Fighting Fleas

Fleas, ticks, and mites are external parasites that feed on your dog. In addition to taking a drop of blood each time they feed, they can also transmit diseases—some quite serious—and can cause significant discomfort. A dog infested with fleas will scratch and chew until her skin is raw, and secondary infections will follow. Controlling these pests is essential for your dog's good health.

Fleas are tiny, crescent-shaped insects. They have flat sides so they can move through animal hair easily. They have a small head and a large abdomen. Fleas are the intermediate host for tapeworms and can cause anemia from blood loss, especially in small puppies or older dogs. Fleas feed on your dog and then move away. They actually spend most of their time in the dog's environment—in the house or yard, hiding in the dog's bed, or in your carpet.

New products introduced in the past decade have made flea control considerably easier. Some of these products kill adult fleas (which are the only ones that bite), while others are insect growth regulators that stop immature fleas from maturing. Some of the newer products do both.

If your dog is infested with fleas, you will want to approach flea control with a three-pronged attack:

♦ On your dog: Talk to your veterinarian about a prescription for a systemic product such as Program or Sentinel. As the flea bites your dog, it will take a drop of blood that will be carrying the flea-control product.

♦ In the house: Spray carpets, dog beds, baseboards, cracks, and crevices with an insect growth regulator and a quick-kill ingredient designed for indoor use. Make sure you read and follow the directions.

♦ In the yard: Use a spray designed for outdoor use that contains an insect growth regulator.

Don't mix flea control products. Using a systemic product and then spraying your dog or putting a flea collar on her could potentially be deadly. Instead, talk to your veterinarian or groomer about which products are working best in your area, and then use them as instructed.

Pit Bulls as Pets

Pit Bulls as Pets

Are You Under The Negative Influence Of Hyped Media Stereotypes When It Comes To Your Knowledge Of Pit Bulls? What is the image that immediately comes into your mind when you think of the words Pit Bull? I can almost guarantee that they would be somewhere close to fierce, ferouscious, vicious, killer, unstoppable, uncontrollable, or locking jawed man-eaters.

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