Rawhide: Good or Bad?

Puppy & ChewySo just what is rawhide, anyway?

The name explains it rather well: Rawhide is the inner layer of horse/cow/buffalo hides. Hair is removed off this skin by an Ash-Lye solution or a Lime solution. “The Lime solution is the quickest and most often utilized by manufacturers. This process is highly caustic but the most efficient for mass production.” Afterward, the rawhide is cut up and pressed into chewable dog treats. Flavor/color  may be added, such as chicken or liver or even peanut butter.

Researching the positives I found only three:
1. The natural instinct to chew is satisfied by a rawhide
2. Dental health usually benefits from chewing, cleaning the tartar and plaque off teeth
3. Better breath (due to less teeth decay and less plaque)

Now, the long list of negatives:
1. Can cause tooth damage
Pressed rawhide is harder to chew, and sometimes fractures/breaks teeth. Sometimes a slab or tip fracture is fine, but painful initially, and some abscess, getting grossly infected and painful. Bones, hard solid-colored nylabones, and other objects harder than teeth can also cause fractures.

2. Trace amounts of toxic chemicals
The more dogs lick, chew and swallow the material, the greater their exposure to any contaminants it contains. Manufacturers don’t have to follow FDA rules because “under FDA law, as long as the label contains no reference to nutritional value (such as “high protein”), the agency advises that manufacturers “may not have to follow the AAFCO pet food regulations.”-FDA.

3.The biggest problem is choking/blockage from breaking off a piece that is too big. Rawhide can swell up to four times its original size! “The rawhide can get stuck in the esophagus or other parts of the digestive tract. Depending on its size and where it is located, a vet may be able to remove these pieces fairly easily through the throat. But sometimes, abdominal surgery is needed to remove them from the stomach or intestines. If it isn’t resolved, a blockage can lead to death.” – Webmd.

4. Diarrhea due to a sensitive digestive system

5. Salmonella poisoning

6. Some products from China have been causing the death of hundreds of dogs over the last decade. China does not have an FDA for animal products. The recommendation from the veterinary community is to AVOID FEEDING TREATS made in china.

If your puppy or dog needs to chew, here are a few alternatives to rawhide: Naturally shed deer/elk antlers. Greenies, Bully Sticks, Nylabones that specifically say “Made in the USA,” bones from the butcher (make sure to roast them first to kill off any bacteria).

Happy chewing!

Slider’s Night Out

slider

There he is – my Romeo!

Romeo is a big white tomcat, twice my size, and his eyes glow something fierce in the moonlight. He can climb a cherry tree with just his front claws. His ability to balance way above my head is dizzying – little tiny branches that my weight wouldn’t allow.

He showed up in my neighborhood last week, unannounced, and seems to be getting on just fine catching birds at the feeder.  I watch him out the window, amazed that he has no place to be, no owner locking him inside on a beautiful day.

This evening he comes to my front porch, caterwauling until the porch light goes. My owner opens the door to yell at him and I bolt out! FREEDOM! We race down the driveway, across the road and into the empty lot full of climbing trees. Thank goodness I still have my claws or else I wouldn’t be able to keep up. I follow his lead, crashing through the bushes and leaping over sprinkler systems. Tonight I will learn all about wild-cat fun, roaming the streets with my tomcat.

Our first stop is the garbage bin, turns out Romeo needs more than an occasional bird to keep his energy up. The smell alone overwhelms me, and I hang back, skeptically eyeing the rotten chicken wing he brings over. There are bugs all around me, sharing in the feast, and my stomach does a flip-flop.

Romeo leads the way through a hedge and over to the sand volleyball court. It turns out THIS is his kitty box. Out in the open, where anyone could see!

Next, we will romp in the park, but a fierce possum forces us off the path and we detour through the swampy area. My beautiful paws become covered in gook! I also feel something crawling along my back. Fleas? It itches! I want to scratch them off but the muck will get in my topcoat. This is not what I envisioned!

Romeo has raced up ahead again and my little legs are getting tired. I trudge forward, scanning the grass for dog deposits. Finally reaching the park center, I panic when a loud siren goes off. Where did he go? Romeo? Where art thou Romeo?

