Protect Your Pet From Fleas to Protect Yourself

Fleas are terrible pests. In addition to causing your furry friend serious discomfort, they can also carry life-threatening diseases. But did you know that our pets aren’t the only ones affected when fleas enter the picture? Our bodies and homes are at risk, too. Here are four reasons to protect your pet from fleas so you can protect yourself, too.

1. Fleas Can Bite Us

While it’s true that fleas prefer animal blood, they will bite a human if the opportunity presents itself. And if your pet has fleas, the opportunity often does. Flea bites usually occur around the feet and ankles, but can also show up around the waist, armpits, groin, breasts, or in the folds of the knees or elbows. The bites appear as small, red bumps, and for most people, are extremely itchy. Some people are less sensitive to flea bites and may have only mild irritation or no irritation at all, but for those who experience itching, the sensation can be unbearable.

2. Flea Bites Can Cause Secondary Problems

Fleas can easily pass on diseases to pets, but for humans, the risk of contracting a disease from a flea is relatively low. Still, flea bites can cause other problems, such as scarring and infection if you scratch to the point of breaking the skin.

3. Fleas Can Take Over The House

Imagine sitting down on the couch to enjoy your favorite TV show when suddenly — eek! A flea jumps onto your arm. Or perhaps worse, you have guests over, and you notice a flea creeping along your friend’s shoulder. These are not extreme scenarios; when fleas infest your home, they really take over. Fleas lay eggs on your pet (as many as 50 in one day!), and as your pet moves around the house, those eggs disperse. Once this process is in action, it can be incredibly difficult to get rid of fleas.

4. Fleas Can Take Over The Yard

Your yard should be a place where you can catch a breath of fresh air, let the dog out to play, or have friends over for a BBQ. It shouldn’t be a place crawling with blood-thirsty pests. But if your pet brings fleas home from the dog park, kennel, or neighborhood, it can easily become that. Fleas love to post up around trees and in garden beds, prepared to pounce on the first warm-blooded creature that crosses their path. While it is possible to eradicate fleas from your yard, it’s just as difficult as removing them from your home.

Want to avoid the irritation and hassle of fleas? Protect your pet today! And with PetPlus, you’ll get wholesale prices on flea preventatives like Frontline Plus, Comfortis, K9 Advantix II, and more. PetPlus is a benefit program for pet owners that provides member-only access to medications at wholesale prices, plus discounts on food, supplies, vet visits, boarding, and more. Learn more at



6 Diseases You Can Catch From Your Dog or Cat


As cuddly as your pet may be, there are a few sicknesses that can spread from felines or canines to humans and it helps to be careful. Any infection that can spread from an animal to a human is referred to as “zoonotic.” Here are the details, and how to protect both your pet and your family from these diseases.

1. Salmonellosis

Salmonellosis in an infection caused by salmonella bacteria; it can infect cats, dogs, and spread to people. Dogs and cats who are immune-compromised, or who are very old or very young, are most at risk of picking up this gastro-intestinal distressing bug.

Feeding your pet raw or undercooked meat can cause the infection, or they can catch the disease from another sick animal. If your pet is vomiting or has diarrhea, then thorough cleaning, disinfecting, and hand-washing are all important precautions you can take to prevent the spread of the bacteria.

2. Toxoplasmosis

Toxoplasmosis, a parasite, is problematic for those with compromised immune systems, such as those undergoing chemotherapy. “Don’t clean the litterbox!” many an obstetrician has told pregnant patients who are cat-parents.

Although millions are infected and don’t even know it, Toxoplasmosis is most known to humans due to the increased risk it poses to pregnant women in the form of miscarriage or birth defects to the fetus.

RELATED ARTICLE: The Truth About Toxoplasmosis in Cats

3. Cat Scratch Fever

You might have heard of Cat Scratch Fever due to the popularity of the Ted Nugent song by the same name. Also known as Cat Scratch Disease, Cat Scratch Fever is a bacterial infection transmitted to humans from the saliva of infected cats. While mostly asymptomatic in cats, swollen lymph nodes are the main symptom of the disease in people.

