Fleas and the Environment

Fleas and the Environment

Contrary to popular belief the simple act of putting on a topical flea control or administering a chew is NOT a silver bullet for fleas. A huge range of flea treatments are available these days, but most infestations spread beyond the help of topical treatments or chews. But come on, do you really think that this little 1 ml tube will have much of an effect on your entire house, or your back yard? Probably not.

    Now these products will definitely take care of the fleas ON your dog or cat but what a lot of people don’t understand is that 95% of fleas live in the environment your pet frequents, not on your best mate. Most of these actually live in the dirt surrounding your house or in your carpets.

    There are a huge range of flea treatments available these days, but most infestations spread beyond the help of topical treatments, and chews don’t really have any environmental effects at all.

    You can treat your pet for fleas religiously, but dogs and cats with flea sensitivity or FAD unfortunately won’t respond perfectly to treatments unless you also combine them with environmental controls. This is primarily because a lot of the products actually need a parasite to bite your pet to kill them.

    For indoors, a professional flea bomb will include ingredients to provide fast knockdown of adult fleas and larvae. Ingredients to “break the breeding cycle” to provide long lasting protection against future infestations. 

    If your companion spends a good deal of time outdoors, it’s important to treat these areas to manage fleas and other pests. The good news is these preventative steps generally only need to be done once or maybe twice a year.

    When making a list of steps, you should address both the fur-kids indoor AND outdoor flea or tick problem, and account for which areas probably need treating. These should include any spot where your pet sleeps, such as their bed, the kennel, carport, and where they almost definitely like to nap, under the house or deck. 

    Other areas to be treated are where fleas breed and hibernate which is mainly; gardens, shrubs, and mulched areas especially anywhere it’s sandy. To rid these areas of fleas, many pet owners use pyrethroid sprays famous for killing fleas and ticks fast. These can be applied through a sprayer attached to a hose, allowing rapid treatment of large areas, or can be diluted and applied with a watering can on smaller spaces.

    Although pyrethroids are chemical imitations of naturally occurring compounds that incapacitate an insect nervous systems, not all pet owners are comfortable spraying them in their yards.  One thing you must definitely know is that these pyrethroids are can be very poisonous to cats. Even applying a topical pyrethroid, like Frontline, to your dog can actually make your cat very, very sick if they live in the same house. Especially if they ever sleep together. It’s one of the main reasons why FleaMail doesn’t use any products that contain these pyrethrin based compounds.

    There are however quite a few alternatives. Desiccants are naturally occurring substances that pull water from fleas, causing them to dry up and die, quite quickly.

    Diatomaceous earth, silica gel, and sodium borate are all desiccants that can be applied in your yard to control fleas and other pests.

    Another natural solution to outdoor flea infestations are beneficial nematodes. These microscopic round worms which are available at many garden centers, kill pests and other insects by entering the body and releasing a bacteria that kills fleas quickly.

    While they can be highly effective in some situations, these worms have a limited area and season of usefulness, as they die in temperatures above 35 degrees and below 7 degrees. They are also sensitive to light and drought. Cedar wood chips are another natural alternative to fight fleas, as fleas are repelled by it’s scent but to you, me and Rover it smells kinda nice. Sprinkle chips in shady areas, such as under the porch, outdoor furniture and under your dog’s bedding.

    Once your pest problem is under control, you can drop regular maintenance to every 6-12 months. And of course, continue using your regular flea treatments, like FleaMail, on all of your pets, all year round. This way you can make sure that your furry best friend is living their best life.

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    Essential Oils and Pets… What you need to know!

    Essential Oils and Pets… What you need to know!

    If you’re a pet owner, you may be interested in using essential oils to keep your furry friend healthy and happy. They work wonders on you after a full-on day, yeah?

    However, it’s important to know that almost all essential oils can be dangerous to your pets – in fact, some are downright deadly!

      What are Essential Oils?

      Essential oils are manufactured from highly concentrated plant or chemical compounds, and are popular in aromatherapy, alternative medicine and air-fresheners. There are also hundreds of types, each with their own unique physical properties. Essential can be harmful to your pet if not used correctly. Exposure to essential oils can occur via ingestion (either by consuming the oils directly or through grooming themselves), skin exposure or inhalation.

