Specialty Pet wants your pet to be as healthy as possible. Below are support articles to help you with common pet care situations. While we do recommend that you see a veterinarian for the diagnosis and treatment of serious pet health concerns, the articles below are designed to help with a range of issues where a vet may not be needed. 

The Goal Of Keeping Your Pet Happy & Healthy!

Terri’s Pet Tips

We’re Here to Help!

New Puppy

Teach your puppy to obey, sooner than later!

If you want your new puppy to obey, make sure you show it lots of respect and love. Your new puppy needs to be made to feel safe and secure. If you discipline him harshly by hitting him, he will develop a fear to obey you, which could lead to other behavior problems. Make sure your children are not hitting the new puppy because he is more likely to bite them in self defense to protect itself.


Potty Training

The first thing to look out for is your dog's body language, just before it goes to the bathroom. Watch for these signs and remember that they need to go at fairly frequent intervals - as soon as they wake up, after short naps, after play-time, after meals, before and after being crated and finally, before retiring for the night. What works well of many people is taking your dog for a walk to a specific place at those times. Make sure to carry a plastic bag with you to pick up stool so that people don't step in it. Praise your dog after he eliminates at the right place. Some dog owners even give their dogs treats. But remember to do this every time he does it right. He will relate the rewards to his having "done it right" and zero in on the spot where you want him to defecate regularly.

 

Use a crate. A crate-trained dog is usually very happy to get his own den. The advantage of crating is that dogs do not soil the place where they sleep. So, he will naturally not eliminate inside the crate.

 

Be prepared to return to a soiled home if you are keeping your dog home alone for more than 4 hours as separation anxiety is quite common among home - alone dogs. Accidents will happen. It is unusual for a trained adult dog to work against its house training. But medical problems or health disorders may lead to sudden accidents.


Puppy Proofing Your Home

A smart thing to do when you bring home your brand new pet is to puppy proof your house. Get on your hands and knees and look at the things in your home from your puppy's perspective. Think about what is at that level that may be interesting to him. You may be surprised to find many things that are potentially dangerous that you never even thought of before. One thing you should be aware of in your household is the location of electrical cords. Make sure to limit your puppy's access to these areas. Puppies can chew through cords and get electrocuted causing serious injury or even death. Wrap cords up and store them away or lay down rubber or plastic runners that can be purchased at most home supply stores.

 

Another potentially dangerous thing for puppies is your stairs. Small puppies have a hard time navigating up and down stairs and could fall down them and injure themselves. Stairs also lead to areas in your house that may be off limits. The best way to ensure that your puppy stays away from the stairs is to purchase baby gates, available at most department and pet supply stores. Make sure to store cleaning products in cabinets that are out of the reach of your new friend.

 

Be aware of small objects that are located around the home. Just as with small children, puppies can choke on items like coins, jewelry and small toys. Make sure to keep these kinds of items out of your puppy's reach.

 

Puppies seem to be attracted to shoes and socks. They love to chew on them. Not only will this ruin your favorite shoes, if a puppy were to chew on and swallow a shoelace or a sock, it could get wrapped around their intestines causing serious injury or death. Make sure to store your shoes and socks out of reach of your puppy, and NEVER encourage them to chew on these items, no matter how cute it may be.


Securely Store Trash

Bathroom garbage in addition to garbage you find other places in your home, is very tempting to chew on. If your dog were to swallow dental floss, feminine products, or sharp meat bones, this could be very harmful to them.


Choosing Your Puppy's Food

Your puppy's diet can make all the difference in his future health and well-being. Before you decide on a puppy food, do your research. Talk to your vet, or one of the the trained professionals at Specialty Pet. Remember that if the food you initially choose does not meet your expectations, you can gradually switch to another food. While researching puppy food, consider the quality of ingredients, inclusion of proper nutrients, and taste. Basically, the food should be good for your puppy and he should like eating it.

 

As you introduce the puppy to solid food, remember that good quality puppy feed with little kibble is ideal. Good puppy diet should incorporate all the vital vitamins for it to form a healthy diet capable of excellent growth. Puppy mealtimes are best given three to four times a day. If your puppy finds it hard eating the food that you give, try to soften the food by moistening it a little with water so that the puppy can eat it easily, but a point of caution is to avoid moistening puppy food with milk because milk acts as laxative in the puppy's diet. Water is better because it creates a softer and easily chewable cuisine for your little friend.


We Love Puppy Care at Specialty Pet

At Specialty Pet, we are here to guide you with right diet information for your new puppy. We want nothing more than to help your pet grow to be strong and healthy. Stop in the Specialty Pet store or fill out this contact form to ask us your questions. We are always glad to help.

