Dear Dog Lady,
I appreciate your mention of preventing Lyme disease through the use of a product like the active ingredient fipronil in Frontline Plus. However, there is no heartworm disease prevention component in that product. To prevent the mosquito vector-transferred heartworm larva, a pet owner would have to use a separate product for that, or one of the combination products now available through the veterinary marketplace.
These products can be topical, injectable or in oral tablet form. With all the good educating you do, I wouldn’t want a pet owner to inadvertently allow for a preventable disease like heartworm disease an opportunity to enter the picture.
Dr. Chris Duke
A: Thank you for the professional reminder to give our dogs regular medications to prevent tick- and mosquito-borne illnesses. Also, this is a good opportunity for “Ask Dog Lady” to wag her finger and remind every pet owner to have a trusted veterinarian who is diligent. We need to remember our dogs are not robots. The animals need regular medical care.
Many of us give HeartGard monthly to prevent heartworm disease. The medicine comes swathed in a chewable meat chunk, and the dogs seem to lap it right up.
And there’s NexGard, a smaller meat chew with medication to ward off fleas and ticks. As you point out, Frontline is another product that can be applied topically to do the same as NexGard. In theory, the latter should be dispensed only during warmer months, although many vets recommend keeping up the flea and tick medication year-round.
In addition to these owner-dispensed drugs, your vet can also give medicines to prevent kennel cough, Lyme disease and the dreaded parvovirus. Readers, please talk to him or her — if you haven’t already — about a regular regimen for your dear dog.
Dear Dog Lady,
We have a wonderful mixed-breed mutt named Scooby who is almost 2 years old. We have completed puppy school, and, except for wanting to chase every squirrel he can see, he’s a well-behaved and very sweet puppy.
However, he has one very bad habit, and I’d love some advice. I am a working mom and wake up at approximately 5:30 a.m. every day to head into the city. My husband doesn’t have to be to work until 10 a.m., so he tends to stay up later.
The issue is, when my hubby comes to bed and lies down, the dog wants to play. He stands on top of him, tries to push him up with his nose, nibbles, whines and does everything possible to get his attention. There are usually two to three minutes of pushing, “no” and “lie down” before Scooby finally gets the message and goes to bed.
This wouldn’t be a big deal if it did not wake me up every night, and then I’m struggling to fall back asleep. My husband tries to take him out for one more walk before bed to tire him out, but we need new ideas.
A: You need a designated bed for Scooby, a place that the dog recognizes as a shelter for him to curl up, a special spot to be calm and quiet. A crate — the politically correct dog word for “cage” — would be good for all of you.
Make sure the crate is big enough for Scooby. Line it with a soft, comfy blanket. When you put him into the crate, throw in a few treats so he is initially happily distracted. You want him apart from you, but keep the crate in your bedroom so Scooby knows you’re close.
This new regime may require a brief period of adjustment. However, Scooby is young and still learning. It will be very good for him — and you — to use a crate.
Monica Collins offers advice on pets, life and love. Ask a question or make a comment at email@example.com.