I am all alone in the dark, my skin is crawling with vermin, my paws are ruined – the reality is that being a wildcat is not fun. It’s work.

I turn around, one thing on my mind: home. Oh to be in my clean house with a soft bed and fresh food. I drag my ragged, worn out legs all the way back to the porch and meow. Pitifully. After what seems like an eternity, my owner opens the door. “Oh Slider, what happened?”

She scoops me up, towels me off, and sets me down with a fancy feast liver pate. Heaven!
Just call me a house-cat, I don’t mind.

20140427-195421.jpg

“Satisfies Your Cats Natural Craving For Grass.” – Cat Grass

Cat eat grass

Hmm, that’s what the plastic bag says.

I clawed open the top and saw what looked like rice puffs inside. Meowing in disdain, my mom  heard the racket and came over to see what I’d gotten into.
“Oh, for once it is something you CAN eat, the Cat Grass.”

She explained the seeds are hidden inside the granules and she needed to add water before the grass would sprout.

How long do I have to wait? I wondered. Patience is not this cat’s virtue.

“It looks like 3 days until sprouts and then a week until the grass is edible”, she continued to read.

Drat! I can’t wait that long. My furballs are due to come up soon and my tummy hurts.

Each  morning I water the grass with my mom, just like you would a flower.

If we had any left -they are so tasty – I believe the last bloom was munched by me yesterday.

The bag of sprouts sits on my window ledge.

I brush against the curtain, creating a little less direct sunlight.

Maybe if I just stare at the bag long enough, it will encourage the sprouts to shoot up.

You know, love makes things grow. I do so looooove to eat plants. Grass.

Anything green in the house is mine for the munching.

Finally, on day eight a full 2 inches of lush cat grass is growing!

Mom transplants it to a big pot sitting on the floor and I now have my own houseplant.

I went on-line to see when to harvest the leaves and it said:
“When the plant reaches eight inches.

You can take leaves throughout the summer and dry them in the oven or a dehydrator.

Pinch back flowers as they appear to stimulate leaf growth.” – the herb gardener.

Then, dry them out in an airtight bag and dole out to your cat liberally!

I learned that the toy-grade catnip in my mouse is leftover after the best leaves go to the medicinal and tea market.

So, I am  now a gardener of my own quality catnip- and it tastes so much better fresh!

Restrain Thy Pet!

Clix

Picture this: a dog hanging out the car window, ears flapping in the wind, a silly grin on his face as his tongue shivers with excitement. We have all seen this joyous picture – yet the reality is that unrestrained dogs are not safe!

Accidents happen. Your pet could be launched from the vehicle like a projectile missile. “A 10-pound dog that’s not restrained can generate 500 pounds of force in a 50-mph crash.” – AAA. He could also collide with the kids in the car or tumble into the front seat and interfere with the drivers control of the vehicle!

AAA did a study in 2011  that listed “Pets moving around in the car as the 3rd worst car distraction”.  Other distracting behaviors that drivers have admitted to include: reaching in the back to entertain their pet, letting their dog ride up front on their lap, and taking a hand off the steering wheel to restrain their pet.

To prevent accidents due to pets in vehicles, North Carolina now strongly urges pet owners to invest in a safety harness for their dog. Below is a comparison of five different safety harness styles and their features.

Some of the seat belts have an extension you can purchase for more range of motion. Of course, you have to follow the installation instructions carefully. In the end, you could be saving the life of “Man’s best friend”.

I. The Company of Animals Clix Car Safe
http://primepetsupply.com/product/clix-car-safe-harness-for-dogs
Price: $13-$27
Sizes: X-small 14-25 inch chest, Small 21-25.5 inch,  Medium 23-29.5 inch,  Large 29.5-37 inch

Features:
1. Soft neoprene padding and “X-Cross” design for comfort and protection
2. Doubles as a walking harness
3. clicks directly into the seat-belt socket or by sliding the seat-belt through the harness
4. Uses double-sided adjustable buckles that clip together without needing to manipulate your dog’s legs

II. Solvit Pet Car Safety Harness
Price: $25 to $33 for large dogs
http://www.chewy.com/dog/solvit-pet-vehicle-safety-harness/dp/53723
Sizes: Small 6-25 lbs., Medium  20-55 lbs., Large 45-85 lbs., X-tra Large 60-120 lbs.

