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Protecting Your Cat From Fleas

Protecting Your Cat From Fleas 0

Fleas are a persnickety insect that can infect not only your pet, causing them unlimited annoyance and irritation - they can also effect your home and all of the belongings within it. A simple flea bath or collar won't do the trick for getting rid of fleas completely, but we can help you determine the best ways for you to annihilate these little buggers off your cat and out of your home for good! 

Understanding how a flea works and it's life cycle is a good place to start when analyzing your flea problem. You have to understand how the enemy thinks, right? Well first, did you know that the 'cat flea' (Ctenocephalides felix) is the most widely found flea in the US and infects not only cats but dogs, humans, livestock, other mammals, and birds. 

Fleas begin their life journey primarily in damp, moist, and warm climates. They find a warm-blooded host most of the time and use their saliva to soften the skin so they can access the blood more easily. This saliva is what commonly leads to itching, scratching, and allergies in your pet and in ourselves. 

Now let's jump ahead to a fully formed, adult flea. Adult fleas have a flat, hairy body that allows them to navigate through pet and human hair. The female flea will lay white, round eggs and can lay up to 50 eggs per day.

Now the eggs on the other hand do not have any device like hair to attach them to the animal they're occupying and a lot of the time, the eggs will simply fall off of your pet. Often when they fall though, they'll land within your home, in the trenches of your rugs or floorboards. Eggs can develop and hatch anywhere from 2 days to 2 weeks depending on the environment. 

Flea larvae is the next stage after the flea's have developed enough to hatch from their eggs. At this stage, the fleas are semi-transparent and about a quarter of an inch long. During this time they normally don't find a host to attach to, but instead eat the feces of adult fleas and other organic items they find in the area they are. This phase lasts anywhere from 5 to 18+ days. Once the stage is complete, the flea larva wrap themselves in a spun silk cocoon. 

Now we're in the final stages of this nasty development and the flea has reached the Paupa stage. Fleas are odd in that their development is very conditional, they can remain in their cocoon for as little as 3 to 5 days or stay within it for an entire year or longer, it simply depends. Multiple factors help provoke the flea from it's cocoon, things like warm temperatures, and high humidity can help urge them out of the safety of their silk vessels. 

For most of us - we're not going to know there are fleas around our home and pet until we notice or begin to feel itching, scratching, and irritation. So first things first, I already have fleas so how do I get rid of them? After that we can dig in to how to prevent them once they're finally gone! 

1. Flea Shampoo Bath:
Time to get sudzy with your pet. A Shampoo bath is one of the most solid ways to penetrate your pet's coat and really get rid of those frustrating fleas. Now this isn't a full-on treatment and the effects of the flea shampoo may only last a day or two but they should clean off any existing fleas your cat may have. 

2. Spot-Treatment: 
These are topical creams or oils that you can apply directly on to your pet's skin, normally between the shoulder blades on their back. This can help stop flea larvae growth and usually helps protect your pet from acquiring any further fleas for about a month.

3. Pills: 
Your pet can receive either a pill or injected medication that will break the life cycle of the flea, making it impossible for the flea larvae to break out of their eggs. Used in combination with regular on-going flea protection, this can be one of the best methods for keep fleas off your pet. 

4. Flea Collars: 
Flea collars primarily kill adult fleas but can also be effective in preventing egg and larval development too. Collars make it easy for the treatment to be absorbed by your pet's skin into their subcutaneous fat layer making it very effective. You can leave these collars on your pet for a month before swapping them out but the time-line can depend from brand to brand. 

5. Dips:
These are strong chemical rinses that completely rid your pet of fleas, mites, ticks, and an other parasite that may have attached to them through their skin or coat. Now this only effective on adult fleas, not eggs or larva and it lasts about 2-weeks. 

Being a pet-parent is a full time job and it's easy to miss things from time to time, for instance an insanely small bug sifting through your cat's hair. We suggest performing regular flea and tick checks for your pet at least once a week. This way it becomes  a part of both of your routines and you both become accustomed to the process. This also helps nip fleas in the bud quickly and ensure your prevention methods are still working! 