      People, unfortunately, believe the use of these “natural” essential oils helps improve their personal and their pet’s health and happiness. The perceived health benefits of essential oils has convinced some pet parents to try a holistic, “natural” approach to help with a wide variety of medical conditions, from anxiety and skin problems to flea and tick prevention.

      Natural flea and tick treatments that use essential oils, to put it plainly, just don’t work. With a lack of data supporting the efficacy of these products, pet parents may be putting their pets at major risk of parasite related diseases.

      You may not also know, that while your essential oil diffuser makes your home smell amazing, Inhaling diffused oils is known to cause negative respiratory effects in both humans as well as pets, especially if used in a small space and/or for an extended period of time. In fact ,for your pet, they are possibly one of the most dangerous items you can have in your home and can be likened to a miniature volcano of death…

      Not to mention if your pet has existing respiratory conditions such as asthma or bronchitis, they are going to be at greater risk of developing respiratory distress. Even more so if they are cats! In clinic, I have personally had numerous admissions to emergency that were purely essential oil related.

       

      Cats and Essential Oils

      Felines are missing some very specific enzymes that provide the ability to eliminate various compounds (a process called “gluconuridation), found in essential oils. These compounds occur naturally and are highly concentrated in these oils, leaving the liver and lungs the most vulnerable to organ failure.

      Oils that are particularly toxic to cats include:

      Dogs and Essential Oils

      For dogs, we can say same as to the dangers of essential oils as they also lack some these Glucuronidation enzymes too. Placing drops of nice-smelling oils, such as lavender, on your dog’s bed may help calm them (it probably won’t), or it may just cause further stress (it almost definitely will). Oils and new stimulus can lead to changes in a dog’s behaviour, adverse nervous effects and respiratory problems, especially for brachiocephalic (flat nosed) dogs such as Pugs, Frenchies, Staffys, boxers, etc.

      Oils that are particularly toxic to dogs include:

      So what can we deduce from these two lists? When it comes to essential oils just don’t put any on, around or near your pets. Simple. No one carries this list around with them (myself included) that’s for sure and this is in no way a full list of everything that can affect your pets.

      So as a blanket response, I just use one rule, “don’t put any form of essential oil on or near your pet.”

       

      What should I look out for?

      The signs of essential oil poisoning will depend on the type of oil, the quantity, and the way your pet is exposed. A good rule of thumb as a pet owner is to stay alert if you see any changes of behaviour in your animal.

       

      There are several common signs your pet may display if they have may have been poisoned, these include:

      In conclusion, just don’t! But if you MUST use essential oils, only do so with a vet’s approval. Our view on essential oils and animals is that they’re likely to do more harm than good, so better to be safe than sorry. To avoid poisoning, keep these oils out of reach of your pets. Store them in secure containers that your dog or cat cannot get to. And, again, ask your vet before you use ANY kind of oil in any capacity.

      Team FleaMail.

      Don’t have time to read? Listen to Dr. Evan Shaw talk on this blog!

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      Uggs For Pugs! (And Kitties)

      Uggs For Pugs! (And Kitties)

      Dr. Evan here!

      Well, just like that Winter is truely beginning to announce itself in Australia. Now is the time to drag out the blankets and uggies, blow the summer dust off the heater and stock up on soup. But WAIT! What about our besties? It’s important to remember that our four-legged friends are feeling it just as much as you are too!

      So, how can we safely keep our furry family members warm in the winter?

      1. Coats and Jackets

      Nothing’s as cute as a pug in a hoodie or a kitten in a beanie either. However clothing for our pets isn’t just fashionable, it’s totally functional, especially for those little ones with shorter coats.

      There are so many options nowadays when it comes to coats, hats and jackets for our little or even big fur-family members. Follow the Swans? You can pick up the jersey online. Got a comical or political statement you live by (Pug Life)? There’s at least 20 lines of accessories available that can fulfil the fashionista in even the most discerning of Dashies!

      But before I go full fur-crazy, I have some advice to make sure your little floof, is a comfy floof. Firstly, always make sure that your pet has ample space to breathe. You’d be surprised how many pups have their jackets on a bit tight… Also, make sure the coat itself can breathe and isn’t made from synthetic materials. Even on a cool day, a doggie in a faux-leather jacket can get really uncomfortable, especially if they are in the sun. Remember that pups can’t sweat either so watch the panting for signs you pooch might need a cool down. Also make sure there are no dangling cords or buttons that can be easily swallowed or cause constriction.