Tick & Flea Treatments


What to do about Flea and Tick Infestation


The fleas and ticks on your dog or cat are only a small percentage of the number in the animal's environment. Fleas and their eggs can live outside in grass, soil and even crevices in sidewalks, while inside they live in rugs and carpets, cracks in floors, bedding, etc. Applying poisons to the animal's body kills only a small part of the problem. You must treat the larger environment to solve the problem. Bagging the bugs


To really tackle the problem effectively, you must treat both the indoor and outdoor areas the same day, and remove all while this is underway. Getting your animals a flea dip at the veterinarian's office, where they can be dried and kept safe while their home is being treated is probably the best plan.

 

For outdoors, purchase a flea/tick killer for outdoor use; treat the grass and soil where the animal spends most of his time. For indoors, try using a flea "bomb." This will require you to remove birds and fish as well, but is the most effective treatment. The fumes require you to stay out of the home for a number of hours. At the end of the day, bring you animals home.


Use Alternatives

Comb your pet regularly with a flea comb, vacuum frequently and dispose of the bags immediately after use, mow areas of the lawn where your dog spends time, wash pet bedding weekly, and wash your pet with a pesticide-free pet shampoo. In addition, to protect cats from fleas and ticks, as well as a host of other outdoor hazards, cats should be kept indoors at all times.

 

Find safer, gentler flea and tick treatments and product ingredients at the GreenPaws Flea and Tick Products Directory.

Monthly flea treatments.

Monthly flea treatments for pets such as Frontline, Advantage, and Revolution contain newer insecticides that are safer and more effective than older, over-the-counter products. The safest monthly treatments are available only through veterinarians or online suppliers that require a prescription. Always consult a veterinarian before buying or using any flea or tick control product on your pet. Read more on the what you should know about flea and tick products.

 

You may consider several topical products (available through veterinarians) that are insecticides designed to have fewer toxic effects on the nervous systems of mammals: imidacloprid (found in Advantage®), fipronil (in Frontline® or Top Spot®), and selamectin (in Revolution™). Avoid products with carbamates by looking for the chemical names carbaryl and propoxur on the label. Avoid any product with tetrachlorvinphos (TCVP) as this is an organophosphate pesticide.

 

Consider using a product with insect-growth regulators (IGRs), which are not pesticides. These will prevent the next generation of fleas but will not kill insects already on your pet. Common and effective IGR products include those made with lufenuron (found in Program® and Sentinel® and available by prescription), methoprene (in Precor®), and pyriproxyfen (in Nylar® and EcoKyl®).

More safety tips

  1. Never use flea and tick products designed for dogs on your cat, or vice versa.

  2. Remember never to apply pesticides to very young, elderly, pregnant, or sick animals unless directed to do so by a veterinarian.

  3. Always read the ingredients, instructions, and warnings on the package thoroughly.


Ways to Eliminate Ticks & Fleas


Protecting your dog or cat from fleas and ticks is an important part of responsible pet care. Excessive scratching may be the first sign that your pet has an annoying flea problem. But it may also indicate a larger health issue. Fleas can cause a wide range of diseases that deprive your pet of energy, cause sores and can affect overall health.

 

It's a good idea to check pets for fleas on a regular basis. It is especially important to check if your pets seem unusually nervous or grumpy, or if they're scratching more than seems natural.When checking for fleas, look for black specks (flea dirt) on your pet or on its bed. There are two easy ways to do this:

  1. 1.Run a metal comb (available from your vet or pet store) through your pet's coat making sure that you touch the skin below. If the comb gathers black specks you may have found flea dirt.

  2. 2.Place a white paper towel beneath your pet and rub your hands across its fur. If black specks fall on the towel, it may be flea dirt.

  3. 3.If you find live fleas with either of these methods, drown them in soapy water before they can jump back on your pet.


There are many brands of flea and tick products available. These products may contain ingredients that could harm pets and people. Follow these simple steps to help prevent problems:

 

Never use dog treatments on cats and vice versa

Always be certain of your pet's weight before purchase to ensure proper dosage Don't split one "large dog" dose in half for two small dogs (or combine two "small dog" doses for one large dog) Read and follow all instructions when using these products. Do not use on elderly or pregnant animals.

New Kitten Care

Kitten Care


A brand new kitten is an exciting thing to bring home. Here is a list of Kitten Care Tips to help you show your love by taking good care of your new arrival. Following these rules will allow your kitten to grow into a well mannered, healthy cat

  1. Providing plenty of human companionship

  2. Provide regular, suitable meals with a constant supply of fresh water

  3. Provide a clean and comfortable bed

  4. Provide the cat with outdoor access or be prepared to empty and clean a litter tray on a daily basis

  5. Groom it regularly. Longhaired cats require daily grooming

  6. Have it neutered between 4 and 6 months old

  7. Vaccinate against the major feline diseases

  8. Worm regularly and provide treatment for fleas

  9. Take the cat to the vet when it shows any sign of illness


Kitten Comes Home

Moving to a new home is very stressful for a kitten. Give it reassurance and time to adjust to the new surroundings before making introductions to other animals in the household. Make sure all the doors and windows are closed and that there is a guard in front of the fireplace (a dark quiet chimney can be very inviting to a nervous kitten). Make sure that the kitten knows where the bed, litter tray and food bowls are.