If you have any more holistic, home remedies, or any other ideas that have worked when it comes to keep your cat flea-free, shoot us an email and let us know! Thanks and good luck out there in your fight against fleas! 

How Hot Is Too Hot For My Dog To Be Outside?

How Hot Is Too Hot For My Dog To Be Outside? 0

As we prepare our BBQs with charcoal and wiener dogs, set out our blankets and coolers on the beach, or begin trampling through the underbrush of our local trails and parks - let's not forget one of the most important things - our dogs! 

Whether your dog is mostly and inside guy/gal or prefers running wild outside, we have some great tips for how to prepare for a Spring & Summer season with your beloved pet. 

Let's begin with a few facts regarding temperatures. One rule of thumb, if the weather is too extreme for a human, it's more than likely too extreme for your pet to withstand too. For example, hot temperatures, blended with humidity, can cause dehydration and heatstroke in both humans and pets. 

Humidity plays a major factor in whether it's okay to leave your pet outside for extended periods of time. If you live in a climate with very low humidity, it may be alright for your dog to hang out outside in 80+ degree weather, as long as there is shade and water available. Always be sure your pet has access to a cool area and water nearby for when they're ready. 

On days you expect to be extremely hot, be sure to get your walk in with your dog either early in the morning or in the evening when it's begun to cool down. If you decide to take your pet out during the mid-afternoon, first check the sidewalk with your palm to make sure it isn't too hot and won't effect your pet's sensitive pads on their paws. 

How long you leave your pet outdoors during hot days can always depend on their breed. For example, dogs with shorter snouts, such as pugs, breathe in warm air more quickly than those breeds with longer noses which can lead to them to become hotter, faster. Dogs with heavy coats, such as Siberian Huskies are likely to overheat more quickly than breeds with shorter coats, as their heavy coat is designed to insulate and trap in heat for them. 

There are a few signs that can indicate when your pet is overheating or reacting poorly to the heat. You should watch for symptoms of dehydration and heatstroke. These include: slow breathing, lethargy, shaking, and muscle stiffness. If you see these signs and are concerned, act immediately. Gently spray your pet with water in certain places like their armpits, ears, and then cover them with a cold soaked towel, make sure to move them indoors and encourage them to drink more water. If your pet doesn't feel quite up for drinking water, try running cool water over their tongue instead. If you don't begin to see improvement, contact your vet. 

Of course we always caution against leaving your pet in a car, even for a short period of time. Even in the shade, cars internal temperatures can rise at an alarming rate and affect your dog. 

Did you dogs with sensitive skin are also susceptible to sunburn? If your pet has fine white fur or a light coat, you may consider putting waterproof sunscreen designed for babies on important places like their ears, noses, on their back or tummy. Pet's can get skin cancer, just like us! So it can be a best practice to keep your pets out of sunlight from 10 AM to 4 PM during sunny days. 

There can be fun ways to keep your pet cool during your outside activities. Invest in a kitty pool to fill up with water in your yard area for your pet to splash around in. This also helps your dog acclimate to water in general, so if you plan on going to the beach or on a boat with them, this will help make them feel more comfortable. Bring along chilled treats like home-made doggy Popsicles.

Watch out for your pet drinking ocean or pool water or water at dog parks as this can be contaminated or treated with chemicals. Always be prepared with your own bottled water and dog dish. We also recommend bringing along a Water Filter for your dog, for those instances where they're sharing water with our dogs. One of our favorites is the GoPure Pet Water Purifier. This awesome gadget is portable, easy to use, and ensures continuously purified, great tasting water for your pet, anywhere you go. 

So remember, be prepared whenever you leave the house with your pet and pay attention to your pet's behavior for the entirety of your adventure together. We have to look after each other after all, right? If you have any more tips or suggestions for pet care during the Spring & Summer - shoot us an email! We love to hear from our fellow pet parents! 

Why Does My Cat's Breath Smell So Bad? How To Prevent & Treat.

