Dogs and Fleas

There’s no getting away from it, if you have a dog then your dog will have fleas! No amount of bathing, powdering or spraying will get rid of them completely, so what can you do as damage limitation?

Its a real problem for us right now, as we’re into the hottest months of the year and with daytime temperatures into the 30s (Celsius), fleas are breeding at an incredible rate. Spraying around the house is not ideal, but really the only way to control their numbers as a good number of them don’t live on the dogs, but hide in furniture, rugs, cracks and crevices and just about anywhere they can.

One pretty good weapon in the war against the little critters is Frontline, which is a spot-on treatment for the dogs. It creates a poison in the dog’s bloodstream so that when a flea bites the dog, it dies. This is essential in breaking the breeding cycle because insecticide sprays only kill live fleas and don’t tend to harm the eggs. But with the fleas being killed as they bite the dogs, it interrupts their breeding ability and stops more eggs being laid. So that when the eggs that are still around hatch out, they don’t get a chance to create more eggs.

The only problem with this kind of treatment is that it must be re-applied every month. We managed to miss out a few days and in that time, the fleas came back with a vengeance, so it meant another bout of house spraying even after re-applying this month’s dose of Frontline. In a few days, the flea population is back under control. But it just never seems to get down to total eradication.

That’s understandable as the dogs go out for their walks, they will pick up new fleas that have been dropped by other dogs in the local waste ground or on the sidewalks. Some will bite the dogs and die, while others will have a ride home and sneak off to a comfy hiding place to wreak havoc if they get the chance.

And don’t think you have a flea-free home if you have a dog and are doing everything to keep him clean and fresh. He’ll pick them up on walks and bring them home, where they’ll happily breed. You may not notice them if numbers are low or if you live in a colder climate. But they’re there all right!

Terry Didcott
For Dogs

Older Dogs and their Health

Hi there, I’m back after a long layoff from this blog for no better reason than I just have been too busy with other projects that pay the bills and allow me to earn my living online. Anyhow, that’s of no real concern here, this is a blog about dogs and not about money, although you do need some to ensure your dogs are kept in the best of health. And that sort of leads me onto what I wanted to write about here. not so much the health of your dog, but more on their health as they get older.

Chelsea was the ripe old age of 11 when she died, which I’m told is not bad for a German Shepherd, although I’m sure that there were probably things I could have done to prolong that life a little longer. But would it have been wise? She was already feeling her age and with arthritis causing her pain in her hips, would it have been cruel to keep her going for longer? Tough question and there is probably no right answer. It would be down to personal feelings. Given the choice, I probably would have done – but I didn’t have the choice. I can console myself that she had an amazing life while she was here, growing up in England and then spending the last few years of her life on a beautiful mountain farm in southern Spain, free to run around and no one to threaten her (or me) because of social changes in the attitude towards large dogs.

So we move on a few years and you probably already know (if you have been reading this blog) that I have sort of inherited two Yorkies of advancing age. The girl, Daisy is 14 now and the boy, Ronnie (who is a cross and was a rescue dog) is estimated to be 13. They are both in reasonably good health for their age (Yorkies generally live longer than German Shepherds), although Daisy is less keen to go for walks now and sleeps a lot more. Ronnie is a total loco – he doesn’t know he’s old and still bounds around like a puppy. Not sure if that’s a good thing or not. I like to think that it is, because we all know you are only as old as you think you ar, and the same must go for dogs.

So what has kept them so healthy?

Well, the standard answer applies here. They have always eaten decent food, very little “human” snacks, they have always had plenty of exercise and live in a calm, happy home.

In fact, I believe a lot of a dog’s health has to do with its environment. When a dog lives in a home where there are always arguments, stress and a tense, negative atmosphere, the dog gets stressed too. Stress is a killer and if it doesn’t kill right away, it is a catalyst for a slow degenerative state of health. On the flip side, a dog in a loving, happy home where people are always laughing and the atmosphere is always calm, relaxed, peaceful and positive then they will enjoy better health, just like we do.

So aside from the regular visits to the vet to get their jabs, a regular de-parasiting and being fed well, I believe if your dog(s) live in a happy home, they will live longer, healthier lives. I think it probably also helps to be a little loco too…

Terry Didcott
For Dogs