Springtime Parasite Safety For Your Dog

outdoor dogs

Springtime Parasite Safety For Your Dog


It’s the time of year when your pet is going to start spending more time outdoors. You may not give much thought to who he shares that space with—but you should. From deer and coyotes to foxes, skunks, bats, and raccoons, wild animals can pose a serious threat as they carry a variety of diseases that can be transmitted to pets and people. Springtime parasite safety for your dog is definitely something you want to think about.


  • Rabies is a disease caused by a virus that attacks the brain. It can affect any warm-blooded animal, including dogs, cats, and humans. It is almost always fatal.
  • All mammals can contract rabies, but some are more susceptible than others. Foxes, skunks, and raccoons are particularly prone to rabies and can be carriers. The disease is transmitted by the bite of a rabid animal to another mammal.
  • The best way to prevent rabies is to have your pet vaccinated. For more information visit pet vaccinations


  • Leptospirosis is a bacterial disease that affects livestock, wildlife, companion animals, and humans. Symptoms of the disease can vary, but common signs include fever, lethargy, and vomiting. The disease can be fatal if left untreated or even if treatment is delayed.
  • Leptospirosis is most commonly transmitted through standing water or soil contaminated with the urine of infected animals. Pets at particularly high risk include those who frequent dog parks, visit hiking trails or other nature areas that have an increase in wildlife traffic, or spend any time outdoors, even if only in the yard. Pets that are walked in common areas such as apartment complexes or busier neighborhoods are also at great risk.
  • A vaccine is available to protect your pet against leptospirosis infection. In addition, be sure not to let your pet drink from standing water and avoid any areas that may be contaminated.


  • Tapeworms are long, flat worms that live in your pet’s intestines.
  • In order to become infected with tapeworms, your pet must ingest a flea that contains tapeworm eggs. This process begins when fleas are accidentally ingested upon licking or chewing the skin. The flea is digested within your pet’s intestine and the tapeworm hatches, anchoring itself to the intestinal lining. We are seeing an increased number of pets with fleas every year, even in the city.
  • Tapeworm infections are treated with a deworming medication that kills the worms within the intestines.
  • The most effective way to prevent infections in pets and humans is through aggressive and thorough flea control.

 Giardiaswimming dogs

  • Giardia is a parasite that lives in the intestines and is passed in the feces. In some humans and animals, it can cause diarrhea and cramping known as Giardiasis. Anything that comes in contact with feces from infected humans or animals can be contaminated with the Giardia parasite.
  • Wildlife including beavers, muskrats, deer, coyotes, and rodents are frequent carriers of Giardia. Pets may become infected after drinking from puddles or ponds or swallowing infected stool from other animals. Signs of Giardia infection include diarrhea, greasy stools, and dehydration.
  • Giardiasis can be treated with medication; however, this parasite can persist in the environment and lead to reinfection. Because of this, environmental disinfection is also critical.

Tick Transmitted Diseases

  • Ticks are blood-feeding external parasites that can attach to both animals and humans and spread transmit numerous bacterial diseases, including Lyme disease, ehrlichiosis and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever.
  • Ticks are unable to jump and instead find their hosts through a behavior called “questing.” Questing ticks perch on leaves or blades of grass with their front legs extended, waiting to climb onto a host that brushes past. They can easily grab a hold of your pet’s fur as he travels through particularly grassy, bushy, or wooded areas. The tick then burrows down through the hair where it attaches to the skin.
  • When it comes to preventing ticks and the diseases they spread, consistent parasite control is key. In addition, you should always examine your pet thoroughly after hikes or other outdoor activities. If you find a tick on your pet, it is important to remove it as soon as possible, if you are unsure or unable to remove it yourself please call your vet for assistance.
  • A Lyme disease vaccine may be also be recommended for pets who are highly exposed to ticks.

As always, do not hesitate to contact us with any questions. staff@gentletouchanimalhospital.com or 303.691.3720

Practice Fear Free Medicine


Practice Fear Free Medicine

Practice Fear Free Medicine

How Do We Practice Fear Free Medicine?

As one of our many New Year’s resolutions here at Gentle Touch Animal Hospital, we have decided to follow-through and stick with the practice being more ‘Fear Free’ to our furry, four-legged friends! (If that’s not a mouthful! 😉 ) Visit Fear Free Pets for more information on how we practice fear free medicine.

Vet visits can be scary. So can car rides, carriers, new pets and visitors! Whether you have a canine or feline fur kid at home, we have ideas to help make almost everything they may fear easier for them and for you! With our resolution to practice being more ‘Fear Free’, here are some tips and suggestions to help make not only veterinary visits but also your home more ‘Fear Free’ too:

Practice At Home

1.Never underestimate the power of pheromones! There are canine, (DAP or dog appeasing pheromone: similar to the pheromone given off by nursing mothers); AND feline (Feliway, which is similar to the cheek-rubbing pheromone given off by cats when they rub their cheeks on things, to mark it as something they recognize & have deemed ‘safe’); specific pheromones to help decrease stress and anxiety. They come in multiple different forms to be used for different circumstances and time periods.

  • The spray can be used to apply to bedding, inside carriers or even to your clothing. It’s best to apply it shortly before use and is good for 4-6 hours. DO NOT use the spray directly on or around the animal and give it a few minutes after application.
  • Diffusers plug into wall outlets and let out a steady stream of pheromone. They can be used in boarding situations, introduction of new pets & visitors or during any stressful event. Diffuser refills are good for ~30 days.
  • Feliway also comes in wipes, which are best used for wiping the inside of carriers or other surfaces such as the exam room table at the vet or the grooming table.
  • DAP also comes in a collar form to act as a constant calming apparatus for dogs on the go!

2.Car rides: Sometimes they are a necessary evil, as not all our fur babies enjoy going for rides! Here’s some tips to help make car travel easier:

  • Ensure carriers are secure-either seat-belt them in or wedge behind the front seats to prevent them from sliding around during travel.
  • Seat-belt in dogs that are too big for carriers. It’s never safe to drive with an unsecured pet in the car. Not only can it be fearful for them, it can be very unsafe if they were to get by the pedals or even thrown from the car in an accident!
  • Make sure to drive responsibly-take it easy around corners, over bumps, starting & stopping.
  • Play soft, calming music like classical. Avoid loud, heavy music.
  • And don’t forget the power of positive pheromones! Spritzing the car or carrier beforehand can help!Dog-with-Stethoscope-and-Cat-Assistant

Practice At The Vet Clinic

As a Fear-Free hospital, we take extra steps to make every visit as stress and fear-free as possible for not only your fur kids, but also yourself and our staff. Some things we do differently to achieve this are:

  • Offering lots of treats & other high-value snacks during the visit & any needed procedures.
  • Using spray and diffused pheromones in exam rooms, on towels, in kennels & ourselves.
  • We may dispense a sedative or anti-anxiety medication & reschedule appointments for extra-fearful and anxious pets.
  • We may do some minor procedures such as blood draws in the exam room to decrease the stress and anxiety of visiting the treatment area.
  • We also have a punch-card program for happy visits! Come see us 10 times and get a prize! If your furry kiddo isn’t a fan of coming to see us, ask us about happy visits! These are scheduled with a team member and help us work towards a set goal, such as getting used to nail trims or lower stress handling during needed medical visits. We don’t do anything forced or scary but simply offer lots of treats, take a little tour of the hospital and gets lots of positive attention from our staff. This helps to create a more positive experience & will hopefully decrease stress & anxiety when visiting us during needed appointments and procedures.

As always, contact Gentle Touch Animal Hospital with any questions. staff@gentletouchanimalhospital.com or 303.691.3720