Some health problems demand immediate attention from a veterinarian. If your pet experiences a medical emergency such as a cut that won’t stop bleeding, it is essential that you get him to the vet as quickly as possible. Not every health issue warrants treatment by a vet, however. Owning a dog or cat is a big responsibility, but it can also be a big expense. Knowing when you should rush your pet to the emergency clinic, schedule an appointment with your regular vet, or solve a problem at home can make all the difference in being able to pay the vet bill when a visit is indeed necessary.
Do Try This at Home
Two common problems that many pet owners can deal with at home are fleas and ticks.
Dealing With Fleas
In many cases, home care (including prevention) can keep a small problem from becoming a bigger one. Let’s say that your dog or cat suffers a flea infestation. Your first step should be to remove the fleas from both your pet and their environment.
If your pet enjoys the water, consider giving them a bath using Adams™ Flea & Tick Cleansing Shampoo. If you’d rather avoid a wet bath, turn to Adams™ Flea & Tick Spray instead. Either product will kill adult fleas and flea eggs. Finish up by treating your home with an Adams™ Flea & Tick Home Spray, Carpet Spray, or Carpet Powder. If the infestation is a large one, Adams™ Flea & Tick Indoor Fogger may be the better choice.
Once you have eradicated the present infestation, your next step is prevention. Use an Adams™ Flea and Tick Spot On® product to protect your pet from future flea infestations. This preventative option features the Adams™ Smart Shield® Applicator, which was voted Product of the Year 2013 in the Pet Care Category as part of the annual consumer survey of product innovation!
Dealing With Ticks
Perhaps fleas aren’t a problem with your pet, but you discover a tick on your dog or cat. As most owners know, these tiny arachnids can transmit some very dangerous illnesses. Unless you need additional help removing a tick, a trip to the vet is likely premature.
Even if the tick has infected your dog with Lyme disease, a blood test will not produce a positive result this early. For now, focus on removing that tick. Incidentally, a tick must be attached to an animal for 48 hours to transmit Lyme, so removing it quickly lessens your pet’s chances of developing the illness. Here’s how to do it:
- Using a pair of tweezers, grasp the tick as close to your pet’s skin as possible.
- Next, keeping a firm grasp on the tick, pull it straight out of your pet’s skin.
- Try not to twist or crush the tick as you do this, as doing so can separate the head from the body.
- Once the tick is out, drop it into a paper cup filled with isopropyl alcohol to kill it.
- Clean your pet’s skin with an antiseptic solution.
- Finally, wash your hands and disinfect the tweezers with the antiseptic solution.
Finding a tick after it has latched onto your pet is important. Preventing ticks from striking your pet in the first place is preferable, though. Consider using a Adams™ Flea & Tick Spot On® product or Adams™ Flea & Tick Collars. Both products will kill ticks that find their way onto your pet in the future.
Checking in With Your Vet
Dealing with small problems at home does not mean that routine health checks aren’t necessary. Take your dog for an annual exam at least once a year. Senior pets should be seen more often—at least twice each year. During these wellness visits, seek advice for the most common smaller problems that you can deal with on your own. Your vet is a great source of information on caring for your pet, so don’t be afraid to ask questions. Part of the vet’s job is to educate pet owners about their animals’ health and well-being.
Unless your veterinary hospital stays open 24 hours a day, make sure that you know the location and hours of your nearest emergency vet. Hopefully, you and your pet will never experience a true veterinary emergency, but if you do, you will be very glad you took this step. The worst time to have to track down this information is in the midst of a medical crisis.
If you are unsure of whether a condition can be dealt with at home, phone your vet to discuss your concerns. A face-to-face visit may not be necessary at this time. Your vet can, however, instruct you as to when an appointment is a smart idea. For example, some pets respond to fleas by scratching to the point of causing an infection. In this situation, an exam and some antibiotics may be necessary.
Most vets recommend making a Lyme test a regular part of checkups. Exactly how often your pet should have a blood test for this and other tick-related illnesses depends on where you live. It’s important to know the symptoms of Lyme disease in dogs and cats. Your pet’s age, overall health, and other factors may also influence how often your pet should see his veterinarian.
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