      1. Cut the cut and hang up the hose.

      First of all let’s get something straight about your pet’s coat. A pet’s coat is NOTHING like a jumper or parker, especially a dog’s. The best way to think of it is that a dog’s coat works far more like the insulation on your favourite esky. It not only keeps them warm in winter but also cool in summer.  I’m going to do a blog on just how K9 and Feline thermoregulation works next time but in short, how a pet’s coat works is incredibly different to what human presume. Shaving their fur (even in summer) can have a really negative effect on their well-being as it’s used to regulate their temperature. If you do need to trim or groom your pet, limit the trim to the feet and muzzle and remember to bath them indoors with warm water. Blow dry them dry (or have a super-extended towel wrestle!) before letting them back outside again. We all know the struggle of having to get out of the shower first thing in the morning so let’s make sure everyone’s all dry, warm and snuggly.

      1. Provide warm and dry shelter for your pet over winter

      If you can, keeping your little buddies inside over the winter period is definitely ideal, however, it is understandable if your dog is primarily an outdoor pet that changing their sleeping habits can be a bit tricky.  A kennel or box filled with blankets for your pooch will be welcomed when the frosty mornings hit and having a toasty bed under their own little roof to help escape the chill will make them super happy. As for cats, they should never be let out at night as, on average, they kill around 20 native Australian animals each night in mice, lizards and other furries, accounting for around 1 billion natives dying each year due to cats.

      1. Cutie Booties

      If you’re lucky enough to live in a snowy country (or you get some serious frosts), you may have to provide Ugg’s for your pugs. Always remember to introduce these slowly! Boots are a foreign concept to most dogs and can sometimes take some time to get used to… Some pups just don’t like it but remember, treats are your friend. Start with trying just one on one foot for 5 minutes then, over a week or so, introduce more shoes and for longer periods until your pup can almost lace their own.

      5. For the Oldies

      For those of us that aren’t such spring chickens any more we have to keep a special eye out for them. With a range of inflammatory and arthritic conditions affecting older pets, active warming or medications becomes more necessary when it’s colder. Elderly pets suffer during the colder weather and may benefit from a visit to your local vet for a check-up if they are getting around a bit slower. A lot of medical conditions are exacerbated by the cold as it affects circulation, blood pressure and exercise.

      I hope that with these tips, all our little buddies are toasty and dry this winter and remember one of the best ways to keep your pets (and you) warm is a great big cuddle in bed. So we say “get huggin”!!

      Dr Evan knew there must be a better way to ensure pet owners give their pets treatments on time and founded FleaMail. He now has a team of Vet nurses & protects thousands of Aussie pets across the country!

      Join FleaMail today!

      Don’t have time to read? Listen to Dr. Evan Shaw talk on this blog!

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      How To Combat The Puppy Blues

      How To Combat The Puppy Blues

      Combatting the puppy blues.

      Do you have a new puppy?

      If so, congratulations! Puppies are the best! However, your happiness may be short-lived. Studies show that many owners experience post-puppy depression.

      It’s not unusual for new puppy owners to experience a period of adjustment after bringing their furry friend home. But sometimes that adjustment can last a little longer than expected…

      Is this feeling normal?  You had this wonderful vision of what life was going to look like when you welcomed your puppy to your home.

      And this isn’t it…

      You’re tired, you’re refreshing the mop bucket during toilet training ad nauseam and the teeth marks on your arm has you wondering, “was my puppy somehow crossed with a shark?”

      It’s disappointing, upsetting, frustrating, and you might even be feeling like getting your puppy was a terrible idea. Don’t panic! It’s also normal!

      Why is it normal? Because you are dealing with a puppy, the equivalent of a toddler in the terrible-two phase… Except you can’t find your left shoe because it’s being chewed on (even though you bought about 300 dog toys to amuse them).

      If this sounds like you, here are a few tips to help you get through it.

      Take a Break

      Try to incorporate several breaks into your day. It can get difficult to be attentive, patient, and upbeat about integrating your puppy into your life all the time. Taking care of yourself is critical, and that includes allowing yourself to take a break. Whether it’s a 15 minute shower while your puppy is in their crate, a nap while someone else watches over them, or a full day while your dog is in day-care, make time for breaks!

