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Fleas and Ticks - Facts you should know to protect you and your pet
by Clark Tran

When spring comes around, you know flea & tick season has begun and it is vital to keep your pet and home flea & tick- free! Don't let these pesky parasites spoil your spring and summer!
What are Fleas? - Fleas are small wingless parasitic insects that live off the blood of mammals and birds. Frequently, fleas just bother our furry friends, but sometimes they develop allergic reactions to the fleas' saliva. This leads to the development of rashes and even loss of fur from excessive scratching or biting. This is called flea allergy dermatitis, and when present can lead to secondary skin infections from the biting and scratching done to alleviate the itching. Even if your pet doesn't have allergic reactions to fleas, you should beware. Fleas can carry diseases such as tapeworms and Lyme disease. Although tapeworms are not actually transmitted through flea bites, the fleas often carry tapeworm eggs. When your pet bites to relieve itching, he may ingest the parasite and become infected.

Life cycle - Fleas have four stages in their life cycle; egg, larva, pupa & adult. The length of the cycle can be anywhere from 2 weeks up to a year, depending on the environment; temperature, humidity, and food availability. One flea can produce 2,000 eggs in its lifetime and can reproduce year-round in southern climates. The prefer high humidity and temperatures is why we notice them so much more during the warm summer months.

What are Ticks? Ticks are parasitic vertebrates that infest every class of terrestrial vertebrate, including mammals, birds, reptiles, and amphibians. A tick is not an insect. They are members of the class Arachnida, which includes spiders, scorpions, and mites. While there are many species of ticks throughout the world, only a few are known to cause problems to humans and pets in North America. Ticks are more likely to target dogs. If you live in an area populated with ticks you should keep a sharp eye on these parasites. They can transmit serious diseases (such as rickettsial diseases like Rocky Mountain spotted fever and ehrlichiosis) to dogs and even to humans.

Begin with a Game Plan that protects your pet, home and yard - The best way to help your furry companion is to get veterinary advice. There are two types of products out there for use on your pet, one is to prevent fleas from developing on your pet, and one is to treat an active infestation.

1. Flea and Tick Prevention There are orally administered products on the market formulated to bread the flea's life cycle by preventing flea eggs or larvae from developing into adults. However, these products have no effect on adult fleas that may currently exist on your pet. Treat it by using a topical or oral flea medication will prevent the unnecessary suffering of your pet. If your pets are not on flea preventatives, there's a good chance they "Got fleas". Fortunately, a relatively new class of flea control products such as Frontline Plus, Advantage, and others has been introduced over the past few years. These treatments are used monthly and provide the best protection available against fleas.

2. Immediate Flea and Tick Medicine Fleas spread fast, which is why immediate relief is often necessary. The distribution of fleas often involves the lower back, base of the tail, toward the back, the abdomen, flanks and neck. It may become quite generalized in severe cases, leading to total body involvement.

