Myths about fleas and ticks

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Don’t be fooled into thinking that just because winter is approaching you no longer need to be worried about fleas and ticks.  They’ll stick around as long as they can.  Also, just because they can’t live outside doesn’t mean they haven’t already made a comfy home in YOUR home or on your pet.   Treating your home, yard and pet in late fall is always a good idea.   Read on for several more myths about fleas and ticks.

#2: A lyme disease vaccination doesn’t mean you don’t need tick protection.

Ticks carry other diseases besides Lyme’s disease.  Besides, do you really want your poor pet walking around with a parasite attached? Those ticks can still enter your home on your pet and then move on to YOU if you aren’t careful. Be sure to always protect your pet against ticks and Lyme’s disease.

#3 You don’t need flea and tick protection for your cat.  Cats are just as vulnerable as dogs if they’re outside at all.  Even if they stay inside all the time they’re still candidates for fleas and ticks brought in by other pets or people.

#4 We live in the city; our pets don’t need protection because there’s very little grass.  Your pets can still be victims of fleas and ticks when they visit the park, visit other pets or when you travel with them.

#5 We have hardwood.  Fleas only like carpet.  Fleas will live wherever they think they can find a host. While hardwood floors might not be their first choice, they’ll do in a pinch.

#6  I’ve only seen a few fleas so I probably don’t have a serious flea problem.  Seeing a few fleas is like seeing a few roaches.  Seeing even ONE means there are lots of baby ones hiding elsewhere. If you see fleas in your house it’s best to treat your house, yard and pet as soon as possible!

#7 The fleas are gone! No more treatment.  Do not fall for this.  Prevention is important! Continue to treat your pet to avoid having to start all over with home treatments.

 

Fluval’s Top 7 Aquarium Decorating Tips

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We love Fluval and their products, and we especially love being able to share their information with you!  Check out these great tips for decorating your new aquarium!

The event of preparing a new aquarium and building its inner environment is a huge amount of fun for all keepers and enthusiasts. That said, some thought should be given to ensuring the set-up is appropriate for the specimens you plan to keep. Sure, it’s really important you like the decorative aspect of the aquarium, but it is equally important that it satisfies the needs of the fish species that will spend their life within it.

Below are some essential tips to help you succeed at creating your dream aquascape with some long- term perspective for the fish you keep.

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TIP #1

Aquarium size and dimensions. While the popular catchall “Go big or go home” can apply to an aquarium purchase, a desktop or small aquarium is an option if the right type and size of fish are going to be kept. Make sure you understand the needs and behavior of the fish species that you prefer as your aquarium needs to be big enough to accommodate them. Pay particular attention to the behavior part as some smaller species due to their aggressive or territorial nature, may allow for only one male to be kept for example. When it comes to decorating the small aquarium, it is very easy to end up with a cluttered look. Try to create a central feature and complement it with your décor. Less is more here.

TIP #2

When planning the actual set-up, make sure you follow this sequence to help you avoid some common pitfalls. First and most importantly, thoroughly rinse gravel, natural structural decoration and anything else you intend to put in the tank. Create your structural aquascape and then fill the tank approximately halfway, at that point you can plant your plants. Before you start the initial fill with water, remember to place a plate at the very bottom to evenly distribute the incoming water or otherwise dampen the force of incoming water to avoid upsetting your creative efforts. To read the rest of Fluval’s tips, click here.

Some facts about spaying and neutering

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Unless you want a houseful of kittens or puppies, it’s best to get your cat or dog spayed or neutered early in life.  Typically this is done between 5 and 8 months of age, those there are some studies suggesting that you should wait until your pet is a year old.  (Then there are other studies saying that that causes OTHER problems…so as always, it’s best to check with your vet.)

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Spaying removes the uterus and both ovaries from female cats and dogs.  Neutering removes the testicles from male cats and dogs.  Though both obviously have the desired effect of stopping any chance of reproduction for you animal, they also have other positive outcomes.  Females who are spayed won’t go into heat each month, which means they also won’t try to escape your house or yard in search of a mate.  Likewise, males who are neutered won’t be affected by females in heat and therefore won’t be as hard to control and won’t have the tendency to roam that un-neutered males have.

In addition to behavioral changes spaying eliminates the risk of uterine or ovarian cancer for your pets; neutering eliminates the risk of testicular cancer.  Both decrease the risks of other cancers like mammary or prostate cancer.  Not spaying your cat on the other hand can cause her to develop urinary problems like pyometra and in general not spaying or neutering your pet can lead to unwanted pregnancies, lost pets and even cancerous tumors later on.

Talk to your vet to see when the time is right to spay or neuter your pet.

Your Dog and Allergies

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We all know the symptoms: sneezing, runny nose, watery and itchy eyes.  Our own allergies are affected every year by pollen, dust in the air and even grass.  But did you know your dog can be affected by these same allergens?