      Don’t be hard on yourself

      Trust us when we say, you are not alone here. Puppies need attention, until they are at least one or two years of age. They have excessive amounts of energy and need plenty of play time, cuddles and love.

      Look at it this way, your puppy has bonded with you, and that is adorable AF, he wants to be around you every waking moment.

      Register for Puppy School

      Puppy school is the perfect way to surround yourself with other new puppy owners and learn some fantastic training techniques.

      Puppy school can give you the opportunity to connect with others who are experiencing the same positives and negatives as you.

      Dealing with the puppy blues can be challenging, and when you’re waking up at 3:00am to calm your puppy you may feel overwhelmed… But on the other side of puppy blues comes a rewarding experience that provides you and your new furry friend with a life-long companion.

      Remember that the most important thing for your puppy’s long term development is patience, proper training and care. We wish you the best in your experience as a new puppy owner, and promise you a rewarding relationship moving forward. 

      Flea & Worming delivered by Aussie Vets monthly! Try your first month for just $10!

      Let FleaMail be your puppy’s treatment companion so you can keep them up to date with their parasite prevention. This way you can focus on all the love and cuddles you’ll be sharing. Sign up today for just $10 and see how convenient FleaMail can be for you and your puppy.

      Already have a four-legged member of the family? Share this post with your friends who are thinking about getting a puppy and help them make the right decision for their family!

       

      Titer test: QLD pet anti-vaxxers use jab to avoid vaccination | The Courier  Mail

      Dr Evan Shaw

       

      Heartworm Prevention: What you need to know

      Heartworm Prevention: What you need to know

      Heartworm Prevention: What You Need to Know

       

      Heartworm in pets is easy to prevent but difficult and costly to cure, but what even is heartworm? How does your pet contract a heartworm and what can you do to prevent it? In today’s FleaMail blog we will go over the basics of heartworm. What it is, how to prevent it and what to do if you suspect your pet has been infected. So, let’s start at the start, what is heartworm and how does your pet get it?

      How does my pet get Heartworm?

      Heartworm is a parasite that lives in the heart of your pet. It is a parasitic worm that feeds on blood and can grow up to 12 inches long! The heartworms life cycle starts with an infected mosquito biting a dog or cat, then introducing larvae into their bodies via the mosquito’s saliva.

       

      Heartworm larvae can stay in a pet’s body for up to a year before reaching adulthood and then moving on to the heart where it will reside, mate and produce more heartworm larvae. There are some other common ways pets contract heartworm besides mosquitoes. They include: heartworm larvae in the rain, coming into contact with other infected pets or even fleas that carry heartworms.

      So what does Heartworm do?

      Heartworm is very serious business! It can cause severe damage or even death if not treated in time. Some of the problems heartworms may cause are: heart disease, severe lung disease, potential organ damage, fluid build-up around the abdomen and of course death, if left untreated. You should also consider heartworms as a possible reason for any of the following symptoms: coughing, lethargy, fever or weight loss.

      I think my pet has Heartworm!

      So, what should you do if you suspect your pet is suffering from a heartworm? There are heartworm tests you can have your veterinarian run. They do this by taking a blood sample and checking it for heartworm antibodies. A heartworm test can be run as either: heartworm antigen (heartworms produce proteins that the body reacts to and produces specific antibodies), heart worm antibody (antibodies produced by your pet’s immune system after exposure) or heartworm microfilaria (microscopic larvae in the blood stream). As I’m sure you can tell these tests aren’t always cheap. The best way to fight heartworm is with preventative medications.

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      Prevention is key!

      As we know parasites are always around, regardless of the season, which is why it’s important to keep your pet on regular heartworm prevention medications throughout the year. The best way to prevent heartworm is by taking your pet for regular preventative treatment. This can be done at a vet clinic where they will administer heartworm prevention medication orally, or heartworm flea and tick control pills. This is done once a month to prevent heartworms from developing in your pet’s system. Thankfully we can handle this for you at FleaMail. We offer heartworm prevention in a monthly pill form, which is easy to give your furry friend and allows you one less thing to worry about when it comes to parasites!

      So what now?

      There may be a lot of information to digest in this post, but it’s important to know because heartworm is not something you want your pet or family member to get. So, what can we do about this? The best way for pets and humans alike to avoid getting heartworms is by being proactive in prevention. FleaMail offers your pets monthly protection from fleas, ticks and worms shipped straight to your door so you never forget! You can find information about our service through our website FleaMail.com.au. Or contact us directly through Facebook, Instagram or email us at info@fleamail.com.au.

