FLEAS!!!   Guaranteed steps to Controlling and getting rid of fleas
Preventing fleas is EASY!!!!!
All you need to do to prevent an infestation of fleas on your animals and in your home is to keep your pet on at least one QUALITY flea product every 30 days, year round. It really is THAT simple!! 
What is a “quality” flea product you ask? Anything you get from your veterinarian is shipped directly from the manufacturing company to the vet’s office so you don’t have to worry if what you bought is really flea product. There are oversees companies producing look-a-like products that contain too little, too much or no flea control chemicals at all and packaging them in well-known and trusted brands like Frontline. Effective flea products are Parastar, Frontline, Revolution, Sentinel, VectraD, Capstar, Advantage/tix/multi, Comfortis, etc. Ask your veterinarian their preference or what they stock and which one is right for you. Flea collars are good at keeping fleas of your pet’s neck…and that’s about it. Flea baths only remove adult fleas currently on the pet and do nothing to protect him/her from the next lurking adult looking for a free ride and to lay eggs all over your home. 
There are many different types of flea products as you can see from the short list above. But flea products are only as good as human compliance. Different flea products work differently. Some give immediate kill but last a short time (Capstar), some last 30 days or longer, some kill fleas, some sterilize fleas but do not kill, others also have heart work preventative in them. Ask your veterinarian which product is best for you. 
Getting rid of fleas—a little more complicated but CAN be done!
If there is one simple and important statistic you remember in flea control, it is this: THREE fleas can become 250,000 in 3 weeks. YIKES! So what does this tell us? Prevention is the key!
But let’s say you already have a pet with fleas. How can you get rid of them for good?
ALL pets in the home must be treated with flea products every 30 days (aka as directed) for the ENTIRE flea season at minimum… that means spring thaw to winder’s hard frost. There are no exceptions to this rule if you already have fleas. In fact, you should treat all year round.
An excellent article on fleas written by a veterinarian can be found at: This article covers the flea life cycle, common myths, and a Q&A section. Reading this article will give you a much better understanding of why your veterinarian recommends what they do for flea control. 


Inappropriate Elimination in Cats
House-training problems, called inappropriate elimination, are the number one cause of behavior-related complaints from cat lovers and with good reason. No one likes to deal with urine and feces in a litter box, much less in a part of the house you didn’t expect to find them. Cats who can’t be convinced to use the litter box all too often end up looking for a new home and for these animals, the prognosis is grim.
Fortunately, most cases of inappropriate elimination can be solved if you’re determined to look at things from your cat’s point of view, make a few adjustments, and stay patient. Remember, marking in the house, which is urinating on vertical surfaces like a wall, is a NORMAL behavior in cats, even females.  
Although you still need to fix the underlying problems of why your cat isn’t going where he should, some medications may help in the short-run. Talk to your veterinarian.
Litter- box avoidance
The first step in getting your cat to use the litter box is to figure out why he’s not using it. The first step is always to rule out a medical problem such as a urinary tract infection or a sterile inflammation of the bladder. These infections give the cat a “sense of urgency” to urinate even when the bladder is not full; and urinating may even be downright painful in more severe cases. Your cat may come to associate the use of the box with these unpleasant sensations, and so avoids the box. If that’s the case, you need to retrain your cat, perhaps by changing the box and litter so it “feels” different, but probably by using the safe room approach. (More on that in this section.) But first, you need to see your veterinarian to determine if there is an infection or other source of inflammation like crystals and stones before you can expect him to return to the box.
If your cat checks out fine, you need to experiment to make sure that everything about the box is to his liking. The following list describes some things to consider:
* Cleanliness. Cats are fastidious animals, and if the litter box is dirty, they look elsewhere for a place to go. Think of how you felt the last time you were faced with a dirty public restroom and you can probably empathize! Clean the box frequently – twice a day is ideal – and make sure that it’s completely scrubbed clean and aired out on a weekly basis. Another option: Two litter boxes.
* Box type and filler. Many choices people make to suit their own tastes don’t match with what their cat wants, and when you’re talking boxes and litter, your cat’s opinion is the only one that really counts. Many times the offending box or litter is one chosen in an attempt to reduce smell for people – but your cat can still smell just fine. A covered box may seem more pleasing to you, but your cat may think it’s pretty rank inside. Likewise, scented litters may make you think the box smells fine, but your cat may disagree – not only is the box dirty, he reasons, but it’s got this extra “clean” odor he can’t abide. Go back to basics: a simple box, a plain litter. Many cats prefer clumping litter, and this variety makes the box easier to keep clean, too. Just skip the deodorizers.
* Location. Your cat’s box should be away from his food and water dishes (you don’t eat near the toilet, so why should your cat?) and in a place where he can get to easily and feel safe in. Consider location from a cat’s point of view: Choose a quiet spot where he can see what’s coming at him. A cat doesn’t want any surprises while he’s in the box. You should also experiment with additional boxes in your house, especially if you’ve got more than one cat. Urine and feces are weapons in a war over territory: Some cats share boxes; many don’t. Marking is more common in multiple cat households. Talk to your veterinarian about the behavioral dynamics within your home to help decrease marking in your home.
Make the area where you cat has had mistakes less attractive by cleaning thoroughly with a pet-odor neutralizer (available in pet-supply stores or catalogs) and covering with foil, plastic sheeting, or plastic carpet runners with the points up to discourage reuse of the area. You can also place food or water dishes over the area. You can even place a little box in the area where he/she is inappropriately urinating—a “can’t beat ‘em then joint ‘em” trick. Enzymatic pet-mess cleaners take time to work, so figure on keeping the area blocked off for at least a couple of weeks.
If this procedure doesn’t clear up the problem, you may need to retrain your cat by keeping him in a small area for a few days. Make sure that the safe room has no good options besides the litter box – no carpet, no pile of dirty laundry. Block off the bathtub – keep an inch of water in it, to discourage its use as a place to go. After your cat is reliably using the litter box, let him slowly expand his territory again. As long as you keep up your end of the bargain and keep the litter box appealing, he should keep his up, too.




