Pet expert, journalist, author and radio host, Steve Dale of Steve Dale’s Pet World joined me to discuss ways we pet owners can protect our beloved pets (best friends :)) from dangerous parasites and deadly diseases this winter.
Candace: With winter near, what can we do to protect our pets from fleas, ticks and other parasites?
Steve Dale: “Well, we need to do exactly what you said ‘protect our pets.’ People think because winter is near that we can just slack off and being a slacker is not a good idea because what happens is right now is there are more fleas out there than ever before. Believe it or not more fleas at this moment than in the summer and in the spring. You count the fleas on your average possum or raccoon and you’re likely to see more of them if they’re out in the environment; that means if your dog or cat goes outside unprotected they’re likely to come back inside with those little critters on them. That you don’t want inside the house, so prevention is what it’s all about.”
Candace: What can we do to protect them?
SD: “Talk to your veterinarian about using the right products for your pets and for your pets lifestyles. Heartworm disease is another concern. As long as there are mosquitoes around there’s going to be heartworm disease. Heartworm is found now in all 50 states. Heartworm disease can be deadly to dogs and cats, so here prevention is imperative and we need to do it. And again some people begin to forget to do it as we move into this time of year where they just don’t think about it, I’m not quite sure why. What I know is animals die that don’t need to or they need treatment when they otherwise wouldn’t and the treatment for heartworm in dogs is expensive and it’s not easy. And in cats there is no treatment, so it really is all about prevention.”
Candace: This year I actually noticed that my dogs were getting more ticks more often than usual. Does weather play a role in that? Because they had products on them that usually take care of the problem?
SD: “Yes, it absolutely is part of all of this, so the weather from year to year of course varies and it varies depending on where you are in the country. So the tick population will vary as well, and those ticks of course aren’t just benign, they don’t just bite and fall off and that’s the end of the story, they bite and then in the process very often deliver a cocktail of diseases to our dogs; it’s not a good thing. So you know, we all know about lyme disease, but there’s more, there’s babesiosis, lichiosis, rocky mountain spotted fever and I can go on and on. And if you were to do a survey, it turns out there are probably more ticks in America now than ever before in our history. A lot of reasons for that, it has to do with an increased number of wild life. As we see more deer around the country, we see more ticks. But it also probably has to do with weather, maybe in ways we don’t even yet understand. Fact is our pets need protection and the same with mosquitoes, of course. You know certain years the weather just lends itself to more mosquitoes; more mosquitoes there are, more chances of heartworm disease.”
Candace: Wow, that’s terrifying.
SD: “No, I don’t want to scare you! No, that’s not the point. The point is we can protect our pets. You know what? We can protect our pets in some ways better than we can protect ourselves, so lets do it.”
Candace: And what products do you recommend?
SD: “You know, I love the idea of a product that does everything all at once. You know it’s better for our pocketbooks that way and this product called Trifexis protects against fleas, heartworm, as well as intestinal parasites that we need to protect our pets against as well, all at once. So that means you don’t have to worry about your Outlook calendar- ‘I’ve got to do this on this day for this pet, this on this day for this pet’; and it’s one chewable tablet, it tastes like beef. So all you have to do is say ‘here Fido’ and your dog takes it, it’s that easy.”
Trifexis – 1-800-PetMeds
Candace: With the economy as bad as it’s been of late, many people aren’t taking their pets to the veterinarian as often as they’d like. How often do our pets need to go to the veterinarian?
SD: “They really, I underline that world really need to go twice a year and even if your dog or cat seems healthy, you can’t do blood work at home, you don’t have a stethoscope at home. I mean how do you know? You really don’t and our pets don’t always tell us what they’re not feeling well. However any time you notice a change in behavior: so your cat that usually comes to the door running when you walk in the door doesn’t do that anymore or your cat that reverse is usually off in a corner, is now coming to the door running when you walk in. Any change like that, it’s a red flag and contact your veterinarian.”
Candace: Do you have any additional tips or information you’d like to share?