April is National Heartworm Awareness Month

April is national heartworm awareness month.  Heartworm can be deadly to your pet. With pets traveling more than ever their exposure is high.

One of the easiest steps in protecting your pet (and family) from those pesky mosquitoes is to clean up sources of standing water around your house.

And don’t forget your pet’s annual heartworm test and monthly medication.  Our heartworm bundle makes prevention easy and affordable.

Now that spring has sprung, it’s time to tackle the tasks that may have been ignored since fall’s warmer days! Don’t place full blame on your pet, but they sure can contribute a lot of the mess: muddy footprints, fur everywhere, slobbery toys, just to name a few possible transgressions.

Toys. Plush toys and tennis balls go into the washing machine with a pet-safe detergent. That same detergent works great for rubber toys that soak in the sink and then scrub with a stiff brush before rinsing. Put those rope toys into the microwave for about a minute to kill germs lurking among all those fibers.

Carpets. A thorough once over with a vacuum should suck up as much dirt, fur, dander, and crumbs as possible. Any remnant stains get a spot treatment before a DIY carpet deodorizing to whisk away any stale winter smells!

Hard floors. Hardwood and tile floors attract plenty of dust and fur, so give them a vacuuming and a Swiffering to get rid of loose particles. And when your pet is lucky enough to get a juicy treat that he enjoys it in a favorite spot around the house . . . in all its slobbery glory. For an extra cleansing kick, dilute 1/2 cup distilled white vinegar in a gallon of water and mop away! Just be sure to run a clean, dry cloth or mop over the wet surfaces to soak up excess (and prevent slipping!).

Beds. Into the machine it goes with the same pet-friendly laundry detergent, and that bed is just like new!

Bowls and feeding mats. A wide mat that can accommodate food and water bowls, also accumulates bacteria, so it will get a trip to the sink with a good cleansing from the do-it-all detergent. Bowls go into the dishwasher.

Upholstered furniture. The weather is getting warmer which means that your pets fur is like another roommate that’s nearly impossible to evict! Use a vacuum with a rotating brush, or the low tech option of a damp rubber glove.

Just like with children, a few precautions can keep our pets safe and our houses clean.

  • Keep medications out of your pets reach.
  • Go through medications and properly dispose of those that are expired. Visit this link for a location near you: http://www.centralsan.org/documents/Pharmaceutical_Disposal_Brochure.pdf
  • Use non-toxic cleaners – everyone in your house will appreciate the breath of fresh air. There are many inexpensive, easy-to-use natural alternatives which can safely be used in place of commercial household products. Here is a list of common, environmentally safe products which can be used alone or in combination for many household applications.
  • Baking Soda – cleans, deodorizes, softens water, scours.
  • Soap – unscented soap in liquid form, flakes, powders or bars is biodegradable and will clean just about anything. Avoid using soaps which contain petroleum distillates.
  • Lemon – one of the strongest food-acids, effective against most household bacteria.
  • Borax – (sodium borate) cleans, deodorizes, disinfects, softens water, cleans wallpaper, painted walls and floors.
  • White Vinegar – cuts grease, removes mildew, odors, some stains and wax build-up.
  • Washing Soda – or SAL Soda is sodium carbonate decahydrate, a mineral. Washing soda cuts grease, removes stains, softens water, cleans wall, tiles, sinks and tubs. Use care, as washing soda can irritate mucous membranes. Do not use on aluminum.
  • Isopropyl Alcohol – is an excellent disinfectant.
  • Cornstarch – can be used to clean windows, polish furniture, shampoo carpets and rugs.
  • Citrus Solvent – cleans paint brushes, oil and grease, some stains. (Citrus solvent may cause skin, lung or eye irritations for people with multiple chemical sensitivities.)

Better Homes is one site that provides green, non-toxic recipes, but there are many more.   https://www.bhg.com/homekeeping/house-cleaning/cleaning-products-tools/homemade-cleaners/

The rain has stopped and the sun is shining – everyone is ready to get outside.  Put these items on your “To Do” list and have a worry free season.

*Mow that lush tall grass.  Stop the foxtails before they start.

* Keeping grass mowed, weeds pulled and bushes trimmed to help eliminate hiding places used by ticks and other pests.

* Use caution when purchasing lawn and garden products, always read the labels (even if you used a particular product in the past, since formulas often change), and consider switching to natural alternatives. Harmful herbicides are linked to cancer and other maladies in dogs and humans.

* Pet paws are often irritated by lawn and garden chemicals, and pets can get very ill from inhaling or ingesting chemicals. Chemicals are often ingested when the pet licks his paws and fur after a walk outside.  Keep pets away from treated areas until the treatments have dried completely. Watering the lawn after application of fertilizers and other lawn care products is necessary with many products. Watering before allowing pets or children on any treated lawn is typically a good idea because it can help break down the chemicals.

* Snail, slug and mouse baits can be deadly to pets. Ant and roach bait and traps are also hazardous. So keep pets off treated lawns and wipe paws after each walk.

* Store lawn and other potentially poisonous products in areas inaccessible to your pets.

* Cocoa bean mulch is hazardous to pets. Its smell and taste is very appealing to them, yet it can be deadly because it contains theobromine. Avoid using it on lawns that pets can access.

* Try to keep dogs from ingesting a lot of grass. And if there’s a chance that chemicals were applied to, or have blown onto, the grass, keep pets away from it.

* Some mushroom species and cycads (such as Sago palms) can cause liver failure. Heavy rains lead to mushroom growth and an increase in poisonings, so rid mushrooms from your yard and watch out for them on walks.

* Beware of fungus growth. There is risk of blastomycosis, which can lead to pneumonia-like symptoms and potentially fatal organ damage in dogs. Blastomycosis thrives as mold spores in soil.

*Mosquito larva grows in stagnant water, and mosquitos are the vector for heartworm disease.  Empty any container that you notice with standing water.

* A good, fairly safe way to keep mosquitoes away is to spray your yard weekly with Simple Green, available at home and garden stores.

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