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Tick and Flea Management in Puppies: 4 Actionable Tips for Novice Pet Parents

Photo by Berkay Gumustekin on Unsplash A puppy makes an ideal companion for homeowners living alone or with families. According to a 2023 survey, 90% of households in the US consider dogs as part of their families. Bringing a young canine home enables you to condition it according to your lifestyle and expectations. Raising them from an early age strengthens the bond, but it also entails a responsibility. You need to ensure proper nutrition, ample exercise, and regular vet visits to give your puppy a head start with health and growth. Proper care and good health at an early age ensure longevity in dogs. While you may pay attention to your dog’s weight and energy levels, it is easy to overlook problems like tick and flea infestations. You are more likely to miss out on the issue as a first-time pet parent. Beginners are often overwhelmed by the nuances of tick and flea prevention and treatment. The bigger concern is that they are common and prevalent all around the year, not just in the warmer months. However, a little care and a proactive plan can help you prevent and manage ticks and fleas in your puppy. Surprisingly, keeping these pesky pests under control is easier than you imagine. In this article, we will share a few actionable tips for novice pet parents to manage this issue and ensure a safe environment for their furry companion.  Understand the Risks Photo by fatty corgi on Unsplash Awareness is the first step when it comes to building your puppy’s defenses against any health issue, including ticks and fleas. New pet parents often go wrong with understanding the risks they pose to their canine companions. Remember that these pests are more than a nuisance; they can cause discomfort and transmit various diseases to pets and even their owners. Flea-related problems include flea allergic dermatitis, anemia, and flea-borne diseases. Ticks are even more harmful, leading to dire illnesses such as Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. Even as a first-time dog parent, educate yourself about the potential risks to understand the significance of proactive prevention and treatment measures. Use Preventative Products Photo by Markus Winkler on Unsplash Once you understand the risks, you will know the importance of a preventive approach. While there are numerous preventative products in the market, you need to be extra careful when choosing one for a puppy. You will have to pick a safe and easy-to-use product and ensure accurate dosing according to the age and weight of your pet. Credelio for dogs are chewable tablets with beef flavoring and Lotilaner as an active ingredient. This fast-acting formulation starts working within two hours and kills 99 % of fleas within eight hours. It leaves dogs pest-free for over a month, and the effects stay even longer for puppies. The best part is that the medication is easy to feed even to a young canine because of its flavor and chewable nature. PetCareRx recommends checking the ideal dosage of these tablets with your veterinarian before starting treatment for your puppy. Be prepared for side effects such as low appetite, diarrhea, vomiting, and an increase in urine output. Besides oral medications, you can try topical treatments, collars, and sprays for flea and tick prevention and control.  Ensure Regular Check-ups Photo by Markus Winkler on Unsplash According to Forbes, dog parents should commit to a yearly vet visit for a scheduled check-up for their pets. You should do it more often for a puppy or senior dog. Be extra careful if you notice anything amiss, including potential flea and tick infestations. Run your hands through your puppy's fur and pay close attention to areas such as the ears, neck, armpits, and groin. These are the areas where ticks and fleas thrive.  Besides looking for ticks and fleas on your puppy’s body, you must know the red flags of potential infestations. Novice pet parents should watch out for signs like excessive scratching, biting, licking, hair loss, redness, or inflammation of the skin. Also, look for visible parasites in your puppy’s feces or in the fur. A prompt visit to a veterinarian is essential if you notice anything suspicious on your puppy’s skin. You can use tweezers or a tick removal tool to pull these pesky pests away. This first-aid step can minimize the risk of disease transmission. However, you should still get a vet check-up for treatment and prevention guidelines. Early intervention can save your furry companion from a full-blown infestation.  Maintain a Clean Environment Photo by Erda Estremera on Unsplash Medicines and vet checks are effective control measures to keep fleas and ticks at bay. However, a preventive approach is the best way to prevent discomfort for your pet in the first place. It begins with good hygiene and proper grooming. Keeping your puppy's environment clean is an equally important step for preventing and managing ticks and fleas. Start by checking the areas where your puppy spends time. It may be a cozy nook in the living room or your backyard. These are the spaces that deserve attention. Vacuum your carpets, rugs, and upholstery to keep flea eggs, larvae, and adult fleas away from your living space. Washing your puppy's bedding, grooming tools, and toys in hot water eliminates fleas and their eggs. A well-groomed yard is another essential measure for pet owners. Commit to regularly mowing the lawn, trimming bushes, and removing debris. Also, declutter your backyard to ensure that parasites have no place to thrive. These steps can reduce the presence of ticks and fleas in outdoor spaces where puppies love to spend time. In conclusion, managing ticks and fleas in puppies is doable even for first-time pet parents. However, it requires proactive prevention and prompt intervention. You may be a novice, but lack of awareness is hardly an excuse to get complacent about these pesky pests. They can make your furry companion uncomfortable and even affect its well-being in the long run. You must understand the risks and take these measures to provide a safe space for your puppy and ensure it stays healthy and happy during the early years of its life. Also, regular vet visits can help in early detection and timely treatment
