September 19, 2014
by Sam Bourne
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Meet Ivermectin – Helping Keeping Your Pets Heartworm Free

How Ivermectin Works to Prevent Heartworm Disease

How Ivermectin Works to Prevent Heartworm Disease

Many popular heartworm medications – like Heartgard and Tri-Heart Plus – include the medicine ivermectin. It’s one of the most important worm-killing drugs that’s used on both humans and animals to prevent infection.

While it’s effective, you might be curious to know exactly how the medication attacks parasites and stops them from spreading throughout the body.

According to The New York Times, ivermectin was extracted from soil fungus in the 1970s and was used in a range of treatments. For example, pharmaceutical manufacturer Merck began to use the drug to fight the effects of river blindness in 1987. Also called onchocerciasis, it’s caused by microscopic worms migrating into victims’ eyes via black fly bites. Today, it’s also used to combat lymphatic filariasis, a disease where worms transferred by mosquitoes infect the lymph nodes and cause severe swelling in extremities like the legs.

How does it work?
DermNet explained that ivermectin stimulates excessive release of neurotransmitters in the infectious worms’ nervous systems. It’s believed that this reaction paralyzes the parasites or inactivates their gut to prohibit nourishment. However, it’s important that doses be administered before the worms reach full maturity, as ivermectin doesn’t kill adult worms.

For dogs, Heartgard Plus is the proven choice for stopping and killing heartworms, hookworms, roundworms and other harmful parasites. The oral medication comes in a chewable tablet made with real beef that canines love, making administration an easy process. Heartgard works to stop heartworm disease by blocking its tissue stage, catching the infection before it can spread throughout the body.

When is it safe?
Although it’s beneficial to canines, pet parents have to be mindful of the recommended doses included with the medication. If exceeded, prescriptions that include ivermectin might cause tremors, disorientation, dilated pupils or loss of appetite. Dog owners should have their four-legged companions tested for heartworm infections before using Heartgard, as it might cause adverse reactions if administered too late.

Treatments that include ivermectin should be given once a month year-round or at least one month following the end of mosquito season. The tablets shouldn’t be swallowed whole, and can be broken up and dumped into meals to prevent this from happening. Dosages are determined based on weight, so dogs up to 25 pounds should be given 68 micrograms, while 26-50 pounds get 136 micrograms and 51-100 pounds receive 272 micrograms. Any canines over 100 pounds are typically administered a combination of tablets.

Owners who sign up for PetPlus are granted access to heartworm medications like Heartgard Plus at discounted prices. Join today and keep your furry friend safe from the threat of infectious diseases.

September 18, 2014
by Sam Bourne
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Why Natural Dog Food is Better for Your Canine

Why Natural Dog Food is Better Than Commercial Brands

Why Natural Dog Food is Better Than Commercial Brands

As humans begin to adopt new-age diets that advertise weight-loss miracles and improvements to heart health, man’s best friend has begun to experience the same benefits. Natural dog foods and supplements have made their way into homes that aim to enhance common canine ailments like arthritis.

AL.com reported that the city of Homewood, Alabama, is going to be providing its furry friends with a different kind of pet store. Called the Whole Dog Market, the store is set to open its doors at the end of September. It’ll display organic and all-natural pet foods, leashes, collars and other accessories that were made in either Canada or the U.S.

The shop will also boast two dog-washing stations that use natural shampoos and grooming products. A wash, including the tub, cleaning materials, tools, hair dryer and towels, will cost $15. It’s one of the first offerings of its kind in Jefferson County.

“It’s great. You can close the door, bathe your dog, talk to your dog, groom and dry your dog and then pick out some treats and head home together,” said William Finney, co-owner of Whole Dog Market, quoted by AL.com.

The store stands at 1,500 square feet, which is considerably smaller than leading national pet chains. Whole Dog Market also plans to give back to the community by hosting fundraising events with their dog-wash stations. All of the proceeds will be donated to local charities throughout the year.

