Archive for March, 2011

When Adopting, What About The Pet’s Background?
March 31, 2011

Dear Liz – I’ve heard that adopting from a shelter is a wonderful thing but my concern is that you never know the background of the dog.  What are your thoughts?

Signed, Curious in Cromwell

Dear Curious:

That’s always a good question!  I will say, though, that sometimes when an owner turns in a dog they are not completely honest about WHY they’re turning the dog in.

If everyone who says they’re suddenly allergic actually WAS allergic I’d say we have a definite health epidemic going on!

A dog that bites is a HUGE reason for turning it in and again, SOME owners will not disclose this little tidbit, leaving the new adopter wide open for a nasty experience.

Not being housebroken is also a very big reason – especially with little dogs.  This, however, is a more easily dealt with issue.

Owners needing to place the dog NOW can sometimes be less truthful in an attempt to get the dog out of their home so be aware of this.

Now, that is not to say that ALL owners needing to place their dogs will be less than truthful so don’t get me wrong on that one.

A good suggestion is to ask the owner for the veterinarian’s name that treats it.  Then CALL the vet and ask if there are any behavioral concerns.  Checking with the animal control officer can also be very helpful in determining past bad behavior.

Dogs that are found abandoned can come with their own set of issues, but hopefully the shelter placing the dog has done some sort of temperament testing so if you are considering a shelter dog, ASK the shelter if this has been done.  I know we’ll never know for sure what a dog will or will not react to, but a good shelter has a pretty good idea of the dog’s personality and where it would best be placed.

Use your gut, too, in determining the reliability of the shelter you’re dealing with.  Ask as many questions about the dog as you need to and don’t act on impulse or be pressured into taking any dog.

So I hope that helps!  I know it’s not a clear cut answer, but I’m not sure there ever is!


Is It Too Early To Start Flea & Tick Prevention?
March 18, 2011

Dear Liz – Is it too early to start flea and tick prevention for our pets?  I’ve already seen bugs out there!

Signed, Scratching in Southington

Dear Scratching – It’s never too early!!!   With the thawing going on hot and heavy now, it’s time to get that protection ON!  And I’m not just talking about fleas and ticks.


Mosquitoes will soon be hatching (if they’re not already) and that means heartworm transmission.  Any time there is standing water, the right temperature and mosquito larvae, those pesky boogers will be flying about and spreading heartworm where ever they can.


It takes 6 months for heartworm to actually be developed enough to show up in a test, so getting your pet (dogs AND cats) protected now is extremely important.


For those of you using heartworm prevention, make sure you’re up to date with it. I can tell you from experience that treating heartworm in dogs is VERY expensive and very painful for your pet.  It’s not treatable in cats, so make sure your cat is on prevention!


There is that new Vectra 3-D out, too – It’s applied just like flea prevention products (between the shoulder blades) but it also wards off mosquitoes, which is a great thing!


Remember, too, that gnats will soon be out and about as well so protect your dog’s ears as well!  Those nasty little black bugs will bite when they can and leave very uncomfortable welts!
If you, like me, don’t like to put multiple products on your pets, check with your vet to see if there is one product that can cover most of the little buggers.  Or check into natural products that might help as well, with out any side effects.


So while most of us are thrilled with spring being here, we need to remember that our pets might not be so happy if they’re being bugged by bugs!