Category Archives: Health

How to Fight a Flea Infestation

The flea is a small, flightless insect and is the most predominant external parasite associated with dogs and cats. Adults are about 3 mm long and laterally compressed (very thin), making them hard to see.

Host Acquisition

    Outdoor flea infestations are common

  • Crawl spaces, under porches, in community areas where animals frequent
  • Flea eggs can be deposited in the environment by infested opossums, raccoons, and stray dogs
    Fleas can also hitch a ride inside on pet owners’ clothing and on other untreated pets

  • Pets can pick up fleas from untreated pets at public locations such as parks or pet friendly stores
  • Even “truly indoor” pets can develop flea infestations

Flea dirt

Biology and Feeding

A single flea can bite a host up to 400 times per day!

A female flea can consume up to 15 times her weight in blood daily!

Blood meals are passed as fecal material referred to as “flea dirt”

Easily identified if it turns bright red when wiped with a wet paper towel

Presence on a host is evidence of a flea infestation

Life Cycle

flea life cycle

Life Stages

flea life stages vs infestation stages

Prevention and Control

An adult female flea lays 25 to 50 eggs per day and up to 2,000 eggs in her lifetime
On average fleas live 2 to 3 months but can live much longer in certain conditions
Entire life cycle can be completed in 12 to 14 days.

    Attributes of flea control products to consider:

  • Convenience
  • Speed of kill
  • Whether multiple stages of the flea life cycle are targeted
  • Duration of efficacy

Once you have fleas in your house you may find it difficult to stop the infestation and remove the fleas from your pet and your home. Giving your dog or cat a bath or treating them with flea spray will rid them of fleas but if your home remains infested then you will still have a problem. Remember; if you have an indoor/outdoor cat they may be bringing in those pesky buggers on a continuous basis. So, let’s begin with removing the fleas from your home.

You may have heard or read about flea traps and wonder if they work and are a legitimate way of controlling fleas in your home. Simply put, flea traps do work but only for removing adult fleas in certain areas (e.g. the living room). They need to be used as part of an overall flea control plan that involves killing flea eggs, putting preventative measures in place to keep them away and treating your dogs for fleas (or your cats, etc.) Just to make things perfectly clear, these traps will not solve any fleas that may be lurking on your pets, they will completely ignore them!

Home made flea traps: Light bulb, soap and water traps can be easily made at home. Fleas and bugs are attracted to light so the basic process is to suspend or lean a light source (such as a small bedside lamp or an electric bulb) over a shallow pan or bowl that is full of water and soap. When the adult fleas come and investigate the light, they hop right into the bowl (to get closer to the light) and drown. Another method is to plug in a night light and slide a square, plastic pan/dish half full of soapy water against the wall.

You want fleas to be drawn to the trap, therefore it’s best to put them in place before you go to bed at night. This will also keep your dog from drinking the soapy mixture during the day. Once the room lights are out, the traps will draw the fleas and other bugs throughout the night. In the morning you will likely find numerous dead fleas and bugs in the water. Remember to empty the water in each trap in the morning to keep things hygienic.

If you have not used a flea preventative on your pet, you can use Adam’s Flea and Tick Spray, which is an insecticide and will kill most fleas and ticks on contact. This product cannot be used in conjunction with other flea and tick products as it will cause a reaction in most pets. If your pet is so infested that a bath is needed, a bath with Murphy’s Oil Soap (yes, the same one you use on your coffee table) will rid your dog of fleas without the use of harsh chemicals. Murphy’s will also give their coat a nice shine and pleasant smell and will replace the oils in their coat that most shampoos strip out. You’ll want to use warm water for a bath with Murphy’s and be sure to use a slightly diluted solution of the soap, let the solution soak on the fur for 10 minutes then rinse thoroughly.

Vacuuming repeatedly is important when trying to rid your home of fleas. It is best to use a vacuum that requires a removable bag. It is recommended to remove the bag and throw it away or burn it after each vacuuming to ensure that the fleas are out of your home.

Stopping a flea infestation can be a daunting task but these methods will certainly help you win the war. As always, the best weapon is prevention. Seresto collars (flea and tick collars that are good for 8 months), Advantix II and Frontline (both are topical liquids applied to a pets shoulder area) are all preventative treatments proven to help keep pets flea free. Visit Misty Pines to find these preventatives in our store.

The flea season is worse when the climate becomes colder; when summer turns to fall, because these pesky buggers are seeking warmer conditions: your pet and your home!

Vacation Preparation

Pre-boarding your dog before their first visit help ease concerns about boarding your dog, particularly if the dog is “elderly.” These concerns are valid and at Misty Pines we take them seriously.

It is worth noting, before moving on, that bringing a puppy to the kennel at an early age will help to familiarize the pup with the sights, sounds, smells and staff of the facility and will help to ease anxiety about boarding later in life. Socialization is the most important aspect of raising a puppy. This means more than taking your dog to the park to socialize with other dogs and humans. The meaning of socialization stretches to encompass as many experiences as possible that the dog may have to deal with during it’s adulthood.