Food Allergy Trials in Dogs
Authored by:
Dr. Donna M. Raditic, DVM, modified by Dr. Nichollette Rider, DVM
  1. What are some of the signs of a food allergy?
  2. How does your veterinarian select a diet for a food allergy trial?
  3. What diets are currently available for a food allergy trial?
  4. What pitfalls can occur during a food allergy trial?

What Signs can be seen with a Food Allergy?
A food allergy is a reaction to food that involves the body’s immune system. It is usually always a protein particle in the food that is responsible for reactions. Your dog may itch, lick, and chew paws, flank, groin, neck, and ears. The itching can be during all seasons. A small percentage of food allergy dogs may only have chronic otitis known as an ear infection. The dog may also have some gastrointestinal signs such as chronic vomiting, diarrhea, belching, and frequent bowel movements. Food allergy dogs often have both varying degrees of skin signs and gastrointestinal problems that persist.
How Does your Veterinarian Select a Diet for a Food Allergy Trial?
With this information an appropriate diet can be selected for the food trial. Your veterinarian will first want a complete medical history. The most important information you will need to provide is a thorough history of what foods and treats your pet has eaten. This includes table scraps and chew toys with food flavorings.
The diet selected will contain a “novel” protein and carbohydrate source meaning that your dog has not eaten this protein source in the past. Your veterinarian may recommend a food allergy trial based on skin and possible gastrointestinal signs.
What Diets are Currently Available for a Food Allergy Trial?
Commercial diets sold “over the counter” may claim to be “hypoallergenic” or “good for sensitive skin.” It is important to realize these claims have no official meaning. These diets can be misleading because the pet food companies do not have to list every ingredient on the label. Close inspection of the label can identify inappropriate proteins and the manufacturer can substitute other ingredients as long as they meet the guaranteed analysis.  For example, the bag may state it is a salmon and potato diet but also have chicken by-prouducts.  If your dog is allergic to chicken, this is not a suitable diet and will confound results of a food trial. It is best to use the diet your veterinarian has selected for a proper food allergy test.
Diets that are used in food allergy trials are in one of these categories:
  • Prescription Diets
  • Low Antigen Diets
  • Home Made Diets
Prescription diets are made by pet food companies to specifically and always contain the same ingredients. The protein source and carbohydrate source never change in these food allergy diets. These diets are only available through veterinarians. They are formulated to treat a medical condition, in this case, food allergies.
The protein(s) in a diet that can be responsible for food allergy signs are called antigens. Low antigen diets are also prescription diets. In these diets, the protein has been formulated (hydrolyzed) to be so small that it will not stimulate the immune system. The diet may also have used small carbohydrates as well to avoid the potential immune response to proteins in the carbohydrate component of the diet.
Some of the current examples of these diets made by specific pet food companies are listed below. Again your veterinarian will need to carefully evaluate your dog’s dietary history and any other current medical issues to select the best diet for the food allergy trial.
Hill’s Diets:
Prescription diets:
D/D canned/dry- salmon & potato/rice
D/D canned/dry- duck & potato/rice
D/D canned/dry-venison &potato/rice
D/D dry – egg & rice
D/D canned-lamb & rice
Low Antigen diets:
Z/D Ultra Allergen Free dry and canned-hydrolyzed chicken and refined starch
Z/D Low Antigen –dry and canned-hydrolyzed chicken and single source carbohydrate (potato)

