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My Dog Has Worms – What Should I Do?
Worms are common parasites that infect dogs, causing everything from mild discomfort and illness to severe reactions and death. Quickly recognizing the signs of worms and taking appropriate treatment steps is essential to keep your dog in good health. Fortunately, there are also good preventative measures you can take to minimize your dog's exposure to worms.

Types of Worms Dogs May Get

There are several types of internal parasites that can affect dogs. The most common types of worms in dogs include…


While some of these parasites look distinctive and can be easily recognized even by amateurs, it is best to leave the diagnosis of worm types to your veterinarian. This will ensure the proper care and getting your dog back to good health as quickly and safely as possible.

Symptoms of Worms

Many parasites may only cause minor discomfort to your dog and there may not be any distinct symptoms of infection. A strong and dangerous case of worms, however, can cause a variety of symptoms, including…

Diarrhea and vomiting
Blood or mucus visible in feces
Distended or swollen abdomen
Dramatic weight loss or appetite change
Anal irritation, licking or scooting
Dull or brittle fur
Ongoing or excessive coughing
Whole worms being passed in feces or sticking around the anus
Once worms are suspected to be affecting your dog, seek veterinary guidance right away for an exact diagnosis and treatment regimen. De-worming medication is usually necessary, and in severe cases, your dog may need to be hospitalized for treatment and observation.

Preventing Worms

The best way to keep your dog worm-free is to take steps to minimize its risk of contracting worms. While some parasites, such as roundworms, are so prevalent that they can be contracted by puppies nursing from an infected mother, simple steps can lessen your dog's exposure to worms and keep infections low.

Clean up feces right away and dispose of droppings out of your dog's reach. Most worms can be easily passed as larvae in feces, and dogs that sniff, eat or roll in droppings are at greater risk for contracting worms.

Use safe steps to eliminate fleas and ticks. Many of these small parasites can transmit worms between animals. Use flea collars, drops, dips and other methods to keep your dog free of biting pests that can transmit worms.

Use effective pest control methods to keep populations of mice and rats away from your dog. These rodents can carry worms themselves, as well as the fleas and ticks that transmit worms. If you use poisons for rodent control, use them responsibly and out of reach of your pet.

Minimize your dog's contact with unknown dogs that may be carrying worms. If possible, avoid stray or free-roaming dogs, dog parks and large kennel facilities where worms can be easily transmitted in crowded conditions.

Take steps to minimize mosquitoes in your yard. Some mosquitoes can also harbor worm larvae and may transmit the parasites between animals. Mowing grass to a shorter length, using mosquito traps and selectively spraying pesticides can help protect your pet.

Avoid feeding your dog raw meat. There is no overwhelming health benefit to a raw diet, and raw meat can harbor worm larvae that will infect your dog. Instead, offer thoroughly cooked meat that is suitable for human consumption, but without sauces or seasonings.

Schedule regular fecal exams for your dog, when your veterinarian will examine your dog's feces for signs of different types of worms. These exams should be part of your dog's regular annual or semi-annual checkups and can pinpoint any problems early for easy treatment.
Worms are a less-than-pleasant part of every dog's health, and by understanding the symptoms of a worm infestation and how to minimize the risks you will be able to more easily and quickly arrange proper treatment to keep your dog healthy.

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What We Can Do to Help With Feline UTIs
Urinary tract infections can be painful, dangerous or even fatal for your cat, but what can you do to help them avoid or overcome these conditions?

Does My Cat Have a UTI?

There are several symptoms to watch for that could indicate a urinary tract infection in your feline friend. Common symptoms include…

Frequent urination, even without passing much liquid
Avoiding the litterbox or urinating away from the box
Strong odor to the urine
Bloody or cloudy urine
Hard, swollen abdomen indicating urine buildup
Frequent licking of the genitals
Excessive drinking
Each of these symptoms can also indicate other disorders, however, and it is critical to have a veterinarian properly diagnose a urinary tract infection to ensure the most suitable, effective treatment. While all cats may be subject to occasional UTIs, the most common causes of these painful infections include…

Kidney stones
Bladder inflammation
Urinary tract tumors or growths
Stress or anxiety
General incontinence
Urinary tract injuries
With proper diagnosis, your veterinarian can determine the cause of your cat's infection and recommend the best possible treatment to relieve the condition.