Features;
1. Heavy-duty straps attach to a fully-padded vest, with a breathable inner layer for optimal pet comfort.
2. Only FULL METAL connectors are used at all load-bearing points.
3. integrates with the vehicle’s seat belt tensioning device, thus providing range of motion while traveling, but in the case of a sudden stop it locks in place to keep pets secure
4. Washable yet plastic buckles not as sturdy as metal would be
*One Year Warranty

III.  Pet Vehicle Safety Harness
Price: $29
http://www.rakuten.com/prod
Size: one size adjustable

Features:
1. Fully-padded chest piece, extremely comfortable per 100 reviews from pet owners
2. Made of high quality automotive materials such as seat belt webbing for extra durability.
3. Five adjustment points for a perfect fit on all shapes and sizes.
4. Integrates with vehicle’s seat belt tensioning device to provide range of motion while traveling, but locks during sudden stops.
5. Easiest to use harness available today.

IV. Guardian Pet Specialties Pet Safe-T-Belt
Price: $29-$49 for large dogs
https:petedge.com
Sizes: X-small 3-7 lbs.,  Small 7-19 lbs. ,  Medium 20-50 lbs.,  Large 51-100 lbs.

Features:
1. High end, quality product with very durable material – strong, soft nylon, with stitching and fasteners on the outside
2. High level of restraint keeps pet secure
3. Adjustable safety strap allows pets to sit, lie down or stand comfortably
4. Compatibility: Universal seat belt clip fits most vehicles (Does not fit SAABS or Ford Explorers)
*One year warranty

V. Four Paws Pet SafetySitter
Price: $12
http://www.wag.com/buy/Brand=Travelin-squot-+Dog?subcatalog=dog

Features:
1. Affordable, well made, with strong, soft, double-stitched nylon and sturdy hardware
2. Instructions are clear and well-illustrated
3. An added feature is the sturdy metal ring stitched into the back of the harness that you can clip a leash to so it doubles as a walking harness

The Crazy Cat Lady

Cats in bedroom.

Rarely do you hear of a male “crazy cat” person that hoards cats.

Why is it usually women that hoard the cats? “It may be a sign of mental illness, such as obsessive compulsive disorder, dementia, or anxiety, or a mental illness itself”. – ASPCA.

Many women fall victim to good intentions and “end up emotionally overwhelmed, socially isolated, and ultimately alienated from family and friends. This behavior frequently begins after an illness, disability or death of a significant other, or another difficult life event such as a trauma during their youth.” -ASPCA.  Since men tend to pass on average five years earlier than women, this leaves a lot more single widows with a need for affection and attachment.

The term “animal hoarding” refers to the compulsive need to collect and own animals for the sake of caring for them that results in accidental or unintentional neglect or abuse. Many times the cats are acquired passively, as word gets out that there is a no-kill place that will accept cats.

Compared to dogs, “cats are certainly very easy to acquire, and… they’re much easier to keep and hide.” – Dr. Patronek, founder of  Hoarding of Animals Research Consortium. In a study of 54 US  hoarding cases, “Patronek found that about two-thirds of hoarders are solitary women and nearly half are 60 or older”.

One recent example was the president of a Cary, NC  501(c)3 animal rescue called “Calvin’s Paws.” She was arrested  with approx. 100 cats in her home. To paint a picture of what caring for 100 cats would look like:

50 cat food dishes (where would you put them all)?
35 cat boxes (where would you put them all)? No more than 3 cats to a litter box
25 water bowls
100 beds (each cat needs its own “territory”even if that is just a place to rest its head)

A second woman arrested last week had 150 cats in a 1200 square ft row house. That means there were only 8 square feet per cat. That does not allow for furniture, bathroom and kitchen appliances, counter space or walls.

