Category Archives: Dogs

Why a Heartworm Preventative is Essential for Your Pet

Should I Give My Pet a Heartworm Preventative?

Do you give your dog heartworm preventative?  How about your cat?  Do you want to know why this is important?  Read on!

When we think of “worms,” we mostly think of intestinal worms; we diagnose those by sending a stool sample to the laboratory.  Heartworms are different; they are spread by mosquitos, and the adult heartworms live in the big blood vessels that take blood from the right side of the heart to the lungs to pick up oxygen.  The mosquitos carry the tiny heartworm larvae, called microfilaria, and these enter your dog’s system when he or she is bitten by that mosquito.  In case you are thinking that your dog spends very little time outside, remember that mosquitos come into the house very easily.  That’s how even indoor cats get heartworm disease.

In dogs, if we catch the heartworm disease before the dog has any symptoms, such as coughing or lethargy, we can treat him or her and get rid of the heartworms; this is a 4-month process, and it costs more than a 10-year supply of heartworm preventative!  In cats, there is no successful treatment, and cats are more likely to die of heartworm than dogs are.

For dogs, there are 3 ways to prevent heartworm disease:  most people give a monthly chewable; many people get the 6-month injection (brand name ProHeart), and some people use the monthly topical (brand name Revolution).  We also recommend an annual blood test; if your dog were to get heartworm disease, and you have been getting annual heartworm tests and have been purchasing 12 months of heartworm preventative every year, the companies that make the preventatives have guarantees that state that they will pay for the cost of the treatment needed to cure your dog.

For cats, Revolution is the treatment of choice; it also prevents fleas, and it’s easier for many cats than a pill would be, even a chewable one.

If you’re pet hasn’t had or needs a heartworm or other pet parasite preventative, schedule an appointment online or call us at 215-333-8888.

Dog Park Etiquette

What Is Proper Dog Park Etiquette?

The idea behind dog parks is wonderful; they’re safely fenced-in places for your dog to run and play with other dogs. But sometimes the experience is not what you expected, usually because someone hasn’t used good judgment. So, let’s think about what good dog park etiquette would be.

  1. shutterstock_235637188Only take your dog to the park if she loves it. If she is worried, anxious, easily upset, or aggressive, the dog park will make her worse.
  2. When you arrive, look around at the other dogs & people BEFORE you let your dog off leash. If someone has brought their large dog into the “small dogs only” section, your little dog might not be safe, for example. Look at the body language of the other dogs, before you let your dog off-leash.
  3. Watch your dog while he’s loose; don’t get caught up talking to people you meet & ignore what your own dog is doing. If he looks afraid, or doesn’t seem to be enjoying himself, go get him & leave.
  4. Also, if your dog is bullying another dog, go get him. All of the dogs in the park should be enjoying themselves; if your dog is going after another dog who is cowering or rolling over & showing his belly, it’s up to you to get your guy leashed back up.

For most people, it’s hard to read a dog’s body language. Even if you’ve had dogs all your life, most dogs accommodate us fairly successfully, so you may never have been forced to learn to read a dog. Luckily, there are excellent online resources; check these out! You’ll love them!

  • Zoom Room’s videos:
    • Dog Body Language
    • Dog Play Gestures Body Language
  • Association of Pet Dog Trainer (APDT) videos; this is a wonderful website
  • Whole Dog Journal Dog Body Language Dictionary of Stress
  • www.dogdecoder.com (they have a $3.99 app that’s excellent!)
  • Eileenanddogs Dog Body Language Collection