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Coat, Care, and Canines: Grooming and Health Tips for Goldendoodles

 Image by Brooke from PixabayImage Alt: A Goldendoodle puppyWhat's not to love about Goldendoodles? One of the most friendly breeds with a charming appearance. It seems to have the best traits of the Golden Retriever and Poodle. The Goldendoodle also has a unique coat that requires regular maintenance to prevent matting and to keep it looking its best. Additionally, like all dog breeds, Goldendoodles have specific health needs. Therefore, they have specific care and health needs.This article explores these essential aspects. From understanding their coat type to the importance of a proper diet and regular exercise, we provide practical tips and advice. This guide is a must-read.Understanding the Coat and Care Needs of Your GoldendoodleOne of the most distinctive and admired features is its coat. Goldendoodles Coat TypesThis breed can have flat, straight, wavy, or curly coats, reflecting its Golden Retriever and Poodle heritage.The flat coat closely resembles that of a Golden Retriever. It's usually easier to groom than the other types, but like all Goldendoodle coats, it needs regular brushing. This routine helps manage shedding and prevents tangles.The straight coat may have a slight wave, and the wavy coat blends traits from straight and curly coats. Lastly, the curly coat has tight curls that can easily mat if not cared for properly.Essential Grooming Activities for Your GoldendoodleBrushingWhether flat, curly, wavy, or straight, the coat needs regular brushing to prevent mats and tangles. Use a slicker brush or a wide-toothed comb for curly and wavy coats. It helps in managing shedding and keeps their fur smooth and healthy. If your Goldendoodle has a straight coat, you might find less frequent brushing is required. However, regular brushing is still important to maintain the health and appearance of their coat. Additionally, brushing is a good time to bond with your dog and check for skin issues.BathingYou can bathe your Goldendoodle every 3 to 6 weeks and use a dog-specific shampoo to protect their skin and coat. Nevertheless, the frequency can vary depending on their activity level and the coat type. For example, dogs that spend more time outdoors may need more frequent baths. Be thorough but gentle during baths, and rinse all the shampoo out to avoid skin irritation. After the bath, dry them thoroughly, especially if they have a thick or curly coat, to prevent any dampness that could lead to skin issues.Hair TrimmingRegular hair trimming every 6 to 8 weeks helps maintain your Goldendoodle's coat. Focus on areas like the eyes, ears, and paws to keep your dog comfortable and prevent infections. Trimming these areas also helps in maintaining hygiene and preventing mats.If you're uncomfortable doing it yourself, consider taking your Goldendoodle to a professional groomer. They will have the right tools and expertise to trim your dog’s coat correctly and safely.Health Considerations for GoldendoodlesLike all breeds, Goldendoodles have specific health needs that, when attended to, can ensure they lead a happy, healthy life. Therefore, plan regular veterinary check-ups to monitor your dog's health and catch any issues early. Here are some health issues common in this breed.Hip DysplasiaA pet with this condition has a hip joint that doesn't fit together perfectly, leading to arthritis or mobility issues. To mitigate this, ensure your Goldendoodle maintains a healthy weight to reduce strain on their joints. AllergiesGoldendoodles can be allergic to certain foods, environmental factors, or flea bites. Symptoms may include itching, skin rashes, or gastrointestinal issues. If you notice any allergic reactions, consult your vet. Ear InfectionDue to their floppy ears, Goldendoodles are more susceptible to ear infections. Keep their ears clean and dry, especially after baths or swimming. On top of that, check their ears regularly for any signs of infection, like redness, swelling, or an unusual smell.Diet and Exercise Tips for Your GoldendoodlesGoldendoodles thrive on a diet rich in quality proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals. Go for products suited to this specific breed, whether premium or budget-friendly dog food. In addition, recommended food for Goldendoodles suits their age, size, and activity level because puppies, adults, and seniors have different nutritional requirements. Always ensure fresh water is available, and be mindful of treats, as excessive treats can lead to weight gain.Since Goldendoodles are active and playful dogs, they require regular exercise to keep them physically and mentally fit. They typically enjoy activities like walking, running, swimming, and fetch. You can schedule half an hour to one hour of exercise daily.Along with physical exercise, mental stimulation is vital for Goldendoodles. They are intelligent dogs and can become bored if not properly stimulated. Puzzle toys, training sessions, and interactive play can keep their mind active. It also helps avoid behavioral issues.Final ThoughtsThe type of coat a Goldendoodle has affects how much they shed and their grooming needs. Straight and wavy coats may shed more than curly coats, but all types require regular grooming. Brushing several times a week, or even daily for curly coats, is essential. This regular grooming not only keeps their coat looking good but also helps to reduce shedding and prevents skin problems. In addition to grooming, your pet needs regular exercise to stay healthy. As such, know the exercises your dog enjoys and tailor activities to suit their preference and ability. Some may enjoy long hikes, while others prefer playing fetch in the yard.
