(BPT) - From annoying itchy welts to serious conditions like Malaria and West Nile virus, mosquitoes have been making humans miserable and sick for thousands of years. And now, there's Zika - a mosquito-spread virus that may be linked to serious birth defects. In fact, according to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, the diseases mosquitoes spread make them the deadliest animal on the planet.
The arrival of warm weather means it's time to step up your mosquito prevention and protection efforts in order to help protect your family. The National Pest Management Association offers some information that can help:
* The type of mosquito that transmits Zika bites during the daytime hours. Most other types of mosquitoes bite during dusk and dawn.
* Within the U.S., mosquitoes have been known to spread West Nile virus, Chikungunya, and encephalitis-causing viruses in humans, and heartworms in dogs.
* Mosquitoes spread disease when they bite one person, fly to another and bite again, spreading the infection. What many people don't realize is that the saliva from the mosquito's bite causes the red, itchy irritation that we all know so well.
The NPMA recommends some ways you can help reduce your exposure to mosquitoes:
* Eliminate breeding areas - Mosquitoes need only about a half-inch of standing water in which to lay their eggs. Get rid of any stagnant water around your home, such as flower pots, bird baths, kiddie pools and standing water in low areas of your yard.
* Use repellent - Whenever you spend time outside, protect your skin from mosquito bites by applying an insect repellent that contains at least 20 percent DEET, picaridin or oil of lemon-eucalyptus. Also, consider wearing long pants, long-sleeved shirts and closed-toe shoes.
* Be aware of the time of day - Mosquitoes are most active around dawn and dusk, although the variety that transmits Zika prefers to bite during the day. Minimize outside activity during peak biting hours, or, if you must be outside, wear long sleeves, pants and repellent to thwart mosquitoes.
* Watch what you wear - Dark colors, floral prints and sweet-smelling perfumes or colognes can attract mosquitoes to you. Wear light colors and forego perfume when spending time outside.
* Protect your house - Screens help keep mosquitoes out of your house. Be sure all windows and doors are outfitted with screens, and that all are in good shape. Repair tears to keep mosquitoes from getting inside.
* Travel wisely - Mosquito-borne diseases that may be rare in the U.S. are common in many foreign countries, so if your summer vacation will take you outside the country, check what travel advisories may be in effect in your destination. If someone gets sick upon returning home, seek medical care immediately.
Sometimes, despite your best efforts at control, mosquitoes on your property can still be a problem. A licensed pest control professional can help you manage mosquitoes. To find a professional near you, visit the NPMA's website at pestworld.org.
From dogs and cats filling up social media feeds – some even with their own profiles – to true pet celebrities who command the attention of millions, animals have become a major part of the digital landscape. Learn more about people’s social media habits when it comes to animals with these findings.
How Pets Impact Social Interaction
(Family Features) From dogs and cats filling up social media feeds – some even with their own profiles – to true pet celebrities who command the attention of millions, animals have become a major part of the digital landscape.
With this in mind, Mars Petcare conducted a survey to learn more about people’s social media habits when it comes to animals. Here are some of the top findings.
All Animals, All the Time
Pet Love Trumps Personal Vanity
Call Them the “Paw-Purratzi”
To learn more about how to make a Better World for Pets®, visit facebook.com/ABetterWorldforPets.
Photo courtesy of Getty Images (cat picture)
(BPT) - When you come home from work, he's always there to greet you. When you need extra motivation to workout, he's happy to join for a walk. When you've had a bad day, he can sense it and is quick to give you a loving nuzzle. Pets provide endless joy to their families, but for millions of shelter animals, each day is a test of patience in hopes of finding a forever home.
Approximately 7.6 million companion animals enter shelters nationwide every year, according to the American Society of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) statistics. Of those, approximately 3.9 million are dogs and 3.4 million are cats. These numbers underscore the massive need for volunteers to provide the necessary care to ensure as many pets as possible can be placed in safe, loving homes.
Volunteers are the lifeblood of any shelter, and it's a true community effort to keep animals healthy and safe. The Dumb Friends League - Denver's largest animal shelter dedicated to giving a voice to those who cannot speak for themselves - depended on 1,418 volunteers who donated 211,307 hours of service last fiscal year to help needy animals in Colorado. That's the equivalent of 101 full-time employees worth $4.7 million in donated time.
This is just one example of the impact volunteers make in the estimated 13,600 shelters nationwide.