Purina Diets:
Low Antigen diets:
LA Limited Antigen dry-salmon and rice
HA hypoallergenic dry-hydrolyzed soy

Iams Diets:
Prescription diets:
Response FP dry and canned-fish and potato
Response KO dry-kangaroo, canola meal, and oat flour

Royal Canin:
Low Antigen diet:
Hypoallergenic HP 19 dry-hydrolyzed soy and rice
Prescription diets: (IVD)
Potato and Duck dry and canned-duck protein and potato (also has light formula)
Potato and Rabbit dry and canned- rabbit protein and potato
Potato and Venison dry and canned- venison protein and potato (has large breed formula-dry)
Potato and Whitefish dry and canned-whitefish protein and potato

If your pet will not eat one of the above diets, or has a concurrent medical issue that prevents the use of these diets, then a home made diet may need to be used. Home made diets usually contain a novel protein source (for your pet) and a carbohydrate. A home made diet recommended for your dog can not be fed long term as they are not balanced for the right vitamines and minerals.   However, it can be fed for the length of a proper food trial without any concerns (6-8 weeks). It is not formulated to be a long term complete and balanced diet for your dog because it is deficient in necessary nutrients.
Your veterinary may consult a veterinary nutritionist to formulate this diet. The diet initially contains only two ingredients: a protein source and a carbohydrate source. Some of the protein and carbohydrate sources a veterinary nutritionist may select from include:
Protein Source Carbohydrate Source
  • Tuna Yams
  • Salmon Sweet potatoes
  • Pinto Beans Pumpkin
  • Rabbit Oats
  • Game Meats Barley
  • Garbanzo (chick peas) Quinoa
Common Food Trial Pitfalls
The hallmark or a successful food is feeding only the prescribed diet for the required period of time. There are many pitfalls that can occur during a food allergy trial. These pitfalls must be avoided or the food allergy trial will be inconclusive. You and your veterinarian will be unable to determine whether your dog does indeed have food allergies.
The most common pitfalls in food allergy trials include:
1. The client does not understand why the veterinarian has recommended a feeding trial, how the feeding trial will be conducted, their role in completing the food allergy trial properly, and the ultimate goals of the trial.
  • Your veterinarian must communicate the specific reasons for a conducting a food allergy trial and outline how to complete a proper food allergy trial. Expectations and goals should be clearly expressed.
  • Schedule request recheck exams and/or phone progress reports
  • The veterinarian should provide other sources of current information about food allergies and food allergy trials.
  • The owner should feel comfortable asking questions throughout the trial.
2. Feeding your dog any type of snack or chew toy with food flavoring can affect the length and success of the food trial. This mistake may not be just the owner, but can include visitors, relatives, delivery men and children.
  • Use pieces of the dry kibble (if a dry diet is used for the food trial) in a Kong to provide snacks, entertainment and chewing.  Or ask you veterinarian if vegeies and friuts like carrots can be given as a snack. 
  • If a canned diet is fed, take slices of the canned diet and bake them into dry snacks.
  • Inform visitors that your dog is on a strict diet and cannot be given any other foods except the diet that has been prescribed. Give visitors prescribed kibble or your baked can treats to feed.
  • When visitors crate the dog or put the dog in a place with no access to visitors.
  • Family members must understand the food allergy trial and realize the importance of absolutely no snacks.
  • If senior relatives are home with the dog, send the dog to play groups or take the dog to work if possible. Give the relative only acceptable treats. Again, relatives must be a part of the effort to complete the food allergy trial.
3. In a multiple pet house you must prevent the patient from eating the other dog’s food. If there is a cat in the household, eating the cat food will disrupt the food trial.
  • Stand over the dogs or separate the dogs when they are fed.