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What do Guinea Pigs See and Taste? Plus, Other Common Questions

Facebook @briochepig Hello carefresh friends! In this blog we will look into the senses of the guinea pig and address many popular questions about them.  One of the most popular topics about the senses of a guinea pig is their eyesight. There are a few opinions that contradict others in this area, but for the purposes of this blog, I will use the most agreed upon information among studies.  >>> READ MY FIRST BLOG POST ABOUT GUINEA PIGS  Can guinea pigs see colors?  Guinea pigs have been found by scientists studying their eyes to be dichromatic, that is they see two of the three primary colors. They are able to detect yellow, blue, and hues associated with them. It is likely that the colors they see are less vivid than the color we see.  How well do they see?  Overall a guinea pig does not have great eyesight, but they have some really interesting abilities that help protect them in the wild and those have been passed down through the centuries to our friendly friends today.   Guinea pigs can see an amazing 340° around them. For example, using both eyes, we humans can only see 180° around us. The guinea pig eyesight range is perfect to react to any predators. The 340° vision is also what allows them to quickly react to any object coming toward them without moving their head. That helps account for their super quick reaction times.  But Guinea pigs can only detect what an object actually is from roughly 12-16 inches away (30-38 cm). And they can only see movement/objects from a distance of 5-6 feet (1.5 metres). But at that distance, it is very hard to make out what the object might be. Guinea pigs also have very weak depth perception. This is important to know because if you have them on a bed or chair, they can't recognize how high up they are which could result in them feeling it is safe to jump off when it is not.  Can my piggy see in the dark?    The short answer is, maybe. There isn't a definitive answer to this, but scientists believe they can have a mental map of their surroundings and when combined with their sense of smell and whisker sensors, they can zip around in the dark without crashing into things!!!  How well does my guinea pig hear?  Guinea pig hearing is much better than humans. They can hear in lower, and especially higher, frequencies than we do. Their hearing ability helps make up for their relatively poor eyesight. This is one of the reasons you can, for example, try to quietly open the refrigerator and your guinea pigs might start wheeking thinking a treat is on the way! Your guinea pig can also distinguish your individual voice! However their sensitive hearing also means that they are not a fan of loud noises or bangs, such as fireworks.   Are those whiskers just there for cuteness?  Whiskers on a guinea pig act in very similar ways to other animals. Loaded with nerve endings in them, they are used to measure the width of tunnels and objects. Basically, if the whiskers fit, the piggy will fit. They can also use them to measure the size and depth of an object right in front of them (think lettuce!). They also act as a warning for any object approaching the eye so they may protect it.  Can my guinea pig actually tell who I am compared to others?  Guinea pigs have an amazing sense of smell. Since their eyesight isn't good at detecting predators in the wild, their sense of smell, along with hearing, helps make up for those deficiencies. So the answer to the question concerning if they can recognize you specifically, yes they can! You may see an example of this when you have a visitor over and they approach the guinea pig’s habitat to say ”hi”, the piggy most likely takes off and hides, but they won't do that with you. They know who you are by your smell and know that there is no threat to them and recognize you as a friend!  How well do things taste?  The taste buds of a guinea pig's tongue are highly developed and as such taste flavors well. Naturally they prefer foods more to the sweet side, but over time get to accept slightly less sweet/ bitter tastes. Of course, like humans, some piggies will like one thing while their friends may not. The sensitive taste buds also help determine if a new food is acceptable when their nose and whiskers don't convince them. You may have seen this when introducing a new food and you will see them sniff it and then slowly give it a lick or quick taste. If they don't like it they will often let it fall out of their mouth or will finish what they took, but not eat any more of it.  Hopefully this basic overview of a guinea pig’s senses, and how they work together, will help you understand and appreciate your guinea pigs more than ever! Guest Post by Craig N. - long time Guinea Pig parent, currently of Bentley and Cosmo (pictured above), and they invite you to follow their antics @ https://www.facebook.com/briochepig  Until next time….  