First-Time Boarders

Pre-Boarding for dogs

A 5 year old dog who has never boarded and typically spends all day at home could become very stressed when boarding while your family goes on vacation . He’s never been here before and probably never heard a pressure washer before. He may have never used a dog door. Has he used an automatic watering bowl that fills itself back up? Does he have people walk past him multiple times a day while he’s in his crate at home? Has he ever been in a crate? These are all  things the he will need to get used to in order to have a good boarding experience.

Taking the time to do a few Pre-Board sessions before a long boarding for your dog will be monumental in helping him deal with the stress of boarding. Bring your dog in for at least 4 hours ($20/dog) and he’ll be put in one of our indoor/outdoor runs to acclimate to the facility as well as the new sights and sounds. Your dog could be given short activities that will give us insight into your dog’s reaction to kennel life as well as to other dogs. It is best to let us know what your typical routine is at home so that we can choose appropriate activities. When you pick your dog up from a Pre-Board, we will let you know how your dog did and if he needs to attend a couple of these sessions.

Your dog may need extra help acclimating to Misty Pines, especially if you plan to board your dog with us for an extended period of time.  If that is the case we recommend scheduling your dog for an over-night boarding stay .

The 10+ Crowd

Pre-Boarding for elderly dogs

Unless very well socialized, elderly dogs are more prone to stress in a new environment than younger dogs. Furthermore, stress can be more physically damaging to an older dog and may lead to serious health problems.

Any dog over 10 years of age that has not boarded at Misty Pines before, or maybe not since they were very young, is required to do a Pre-Board of at least 4 hours. If there are health issues already present, we may require an over-night to ensure that the problem does not worsen when separated from the owner/family.

As stated above for the younger dogs, Pre-Boarding sessions are a great help to those dogs who are already a little tentative and generally help the dog have a pleasant boarding experience with us.

It’s hot out there! Signs, symptoms, how to avoid and how to deal with canine heatstroke.

The average temperature of a dog is 99.7° F to 102.5° F. When a dog has heatstroke, their temperature can be 106° F or higher. The technical term for heatstroke is hyperthermia: Hyper=high, thermia=temperature. This causes a body temperature that is so far above normal that the normal physiological process is subject to damage and dysfunction. The damaging effects of hyperthermia can be temporary or permanent and can cause sudden death. The higher the temperature and the longer it persists without treatment, the more damage it can cause.

Dog suffering from heatstrokeDogs only have sweat glands on their pads and nose which are inadequate for cooling during hot and humid weather. Dog’s become less efficient at cooling themselves as the humidity rises. They regulate their body temperature by panting and drawing air over the moist membranes of both the nose and tongue, cooling by evaporation. However, if they can’t expel the heat fast enough, their body will temperature rise. Panting will actually generate more heat due to the muscle action involved. A rise of 3 degrees to a temperature of 105° F is all it takes to send your dog into a dangerous situation. At this temperature, the dog can no longer cope with reducing their body heat and the oxygen demand increases to where the dog cannot keep up and their temperature continues to rise. When their temperature hits 108° F, the heart, brain, liver, kidneys, and intestinal tracts begin to breakdown at a cellular level and the damage can progress at an alarming rate.

    Signs of Heat Stroke:

  • Rapid breathing
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Wide eyes
  • Dry mouth and nose
  • Saliva is thick and sticky
  • Gums that look dull, grayish-pink, or bright red
  • Very high body temperature (above 104°F)
  • Staggering, unsteady, disorientated behavior
  • Collapse and become unconscious in advanced heat stroke
    Treatment for Heat Stroke:

  • Move to a cooler environment.
  • Take the pet’s temperature rectally, if it is above 103°F you will need to begin cooling them.
  • cooling off a dog that has heatstrokeUsing cool water making sure that the water is contacting their skin. Cool their belly and groin area and run water over their mouth and tongue. Cool them gradually.
  • Pack ice in their groin, head, and neck areas. Cold towels can also be wrapped around the dog; just be sure to replace with fresh cold ones frequently. The towels will become warm quickly and will trap their body heat.
  • Monitor their temperature every 2 minutes; discontinue cooling them when their rectal temperature reaches 104°F. Their body will continue to cool itself when you discontinue the cool water.
  • If their temperature should fall below 100°F, keep the dog warm by covering them with a towel or even towels warmed from the dryer.
  • Transport the dog to the nearest veterinarian ASAP!

**The only exception to not taking their temperature first is if the dog collapsed or already unconscious. At this point, you need to start cooling them as quickly as possible. While the dog is being cooled, have another person take their temperature at the same time.