Treating Your Cat's UTI

The exact treatment for a cat's urinary tract infection will depend on the severity of the infection and its precise cause. In many cases, a regimen of antibiotics or other medication will be necessary, and all the medication should be administered to your cat even if they show signs of improvement. Other possible treatment options include…

Creating a Low-Stress Environment: Because high anxiety can use UTIs, adjusting your cat's environment for lower stress can help alleviate these infections. Allow your cat access to see out windows, crack a window for natural air flow, provide more stimulating toys and take time to bond with your cat to lower their stress and improve their health.

Dietary Changes: A principally dry, lackluster diet can contribute to your cat's urinary tract infections. Instead, change to wet canned food and entice your cat with tastier tidbits. The healthier their diet, the more they will be able to fight infections and recover quickly. Low salt cat food formulas can also be helpful for cats prone to UTIs.

Increase Water Intake: While cats will not naturally slake their thirst at the water bowl, keeping more water available can help improve their water intake and alleviate UTIs. Provide multiple water bowls in convenient locations, and refresh the water daily to improve its flavor and appeal for even the pickiest cats. A splash of tuna or chicken juice in the water bowl may also help encourage more drinking.
In extreme cases, a urinary tract infection may require catheterization, surgery or hospitalization. Your veterinarian will choose the most effective treatment methods to help your cat recover.

Preventing Future Infections

It can be traumatic to work through your cat's UTI, but fortunately prevention is relatively easy and can spare your cat the agony of these infections. The same steps that may be used to treat mild infections – lowering stress, changing diet, improving water intake – can help keep feline UTIs from recurring. Stay alert to your cat's urination behavior at all times, examining clumps in the litter to ensure your pet is passing enough water, and you will be able to seek veterinary guidance as soon as possible in case of an infection.

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Pet Party Ideas
Our pets often become beloved family members, and it is natural to want to include them in family-oriented celebrations and parties. Unfortunately, most parties – with loud music, special foods, numerous guests and energetic entertainment – are not pet-friendly. Instead, you can plan a pet party to celebrate any special occasion or holiday, including your pet's birthday, adoption day, a training milestone, a show ring victory or just to share a joyful time together.

Why Parties Can Be Good for Pets

We love parties as a way to connect with friends and family members, try new things, enjoy treats and relax with a break in our daily routine. Parties can do the same for pets with supervised socialization, mental stimulation, exercise and entertainment. A party can be great for bonding, can reinforce training and can help your pet feel secure in new and unique situations. To be a safe and comfortable party, however, it is important to plan a pet party with your pet's needs and preferences in mind.

Everything You Need for a Pet Party

A party for your pet needs all the same elements as any party you might plan, including…

Guest List
Invite other pet owners to the party, including animals your pet is already familiar with as well as a new guest or two. Your pet's litter mates, parents or offspring can be ideal guests. Also consider inviting your veterinarian, your pet's breeder or former owner or other guests who will enjoy seeing and interacting with your pet. Take care, however, that any other animals you invite will be compatible with your pet's personality and behavior so you can avoid any unpleasantness at the party.

A party is easiest to arrange at your home, but is your home equipped for the needs of multiple, excited pets? Consider overall space, fencing and the animals' energy as well as parking, seating and other needs of human guests. A local park – especially a pet-friendly option like a dog park – may be a better venue. Other options include a more out-of-the-way picnic area or even a training class that can accommodate several pets at once for a fun group session.

Pets won't notice party decorations, but a few fun accents can make the atmosphere more festive and will be enjoyed by human chaperones. Consider animal-themed items, such as bone-shaped placemats, paw print napkins or animal-shaped balloons. Just be sure all decorative items are out of reach of pets, especially if they may pose any threat or hazard to excited animals.