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Top Reasons to Adopt a Bunny and What You Need to Know

Now that most covid restrictions are over and many of us are returning back to the office or school, local humane and rescues have seen a big influx of small animals, including rabbits. By adopting a rabbit or two from a rescue, not only are you saving them, but the staff and volunteers there can be a huge help and a continual resource, especially if you are a new rabbit parent.  Rabbits can make great indoor pets and can free roam in your home with the right precautions. They are one of the most popular exotic pets and make adorable companions. But with unique care needs and behaviors, they’re definitely not the same as cats or dogs! They are definitely NOT a low maintenance pet and young children should have adult supervision at all times.  The volunteers and fosters will take the time to acclimate rabbits to living indoors and sometimes even litter box train them. Some rabbits that are surrendered have only spent time outdoors in hutches or other enclosure. Plus, rabbit rescues usually have a partnership with local vets who will spay or neuter them and also give them a complete health check.  Rescue staff and volunteers are very knowledgeable and can help you understand the behavior and needs of your rabbit will be essential to creating a rewarding, long-term relationship. Before leaving you on your own with your new companion, they will make sure you know how to properly care for your bunny. What you need to know before adopting rabbits 1. Rabbits are a great pet for small quarters like an apartment They don't take up a lot of space and don't need to go outside, plus they make very little noise, unlike a barking dog or cat that meows all the time. However, they do shed and they need brushing to prevent matting, and their nails trimmed every four to six weeks. The Holland Lop Rabbit has a 14-year lifespan, weighs only four pounds, with irresistible floppy ears, making this dwarf bunny the ultimate pet for city dwellers. 2. Rabbits live a long time = long-term commitment With proper care and diet and indoor living, rabbits can live 8-12 years or more, longer than most small animal pets. Before you adopt, make sure you are prepared to take care of them for many years as a companion.   3. Rabbits are social creatures Their habitat or living area should be in a quiet place but not too far from rest of the family. Rabbits are easily bored and need plenty of playtime and exercise with enrichment activities. If you can adopt a bonded pair of rabbits that is optimal so they have a companion at all times.  4. Rabbits need a large space and/or free roam with daily exercise  Even though they’re sold as complete rabbit “starter kits,” most pet store cages are not ideal. They are way too small to properly house a rabbit. You can easily make a large habitat from inexpensive materials. Two designs that cost about the same as an “extra large” pet store cage can be made from either a dog exercise pen or wire storage cubes. Either design provides three times the bunny space.If you are going to do free roam, it's very important to "bunny proof" your entire home or wherever they have access to. Bunnies LOVE to chew, and that means any exposed cords, cables and wires. Also remove any hazards like poisonous plants or anything else they shouldn't chew on like important books or papers. Be sure to put out plenty of litter boxes for them in corners if they are free roaming, especially when first starting to litter box train. Put a layer of carefresh bedding or carefresh rabbit litter followed by a fresh layer of hay. Read more on how to litter box train your rabbit.  5. Rabbits Need a High-Fiber Diet to Stay Healthy Rabbits should have unlimited access to a high-quality grass hay like Timothy or Orchard, at all times. Hay is essential for digestion and also help with their teeth. Fresh dark green leafy vegetables are also good, but only feed fruits and carrots in very small amounts.  A great resource is the House Rabbit Society’s article about diet, which discusses the appropriate amounts as well as types of food to give your rabbit from youth to old age. 6. Rabbits need regular Veterinary Care If your rabbit wasn't examined by the rescue or shelter, make sure to take them to a Vet right away. They should also have annual preventative care to ensure a long and healthy life. Read more about rabbit health from our Vet, Dr Ruth MacPete   Adopt Don't Shop! If you’ve done all your research and feel sure that you and your family can properly care for a bunny, please adopt a rabbit from a rescue or shelter instead of purchasing one from a breeder or pet store.     