Cat Scratch Fever is normally mild and resolves on its own, although it’s possible to experience other symptoms such as a slight fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, headache, rash, sore throat, or general malaise. To keep your cat from being infected, make sure you use a good flea preventative, since cats catch the disease from fleas.

 RELATED ARTICLE: 10 Common Skin Issues in Dogs, and When to Worry

4. Roundworm

Roundworms are parasites that can infect a dog or cat’s intestinal tract and cause malnourishment as the parasites consume the pet’s food and block the intestines. Diarrhea is the most common symptom as roundworms latch onto the intestines. When the worms travel through the lungs and throat, dogs and cats can exhibit coughing.

If your pet shows symptoms, take them to the vet to get diagnosed and treated with a deworming medication. If transmitted to humans, most cases of roundworm won’t cause severe symptoms.

RELATED ARTICLE: Parasites and Worms in Dogs and Cats

5. Hookworm

Hookworms are intestinal parasites that feed off of your pet’s blood. Prevention is easy! Keep your pet on a once-monthly preventative medication like Heartgard to prevent hookworm, heartworm, and other parasites. There are some great treatments out there for hookworms if your dog or cat is already infected.

While hookworm in humans is uncommon and generally clears up on its own, it can cause an itchy skin disease called “creeping eruption” (ew!)

RELATED ARTICLE: How Parasite And Worm Treatment Works

6. Ringworm

Scaly or inflamed circular bald patches on your dog or cat can signal ringworm, which is actually a fungal infection. While it’s not technically serious, ringworm is highly contagious and should be treated immediately to avoid infecting other pets or people.

Has your pet ever come down with a yucky infection and then given it to you? Let us know in the comments! Prevent and treat infections by signing up for PetPlus, a benefit program for pet owners that provides member-only access to medications at wholesale prices, plus discounts on food, supplies, vet visits, boarding and more.


Dog Park Do’s and Don’ts

Dog parks have become increasingly popular in the United States, especially in metropolitan areas where backyards and open spaces for running and playing are rare. While dog parks can be great places for dogs to get some exercise and meet other furballs, they aren’t appropriate for all dogs, and they aren’t free-for-alls! If you do end up at a dog park, you should be prepared to follow some basic guidelines.

Check out these dos and don’ts to find out if your pup is a good fit for a dog park and what rules you should follow before and during a visit.

DO take your dog to the park if he or she is well-socialized.

A dog park can be a great place for a confident, well-socialized pup who loves interacting with other dogs and knows how to play nicely. A dog park is not, however, a good place to give your dog’s behavior a test drive. If you aren’t sure how your dog is going to act around other dogs, they probably aren’t ready for the dog park.

To socialize your dog and give them the confidence they deserve before entering a park, try introducing them to other dogs while on leash, arrange small group play-dates with dogs you know, and consider taking an obedience class where your dog will meet new friends and learn commands that will keep them safe.

DON’T take your dog to the park if he or she is aggressive, fearful, anxious, or undersocialized.

If your dog has a behavioral issue, taking them to the dog park can not only be dangerous, it can also make their problem worse. A fearful, anxious, aggressive, or undersocialized dog who is thrown into a new and unfamiliar environment will probably only become more fearful, anxious, or aggressive, and may even lash out. Additionally, their inappropriate behavior may cause other dogs to lash out.  If you need help with your dog’s behavioral problem, considering contacting a trainer or animal behaviorist.

RELATED STORY: Dog Behaviors

DO make sure that your dog is up to date on their vaccinations and protected from fleas.

Because so many dogs come and go at dog parks, the chances of picking up a disease or fleas are fairly high. This is why unvaccinated puppies definitely should NOT go to dog parks, and that goes for unvaccinated adult dogs, too. In addition, make sure that your dog is protected with a flea preventative, as fleas can easily pass from dog-to-dog or ground-to-dog at the park. As a rule, it’s not a bad idea to consult your veterinarian about your dog’s overall health before visiting a dog park.

DON’T take intact male dogs or female dogs who are in heat.

Intact male dogs and in-heat female dogs mixing together at a dog park not only increases the risk of accidental pregnancy, it can also lead to behavioral problems such as sex-related aggression. If you take your dog to the dog park and see a lot of intact male dogs, it’s probably a good idea to leave and go back at another time.