Whole Dog Market’s location isn’t the home shop, as its Atlanta-based stores have been in operation since 2005. It was originally started by Finney’s aunt, Jean Finney, and has two locations in Atlanta and one in South Portland, Maine. When coordinating fundraisers, the launch markets have donated more than $300,000 per year.

Organic dog food has made waves among pet owners, but not everyone has jumped onboard with the craze. However, knowing the added benefits could get more dog parents to start feeding their canines the right, all-natural meals to improve their health.

What are the benefits of natural dog food?
According to Abe’s Market, owners who feed their pets commercial dog food are essentially supplying them with the canine equivalent of fast food. The ingredients aren’t as wholesome as natural foods, being chock-full of preservatives that can do damage to your dog’s body. Replacing your pooch’s meals with something more natural can have numerous benefits to his health.

Here are three ways natural foods can improve your dog’s well-being.

  1. Stronger immune system: Organic Authority explained that organic pet food is commonly recommended by veterinarians because it’s more nutritionally complete than grocery store brands. With better value and nutrients than leading foods, natural dog meals are more digestible for canines. This means their bodies can absorb the nutrients, leading to a stronger immune system that they can maintain with every meal. In turn, owners can save money by having to make fewer vet appointments for costly infections and illnesses that require professional care.
  2. No by-products: If you look at the ingredient list on your canine’s food, chances are it’s full of animal by-products and unhealthy fillers like ground corn and corn gluten, according to Angie’s List. It’s important that pet parents take the time to research what’s in the meals they’re feeding their furry friends to become more aware of the damage they can do. The next time you get ready to purchase a new bag, look for all-natural foods without artificial flavorings and preservatives. Instead, you want high-quality ingredients like chicken, fish and eggs. If you need further guidance, talk to your veterinarian about what’s best for your dog.
  3. Save money: Angie’s List pointed out that, at first glance, organic foods may have higher price tags than traditional bags but might cost less in the long run. Because they’re packed with healthier ingredients, your dog will be able to eat less food per serving and still obtain the necessary nutrients for a stronger immune system and body. Owners won’t need to constantly replenish their supplies and will begin to see significant savings over time.

While the Whole Dog Market might be convenient for Alabama residents, it can’t beat the advantages of signing up for PetPlus. Members get direct access to hundreds of natural dog foods and supplements at affordable prices without needing to leave the comfort of their homes. PetPlus provides a 25 percent discount from over 4,000 veterinary clinics around the U.S., producing immediate savings for pet parents. Sign up and see why it’s the only place you need to shop for all of your dog’s needs!

September 18, 2014
by Sam Bourne
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The Top 5 Dog Medicines for a Healthy, Outdoor Dog

The top 5 dog medicines for a healthy, outdoor dog

The top 5 dog medicines for a healthy, outdoor dog

When it comes to taking care of your four-legged friend, you only want the best for him. While you can meticulously choose the right bed, toys and food, you’ll have to pay special attention to the dog medicine needed to keep your pet healthy. Playing outside can open the door to some canine diseases that require early care to minimize their effects.

For the right treatment plans, try out these five medicines to protect your furry friend.

1. Heartgard
The threat of heartworms in dogs is very real. They can occur anytime, anywhere. However, with the right preventative medicine you can ensure that your pet is safe from this dangerous disease. According to the American Heartworm Society, these foot-long worms can live in the heart, lungs and associated blood vessels and cause severe lung disease, heart failure and damage to other organs. Outdoor dogs are highly susceptible to heartworms because many mammals are carriers for the disease, including foxes and coyotes. To prevent any health damage, pet parents should give their dogs Heartgard Regular Chewables to get ahead of the potential disease. Ivermectin, the antiparasitic drug active in the medicine, prevents infestations by attacking them at the source.

2. Frontline Plus
Countless parasites can latch onto your dog’s skin when he plays outside, including ticks and lice. The Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals explained that lyme disease, which is carried by black-legged ticks, is a very common infectious disease that affects dogs of all ages. While few dogs might develop an illness from the bite, it’s important that owners take the right steps to protect their pets. Frontline Plus provides fast and effective control of insect infestations. From a single point of application, the medicine spreads over the entire canine and localizes in the hair and sebaceous glands. With monthly use, pet parents can guarantee that their four-legged friends stay protected even after swimming or being groomed.