Snacks and treats are a must-have at any party, including one for pets. A good supply of pet treats is essential, but take into account the special dietary needs or allergies of any animals that will be attending. It usually won't be necessary to provide a full meal, but be sure plenty of fresh, clean water is available. Consider visiting pet-friendly bakeries for gourmet goodies that are suitable for pets, such as doggie cookies or similar items to make a party menu.

What will different pets do at the party? Many pets will simply be thrilled to have new companions to play with for a few hours, or you can create pet-friendly games such as an obstacle course, games of fetch or similar playtime favorites as entertainment. A pet costume contest, a kiddie pool to splash in, a personalized training session or other activities can also be part of the party schedule.

Gifts are often brought to human parties, and your guests may want to bring gifts to a pet party as well. If asked, advise guests on welcome items, including your pet's favorite treats, brands, sizes and other information in case of gift-giving. You can also suggest guests to donate to a local shelter, or collect donations of money or materials during the party to take to a shelter afterwards. You might also want to make goody bags for your guests to take away as a fun reminder of the party, but be sure any items in the bags are suitable for each pet.

While you're planning your pet party, don't forget the needs of the human guests! Be sure there is enough seating, delicious food, suitable drinks and good entertainment for everyone attending. At the same time, be sure the humans aren't so distracted that the pets are left unsupervised or unsafe.
There is one more thing you need to be sure to have at a pet party – the means to clean up properly. You ought to provide extra bags, litter boxes or other necessities as needed. If you choose a public, pet-friendly place for the party, be sure your pet and its guests are all cleaned up after, as well as all other trash disposed of after the party.

A party is a great way to celebrate, and with proper planning, you can have a pet party to celebrate the great relationship and fun you have with all your four-legged family members.

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Living in a Big City With a Pet
City life can be exciting, but it isn't always the best life for every pet. Anyone who enjoys animal companionship as well as the attractions of the city can successfully have both in their lives, however, if they take proper steps to give their pet the best possible city life without sacrificing their pet's needs.

10 Steps to Keep City Pet Happy

There are easy ways any pet owner can keep their pets happy even in the biggest, craziest city environment.

Consider Your Future
Before bringing a pet into a city home, consider your own city future. Many city dwellers move frequently, and it may not be the best idea to have a pet if your living arrangements are likely to change regularly. If you are settled, however, you can make a place in your life for a pet.

Check the Law
Not all apartments, townhomes or other residences allow pets, and even those that do may have restrictions on certain types of pets, breeds, sizes or the number of pets residents can have. Also be aware of other laws, such as leash laws, licensing and pet cleanup codes.

Budget Appropriately
The costs of pet food, supplies and veterinary care can be significantly higher in the city, and you need to be sure you can afford your pet as well as your other urban expenses. Don't forget to factor in pet deposits or increased rent, and shop around for the best deals on pet supplies.

Choose the Right Pet
Not all pets are suited to city life. Smaller pets that are happier in confined spaces are better choices for living in a big city, or pets that stay in tanks, cages or aquariums. Also be sure you will have the time to spend with your pet if you plan to have an active city social life.

Provide the Perfect Home Habitat
Your pet needs dedicated space to enjoy, and should have space to call its own with the right bedding, feeding area and litter space. The temperature should be best for your pet, and every animal needs enrichment opportunities with toys, training and play as well.

Teach Proper Behavior
Larger pets will need proper training to feel comfortable in the city, such as adequate leash training and socialization to be at ease in busy crowds. If you have roommates, be sure they are involved with the pet's training, and refresh the training regularly to keep your pet sharp.

Take Safety Precautions
The city can be a dangerous place for pets, and you need to take all necessary steps to keep your pet safe. This includes always locking doors and making sure your pet can't escape into busy streets, and you may want to consider pet health insurance.

Network With Other Pet Owners
Cities are filled with other pet lovers, and there are many groups of dedicated pet owners you can join. Groups or clubs may offer pet-friendly outings and events as well as plentiful advice and help from other experienced urban pet owners.

