What does your pet mean to you? Is your pet a companion, a family member, a visitor enjoying outside activities only depending on you for meal every once in a while? Our pet’s position and activities can present many various health concerns. We may not be as concerned about a little body odor or a few fleas if our pet is outside mostly and cruises the neighborhood. If they sleep with us or even on our couches those issues magnify a bit.

Have you ever had a flea bite? Is it important past the itchy phase? Usually not, but it could be. Fleas have been known to transmit disease especially where rats are present. So I recommend flea prevention in the warmer months. This year the Northwest is expecting a heavy parasite season since the winter was not as cold as usual. So obtain one of the many safe flea/tick control products available. I recommend topical Revolution or Frontline for dogs and cats or oral Trifexis for dogs.

If your pet is smelly look for skin inflammation or scabbed lesions. These are signs of dermatitis and mean you should see your veterinarian. If you don’t see obvious skin lesions but there is an odor from the skin consider a diet change. Study your current pet food label. Save it and make notes about your pet’s skin, coat, odor and stools while on the diet. Then change the meat source or eliminate wheat or egg or corn to see if you notice a change. You can speed up this food trial process by having an Allergen Panel performed. It is a simple blood test, but will cost about $250.

Vitamin supplements will also help your pet’s skin and general wellness. Consult your veterinarian for specifics.

I hope you are cozy with your pets. The above suggestions may make it easier.

– Dr. Loftus