      Flea & Worming delivered by Aussie Vets monthly!

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      Is my dog or cat warm enough in winter?

      Is my dog or cat warm enough in winter?

      Winter has well and truly announced itself in Australia in the last month, and it’s the perfect time to drag out the blankets and comfy winter clothes like the uggies if you haven’t already!

      But WAIT, what about our besties?

      It’s usually this time of year that longer-haired dogs are looking scraggly and ready for a trim, but should you get them clipped …what about short-haired pups, and cats?

      This week we’re talking about the best ways to keep our fur kids warm and safe in these chilly months, and just as importantly – the signs that they may be getting too warm. So let’s get into it!

      Guidelines for indoor winter pets.

      Pets usually run a little hotter than us humans, especially dogs and cats with longer coats. The general rule is: They’re warm enough if you are (the exception is our hairless friends).

      For indoor pets, often we need to look out for them being “too warm”. The first signs are your pet moving to a cooler room, surface or area – or excessive water intake.

      So don’t be too offended if your pup gets off the couch and heads to the floor or another room, they’re likely just trying to cool down.

      One thing to note, if you have central heating or a home with no “cooler spots”, be sure to monitor your pet closely and try to make a cooler place for them if they need it.

      To clip or not to clip?

      Your pet’s coat is like a big fluffy jumper, so clipping their coat would feel somewhat like taking a jumper off. Naturally, if your pet is always in a heated room (and covered when outdoors), clipping them is likely not a problem – but try limiting the clipping to only their feet and face, keeping some more length around the midsections.

      Great groomers do “winter cuts” for this very reason.

      If your pet lives outdoors or sleeps in the laundry etc: Then it’s recommended to leave their coats all winter unless it’s impairing their vision or movement. Just be sure to fill their kennels or sleeping area with blankets and check they aren’t wet in the morning.

      It goes without saying, your pet MUST have shelter from the elements, but even undercover areas can get “frosty” in the mornings and their bedding can get wet. Be sure to check!!

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      Washing your dog in winter.

      Dogs love the park in winter, running helps warm them up and it’s great exercise to burn off built up energy. But quite often they’ll come back a muddy mess!

      One quick hack is to take them in the shower with you (if not a Great Dane:) and wash them ONLY with lukewarm water and dog designed soaps – not human ones. Just ensure they’re fully dry afterwards.

      Blow drying is usually not recommended as it’s hard to tell “just how hot” your pet is, but a towel wrestle can be fun!

      Coats and jackets for heading outdoors.

      When venturing outdoors with your pets like to the park, nothing’s as cute as a pug in a hoodie, and pet clothing isn’t just fashionable – it’s functional. Especially for those with shorter coats.

      There are so many options nowadays when it comes to doggy coats and jackets. Follow a footy team, pick up your favourite team’s jersey! Got a favourite superhero or want something fun (pug life!), there are all kinds of accessories that can fulfil the fashionista in even the most discerning of Dachsies!

      But remember the golden rule with accessories:
      – is it comfortable and safe?

      You need to make sure your pet has ample space to breathe and make sure the coat itself breathes. Avoiding synthetic materials is a good idea as these fabrics don’t provide the airflow most pets needs.

      The other area to check is if the coat or accessory has any dangling cords or buttons that can be easily swallowed, cause constriction or destroy your pet’s teeth. Avoid all of these.

      Winter for older pets.

      For those that aren’t such spring chickens anymore, we have to keep a special eye out for them in winter. With a range of inflammatory and arthritic conditions affecting older pets, active warming or medications becomes more necessary when it’s colder. Elderly pets suffering from colder weather may also benefit from a visit to your local vet for a check-up.

      As Dr Evan from FleaMail says “a lot of medical conditions are exacerbated by the cold as it affects circulation, blood pressure and exercise”. Something we look out with your pet’s Flea, Tick & Worming during winter – which really is a must (read more here on winter parasite protection). 

      We hope that with these tips, all our little buddies are toasty and dry this winter and remember one of the best ways to keep your pets (and you) warm is a great big cuddle!

      Flea & Worming delivered by Aussie Vets, for less than $1 a day.

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