Just like in humans, a dog’s body builds up antibodies to protect against various allergens. When a dog is then exposed to a particular allergen the body goes into overdrive trying to get rid of the allergy.  That’s why we (and our pets) get watery eyes and sneeze. Our body is trying to get rid of the allergen.  So how will you know if your pet has allergies?

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Look for red, watery eyes, excessive scratching, chewing of paws or face rubbing. These can all be signs of allergies.  It’s important, if you believe your dog has allergies, to talk to your vet and to also figure out what your dog is allergic to.  Some dogs are allergic to grass while others are allergic to the saliva from fleas.  Talk about a double whammy! Your poor pet doesn’t just itchy because the flea bit him, but because he might be allergic to it!

Shampooing can often help with the itching.  Rinsing off a dog’s paws and legs after he’s been outside can also help because it gets rid of offending pollens.  Finally, feeding your dog a premium dog food with fatty acids can help to protect his skin and coat and keep them healthy even during allergy season.

Best toys for home alone dogs

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When leaving Fido home alone there are some toys that it’s best to avoid: toys that can fall apart, sloppy rawhide bones and real bones that can splinter are best used for times when pets are supervised.  Wondering what toys are best for home alone dogs? Check out these!

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Rubberized Toys: Toys like Kong brand toys are perfect for dogs home alone.  They’re sturdy and made of thick rubber so they won’t fall apart and they’ll hold up to lots of chewing. You can even put treats inside them for your pet to find.

Flavored Synthetic Bones: Bones like Nylabones that are flavored with tasty meat juices are perfect for dogs home alone.  They won’t splinter like real bones and they help to prevent plaque build up.  They will keep your dogs entertained and also massage their gums at the same time.

Toys with treats inside:  Balls made of high impact plastic that will roll and let treats fall out are great ideas for some dogs. They will keep them occupied for hours and that will keep them from chewing on your furniture!

Stop in and see us at J&M Aquatics and Pet Center at 2851 North Avenue and we’ll help you find the right toys for your pet.

Preparing Your Pond for Seasonal Changes

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More great info straight from Tetra!

Fall is a beautiful time of the year. But, sometimes that beauty can be hard on your pond, especially if you have trees nearby. In the fall, it is very important to prepare your pond by cleaning it out, protecting it from falling debris and maintaining your equipment, especially if you live in cooler climate zones.

Deicer and fish

Before winter sets in, invest in a TetraPond Pond De-icer. Gases produced by decomposing organic material are toxic to fish when they are trapped beneath the ice covering the pond’s surface. In small ponds, the TetraPond De-Icer is especially helpful in preventing ponds from freezing solid. Remember, for fish safety, it is extremely important to never break ice on the pond because the shock waves can be detrimental, and sometimes fatal, to fish.

To ensure you cover all of the necessary fall pond prep steps, print and keep this checklist handy:

  • Reduce the number of leaves falling into the pond with netting. Most pond retailers carry different sizes that can be hung over the pond like a tent. Or, you can build a frame across the surface.
  • Remove any floating debris regularly with a hand net. Installing a skimmer unit will also save you time and effort.
  • Cut back dead or dying aquatic plant foliage during the fall.
  • Purchase a wheat-germ-based pond food developed especially for a Spring and Fall Diet.
  • Disconnect the pump, filter and UV clarifier before water freezes.
  • Store UV clarifier indoors for protection.
  • Store filters indoors (if manufacturer’s directions suggest).
  • Sink a few clay pots or weighted-down, clean buckets into the pond to provide refuge (in place of the protective plant cover that will disappear). Frogs who have taken up residence in your garden will also benefit from a place to hibernate.
  • For breeds especially sensitive to the cold, like fancy goldfish, bring them indoors.
  • Purchase or have the pond de-icer ready for installation.

 

Fall is the Time to Transition Fish to Wheat Germ-Based Foods

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Great info here from Tetra Pond Products!

 

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As water temperatures begin to fall in your area of the country, it is important to transition your pond fish to a highly digestible wheat germ-based food. Because fish are cold-blooded, their metabolism is controlled by the temperature of the water. So as water temperatures start to dip, you’ll need to make some changes to your fishes’ diet.

In water temperatures between 39°F and 50°F, wheat germ is ideal to transition fish into the cooler winter months because it digests easily at low temperatures. This is especially important because in the winter, fish metabolism and the pond’s ammonia-reducing biological activity are greatly diminished. And remember, never feed fish when water temperatures fall to 39°F or below. In addition, feed your fish only as much as they can eat in several minutes. If you are able, it is best to feed smaller amounts several times a day, versus one large feeding (not unlike how humans like to eat).

For optimal nutrition, TetraPond Spring & Fall Diet transitions fish in and out of the season and reduces thermal stress. That’s important for disease prevention.

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Seasonal Feeding for Year-Round Nutrition
Follow a Seasonal Feeding Cycle so you can easily determine the best foods to feed throughout the year as indicated by the water temperature. When you use a TetraPond Thermometer , you’ll eliminate all the guesswork in fish nutrition.