Why Does My Cat's Breath Smell So Bad? How To Prevent & Treat. 0

As kitty owners, we know their breath isn't always pleasant. Even though our cats are often meticulous creatures, consistently bathing themselves and sometimes organizing their litter boxes, they can still get stinky. A little leftover salmon kibble lunch snagged in a tooth can lead to some nasty odors wafting from their little mouths but, if you've noticed a severely pungent smell leaking out of your cat's mouth consistently it could be cause for concern.

We can help take your feline from funky smelling to fresh. Here are a few highlights of what bad breath in cat's can signify and how it can be treated. 

Learning What Causes Bad Breath In Cats

1. Periodontal Disease (Dental or Gum Disease)

    • Veterinarians agree, Periodontal disease is the number one cause of bad breath in both cats and dogs. Periodontal disease can be caused by a build-up of soft dental-plaque that can build up on the gums and area surrounding the teeth. 
    • If ignored periodontal disease can lead to tartar, making it easier for plaque to continue to build up. Further down the line it can lead to tooth loss, mouth pain, and bleeding gums. 
    • To avoid periodontal disease, it's recommended to brush your cat's teeth daily. If tooth brushing is not possible, wiping your cat’s teeth with dry gauze or a washcloth can help remove some plaque. Dental diets or treats can also reduce plaque build-up and freshen breath.

2. Lymphocytic Plasmacytic Stomatitis

    • This ailment can often be related to the feline leukemia virus, Bartonella, and other infections. It leads to serious inflammation of your cat's mouth as well as swelling, soreness, and bleeding gums. 
    • This is a pretty transmissible disease when it comes to other cats and is very common in places with high concentrations of cats like shelters.
    • There is a vaccine available so it's less likely for your cat to contract the viruses responsible for causing Stomatitis.
3. Gastrointestinal Issues
    • If you cat is suffering from digestion problems, abnormal or improper digestion of something can lead your cat to having bad breath. 
    • Normally other signs, such as vomiting, diarrhea, or change in appetite, will occur first.
    • This can amended by carefully reading through the ingredients in your cat's pet food, switching amount the amount of proteins, vitamins, and minerals they're receiving. 

4. Kidney Disease 

    •  If your cat’s breath smells like ammonia or urine, it could be kidney disease, which is not uncommon in cats ages 8 and older. 
    • Other symptoms of kidney disease include appearing lethargic, experiencing weight loss, drinking more water, and urinating more frequently and in greater volume.
    • Kidney disease can be managed with dietary modifications, such as minimizing the phosphorus content of food, making sure your cat is adequately hydrated, and dealing with secondary issues such as anemia. 
5. Diabetes
    • If your cat's breath is on the fruitier side but still foul then this could be a sign that they're contracted diabetes. 
    • Diabetes is very treatable in cats with a change in diet being the main component and adding insulin therapy as well as oral medications.
    • Most patients come in every three or four months to adjust their insulin and check on their pet's diabetes. 
If your cat is suffering from a consistent halitosis, we definitely suggest taking a trip to the vet. To determine the cause of your cat’s halitosis, a veterinarian will start by taking a complete health history and performing a physical examination.
If the origin is not obvious (e.g., periodontal disease, lymphocytic plasmacytic stomatitis, etc), your vet will then search for an underlying medical problem by running blood work, a urinalysis, and any other diagnostic tests that might be necessary. 
Here at Waggles, we find pet food to be a major source of preventative health for our cats and dogs. When it comes to reliably healthy cat food we always recommend SMACK to our customers. Containing the right amount of minerals and vitamins for your cat, as well as being high in protein, low in carbs, and providing the essential fats and nutrients your cat requires to thrive. Available in crunchy kibble SMACK also helps your cat's teeth, and gum health, or you can add water to it for a tasty wet delight. 
    How Often Should I Be Bathing My Dog?

    How Often Should I Be Bathing My Dog? 0

    New and old pet owners alike are often unsure how often they should be bathing their dog. Should I only bathe them when they're noticeably smelly or dirty? Does bathing more frequently help prevent skin irritations, fleas, or ticks? Doesn't my dog technically groom himself? 

    The truth is that the amount you should be bathing your pet depends on a number of factors. We're here to help you determine which factors apply to your and your pet and give a few additional tips for bath time! 