3. K9 Advantix II
You might have times when you barely miss the prevention window and must act fast to eliminate existing infestations. If fleas get into your house, they can wreak havoc on clothing, sheets and furniture. However, administering K9 Advantix II can kill and protect against 98 percent of fleas, mosquitoes and chewing lice within 12 hours. It eliminates all stages of fleas – egg, pupae, larvae and adult – and attacks a range of ticks including Lone Star and Brown Dog Ticks. A monthly dose that’s waterproof and intended for dogs age 7 weeks and older, Advantix II should be your go-to medicine for flea prevention.

4. Advantage II
Flea and lice infestations cause dogs to scratch at themselves constantly, which can lead to the insects spreading to other parts of your home. However, owners can squash these bugs’ growths if caught early enough. With Advantage II for Dogs, your pet can be protected from infestations within 2 hours of being applied. The dog medicine contains pyriproxyfen, an insect growth regulator that breaks down the life cycle and prevents the development of parasites. Just one application of Advantage II protects canines for an entire month and is effective even after swimming or bathing.

5. Tri-Heart Plus
To fight both heart and intestinal worms, pet owners need a chewable tablet that acts fast and can be used year-round on their outdoor dog. Tri-Heart Plus is a monthly prescription that prevents these dangerous diseases, including hookworm. The flavored dog medicine kills the immature growths before they can attack the vital organs. Safe for dogs 6 weeks and older, it’s intended for outdoor canines who need constant protection from infestations.

PetPlus has all of the dog medicine that owners need to ensure their furry friends are able to safely run and play outside with no worries. Pet parents should take advantage of the cheaper prices and start protecting their canines today.

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September 16, 2014
by Sam Bourne
4 Comments

How One Mosquito Bite Could Kill Your Dog

Heartworm Disease: Facts and Warning Signs of Infection

Heartworm Disease: Facts and Warning Signs of Infection

While the summer may be over, the chances of your dog developing a heartworm infestation are still high. With the right preventative medication for dogs – like Heartgard Plus from PetPlus – owners can take steps to prevent parasites from affecting their canines.

However, it’s important to know the warning signs of heartworm infestations. Here are some facts and symptoms to be wary of.

Learn all the facts
According to Pets Adviser, heartworms can start with a simple mosquito bite. While all dogs are susceptible, outdoor canines may be at higher risk if you enjoy taking your furry friend for long walks through wooded areas during the night. The male parasites are a few inches long and resemble angel hair pasta, while females can be much larger. They’re transferred from dog to dog through mosquitoes that ingest larvae from infected blood streams.

After being bitten, the larval heartworms migrate through the body over a period of six to seven months before arriving at the heart. Once there, they slowly mature into adult worms.

The disease is common in warm areas of the country where mosquitoes are active for most of the year. With each bite, your dog could get closer to a full-blown infection. Therefore, outdoor canines are more likely to develop heartworms than indoor pooches. Unlike tapeworms, which can resemble grains of rice in the stool, heartworms are harder to diagnose and most dogs will only show subtle symptoms until the disease has progressed into a more advanced stage, Cesar’s Way explained.

Keep an eye out
Given the challenge in identifying heartworm symptoms, pet parents have to watch for the common warning signs of the disease. These are the four most prevalent symptoms of an infestation:

  1. Coughing: If your canine seems to have constant case of soft, dry coughs, this might be a red flag of heartworms. While navigating through the body, the parasites will make their way into the lungs and start multiplying. They can start surrounding the veins and constricting blood flow, causing excessive coughing. This condition might be most noticeable after exercising.
  2. Exhaustion: Most dogs love to run and play outside, so when your active canine suddenly seems tired more often he may be suffering from heartworms, according to Pets Adviser. The parasites cause symptoms once they reach maturity after roughly six months of gestation. At this point, they can begin to sap dogs of energy as they maneuver through the body.
  3. Pot belly: While your four-legged friend may have a bit of a tummy, excessive bulging or bloating might be an indication that he’s infected with heartworms. Cesar’s Way explained that the pot bellied appearance is due to an enlarged liver and fluid accumulating in the abdomen. As their bodies attempt to fight the infection, dogs’ hearts and pulmonary arteries swell from obstructions caused by the worms or inflammation.
  4. Change in appetite: To control their eating habits, most dogs are only fed twice a day by their owners. Depending on their size, they can empty their bowls pretty quickly of any food. Pets Adviser reported that weight loss or change in appetite might be reflective of heartworms. During the disease, even minor physical activities like eating can become difficult and exhausting for sick canines. On the other hand, the parasites can also steal nutrients from dogs, causing them to show an increase in hunger. Any sudden changes in appetite can serve as red flags of heartworms.

Pet owners that sign up for a PetPlus membership are afforded easy access to discounted preventative medications for dogs that can prevent and kill heartworms, like Heartgard Plus. Join today to ensure that your family pooch is safe from these dangerous parasites.

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September 12, 2014
by Sam Bourne
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Why Petting is Better for Your Dog Than Verbal Praise

Why Petting is Better for Your Dog Than Verbal Praise

Why Petting is Better for Your Dog Than Verbal Praise

Whenever your family dog completes a task or follows a command, it’s important for pet owners to offer positive reinforcement to ensure future good behavior. Canines learn best when treated nicely with a scratch between the ears, delicious treat or simple “Good boy!” But one of these might be more effective than the others.

New research from the Canine Science Collaboratory at Arizona State University showed that pooches prefer petting over verbal praise and treats. Led by ASU professor Clive Wynne, Ph.D., the study focused on dogs’ responses to various forms of rewards.

“I spend half my day talking to my dog,” said Wynne, quoted by The Huffington Post. “She always looks like it’s valuable to her. It’s quite a shock to discover that what we say to dogs doesn’t seem to be rewarding to them after all.”

Published online in the journal Behavioral Processes, one part of the study had researchers observe 42 shelter and pet dogs as they interacted with two people in a room. One individual petted the dog, while the other use verbal praise. Wynne and his colleagues measured how much time canines chose to spend with each person they interacted with. The second half of the study involved 72 shelter and pet dogs placed individually in a room with a single person.

Shelter pooches were partnered with a stranger, while pet canines interacted with their owners. These interactions were recorded over eight three-minute sessions, and each meeting varied between petting, praising or both, as well as zero interaction with the dog. The ASU researchers found that canines showed more interest in people who petted them compared to praise. More surprisingly, the dogs showed no more interest in vocal praise than in having no interaction at all.

According to study co-author Erica Feuerbacher, M.S., assistant professor of anthrozoology at Carroll College in Helena, Montana, previous studies showed that dogs’ heart rates and blood pressure drop during petting. However, a combination of talking and petting can still benefit owners and canines alike during training sessions.

Learning all the right movies
Vetstreet explained that the way owners pet a dog can make all the difference in their interactions. Some petting tactics can send dogs running, while others will get their tails wagging and heads drooped in your lap. This is especially important when approaching a new dog that you might be adopting into your home.

First, potential parents should start by waiting for the dog to initiate contact. If the pooch is lying down or running around, it’s best if you wait until he or she approaches you before trying to engage in petting. Instead of reaching out, coax the canine into making the first contact by squatting down to his or her level.

When dogs seem fearful or reserved, you should turn your body to the side to make yourself seem less threatening. This makes humans appear more inviting to interacting with the dog.
Friendly dogs will approach you with their ears slightly head back and tails out at a medium height with a wide, sweeping wag. If he or she initiates eye contact, it’s mostly an indication of friendliness and you can start reaching to pet the canine. It’s best to start slowly in areas that the dog is comfortable with, such as the shoulders or the base of the neck.

Where petting and verbal praise may fall short in improving your dog’s mood and attitude, there are certain dog food supplements that can be used to bolster their health – physical and mental. With a membership to PetPlus, canine parents have access to discounted medications and treatments that fortify their pooches’ well-being and enhances their personalities.

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