Take Advantage of Urban Resources
Big cities have many great resources pet owners can use to give their pets a great life, such as pet day care centers, animal-friendly yoga or jogging groups, pet treat bakeries, dog parks, experienced pet sitters and more. Use these resources to give your pet a rich, fulfilling city life.

Be Your Best Friend's Best Friend
The most important thing you can do to have a happy pet in a big city is to spend time with them, and always keep your pet's best interests in mind. It might mean missing a night at the club or a special concert now and then, but the love of a happy, healthy pet will make it all worthwhile.

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Natural Remedies to Scare Off Ticks
Ticks are more than just annoying, biting insects. They can also transmit a number of scary diseases, including lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, human anaplasmosis, tularemia, rickettsiosis and more. Even scarier than tick-borne diseases with their different complications and expensive medical treatments, however, is the overuse of toxic chemicals that may be used incorrectly or irresponsibly to repel ticks. Those same chemicals, when used improperly, could lead to completely different reactions and complications for both humans and pets that may have chemical sensitivities. Fortunately, there are several natural remedies to scare off ticks without the risks associated with chemical use.

Keeping Ticks Away

There are a number of different ways that can help keep ticks away, and the further these bugs are from you and your pets, the better the results. After all, there is no risk of tick bites if ticks are nowhere around. Effective ways to scare off ticks include…

Using Plants That Repel Ticks
Different landscaping plants have tick-repellent properties, with fragrances, textures and oils that these bugs cannot tolerate. Garlic, sage, mint, lavender, beautyberry, rosemary and marigolds are some of the most familiar and effective tick-repelling plants, and they are great to use in landscaping borders around decks, walkways, pet runs, patios and other areas to keep ticks away. These plants can also be used in containers near windows and doors to discourage ticks.

Discourage Tick-Carrying Wildlife
Deer and mice are the most common wildlife that carry ticks, and taking steps to discourage these visitors is an easy way to keep ticks away as well. Chose plants that deer won't eat, use fences to keep wildlife away, clean up trash so it does not attract mice, clean underneath bird feeders so there is no food available and use humane, responsible traps and other deterrents as needed to remove these tick transporters from your yard.

Destroy Tick Habitat
While you may want to design landscaping that is friendly for birds, butterflies or other welcome wildlife, you can also design that same landscaping to get rid of ticks. These insects thrive in moist, shaded areas, so remove brush piles, overgrown plants and long grasses that are ideal for ticks. Proper pruning and keeping grass mowed will keep ticks from getting too comfortable. Using cedar chips for mulch can also discourage ticks because the oils in cedar are naturally tick-repellent.

Welcome Tick-Eating Wildlife
If you enjoy having wildlife and animals in your yard but don't want ticks to be part of the menagerie, opt for wildlife that happily eats ticks. Wild birds eat a great number of insects, especially jays, robins and bluebirds. Domestic chickens and similar fowl, including ducks, geese, turkeys and guineafowl, also eat ticks and can help keep your yard and garden tick-free.

Make Yourself Less Tick-Friendly
There are changes you can make to your diet to discourage ticks. A diet high in garlic, onions and sources of vitamin B1 (thiamin), such as tuna, tomatoes, sunflower seeds, asparagus and leafy greens, for example, can alter your body chemistry in a way that ticks don't appreciate, so they aren't as likely to bite. Wearing loose clothing that covers all your skin can also help keep ticks from attaching, and light colors will make ticks easy to spot so you can quickly remove them.

Try a Tick Repellent
Natural essential oils from rosemary, cedar, lemongrass, peppermint, citronella and geranium are believed to be particularly noxious to ticks, and homemade repellent recipes frequently incorporate these oils into lotions or sprays to repel ticks. Depending on the recipe, the repellent may be applied to skin, fabric or even plants, doorways or other areas, keeping ticks away.
While any of these methods can be effective at scaring off ticks, it is always best to use multiple techniques for the strongest protection against these unwanted insects. By using several tactics to discourage ticks, you can easily make sure these bugs are never bothersome again.
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