RELATED STORY: All About Spaying And Neutering Dogs And Cats

DO find a good dog park.

Do your research before taking your dog to the park. Here are some great questions to find the answers to before you choose a park:

Is there enough space for a large group of dogs?
If the space is too cramped, the mood could get tense.

Are there separate areas for small and big dogs?
It is usually safest to separate the bigs from the littles to avoid injuries and the littles getting frightened.

Is the park gated and secure?
Even if your dog has good recall, it’s best to find an enclosed space where your dog won’t be able to run off.

Is there water and shade?
Especially in warmer months, your dog should have access to clean water and a cool, shady place to take a breather.

Are there clean-up stations?
Most good dog parks have trash cans and poop bags available.

DO keep an eye on your dog.

The dog park is not the place to read the newspaper or respond to emails on your phone; you should be fully engaged with what your dog is doing at all times. Look out for signs that your dog is being bullied (such as being repeatedly knocked over or chased by another dog), or that your dog is bullying, and step in if necessary and safe to do so.

Additionally, you should look out for situations that could turn into a fight. While wrestling and rolling around on the ground are normal dog behaviors, they can sometimes escalate and get serious. If you notice that the situation is becoming tense, step in and separate the dogs, but again, only if it is safe to do so. A fight that is already in motion may not be safe to enter, but you can try to use a loud sound such as clapping to distract the dogs long enough to call your dog away. Be careful not to grab a dog in the middle of a fight by the collar — they could react by biting.

RELATED STORY: What Kind Of Pet Parent Are You: The Lover, The Trainer, & More

DON’T let dogs clump together too long.

When a couple of dogs or a group of dogs play together too long, the play can get intense and tensions may arise. In addition, a pack or “clique” of dogs may start bullying other dogs. To avoid these situations, move around the park and introduce your dog to other dogs. Reward your dog with a treat for following you and playing nicely with new friends.

DON’T expect other pet parents to follow all the rules.

Just because you did your homework and made sure that your dog was well-suited to the dog park doesn’t mean that all pet parents are doing the same. Many aggressive, anxious, and undersocialized dogs end up at the dog park, and it is your responsibility to keep an eye out and keep your pal safe. If you notice that the vibe at the dog park isn’t feeling quite right or you see a lot of distracted, indifferent pet parents, it may be better to leave the park and come back another time.

Do you take your dog to the dog park? Leave a comment and tell us about your experience, and consider signing up for PetPlus to save on pet medications, supplies, boarding, and more.


6 Common Pet Health Myths Debunked

Pet health is a complicated topic, and with so much information at our fingertips these days, it can sometimes be difficult to separate fact from fiction. There are a lot of myths floating around, and in some cases, believing them could be harmful to your pet’s well-being. Here we’ll look at 6 of the most common pet health myths, and then give you the facts!

Remember: never hesitate to contact your veterinarian if you have ANY questions about your pet’s health. Making that phone call can not only save you time and anxiety, it could also save your pet’s life.

MYTH #1: If a dog’s nose is warm or dry, it means that they are sick.

FACT: The temperature or wetness of a dog’s nose is no indication of their health status. Many dogs have a warm and dry nose when they first wake up, for example, and a wet and cold nose after drinking water. While a warm or dry nose is no indication of a health problem, you should contact your veterinarian if you ever notice any unusual changes to your dog’s nose, such as crusting, bleeding, or discharge.

MYTH #2: Cats get sick less often than dogs.

FACT: Cats can get sick just as often as dogs (even indoor cats), but they are more likely and more capable of hiding their symptoms than dogs — in fact, they are famous for doing so. This makes it all the more important to keep up with your cat’s annual visits to the vet so that your veterinarian can give your cat a thorough once-over and check for any health conditions that they might be hiding.

RELATED STORY: The Importance Of Taking Your Cat To The Vet

MYTH #3: Pets only need to be protected from heartworms in the summer months when mosquitoes are active.

FACT: The American Heartworm Society suggests that all pets — regardless of where they live — should be protected all year round. Heartworm disease is a potentially fatal condition, so make sure that your pet is protected with a heartworm preventative, such as a tablet or topical treatment.