    Paired with how much research you're willing to do on the subject - how often you bathe your dog also depends on their breed, their lifestyle, and the length of their coat's hair. You are correct in thinking that your dogs do clean themselves in part, which aids in hair follicle growth but you bathing them help this process along. Bathing your pet also offers the opportunity for you to detect any scratches, bumps, or skin irritations you may not be able to see when their coat is dry. 

    1. Your Dog's Coat & Breed

    As you can imagine - the more hair, the more often and lengthy the bathing process is. Dog's with medium to long coats are recommended to bathe anywhere from weekly to every 4 to 6 weeks at the most and this is only if their coat is well maintained with other forms of grooming such as brushing, in between this time. Dogs with heavier coats often trap in more dirt, dust, and other grimy agents. 

    Dogs with shorter coats don't necessarily require less bathing, and it's recommended that hairless dogs actually be bathed weekly. 

    Dogs that have very particular coats such as Siberian Huskies and Retrievers require less bathing as well as their coat keeps them insulated throughout the year and too much bathing could disturb their delicate balance of oil for their skin. For these pets we usually suggest a shedding shampoo. You can find our selection here!

    It can be wise to look up your dog's breed and learn more about their coat and skin to decide how often you determine will best meet your pet's needs. Just like us, all pet's are different and require different measures for care. 

    2. Your Dog's Lifestyle

    It only makes sense that if your pet is more active and spends more time playing with other dogs, roaming around in parks or back yards, or exploring new outdoors areas with you they are more susceptible to getting dirtier, quicker.

    As we mentioned earlier, shorter haired breeds don't lock in dirt quite as easily as longer haired breeds and don't need as much maintenance between baths. You can get away with wiping them down with a wet or damp towel after outings. Of course dog's, even with shorter hair - that are exploring the beach and ocean, scavenging through muddy fields or bogs more often than not will require more bathing.

    Longer and thicker haired breeds when subjected to a lot of outdoors activities will likely need a more deeply cleansing bath afterwards.

    If your pet is more of an indoor guy/gal and doesn't spend a lot of time rummaging up the earth outside, then they definitely won't require as much bathing and you don't want to over-bathe them as it can lead to dried out and irritated skin. 

    3. Your Dog's Breed

    Obviously your dog's breed determines their coat length but other details of your pet's breed's health can go into how often you wash your dog as well. 

    If your dog's breed is prone to certain allergies or suffers from any health conditions, we suggest asking your vet if you should consider using medicated shampoo. 

    4. Tips & Tricks

    When it comes to actual bath time, we know it isn't the easiest activity in the world, but being prepared in a few ways can make the world of difference. 

    Grooming wise - Remember to brush!  This step can often be overlooked but it will not only be an indicator to your pet that it may be bath time but it helps release a lot of the accumulated dirt and grime before getting wet, as well as untangles hair and removes any shedding hair. 

    Have a designated space, consistency is key to keeping your pet feeling safe and comfortable. Bath's can either be a not so fun but 'I"ll live' experience for your pet or a terrifying and traumatic one. Providing a single space that you always go to for bath time will help make your dog feel secure and remain more calm during their bath. 

    Be prepared with everything you need in one area. You'll have your hands full, either holding your pet still, holding shampoo or a hose or spray nozzle so make sure to have all of your supplies like shampoo, towels, brushes and whatever else nearby! 

    Make sure to have proper supplies. After doing your research on your pet's breed, hair, and grooming needs stock up on the right shampoo and grooming accessories for them! One of our favorites is King Kalm All Natural & Organic De-Shedding Shampoo! Specifically formulated for your furry best friend, especially those with long haired, heavier coats this hypo-allergenic, eco-friendly, non-toxic shampoo is ideal for the majority of dogs. Comprised of 6 simple natural ingredients - coconut oil, olive oil, Jojoba oil, Rosemary oil, Lemongrass, and Organic Aloe Vera. This delicate formula was created to rinse off easily and will leave your dog not only smelling amazing but also super soft.

    Let us know anything that has helped your out during your pet's bath time! We love to hear great ideas on making pet-ownership more fun and easy! 

