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HeartWorm FAQs

Many dog owners have a great number of questions when it comes to heartworms.  All pet owners know that they are dangerous to pets, but beyond this, the parasites remain a mystery.

  • Transmitting Heartworms

Dog owners are concerned about the possibility of one pet passing heartworms on to another pet.  While it is impossible for a pet to directly transmit the disease to another dog, heartworms can be indirectly transmitted through mosquitoes.  This is because a mosquito that bites a pet with heartworms becomes a carrier of the disease.  If it then bites another pet, it can infect that pet as well.

It is also possible for humans to acquire heartworms from mosquitoes.  The worms do not, however, generally circulate to the human heart as they do with pets.  Instead, the larvae affect the eyes or lungs.  Heartworm infections in human eyes are rare, but it can occur.

  • Problems with Heartworm Medications

Most pets do not have a problem with taking heartworm medication, however giving more than the recommended dose can be dangerous.  In addition, certain dogs are more susceptible to having a negative result when given too much heartworm medication.  These dogs are those with a genetic link to collies, such as shelties, Australian shepherds, border collies and collies.  To reach unsafe levels, however, the dog would need to receive 10 to 20 times the normal dose.  Normal doses of heartworm medication, which are effective in killing the developing larvae, are safe for dogs.

Some dogs, on the other hand, can be allergic to chewable heartworm disease prevention medication.  Some are allergic to the medication itself, while others are allergic to the flavouring agents added to the medication.  For those that are allergic to flavouring agents, switching to a chewable unflavoured medication should solve the problem.

  • Missing a Dose

If a pet owner misses two months of Heartworm disease prevention medication, it is normally best to resume the medication as usual.  The pet should, however, be tested in about seven months as this is the approximate period of time it takes for the worm to mature and produce the antigens necessary to test for the disease.  Even a couple months is long enough for a pet to become infected, particularly during certain times of the year.

If you live in an area with cold winters and the medication was skipped during this time, the pet should still be safe.  In general, pets in “cold winter” climates only need heartworm medication from June through to November.  Nonetheless, most veterinarians recommend protecting pets from heartworms throughout the entire year in order to keep it safe and to ensure the pet owner maintains a regular schedule.


Steven Perissinotto is a passionate pet lover and a pet health professional. Since establishing Vet Shop Online with his veterinary surgeon brother in 1999, Steven has helped establish the business in to one of the world’s leading online retailer of heartguard plus.


5 Common Operations for Dogs

It is often said that dogs are man’s best friend; they are certainly one of the most popular pets for people to have. Many dog owners treat their pet like part of the family and lavish them with love and attention but, sadly, as with all living things, dogs can become ill and need operations.


Here are 5 of the most common operations our dogs may have to face:

1) Benign Skin Masses
One of the most common operations is the removal of benign skin mass, more commonly known as a tumor  Whilst this type of tumor is non-cancerous (benign) it will still need to be removed by the vet. Common examples of benign skin masses are moles, which can be found across the body of your pet. The term benign refers to a non-progressive disease which can be easily treated. As such, if your dog requires this operation, it is unlikely to be life-threatening.

2) Malign Skin Masses
The malign skin masses are the opposite to benign ones. These tumors are cancerous and can spread throughout a dog’s body, just as they can in humans, meaning extensive surgery is needed to have them removed, which can become very expensive. If these tumors are not removed then they can cause you dog permanent damage, intense pain, and, in extreme cases,death.

3) Tooth Extractions
Tooth extractions are another operation that many dogs have to go through. This is often because a dog has broken its tooth on something it has been chewing, or the tooth has become diseased and is decaying. If the tooth is not removed the dog can suffer large amounts of pain and discomfort, and other ailments can take hold.

4) Arthritis and Damaged Cartilage
As with humans, dogs also get old and have problems with their joints such as arthritis and damaged or eroded cartilage, which make it difficult and painful to move. Operations like hip and joint replacement can be performed on dogs, but they come at a high cost. The cost includes the price of the new joint, the surgery costs, and the recuperation and care of the dog after surgery.

5) Spaying / Neutering

A fifth common operation needed by dogs is spaying or neutering. This is the process of removing all or part of the dog’s reproductive organs. Prices for this type of dog surgery depend on the age, weight of the animal, and the breed of the dog. This procedure is often wanted by owners as they do not want to breed their animal, and also to stop females from going into heat.

Operations from vet surgeries are not cheap and can often cost hundreds of pounds. However, most dog owners will go for the operation otherwise their lovable pet can deteriorate further and, in the worst cases, die. Most families won’t have the cash to be able to afford for numerous surgeries, but pet insurance is can be real alternative that may solve owner’s problems.

Pet insurance normally covers a range of different procedures and can include veterinary bills. For a fee which is significantly cheaper than paying the vet bills yourself, you can have the added security that your household pet will be covered if something should happen.