MYTH #4: Dogs eat grass to make themselves throw up.

FACT: This myth gets a lot of play, but the truth is that while eating grass CAN cause vomiting, it is most likely not the reason that your dog is consuming it. Many dogs consume grass because they simply like the taste, because they are bored, or because they have learned that eating grass will start a fun game in which you chase your pal to get them to stop. Eating small amounts of grass shouldn’t be harmful to your dog, but make sure that they aren’t also eating poisonous plants or foxtails, and contact your veterinarian if the habit seems to be getting worse.

RELATED STORY: Dog Vomiting Mucus? Here’s Why, And What You Can Do About It

MYTH #5: Feeding your pet garlic can rid them of tapeworms.

FACT: This myth most likely got started because of garlic’s pungent smell. It has also been suggested that garlic can treat and prevent fleas. The truth is that garlic won’t do a thing for tapeworms or fleas, and in fact, garlic is poisonous to pets and can cause anemia if consumed in large quantities. If you ever notice tapeworms (they look like small grains of rice) in your pet’s stool or near their rear end, contact your veterinarian. They will most likely prescribe a deworming medication. To protect your pet from fleas, use an oral or topical treatment.

MYTH #6: Pets take care of their own dental health, so you don’t need to brush their teeth.

FACT: Pets need all the help they can get when it comes to dental care. Most veterinarians agree that 75% or more of the health problems they see in pets are related to periodontal disease or gum disease, and studies have shown that most animals have signs of dental disease by 3 or 4 years old! While feeding crunchy dry food and giving your pet healthy chews or dental chews like Greenies can help to reduce some tartar buildup, you still need to brush your pet’s teeth. Brushing your pet’s teeth every day is the best course of action, but doing it at least once a week can go a long way in preventing dental problems.

Know any other pet health myths? Leave a comment and let us know, and consider signing up for PetPlus to save on your pet’s health care and more.


7 Easy Ways To Prepare Your Pet For Spring

It’s officially spring, and soon we’ll see higher temperatures and plenty of chances to take our pets outside for some fun in the sun. As nice as that sounds, warm weather and outdoor activities also present certain dangers to our pets, like increased risk of heartworm disease and seasonal allergies. The good news is that we can protect our pals. Read on to learn how.

1. Get Your Pet On A Heartworm Preventative

Heartworm disease is a potentially fatal condition caused by parasitic worms that are transmitted via mosquito bites. If you’re thinking: “I don’t see many mosquitos where I live, so I don’t need to worry,” think again. The American Heartworm Society suggests that all pets — regardless of where they live — should be protected. Get your pet on a heartworm preventative, such as a tablet or topical treatment, before letting them loose in the yard.

RELATED STORY: How Do Dogs and Cats Get Heartworm Disease?

2. Prepare Your Pet From Fleas and Ticks

Mosquitos aren’t the only pests you need to watch out for in the spring; fleas and ticks also come back in full force. While fleas and ticks can be picked up any time of year, your pet is more likely to come into contact with them if they are out romping in the grass, hiking with you, or playing at the dog park. Fleas and ticks not only irritate your pet, they can also carry disease and cause serious health problems. Protect your pet with an oral or topical treatment and/or collar.

3. Stay Cool

When temperatures climb, so too does the risk of your pet overheating. On warmer days, you may want to walk your pet in the morning or evening to avoid high midday temperatures, and if you have the option, choose a grass or dirt path over hot asphalt; your pet’s paws will thank you. Be sure to bring water for your pal on long walks or hikes, and look out for signs of heatstroke, like excessive panting, staggering, and high body temperature. Heatstroke can be deadly, so take your pet to the veterinarian right away if you see symptoms.

4. Prepare your Pet For Seasonal Allergies

Pets can suffer from seasonal allergies in much the same way that people do, having particular sensitives to grass, pollens, flowers, or plants. If you notice your pet itching, scratching, or sneezing after playing outside, they might be having an allergic reaction. Contact your veterinarian; after testing your pet they may prescribe an antihistamine and/or suggest more frequent baths.