     

    What Should I Look For In My Cat Food?

    What Should I Look For In My Cat Food? 0

    We know how difficult it is to decide on the the best quality pet food for your cat. There are so many brands boasting 'all-natural' ingredients, 'organic products', or 'made for felines', that it can get confusing trying to figure out which ones are truly going to be best for your cat and meet all of their needs.

    We at Waggles like to see pet food as a preventative health measure, it contributes to that many aspects of your cat's health. Finding the food that is just right and ticks all the boxes for maintaining energy levels, keeping a healthy coat and skin, improving teeth and gum health, and supporting healthy digestion, bones and muscles can be tricky. It's helpful to know what to look for and how to go about reading pet food labels. Here are a few tricks and tips to navigating different pet food brand's labels. 

    Ingredients first! In general, the order in which the ingredients are displayed is just as important as the kind of ingredients featured. The main protein ingredient is always listed first, followed by other ingredients listed in the order of their percentage of total weight of the food. This gives you an idea of how much of what the food is made up of, you can see more clearly the amounts of protein, moisture, vitamins, etc. 

    First, find a named protein, not just a label of 'meat'. This is one of the most important things that will denote whether the brand has used real proteins such as chicken or salmon or has just used meat byproducts or miscellaneous items. 

    The majority of kitties don't need a large amount of carbohydrates if any, in their diet. They're known to lead to digestion troubles and can even trigger food allergies in cats. Cat's are carnivores though and do require plenty of meat in their diet's. You'll discover more and more that brands often used carbohydrates like wheat and corn as a filler that binds their ingredients together to make kibble. This can be a disaster on your cat's stomach. There are healthier alternatives that some brand's use such as green peas and sweet potatoes. 

    Next, find the named fat source. This can be anything from "chicken fat" to "sunflower or olive oil". These contribute to keeping your cat's skin and coat all smooth and healthy. 

    Keep an eye out for taurine. This is an amino acid that is readily produced in us humans but our cat's need a little supplement. Cat's with taurine deficiencies can have heart and retinal issues in the future so make sure that your cat food recipe also includes this. 

    It can also be helpful to peep your vitamins and minerals, these are regularly added to pet foods as preservatives and are almost always beneficial to your cat's overall health. Vitamins aid in the body’s ability to resist disease and are an main aspect of the enzyme system. Vitamins assist in converting minerals into components of bones and teeth.

    Vitamins are known for their important role in red blood cell formation, reproduction, and maintaining appetite and a healthy skin and coat.

    There are two types of vitamins, fat-soluble and water-soluble. The fat-soluble vitamins include A,D,E, and K, and are stored in the body. Over supplementing with these vitamins can have a toxic effect on pets. Water-soluble Vitamins include B-Complex vitamins and vitamin C. So when reviewing your ingredients list, ensure there isn't an overabundance or deficiency of vitamins. 

    While you're narrowing down your pet food options, we suggest SMACK Raw Dehydrated Pet Food. This is one of our absolute favorite brands that we can always rely on. Comprised of a max of 15 simple and natural ingredients that are easy to pronounce and even easier to identify.

    SMACK is a high protein, low carb, all natural pet food that is GMO, Grain, and Gluten-Free. It contains no synthetics or fillers but only human-grade, organic ingredients. 

    Learn more about the SMACK Raw Dehydrated Diet and shop our selection, here! 

    We know navigating the pet food world can be a perplexing and complicated venture, but we're here to help! If you have any questions or suggestions when it comes to selecting the right cat food for your furbaby, reach out and let us know! We always love to hear from you and are always looking for new and better ways to care for our pets too! 

    What Is Pet Anxiety? Can It Be Helped?

    What Is Pet Anxiety? Can It Be Helped? 0

    It's fairly common that pet parents come home to find their items destroyed, or that their pet has urinated or defecated in some corner of the house. They may discover that their doors had been scratched at, furniture chewed, or even hear reports from neighbors that they had heard constant howling while you were away. Although this behavior often indicates hat they need to be house trained more thoroughly or strictly, it can also be a signal that your pet is suffering from separation anxiety when you leave them home alone. 

