#askbiggervet – September 24, 2014

The information below was written by your Bigger Road staff.
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Last updated October 27, 2014

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In this edition of #askbiggervet, we tackle itching, picky eaters, and the importance of year-round heartworm prevention!

Why is my dog itching?
Marietta Hail-Leesemann asked:

“my Maltese Shih Tzu has been treated with frontline every month and was checked for fleas and ticks and scratching insistently. I tried an apple cider vinegar rub and no relief ?”

We know how terrible itching can be! There can be many potential causes of itching besides fleas, and they are very much individual to the pet. Environmental or food allergies, behavioral issues, along with fleas and other pests can all cause problem itching. We have seen certain products simply not work the same for all pets. If you’re still seeing fleas give us a call and we can try another product. If the itching is still bothering him, we recommend having him seen for an accurate diagnosis so we can get him feeling better quick.

How do you convince a finicky senior pet to eat?
Jason Knippen asked:

“How do you get a senior dog to ear their food. They still beg for human food and treats but not dog food even when mixed with wet food.”

It’s very frustrating when a pet refuses to eat! If you are concerned that your dog is not eating enough of their food to have a balanced diet, please call and talk to your doctor, but here are some general tips for picky eaters:

  • Dogs tend to eat more readily when food is offered only at set times each day, and not left out all the time.
  • Adding warm water to dry food may entice a picky eater even if mixing it with wet food is not doing the trick. Pet stores also sell gravies that are just for pets and can be added to kibble, with a more potent scent and flavor than wet food. Sometimes senior pets need a bit of a stronger smell and taste to entice them.
  • Dogs will hold out for a long time if they know that you’ll eventually cave and bring out the treats or people food. At treat time, try using their regular kibble instead.

If these tricks don’t work please let us know and we can make some other suggestions.

Why do dogs need heartworm prevention year-round?
Zach Butts asked:

“I have a hard time understanding why do dogs need heartworm prevention in the winter when Mosquitos aren’t around”

GREAT question, Zach!

The most important reason is that there are many stages of the heartworm life cycle, some of which can’t be treated by the prevention products.

A gap in preventative use can allow an immature heartworm infestation (which may not have shown up on a heartworm test) to progress to a point where the prevention, when resumed, is ineffective or actually dangerous to the pet.

Of course, we also know that the weather in Ohio is erratic (to say the least!) and it’s hard to predict when mosquitoes may or may not be present in the environment – indoor or outside.

Most heartworm preventatives also protect against intestinal parasites, so if you are using one of those, it makes even more sense to continue year-round.

Heartworm disease can be fatal, even if treated and is really very hard on the dogs that get it.

More #askbiggervet
  • #askbiggervet – October 15, 2014 (10/15/2014) - This edition of #askbiggervet is all about senior pets! Get answers to your questions about abnormal breathing, spaying older female dogs, and dental care for seniors!
  • #askbiggervet – September 24, 2014 (9/21/2014) - In this edition of #askbiggervet, we tackle itching, picky eaters and the importance of year-round heartworm prevention!
  • #askbiggervet – September 11, 2014 (9/11/2014) - In the first edition of #askbiggervet, we're taking on how to dose flea, tick & heartworm prevention, how much to feed your cat, how far is too far to run with your pup, and more!