RELATED STORY: Know Your Options: Allergy Meds For Dogs

5. Beware of Poisons

Certain foods, plants, and rodenticides/insecticides are poisonous to pets, and you should be aware so that you can keep your pet safe when BBQing or hanging out in the yard. The most poisonous foods for pets are garlic, onions, grapes, raisins, apricots, caffeine, chocolate, gum, alcohol, and salt. There are many toxic plants, so check this list and then check your yard.

6. Steer Clear of Foxtails

Foxtails are grass-like weeds that show up between May and December in most of the US, but especially in the West. If your pet comes into contact with a foxtail, it can become easily embedded in their feet, ears, eyes, nose, or skin due to its sharp point and tiny barbs. Foxtails are not only uncomfortable for your pet and tricky to remove, they can also cause swelling, pain, abscesses, and even death if they are absorbed into your pet’s body and make their way to the lungs, brain, or spine. Protect your pet by learning the species of foxtail native to your region and avoiding overgrown areas. You should also brush your pet out and inspect them for foxtails every time they come in from outside.

7. Time To Microchip

More time spent outside means more chances for your pet to sneak off or get lost. You should always keep an eye on your friend, but if they do happen to escape your sight, a microchip is a great way to get them back. A microchip is a small device about the size of a grain of rice that contains a unique ID number. After the microchip is injected into your pet, you will register online using the ID number, and if the pet is ever returned to a shelter or vet’s office, a quick scan will reveal their information. Used in combination, a collar ID tag and microchip offer the best chance for getting your pet home safely. If you plan to purchase any medications for your pet this spring — including heartworm preventatives, flea and tick treatments, or allergy medications — consider signing up for PetPlus. You could save up to 75%, and ordering is a breeze. 


8 Steps to Getting Rid of Fleas

Getting Rid of Fleas and Protecting Your Pet

A flea infestation is an awful situation. Fleas not only cause problems for your pet like itching, hair loss, sores, and increased risk of infection and parasites, these pests are also known for setting up shop in and around your home and starting a cycle of reproduction that can be difficult to control.

This is why it is always better to protect your pet from fleas with a monthly preventative or flea collar before they strike. However, if you do find that your pet has picked up fleas, you should begin the process of removal right away. Follow these steps for getting rid of fleas and making sure that they won’t be coming back.

Flea Removal in 8 Steps

Step 1: Getting Rid of Fleas on Your Pet

Start by getting rid of fleas on your pet’s body with a flea bath or flea treatment pill. Use a flea comb instead if your pet has already taken their monthly preventive pill or spot-on treatment.

Step 2: Protect Your Pet From Fleas

After removing the fleas from your pet, give them an oral preventative, spot-on treatment, or flea collar. Be sure to consult your veterinarian before combining any treatments.

Step 3: Clean Your Pet’s Bedding

If your pet has fleas, chances are that their bedding does, too. Wash your pet’s bedding and blankets on the hottest wash and dry cycles. Bedding sprays and powders can also be used.

Step 4: Continue Prevention

Keep your pet protected throughout the year with a monthly preventative or flea collar.

Once you’ve treated your pet, it’s time to treat your yard. The fleas that hopped onto your pet may have come from your yard in the first place, or they may be living there now after hitching a ride from elsewhere.

Step 5: Mow the Lawn

Fleas like hanging out in damp and shady environments. When you mow your lawn, sunlight is able to reach the soil, which results in a less-than-ideal habitat for fleas.

Step 6: Clear the Clutter

Fleas are expert sneaks. They like to hide out in areas where they won’t be seen — like piles of leaves, rocks, and wood. Clear the clutter from your yard and fleas will have fewer place to take cover.

Step 7: Spray the Yard

Applying flea spray to your yard and garden helps to kill fleas and prevent future infestations. Be sure to remove toys belonging to your pets or children before spraying the yard, and keep people and animals away from the yard after spraying for as long as the product recommends. The amount of time that the spray will work as a flea preventative will vary depending on the product. Check the label and re-spray as needed.

Step 8: Water the Yard

Use a hose to wet down areas of the yard where fleas are likely to have laid their eggs. Water around garden beds and trees until slightly flooded to kill flea eggs and flea larvae.

Getting rid of fleas can be an unpleasant and time-consuming ordeal. To avoid it, protect your pet before they pick up fleas!