    Destructive behavior paired with a few other indicators such as anxiousness, fear, or drooling when you're preparing to leave the house can be a signal that they're in distress rather than just misbehaving once you actually leave. Some separation induced anxiety can lead to escape attempts or attempts to dig out of a place that can lead not only to serious damage but could harm and injure your pet in the process too. 

    There is currently no conclusive evidence as to why some dogs suffer from separation anxiety and other don't. It's been recorded that some pets that are rescued from animal shelters have anxiety problems more than those that have been raised in a home since being a puppy, but this isn't always the case. Major changes such as moving residencies, changing their schedule, or adding/removing a family member can also trigger anxious behavior in your pet. 

    Anxiety in your pet can sometimes be confused for other types of behavior, especially if your pet is still growing. You can sometimes confuse what may seem like anxious destructive behavior for an accidental 'submissive or excitement pee', or your pet 'marking their territory.' Your pet may also have gnawed or chewed on something due to boredom rather than anxiety, this can be helped by simply making sure they have stimulating toys for when they're alone. 

    If you've determined that your pet is agonizing from anxiety every time you leave them alone, we have a few suggestions for soothing your pet and helping them adapt to the times they have to be alone. 

    - Beginning integrating fun, aerobic exercise sessions with your dog before you plan on going somewhere. Making sure your pet has had plenty of activity and is feeling more tired when you leave can help ease their attitude and allow them to relax. Interactive games like tug of war or chasing one another around in the yard are good examples of healthy, tiring activity for your pet. 
    - If you already walk your pet regularly, add another walk into the mix or begin taking them to different areas, along different routes and let them experience new places. 
    - Provide healthy and stimulating toys for your pet. Treat puzzle games are a great way to keep your pet occupied and also reward them for doing a good job at figuring out the puzzle. This can help entertain your pet for hours and encourages positive behavior. 
    - Using crates can be hit or miss for some pets. Some are able to find their crate or kennel as a safe space where they can stay when you're away or when they know they've done something bad. In other dogs, kennels can cause them to feel trapped and induce more depression and anxiety. To determine whether or not you want to use a kennel, monitor your pet's behavior during crate training and when they're left in the crate while you’re home. If they shows signs of distress (heavy panting, excessive salivation, frantic escape attempts, persistent barking), crate confinement isn’t the best choice in this case. Instead of using a crate, you can try confining your dog to one room behind a baby gate. 


    - Begin designating pre-departure cues for your pet to read so they can prepare mentally for you to leave. You can make them become with familiar indications that you're leaving such as putting on make up, putting on shoes or a coat, grabbing your keys by doing these actions at different times and then not leaving so they become reassured that it isn't always a sign that you're leaving, and will remain more calm. 
    - Beginning training on departing. To begin your can train your dog to perform out-of-sight stays by an inside door in the home, such as the bathroom. You can teach your dog to sit and stay while you go to the other side of the bathroom door. You can then graduate to having them stay inside the house while you go outside of it and begin lengthening your stays outside. Making it seem more like a fun game helps your pet a lot. 

    Some pet parents have looked to medication or medicated anxiety-reducing treats to help their pet remain calm in their absences. We recommended King Kalm Crunch Treats. Served up in a variety of tasty flavors your pet will lap up like Honey Oat and Apple Cinnamon. These are new,  Phytocannabinoid Rich cookie like treats. Made with an all-natural recipe is made with organic ingredients and formulated by our Licensed Holistic Physician and Nutritionist. Each vitamin and Omega-3 rich cookie is slowly baked at a low temperature then dehydrated to maintain its nutritional value.  It is an excellent source of macro/micro nutrients and anti-oxidant benefits.  Use daily as part of an overall health and wellness program. 

    With the help of exercise, established routines, proper training, and the occasional stress-reducing treat, you can certainly help your pet reduce any symptoms of separation anxiety they may possess and ensure their 100% comfort for those times you have to leave them home alone. 

    If you know of any other methods of helping training when it comes to anxiety in pets, send it our way! Thanks!