If a bag of cat food on sale costs $12 and feeds 12 cats, you would need 13 bags of food per day to feed all of these furry creatures at a total cost of: $156. That’s $1,092 per week, or $4,368 per month just on food. This doesn’t include  the cost of cat litter, or the water bill.

What about getting the cats fixed? One un-neutered male could impregnate all the unspayed females, and with an average litter size of 5 kittens, there could be 20-50 more cats within the year.

The third recent case in North Carolina involved yet another woman:  “A 51-year-old Mount Airy woman was found guilty of 46 counts of animal neglect Tuesday after 119 living cats, and at least 100 more dead ones, were found in her squalid home.” – Fox News.

They also reported the following disturbing facts:

•    Every year 3,500 animal hoarders come to the attention of authorities
•    At least 250,000 animals are affected each year
•    Seventy percent of animal hoarders who come to the attention of authorities are females who are single, widowed, or divorced; although community-sampling studies find an equal ratio of males to females
•     Eighty percent of animal hoarders have diseased, dying, or dead animals on the premises.

Unfortunately, the crazy cat woman is more common than we want to believe. If you know of a neighbor or family member that has a large number of cats in their care, here is an organization that can help:

1. The OCD Foundation (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) website-
http://www.ocfoundation.org/treatment_providers.aspx

2. The ADAA Foundation (Anxiety and Depression Association of America) website –
http://www.adaa.org/

Dissecting a Pet First-Aid Kit

1staidtraining 2

Well, I missed my owner all Sunday because she was training to be certified Pet Tech.

I flipped through her training manual to see what it was all about.

First, she and many other Four Paws pet sitters learned Pet CPR for both cats and dogs.

Then, they learned how to make splints, treat bites from snakes and stings from bugs, access a pet that has been poisoned, revive a heat-exhausted pet, and treat hypothermia.

Whew! And I thought my day was busy chasing the green Anole AND shredding mom’s new wicker chair. Can you say splinters galore??

Next, I wandered over to my owners  bag by the front door and noticed a new Tupperware box full of stinky stuff. It said “PET FIRST AID KIT” and contained:

1. Gauze pads
2. Gauze bandaging
3. Scissors
4. Two paint stirs for a makeshift splint
5. Adhesive Tape
6. Magnifying glass (to get stingers and splinters out)
7. Flashlight (to check for choking hazards in throat or problems at night)
8. Blanket (to help with hypothermia)
9. Karo Syrup (for Diabetic)
10. Syringe
11. Plastic bags (for stool samples or to clean up mess)
12. Extra leash and collar
13. Needle nose pliers
14. Gloves
15. Muzzle
16. Medicine:
a. antihistamine (gel cap so you can squirt in pets mouth)
b. Antibiotic (example: Neorsporin)
c. Baking Soda (a mild alkali for neutralizing burns caused by acid)
d. Kaopectate
e. Petroleum Jelly (sterile lubricant for thermometer)
f. Hydrogen Peroxide (to induce vomiting)

I guess she wants to be prepared for any emergency. Who knows what kind of trouble I could get into next?

References:
Pet Tech Pet Saver Manual 2014
www.PetTech.net

Do Pets Get Spring Allergies? But Of Course!

Itches Puppy

They actually inherit them from their parents, just like humans. In the Springtime, the allergies can be classified into either atopic or flea allergies.

Atopic allergies result from an inhaled allergen, such as pollen, house dust, or mold and often result in a skin reaction. The skin can  become dry and flaky, causing your pet to scratch the area excessively.

Flea allergies occur when the dog’s body has a reaction to a protein in flea saliva (that’s right!) Remarkably, it only takes one flea bite to trigger a reaction in a sensitive dog!

“If left untreated, dogs and cats with seasonal allergies will scratch or lick themselves constantly. In an attempt to relieve themselves, dogs and cats often create sores that become secondary infections.” -AAHA.

So, to cure your pet’s vicious circle of scratching/licking/infection -try one of the remedies below!