Most companies which offer pet insurance will have a range of different price plans that you can choose from. This enables you to select the one you think is most appropriate for your dog, whether it is basic coverage or a comprehensive package that would cover anything that could go wrong. This sense of security often puts an owner’s mind at ease, as they know their lovable pet is covered and they do not have to worry about paying any additional veterinary fees.

Michael Palmer is a freelance writer and animal lover based in Oxford, writing on behalf of MORE TH>N. These are his own thoughts and do not represent the views of MORE TH>N. Visit their website for more information on how to insure your pet.

Image of dog wearing cone by TC Morgan

Saying Goodbye – The Right Time to Euthanize

For many of us, our pets are more than animals, more even than companions.  They are a part of our family and making the decision to end a pet’s life is one of the most difficult and emotional decisions we will face.

Ultimately, this is a choice that you have to make, but that doesn’t mean you have to do it alone, or without information.  The first thing you need to understand is the situation – the actual medical condition of your dog.

Talk to your veterinarian about your dog’s health.  The veterinarians at Bannock Animal Medical Center are exceptionally good at giving owners the facts, not the judgments.  You will be the one making the judgment, what you need are the facts.

Ask about pain.  Is your dog suffering in pain when trying to do basic life activities such as eating or relieving himself?  Is moving around causing him to whimper or limp?

What about eating?  Does your dog have a normal appetite?  Can he eat without pain or issue?

Does your pet enjoy human interaction?  Does he recognize you and still greet you with a smile and a wagging tail?  Does he want to play or can he play without pain?

Remember, this decision is about what is best for your dog.   Is your dog alive, but not enjoying a quality life any longer?

One thing that I would suggest is to chart your pet’s “good” days relative to the “bad” ones.  You, more than anyone else, know which is which.  When there are more bad than good days over the course of a week, or a month, it’s time to have a serious discussion with your veterinarian.

That discussion is important.  Your veterinarian will give you the facts, tell you what is wrong with your dog and what the chances are for him to recover and resume a normal quality of life.  Another part of that discussion should be about the process itself.  You will be emotional during this time, it is important that you understand what’s going on in order to minimize the emotional stress of the procedure.  Do this beforehand!  The last thing you want is to be surprised.

Your dog can’t sign an advance directive, he can’t tell you when he thinks it’s time.  He’s your friend, he’s your family, you have to make that decision for him and it is never an easy one to make.  There is no hard and fast rule for “the right time.”  It’s observation, understanding, and judgment.

How Not To Greet A Dog

Dogs are an obedient and respectful animal when trained properly. Whether you use clicker training, a dog training collar or simply practice training often, dogs are very smart and understand what you are asking for them, however, they are still an animal and can be overwhelmed and retaliate if they feel uncomfortable or threatened. One of the most commons situations for disaster is when strangers come and greet dogs. Unfortunately, many times people do not know the correct way to greet a dog and it is for this reason why we are going to discuss the many incorrect ways to greet dogs.

1. Immediate Contact

It is never advisable to go over to a strange dog, or a dog that you do not see often, and immediately have contact with the dog. So many people that love dogs, run up to them and immediately lean over them and hug them, kiss them or begin loving on them petting and scratching them. This incorrect way of greeting the dog gives the animal absolutely no personal space and can be a recipe for a bad incident.

2. Over Excited Chatter

Another way to make a dog feel uncomfortable and out of sorts is to talk overly excitedly when you first approach them. This is a very common greeting from kids. They see a dog and become very excited and often times lean over the dog talking very loudly and even at times screaming their excitement at the dog. The loudness and high-pitched sounds are very overwhelming to the dog and even the best trained dogs could lose themselves in the situation and act badly.

3. Staring Contest

Other times, people do not lean over the dog, rather they stand their ground staring at the dog. While it is good they are not invading the dog’s personal space, they are adding unneeded intimidation by starring. The constant eye contact puts the dog on its defenses as it tries and holds its ground in the uncomfortable situation.

4. Sticking Hand in Face

This is a greeting where people feel they are doing the right thing, by allowing the dog to get accustomed to their scent; however it is not good practice to push your hand up to the dog. Again, this act is invading the dog’s personal space and creating unnecessary stress to the dog.

All of the above situations are how people should not greet dogs. While dogs are man’s best friend, they still deserve the respect and time to become situated with new people. Just as you wouldn’t greet a new person in these manners dogs deserve a proper greeting as well. The best way to greet a dog is to allow the dog to come to you. Stand away from the dog, standing up straight with your palm facing out but near your body. Allow the dog to approach you and then at that time you can make eye contact and begin talking and petting the side of the dogs body. This is a non-threatening way and will make for the best greeting for these lovable animals.

Susan Wright DMV is a vet, a wireless dog fence specialist and writer. You may click here to view some of Susan’s tips and advice on invisible fence alternatives.