 

Introduction to other household residents should be gradual, gentle and very quiet. Excited children can easily injure a kitten unintentionally so always supervise play and do not allow the kitten to be picked up unnecessarily. Children should be encouraged to sit on the floor and wait for the kitten to explore them. Make sure that the kitten is allowed to stop playing when it wants to and is not treated like a toy. Kittens, like many young animals, will need a lot of sleep and should be allowed time to rest.

 

When you first take a kitten home feed it on the same food it has been used to. A sudden change of diet combined with the stress of adapting to a new home can cause stomach upsets and diarrhea. If you want to change the diet, do so gradually by mixing it with the kitten's usual food. Kittens have small stomachs and have to be fed little and often, like babies. There are foods which have been specially formulated for kittens because they have different nutritional needs to the fully grown cat. Read and follow the feeding instructions carefully. If the food is marked 'complete' it contains everything the kitten needs to stay healthy. If it is marked 'complementary' it does not supply all the kitten needs and should be fed with other foods.

 

Kittens aged 8-12 weeks need four meals a day, 3-6 months three meals, and kittens over 6 months old, two meals. You may want to provide some dry food on an ad lib basis - it depends very much on your lifestyle, what your kitten likes and is used to and if you have other cats in the house with certain feeding routines and habits.

 

Do not give your kitten cow's milk as it can cause diarrhea. If you wish to feed milk use one that is specially formulated for cats. Diarrhea that persists for more than 24 hours requires veterinary attention. Fresh drinking water should be available at all times.

Toilet training

Cats are very fussy about their toilet habits and kittens will usually have learned to use a litter tray by copying their mother. Sometimes, by showing your new kitten where the litter tray is, and taking it to the tray on waking up from a sleep and after meals, or when the kitten is sniffing, scratching or beginning to crouch, you can train it to stick to the tray when relieving itself.

 

You will need a plastic litter tray which can be filled with cat litter. The tray should be placed on newspaper to catch any litter pushed over the side during digging. If you intend the cat to continue to use the tray then you may want to purchase one of the covered types with a lid which gives the cat more privacy, stops smells from escaping and prevents mess with the litter. Place the tray in a quiet accessible corner where your kitten will not be disturbed. Make sure that the litter tray is not next to food and water bowls. The kitten may be reluctant to use the litter tray if it is too close to its food.

 

The litter tray must be kept clean and emptied regularly. Some disinfectants which go cloudy in water are toxic to cats, so use only hot water and detergent when cleaning out the tray or ensure you use a cat-friendly disinfectant such as bleach which has been diluted as the manufacturer recommends and the tray rinsed thoroughly before use.

 

If your kitten is inclined to mess elsewhere in the house, confine it to one room with a litter tray until the kitten learns to use it regularly. Place the kitten on the litter tray a short time after it has eaten or when it is sniffing, scratching, beginning to crouch and generally showing signs of looking for a suitable corner to use as a toilet.

Hazards in the home

Kittens are very inquisitive creatures and will investigate small, dark places which they can crawl into. For this reason, should your kitten go missing for any length of time, you should look in cupboards, wardrobes, outside sheds etc in case it has accidentally been shut in or got stuck. Keep the washing machine and tumble dryer door shut when not in use and check them before putting the clothes in. If your kitten is a plant nibbler then remove any plants which may be poisonous.

Grooming

It is a good idea to accustom your kitten to being groomed from an early age, particularly if it has a long coat. A long-haired cat needs daily attention to keep fur free of tangles. Grooming removes excess loose hairs which can cause fur balls to build up in the stomach. Combing and brushing will help remove these hairs and it is usually appreciated by the cat, provided it has been accustomed to grooming early in life. Grooming also gives you a chance to keep a close eye on your cat, asses its health and help to develop the bond between you. Always be gentle and make grooming a rewarding and pleasant experience.

Vaccinations

To provide protection against potentially fatal infections such a feline infectious enteritis and feline influenza, kittens need to be vaccinated. The first injection in the course is given at 8 to 9 weeks old and a second at about 12 weeks. The kitten should be kept away from other cats and stay indoors for 10 days after the second injection to ensure maximum protection.

Worming

Worms can make kittens weak. Kittens should be treated against roundworms at 4-6 weeks and then regularly every 2 - 3 weeks until they are 4 months old. After this worming they should be treated for roundworms and tapeworms every 2 - 6 months depending on how much they hunt and if they have fleas.