In addition to volunteers, support from a variety of businesses and corporations helps keep shelters running strong. Hill's Pet Nutrition, for example, is one of the largest donors of food to shelters across the country. In fact, Hill's Food, Shelter & Love(R) program has provided more than $280 million worth of food to more than 1,000 shelters since its inception in 2002.
Both volunteers and Hill's share the common goal of transforming the lives of homeless pets. To recognize the vital contribution of shelter volunteers, Hill's has launched an initiative this year to bring volunteers long overdue recognition. Hill's has created a contest, Hill's Shelter Heroes, to recognize the amazing volunteers who continue to go above and beyond in their commitment to shelter pets.
One of the recent winners, Annie Hughes with Wayside Waifs in Kansas City, who has dedicated more than 7,279 hours to her shelter, wanted to express her appreciation to Hill's for creating a program that "allowed her to share her passion for helping sheltered animals." Hughes' submission, along with the rest of the 10 finalists, can be seen at Hill's Shelter Hero Contest page.
It's apparent that caring for shelter animals is a group effort, yet one person can make a big difference to help save lives. If you want to change the world for animals in need, here are some tips for becoming a volunteer.
1. Reach out to local shelters.
Call your local animal shelter or rescue group to see if they are accepting volunteers.
2. Think about your interests and skills.
Caring for animals one-on-one is a popular shelter activity, but there are so many more opportunities for volunteers. Whether you're able to foster in your home, offer professional skills in administration departments or serve as an adoption counselor to new pet parents, volunteer options are truly endless.
3. Spread the love.
Once you find your volunteer home, spread the love to help pets find homes and encourage friends to volunteer. By sharing posts on social media like the #HillsShelterHeroes contest, hosting fundraising events and simply bragging about that adorable new pooch to your friends, you're helping to open everyone's eyes to the growing need for volunteers at shelters and the importance of pet adoption.
Manage Diabetic Pets at Home
(Family Features) Chances are good that you know someone who has diabetes. However, you may not realize this disease that commonly affects humans is on the rise among dogs and cats. Like humans, a diagnosis of diabetes requires lifestyle changes and heightened health monitoring, yet with proper care, your pet can live a full and active life.
During a recent four-year study, Banfield hospitals have seen a 32 percent jump in cases of canine diabetes and a 16 percent increase in feline diabetes.1 Diabetes is a condition that occurs when the body cannot process glucose (sugar) into cells, resulting in too much glucose in the blood and not enough glucose in the cells for energy.
Untreated, diabetes can be fatal in dogs and cats, but veterinary care and at-home blood glucose monitoring can help you manage the disease in your four-legged friends.
The first step is identifying warning signs of diabetes in your pet. Certain risk factors may increase the chances of your pet getting diabetes. In both dogs and cats, these include age, obesity and breeds with a genetic predisposition.
Signs of diabetes in pets are often very similar to those in humans and include fatigue or weakness, increased hunger, weight loss, increased thirst and increased urination. If you observe one or more of these signs, consult with your veterinarian to determine the cause.
If your veterinarian diagnoses diabetes, they will create a management plan that addresses your pet’s dietary and dental care needs. The plan also will call for monitoring blood glucose levels and often include a prescription for insulin.
Diet and exercise
Exercise and physical activity are also important when managing diabetic pets. In general, physical activity and exercise lower blood glucose levels. This is why consistency in your pet’s daily exercise schedule is important.
At-home monitoring systems for pets are very different than at-home monitoring systems for humans and should not be used interchangeably. You actually can use the same at-home monitoring systems that your veterinarian uses, such as AlphaTRAK® 2, which is available through your veterinarian. Specifically calibrated for dogs and cats, it is easy to use and priced affordably to make at-home monitoring convenient and economical.
Once you have a prescribed plan in place, you should meet with your veterinarian three to four times a year for him/her to adjust the plan as needed to keep your pet comfortable.
Successful diabetes management is achieved through compliance with your pet’s prescribed plan, at-home blood glucose monitoring and consistent communication and follow-up appointments with your veterinarian. Visit AlphaTRAKmeter.com to learn more about diabetes management.
1 Vernon D (2011). Banfield releases major veterinary study showing spike in diabetes, dental disease and otitis externa. DVM 360. April 21, 2011. [2015 November 19] Available from: http://veterinarynews
Photo courtesy of Getty images
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