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Taking Care of a Dog's Paws: Everything You Need to Know

Our dogs rely on us for their health and safety, which is a big responsibility that must be taken seriously. Owning a dog doesn’t start nor end with bringing your dogs to companion animal registrations which to some people could already be daunting. While most people will be on top of the major areas of concern, such as diet, training and socialisation, there is one area that often gets overlooked. Your dog’s paws are one of the most important parts of their body, and it is crucial to take proper care of them.  Not only do your dog’s paws allow them to move around, they also provide protection from rough terrain and hot surfaces. Taking care of your dog’s paws is an essential part of keeping them healthy, so here are some tips on how to make sure you’re doing everything right. 1. Check Your Dog's Paws Regularly Just like humans have different skin types, dogs have different paw pads. Some may be tougher than others while some may be more sensitive. You should regularly check your dog’s paws for any signs of injury or infection. Look for any cuts, scrapes, redness or swelling. Also check between the toes and pads of the feet for any dirt or foreign objects that may have become lodged there. If you notice anything out of the ordinary, contact your vet immediately as it could be an indication of a more serious problem.  2. Trim Their Nails Another important part of caring for your dog’s paws is making sure their nails are trimmed regularly. Unkempt nails can lead to discomfort and pain when walking, so it is vital that you keep them trimmed regularly. Around once every two weeks is typical for most dogs kept as house pets. If you are unsure how to do this on your own at home, it is best to seek assistance from a professional groomer or veterinarian who can show you how to do it properly and safely.  3. Protect Their Paws from Hot Surfaces During the summer months especially, hot pavement and even asphalt can cause serious damage to your pup’s sensitive feet if not protected properly from the heat. While we owners will have shoes to protect ourselves from burning-hot sidewalks, our dogs are not so lucky. It’s best to check the temperature of the ground before you take your dog out for a walk. You can either just use your own fingers to check or go the extra mile and get an infrared thermometer. Be sure that you always carry water with you when out on walks with your pup in order to cool down their feet after stepping on hot surfaces. You may also opt to put on some special booties that provide extra protection against hot surfaces or stay inside and have them use a dog litter like Puppy Go Potty.  4. Moisturize Their Pads Keeping your pooch’s paw pads moisturized is key in preventing dryness and cracking which can lead to infection or other issues over time. There are many different products available specifically designed for this purpose; however, using a natural moisturizer such as coconut oil will work just as well! Simply massage a small amount into each paw pad at least once a week (or more depending on need) and then wipe off any excess with a soft cloth or towel afterwards.  A well moisturized and cared-for pad often makes a great shot in a professional pet photography session, along with close ups of their snout.  They always look stunning in black and white. 5. Clean After Walks and Visits to the Park One of the most common causes of infection in dogs is dirt or debris getting stuck between their paw pads or underneath their nails. This often occurs when they walk through mud or grassy areas outside. These areas can contain bacteria or parasites which can easily get transferred onto their feet if not cleaned regularly enough afterwards! To help prevent this problem from occurring, be sure that you clean your pup’s feet after every walk outside by wiping them down with warm water and mild soap. There are also commercially available dog wipes that are specially formulated to be gentle on their paws.  6. Pay Attention to Paw Odor If you notice an unusual odor coming from your dog’s paw pads, then there could be something wrong with their feet such as an infection or irritation due to allergies or parasites like fleas or ticks. If this is the case, then it is best to take them to see a vet as soon as possible so that they get the proper care and treatment. Even if it’s not a major problem, it’s better to be safe rather than sorry.  By following these simple steps outlined above, you will be able to keep your dog’s paws healthy and strong throughout their life. As always though, if you have any concerns regarding the health of your pet's feet then it is best practice to consult with a qualified veterinarian who can give further advice tailored specifically towards your dog.     
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Natural Wood Cat Litter vs Clay & Silica: What's the Difference and Why Make the Switch Today

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Top Reasons to Adopt a Bunny and What You Need to Know

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