  • Feed the other dogs(s) a very palatable diet that they will eat immediately. This may limit left over food for the patient to get into. Still, remember the feces will need to be picked up immediately. Even a small lick of an inappropriate food can potentially be a pitfall in a food allergy trial.
  • If possible, put all the dogs on the new diet.
  • Put the cat food up out of the dog’s reach. Place the cat food in a room a small enough entrance that only the cat can gain access to the food.
  • Avoid or stop free feeding all pets in the household so inappropriate food access in controlled.
4. The dog is given flavored medication such as chewable heartworm pills, flavored antibiotics or anti-inflammatories. The dog may also be given a flavored vitamin mineral supplement, joint supplement or coat supplement.
  • Flavored heartworm preventatives will be replaced by an acceptable nonflavored pill, topical. or possibly an injection.
  • Be sure to ask your veterinarian before giving any supplements or medications during a food allergy trial.
  • If your dog is treated at an emergency clinic where the veterinarian is not familiar with your dog’s history, be sure to let them know the dog is currently on a strict food allergy trial. Inform them what diet the dog is eating.
5. The dog is not confined and wanders. This patient will be able to get into the garbage, compost piles or the neighbor may feed him treats.
  • Keep your dog inside.
  • Be sure your own garbage is not within the dog’s reach.
6. You do not want to continue with the feeding trial because you do not see any improvement in you dog’s condition.
  • Schedule an examination with your veterinarian to discuss your concerns. Your veterinarian has recorded the initial signs and reasons for starting the food trial. Your veterinarian may note and document improvements in your dog. These improvements may be slower than you would prefer or expected. Your veterinarian can give you more information and the encouragement you need to complete the food trial.
  • Take photographs of your dog before you start the feeding trial and then biweekly to monitor your dog’s progress. You can also keep a diary if the dog has had gastrointestinal reactions to food.
  • You must be aware that a complete food trial can take 12 to 16 weeks so your patience and persistence are needed.
7. You read or were told by a friend that there is a blood test for food allergies in dogs.
  • Currently these tests are not accurate and are not reliable. They can not be used to select an appropriate diet for your dog. A food allergy trial is the only way to determine if your dog has food allergies.
A positive food allergy trial can improve your dog’s itching and/or gastrointestinal signs. This means your veterinarian now has a way to treat and manage your dog with an appropriate diet and treats. After the trial you will have the option of continuing the prescription diet. If a home made diet has been used in the food trial, and you and your veterinarian would like to continue that feeding plan, the diet must be balanced. Your veterinarian will confer with a veterinary nutritionist to balance the diet. When the trial home made diet is complete and balanced, it can be your dog’s diet forever.
If you elect to try and find an “over the counter” dog food rather than the prescription or homemade food trial diet, you and your veterinarian can conduct a food challenge test. A new ingredient is added to the successful diet and the dog’s response is followed. If there is no return of the original skin or gastrointestinal signs, the dog is not allergic to that ingredient. After testing several new ingredients, your veterinarian or a veterinary nutritionist can select a commercial diet you can safely feed your dog.
Food allergy trials are the only available means to determine if your dog has food allergies. Current diet options are listed above. The trial can be long and difficult. Outlined are many of the common pitfalls and ideas to avoid them. With a team approach, you and your veterinarian can successfully complete a food allergy trial. If a food allergy trial works, then the long-term treatment for the health of your dog is an appropriate diet.

A good website with information about “worms”.  Check it out at


New website to look at:, lots of good information.


Follow this link to the ASPCA website where there is a comprehensive list of plants that are toxic and non-toxic to dogs and cats.