Even clean cats pick up fleas so check for these while grooming. Flea dirt can usually be seen as small brown specks particularly around the neck and base of the tail. When placed on damp cotton wool 'flea dirt' slowly dissolves producing bloody streaks. For effective control, adult fleas on the kitten must be killed and reinfestation from the environment prevented. Traditional flea preparations - sprays, shampoos and collars - can contain substances that are potentially toxic to kittens and may not be very effective. Your vet can supply a number of new products to kill fleas that are very safe because they act at receptors that are not present in mammals, only in insects. The 'spot-on' products are very easy to apply and can be used from a young age.

Transition Diet for Dogs


The transition guidelines below are based on advice from veterinarians, customer feedback, and our own experience with our own family pets. We have found that the transition from one dog food to another should take about 6 days as outlined below and increased if your dog is particularly sensitive.

 

In some cases transitioning slowly is not possible if your old food supply is used up. In that case, feed smaller portions more regularly. We suggest breaking up the daily intake to 3 to 4 smaller feedings per day. Adding more water to the food will decrease the chance of your dog eating too quickly and not chewing thoroughly. When a dog encounters a new food in their bowl that is much more palatable than the previous diet, they tend to gulp it down too quickly at first which can cause vomiting. Smaller feedings with some warm water will help ease or eliminate this issue.

 

If at any time during the transition, your dog experiences gastrointestinal upset, keep the ratio of the neutral old food the same for several days. This will allow your dog to adjust to the new ratio before you incorporate more of the new, higher-quality food. In the event you are not transitioning with your old food, withhold food for one day and then start reintroducing 3 to 4 feedings per day mixed with warm water. All other treats in supplements should be withheld and fully transitioned.

 

You may notice a change in the appearance of your dogs stool even after the transition period. This can often be a result of a change in the amount of fiber and protein in the new diet and is normal. You should also notice that with higher quality food your dog will produce less stool.

 

Should you have additional concerns about your pet’s ability to transition, consult with your veterinarian.

 

You will find many all-natural premium foods at Specialty Pet Supplies. Our staff is well trained and can offer suggestions to help solve specific issues you may experience when starting a transition diet.

Winter Protection

Winter Care for Canines / General Concerns


Winter's cold air brings many concerns for responsible dog owners. Keep the following precautions in mind:


  1. Don't leave your dog outside in the cold for long periods of time. Wind chill makes days colder than actual temperature readings. Be attentive to your dog's body temperature, and limit its time outdoors.

  2. Adequate shelter is a necessity. Keep your dog warm, dry and away from drafts. Tiles and uncarpeted areas may become extremely cold, so make sure to place blankets and pads on floors in these areas.

  3. Be extra careful when walking or playing with your dog near frozen lakes, rivers or ponds. Your dog could slip or jump in and get seriously injured.

  4. Groom your dog regularly. Your dog needs a well-groomed coat to keep properly insulated. Short- or coarse-haired dogs may get extra cold, so consider a sweater or coat. Long-haired dogs should have excess hair around the toes and foot pads trimmed to ease snow removal and cleaning. If you do the trimming, take care not to cut the pads or other delicate area of the foot.

  5. Feed your dog additional calories if it spends a lot of time outdoors or is a working animal. It takes more energy in the winter to keep body temperature regulated, so additional calories are necessary.

  6. Towel or blow-dry your dog if it gets wet from rain or snow. It is important to dry and clean its paws, too. This helps avoid tiny cuts and cracked pads. A little petroleum jelly may soften the pads and prevent further cracking.

  7. Don't leave your dog alone in a car. If the car engine is left on, the carbon monoxide will endanger your dog's life. If the engine is off, the temperature in the car will get too cold.


Health Tips

Dogs cannot talk to us when they are sick. As a responsible dog owner, it is important to pay special attention to your dog's well-being during the winter season. Remember the following health concerns:

  1. Antifreeze, which often collects on driveways and roadways, is highly poisonous. Although it smells and tastes good to your dog, it can be lethal.

  2. Rock salt, used to melt ice on sidewalks, may irritate footpads. Be sure to rinse and dry your dog's feet after a walk.

  3. Provide plenty of fresh water. Your dog is just as likely to get dehydrated in the winter as in the summer. Snow is not a satisfactory substitute for water.

  4. Frostbite is your dog's winter hazard. To prevent frostbite on its ears, tail and feet, don't leave your dog outdoors for too long.

  5. Be very careful of supplemental heat sources. Fireplaces and portable heaters can severely burn your dog. Make sure all fireplaces have screens, and keep portable heaters out of reach.

  6. Like people, dogs seem to be more susceptible to illness in the winter. Take your dog to a veterinarian if you see any suspicious symptoms.

  7. Don't use over-the-counter medications on your dog without consulting a veterinarian.

Terri Says...

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