I feel like I blinked and suddenly it was spring! In North Carolina, it felt like we had one bad cold spell bringing us small showers of ice then suddenly I look up, and spring has sprung! The dogwoods are in full blossom, and daffodils are poking up everywhere I walk. If you are a pet owner, you know what this means….the dreaded FLEA will be here any day now. Tis the season where Louis comes with us everywhere: from dog parks to breweries to friend’s houses. It’s important to keep him protected against certain parasites that start to come out full force. In the south, this can mean from March-November at least! Boston, you may be ok for another month or so ; ) As a vet, however, I am always worried about them year round so it’s important to know they are at risk for parasites any time of year (certain months more than others).

What are these parasites I speak of? This is anything from heartworms to intestinal parasites to fleas. Today, I am going to focus my attention on fleas as they tend to cause me the most trouble down south with clients. I find people get extremelyyyy frustrated when they get a flea infestation in the house, and I don’t blame them. These little bugs multiply faster than Octo-Mom! My best strategy is that of prevention. Always protect your pet, and you shouldn’t have a problem!

My current *winning combo* is Sentinel Spectrum and Bravecto. It is absolutely amazing and protects Louis against everything I need it to down south. Sentinel Spectrum is a monthly oral chewable that works against heartworms, intestinal parasites (hookworms, roundworms, whipworms), de-worms for tapeworms, and works against the larval form of fleas. Now do you see that last phrase (larval form of fleas)? Almost all heartworm preventatives don’t prevent against adult fleas. So, you need to add this in to get the best protection. That’s where Bravecto (my new love) comes in. This is a chewable tablet that works against adult fleas and ticks for 3 months. That’s right….3 months! I have started shying away from the topical products because a lot of them can cause issues with my cats if they were to get into contact with Louis’s skin when I apply it. Make sure to read the label of your product before using it on dogs if you have cats as well.

For cats, I am always going to be in love with Revolution. All you need for most cats is this one product. This topical preventative works against heartworms, intestinal parasites (hookworms, roundworms), adult fleas, and ear mites. For an indoor or outdoor cat, this is what you need. Cats are meticulous groomers so ticks don’t tend to be as much of a problem compared to dogs. If your area is heavily populated with ticks, then you may need an additional product. Now, on my high horse here…even if your cat is indoors, they can still get these parasites. When it gets nice and warm outside, we are all guilty of opening windows and porch doors to let in the breeze. This puts your indoor cat at risk for fleas and heartworms (from mosquitos).

I am by no means endorsed by these products or getting any compensation. They have just become what I trust for my pet’s lifestyles. There are so many products out there so I have to try them to then narrow down my focus to what product I love and trust. I can’t get into the nitty-gritty of every product, so I have supplied you with some questions to help you determine what is best for your furry friend. You can pose these questions to your vet or simply use good ole google to help you peruse each drug company’s website.

Questions to help you choose the right preventative –> 

1) What parasites is your pet at risk for contracting? (based on region, climate, etc)

2) Do you prefer a topical or an oral chewable?

3) Does your pet have a food allergy? (should use topicals then)

4) Does your pet have heartworm disease? (use Heartgard as it’s safest)

5) Do you have both cats and dogs? (some products aren’t safe if one pet comes in contact with the others)

6) How much does it cost?

7) Do you forget to give your pet this product monthly? (may want a longer acting product such as bravecto or proheart)

No matter what product you choose to use, always remember to use it year round as your pet always has the potential to get exposed to it. This is one easy way you can control your pet’s health by preventing them from getting exposed to parasites that can cause significant disease. Will get into more details in next posts…Stay Tuned!

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I’m pretty sure there is nothing better than spoiling your favorite furry pup, am I right!? When that tail gets to waggin’, there’s no better feeling. What better way to do this than with some homemade dog biscuits to show them how much you care! Let me preface with this…I am no pinterest perfectbaker. These treats are extremely easy to make with minimal ingredients and will be sure to make even the pickiest eater drool. My friend and I decided to bake these for our compawdre’s as a special valentine’s day treat. Now, the shape can be tweaked to pretty much anything so feel free to get creative there.

Don’t forget to preheat that oven to 350°.

Since my friend’s fiancé is  currently perfecting his brewin’ skills for the opening of his upcoming brewery (Wooden Robot), we had some leftover barley to use in place of the granola. If you have a KitchenAid mixer….now is the perfect time to whip it out to mix together all of these ingredients. It is well worth the money to add to your list of kitchen staples as by hand it may take you a good 10-15 minutes to get this all mixed up just right. I’ll be adding one to my wedding registry!

Once everything is mixed up homogeneously, it’s time to flatten the goodness onto a foil lined pan. The ingredients listed should make one full pan of treats (final number will vary based on cookie cutter chosen).

The next step is to snag your favorite cookie cutter and patternize the entire thing.

Once you are happy with your design, you will then bake them for 30 minutes. After the timer goes off, it’s time to peel the shapes out so that they finally look like the heart shaped biscuits you are aiming to create. I did a little quality control at this point and tasted some of the “wasted edges.” They taste like peanut butter bread and will most likely help with your dog’s “regularity” if ya know what I mean ; )

In order to dry them out to a biscuit consistency, you will then lower the oven to 225° and end by baking them for about 2 hours until firm.

Congratulations! You have made your first homemade goodie for your best bud! Now, put those training commands to good use so you can reward your pooch for being so smart.

We certainly got our overly excited pups to sit and look handsome for a few seconds!

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