Products that will kill fleas on your pet the fastest - Applying an insecticide directly to your pet are the quickest and most efficient way to kill fleas. One of the most famous products is Frontline Spray. These kinds of sprays penetrate to the skin where most of the fleas are found. Once the insecticide comes in direct contact with the fleas, it will only take a few minutes for the fleas to die. Products that are applied to one spot on the coat, such as Advantage for dogs or cats, are also very effective in killing fleas. These products provide long term whole body protection.
How long will it take to get your flea problem solved? - Adult fleas are usually killed fairly quickly, while newly developing fleas in the environment surrounding your pet, may delay complete flea control. If you currently have infestations on your pet and in your home, it may take approximately 2 to 3 weeks after the initial application before you see complete flea eradication. You may need to treat your home after 2 weeks, to kill new adult fleas as they emerge from their protective pupal cocoons.
3. Home and Yard Flea and Tick Protection If one pet in the household has fleas, assume that all pets in the household have fleas. A single flea found on your pet means that there are probably hundreds of fleas, larva, pupa and eggs in your house. When vacuuming an area you suspect may have fleas, throw the bag out immediately. Deny fleas their natural habitat by removing any piles of damp twigs or grass from around your home. Check pets for ticks before bringing them inside. Remove embedded ticks using fine-pointed tweezers and destroy them in a jar of alcohol There are wonderful products that we can recommend to treat fleas inside and outside your home.
Treating your house for Fleas - If you detect the problem at an early stage, treating your pet alone may be sufficient. However, it only takes a day for a female flea to mate and lay 40 to 50 eggs. These eggs will fall off your pet and soon spread in your home and yard. You will see more fleas within a few weeks, unless you make an effort to control the infestation. This can be accomplished by using the Household Foggers/Sprays, which will help prevent future infestations.
How To Prevent a Serious Infestation - It is helpful to use products that will help repel ticks your pet might pick up. Make sure your pet avoids sitting in grassy areas, or wet woody surfaces, to reduce the chances of picking up ticks. In addition, you should check your pet often enough to find and remove any tick that is visible to you. Nevertheless, always keep your yard well mowed and clear of woodpiles, leaves, and other debris to reduce the tick population. Also use the yard sprays frequently to avoid infestation of ticks.
4. Flea and Tick Collars Flea & tick collars can be effective, but must be applied properly. To get the right degree of snugness, you should just be able to get two fingers between the collar and your pet's neck. Be sure to cut off any excess portion of the collar after you have properly applied it. Otherwise, the animal or other pets may try to chew on the end.
CAUTION When using flea treatment and prevention; make sure that the product you are using is specifically meant for your pet. Do not use medications indicated for dogs on cats, and vice versa, as your pet could get seriously ill or die. In case of accidental administration seek immediate veterinary assistance.

A Final Word When battling a flea infestation it is important to keep in mind the following:

Constant vigilance is required; particularly during those warm summer months.
Keep areas where your pet(s) spend(s) a lot of time clean; vacuum, wash & mop.
When vacuuming remember to get the creases and crevices as these are a favorite spot for those nasty fleas.
Depending on your situation it may take as long as six months to become completely flea free.

For more information this subject or any additional pet health articles please visit

About the Author
I have been a pet enthusiasts for many years and I currently work at since 1999.

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Labrador Retriever Puppy Training in 3 Easy Steps
by Anna Minto

Following these three simple steps are certain to make your new member of the family an obedient and lovable companion!

Step 1: Understand the Breed & their Needs

Educate yourself. There is no better way to prepare for your Retriever puppy than to understand what is involved in caring for him and what to expect.

One of the most popular breeds in the world, Labrador Retrievers are known and loved for their gentle nature, intelligence and loving personalities. However, they can be boisterous if untrained or trained improperly. Retrievers generally mature around age three, but before this time they are often highly energetic and playful. This is frequently mistaken for hyperactivity and can lead to stress between puppy and owner. Understanding that they will settle down is important for keeping a peaceful relationship between you and your Retriever. Being large and energetic dogs its important to have a place with lots of room for them to exercise or make time to take them out for regular walks.

Step 2: Start Early!

It's never too early to start training your Retriever puppy and conditioning him to your lifestyle. Most people take several weeks to start training their puppy after bringing him home for the first time. Though he is cute and innocent during this time he is still a fast learner and can pick up bad habits quickly!

Though Retrievers are known to be great with children and friendly with strangers it's important to expose them to everything early on. Take them to public places like the park to introduce them to other people, children and other animals. Just by seeing or interacting, they will become comfortable with these things as part of their environment.

Step 3: Gentle Reinforcement

Your training techniques are a very personal choice and entirely up to you so it's important to keep an open mind. Oppressive techniques or treat-dependent training are not always the best way to go and may end up leading to puppy obesity. Retrievers are known to respond very well to praise and positive attention. They are incredibly trainable dogs who thrive on human interaction and affection, so making this a part of your training technique can have immense results and a very positive outcome for both you and your Retriever.

For a more comprehensive guide to training your Labrador Retriever please visit:

About the Author
Anna Minto: A Canadian canine enthusiast who practices these methods with her own dog at home.

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