Never leave your pet in your vehicle or tied out in the direct sunlight on warm, sunny days. Even a few minutes in your vehicle with the windows down can be critical for your pet. There are other factors that can increase the risk of developing heat stroke: lack of water, enclosed space, excessive humidity, obesity, age, cardiovascular disease, and exercise intolerance. Brachiocephalic breeds such as bulldogs, boxers, and pugs are more risk for heat stroke than other breeds because of their short noses. Any animal when faced with high temperatures, high humidity, and time to build up heat within the body, can face the misfortune of being affected with heat stroke. Exercise your pet in the morning or late evenings when it is cooler and be sure to have fresh cold water or ice cubes for them. Please use common sense when taking your pet outdoors on hot days; if it is too hot for you, it is too hot for them.

Why Microchip Your Dog

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No one expects for it to happen, but each year hundreds of family pets are lost or stolen. Sometimes these pets stray from or are picked up from houses or yards. Other times an unexpected occurrence such as a power blackout, flood, or tornado can cause a pet to be separated from their family.

According to the National Council on Pet Population Study and Policy, only 17 percent of stray dogs and 2 percent of stray cats are reunited with their owners. In most cases, the animals found wearing proper identification are the ones likely to make it home.

The ASPCA reports that:

  • Approximately 6.5 million companion animals enter U.S. animal shelters nationwide every year. Of those, approximately 3.3 million are dogs and 3.2 million are cats.
  • Each year, approximately 1.5 million shelter animals are euthanized (670,000 dogs and 860,000 cats).
  • About 710,000 animals that enter shelters as strays are returned to their owners. Of those, 620,000 are dogs and only 90,000 are cats.

Microchipping is a permanent and painless way of identifying your dog. This is the preferred method of identification for many veterinarians and animal shelters which has been around since 1989; since then over 1.5 million animals have been microchipped. The process only takes 5 minutes and includes a tiny chip with a numeric code which is injected into the animal’s skin, usually between the shoulder blades. The chip is then registered and can be read by any universal chip scanner nationwide. Most veterinarians, police offices, boarding facilities, and animal shelters have a chip scanner. reports that the return-to-owner rate for microchipped dogs was over 52 percent.

This service is offered at Misty Pines for a cost of $35.00 per dog. Please call for an appointment to have your dog chipped. It could one day save his life!

Why Do Dogs Eat Grass

A common question asked by dog owners is why their dog eats grass.  This is particularly concerning to owners whose dogs eat grass and then immediately vomit.

The commonly presented explanation is that dogs eat grass to settle their stomach when it’s upset.  A dog that vomits immediately after consumption of grass may very well be using grass in this way.  That being said, there can be a myriad of other reasons for consumption of grass.  Some dogs even seem to graze on grass.

So why do eat grass?

Dogs, as we know, are most closely related to wolves.  While most breeds seem distant from their wild ancestors, they still do possess characteristics of wolves.  One of these characteristics is remaining omnivores.  Cats are obligate carnivores and thus primarily subsist on a diet of meat.  They will occasionally eat grass for moisture or fun.  Dogs on the other hand are omnivores and, like humans, prefer a diet that contains both meat and vegetables or greens. 

Analysis of wolf diets done by Steve Brown who wrote Unlocking the Canine Ancestral Diet noted that wolves, while consisting primarily on a meat diet, consumed the entire prey animal – including the stomach.  As their prey was typically herbivores, that meant that wolves often ate grass that their prey had eaten making grass a natural part of their diet.  Thus, it isn’t at all odd that dogs may also consume and graze on grass.  In fact, it may contain essential nutrients that your dog’s commercial diet may have in short supply. 

Grass, particularly in the summer months, is also packed full of moisture.  This makes grass a particularly appetizing snack as it is green and luscious.  Dogs consuming grass for this reason may very well select specific stalks to munch on just to get a little extra moisture. 

When dogs consume grass to settle a stomach, they often do throw up after consumption.  There is a reasonable explanation for this.  A dog hoping to settle a stomach will consume the grass rapidly which may agitate the stomach lining inducing regurgitation.  If your dog appears to do this to excess, there may be an underlying health issue that ought to be addressed by a veterinarian, particularly if the dog has never consumed grass and/or is eating a large quantity and vomiting it up immediately. 

In conclusion, there can be a myriad of reasons a dog may eat grass and this may or may not be a matter of concern.  If your dog is consuming grass regularly and in small amounts and does not vomit after, it is nothing to be concerned about—your dog simply enjoys eating grass.  You may even want to add vegetables to your dog’s diet—although they tend to prefer cooked veggies over raw.  If your dog vomits after consuming grass very rapidly they may just have a slightly upset stomach and is certainly something to keep an eye on.  If this behavior persists, it may be time to schedule a vet visit and make sure there is no serious underlying cause for the behavior, particularly if it’s out of the ordinary. 


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Treadmill 101

October 21 @ 11:15 am - 12:00 pm
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Treadmill 102

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