you are planning your pet's Spring clean!

At present, you should be grooming your pets on a daily basis to remove their winter coat.

Also, look for Slicker brushes. These brushes have dual level pins on a cushioned pad with a curved head. The long and short pins work at two levels to remove the mats and the dead hair that make your pet shabby. Slicker brushes are available from good pet shops.

For long-haired pets or those with thick hair, now is a good time to have them professionally clipped. They will feel so much more comfortable after the removal of their hot coat of heat-trapping hair. Clipping will allow them to cool down much easier and will lessen the chance of heat stroke in the coming summer months. Ugly mats of hair that trap foreign bodies and that pinch your pet's skin will also be removed 

Hop Into Flea Control

Now that the warm weather is with us, the creeping, crawling, gnashing, nasty, nibbling, bloodsucking, ferocious Aussie flea is on the prowl!

Thankfully, there is a large range of 'state of the art' flea control products available which are effective and safe.

Most pet owners are now turning to the 'spot on the back of the neck' preparations which are easy to use, safe and effective. These products come in small vials that you squeeze onto your pet's neck.

Fleas can also be controlled with tablets.  One popular monthly tablet, available only by prescription, not only controls fleas by stopping flea eggs from hatching, but it includes a once-per-month heartworm preventive and an intestinal wormer which will give most (but not all) intestinal worms a headache. Its flea control effect relies on preventing flea eggs from hatching. 

Capstar is another tablet that kills fleas and does it very quickly.  It has no residual action and is useful if you want to quickly eliminate a new flea infestation before using a long term preventive.

Proban is also a tablet that, given once or twice per week on a continual basis, is effective against fleas and ticks.

When it comes to flea rinses, Permoxin is popular. It can be used weekly on dogs or you can make into a spray for daily use.  Used once per week, it will also control ticks.

Flea shampoos deserve a mention. There are many on the market including Fidoýs Free Itch Shampoo. Such shampoos will clean your pet and will kill fleas present at the time but usually will not give any residual action. 

Make Mosquitos Buzz Off

Mosquitos spread heartworm disease and are much more prevalent in warm weather - not that they are a scarcity in winter either. Many pet owners incorrectly stop their pet's heartworm preventive in the cooler months thinking that their pet is safe. This is not so.

If you have missed a tablet or two, contact your vet and ask for a heartworm test. If it shows that all is clear, place your pooch (and puss cat) onto a heartworm preventive medication. Most dog owners are now using the Once-A-Year heartworm preventives because while other alternatives are very effective, they are also very easy to forget.

Flies are a Worry

While talking about things that won't buzz off, a variety of flies also cause pets problems. Dogs regularly suffer from fly bite dermatitis on, off all places, their ear tips. Similar problems can occur when flies are attracted to discharges that are present around the eyes, mouth and nose of pets. 

The stable fly is the most common culprit. It rasps away at the ears of dogs and causes crusty, bleeding sores to develop.

This problem can be prevented by spraying the dog with Permoxin as needed, or by mixing the Permoxin with Vaseline, baby oil, or a mixture of both, and smearing that onto the dogýs ears.

Various fly repellent ointments are also available.

Around Worm Control 

Lastly, the beginning of a new season is always the best time to ensure your dog and cat has been wormed. Roundworms, hookworms and tapeworms are a problem for dogs and cats during the warmer months and dogs can also be infected with whipworms.

As a routine, adult pets should be wormed every three months. Look for an all-wormer medication as this is likely to eliminate all types of intestinal worms your pets may have.

Having attended to the above, you will not be wondering whether your pet will weather summer weather well!