Selecting A Dog For Your Family Home

The best dog for a family with children is a dog that is large enough and physically strong enough to manage a lot of handling without injury or pain. One thing is for sure, children love to play with dogs and will give them all of the attention and exercise they need. For this reason, family dog’s needs to have a calm demeanor, enjoy children and be able to tolerate endless handling and affection without nipping or growling at the kids. A dog that doesn’t react well to constant touching should be avoided if you have children.


Family friendly dogs also tend to demonstrate huge amounts of affection, so get used to dog licks and kisses and everything else that is part of being a dog owner. There will be dog hair, messes will be made, but there will also countless fun and memorable moments. Many prospective dog owners want dogs that don’t shed. If shedding is a problem, large dogs that don’t shed include breeds such as Airedale Terrier, Giant Schnauzer or Standard Poodle. Other breeds to consider are the Basenji, or the Portuguese Water Dog. Some breeds can be expensive to buy and dogs that do not shed require regular amounts of grooming, but these dogs are also some of the smartest dog breeds.

If cost is an issue, don’t overlook shelter dogs. Just take the time to get to know the animal and get advice from the shelter professionals or breeders. Rescue pets are another good option and the volunteers with these groups tend to be very knowledgeable and committed. If the breed of the dog is mixed, look for characteristics of the non shedding which would include longer, wirier and curlier hair, or extremely short hair in a thin coat such as with the Dachshund breed. Some very short hair breeds such as Labradors or Greyhounds shed a bit, but do not have the dander which is what aggravates allergic conditions.

It really comes down to personal preference and the activity level of your home but if there are no children in the household, a small dog is often a better fit. Some of the most popular dogs for families vary as much as families vary, so try to arrange a meeting with your new family member before it comes home with you. This is the only way that you will know if a dog is a good fit for your family. Don’t forget to get input from a breeder or expert that has a chance to observe the interaction between you and your new dog. Visiting sites like is a good place to find these knowledgeable people.

Getting Your Dog Ready for the Big Trip

Preparations for relocation should include more than just what is needed to relocate your things from your old home to your new home. You also need to communicate with your family and prepare them for the changes that will be coming their way. Dogs are members of your family as well, so don’t forget about preparing them for the trip they are about to take. Dogs can’t tell us that they are stressed or worried, but they almost certainly will be if you are relocating and things begin to change dramatically around the house. For that reason, make sure that you take time to incorporate the following into your moving schedule as the big day approaches.

Legal and Medical Preparations

Before you move, you should always do some research into the legalities of moving an animal to a new place. Every city has different laws regarding pets, and you will have to adhere to those laws when you move there. For this reason, take time to make sure that you have all required paperwork and shots that your new location requires before you move.

Though not legally required, make sure that you have medical paperwork in order as well so that you can easily transition to a new vet once you are settled in. Schedule a final visit with your current vet to bring your dog’s shots and medications up to date, and while you’re there, request a copy of all medical records. You can also ask for a referral to a new vet in your new city, as sometimes vet offices do offer them. If yours doesn’t, look online and try to locate a vet before you move so that you know who to call if something happens before you is an established patient.

Methods of Transport

There are a few methods of transport that you can use to get your dog to their new home. Some people like to ship their pet using an airline, which can be affordable and fast. If you choose to use this method, be aware of the regulations that the airline you choose has for pets that are being shipped with or without the owner aboard the flight.

You can also hire a special pet moving company to handle the transport of your animals as well. This can be a more expensive option, but these companies offer your pet the ability to travel in luxury to their new home. While expensive, this method often gives your dog the lowest levels of stress aside from transporting them yourself.

Of course, transporting your dog on your own is the cheapest and least stressful for the dog, but can result in quite a bit of work on your end of things. If you plan on taking your dog with you, be sure that you plan ahead and start preparing your dog for the trip a few weeks ahead of moving day.

The Long Drive

Deciding to transport your dog on your own is common, and many people choose this method each year, but doing so requires that you prepare your dog ahead of time. Not only do you need to pack your dog a special travel box that contains everything they’ll need for the trip, but you should also acclimate them to riding in a vehicle for long periods of time. It’s a good idea to start with short trips around the neighborhood, and build up the length they are in the car over a period of two or three weeks. This will make it fun and easy for them when the time comes to actually move them.

Don’t forget to make sure your dog has proper identification on them at all times when you load them in the car to leave. On the off chance that they are able to get away from you at some point throughout the move, tags that offer up to date contact information will increase the odds that they are returned to you.

Routine, Routine, Routine

Finally, in the days leading up to the move, make sure that you maintain as much of your dog’s routine as you possibly can. Dogs love routine and they will be far less stressed if you feed and exercise them at the same time each day regardless of the chaos going on around you both in the home. Changes are difficult for dogs, but you have the power to make sure they are able to make it through this process without trouble. It may take some work, but in the end it will be very much worth it.

About the Author: Alyssa Sullivan works for consumers, helping them when it comes to all things moving. She invites you to visit her blog at  for more helpful information.

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