For Cats
Spring irritants:  Trees, grass, weed, mold, mildew and dust pollens,  Fleas and flea-control products

Signs of allergy include:    

•        Itchy skin/increased scratching
•        Sneezing, coughing (if the cat has asthma), wheezing
•        Itchy, runny eyes
•        Itchy back or base of tail (most commonly seen in flea allergies)
•        Itchy ears and ear infections
•        Vomiting
•        Diarrhea
•        Snoring caused by an inflamed throat
•        Paw chewing/swollen paws

Treatments:
1.  Benadryl (both oral and topical)
2. fish oil or other herbal essence
3. wet tea bags
4. weekly shampooing with an all natural PABA shampoo (example: Septiderm Skin Care Bath)

For Dogs
Spring irritants: House dust mites,  pollen,  mold,  trees and grasses, fleas, and even your unsuspecting household cat.

Signs of allergy include:
•        Open sores and loss of hair in one area
•        Scratching
•        Biting and chewing on paws and legs
•        Runny, itchy, stuffy nose
•        Sneezing
•        Paw chewing/swollen paws

Treatment:
1.  medicated shampoos
2. topical sprays that can help soothe your dog’s itchy skin
3. oatmeal bath helps eliminate the itch temporarily
4. antibiotics may be necessary if the allergy is severe; ask for a Topical steroid spray.
5. Some natural products include: Clora Care – a natural antibiotic solution as well as tea tree and coconut oils.
6. Finally, dogs can get allergy shots, a form of immunotherapy

Finally, remember to consult your veterinarian on which products are best for your furry friend!

Fighting Like Cats and Dogs

Dog And Cat Fight

Is it a nature or nurture thing for animals of different species to get along?

Why do some breeds seem more likely to pursue cats?

After checking dog versus cat websites and authorities, there are a number of theories about how to training your cat and dog to get along.

Also coming into play is the fact that certain breeds that do better co-existing with cats (see below).

Having said that, HOW you introduce your new pet to the existing pets is very important.

The key to building a good relationship is:

1. Start with the new pet in a crate/contained area for the first few days.

That way your other pets can sniff it and get used to its smell/sounds.

2. Have short, supervised visits for the new pet and make sure the dog is tired out first (after a walk is a good time).

3. Make sure to praise and reward your first pet when they sniff the new member and then leave it alone.

The key command  “Leave it” will greatly help with dogs.

4. If you know someone that has a cat-friendly dog, invite them over to your home, allowing the cats in your household to get more familiar with the smells that accompany a dog.

5. Feed your new pet and resident pet on each side of a closed door –  not too close though initially. “That way they associate something positive (food) with the other animals smell.

Slowly move the dishes closer each day”. -Humane Society

6. The ASPCA recommends “rotating which animal has freedom and which is confined to allow each animal plenty of time to investigate the other one’s scent for the first few days.

Sometimes the dog should be confined to a crate or another room (or taken to another location if he can’t be left alone) to allow the cat time to roam free and investigate the smell of the dog”.

*Always make sure the cat has somewhere it can jump up to get away if needed.

Make sure to “provide plenty of positive reinforcements for appropriate behavior as an incentive to get your dog to continue to behave well in the cat’s presence” -Humane Society.

So, what dog breeds are best for getting along with a kitty? A lap dog with lower energy, easily trained, and a gentle manner.

Good small breed choices:  Pekingese, Pomeranian, Bichon Frise, Shih Tzu, Chihuahua, Maltese, Cavalier King Charles spaniel, Shetland Sheepdog and Chinese Crested.

Good large breed choices:
Labrador, Poodle, English Setter, Bernese Mountain Dog, Golden Retriever, Sussex Spaniel

What breeds have more of a personality conflict with cats? Breeds that were developed to chase after small prey, like rabbits or squirrels.

Their instincts may take over and they could pursue the cat, unintentionally hurting it.

Listed below are breeds that may take more work to teach them how to act around cats.

Many instinctively chase after smaller creatures so you will be re-training what they are hard-wired to do: pursue!

A southern-bred hunting dog, the Bluetick Coonhound, can be stubborn and hard to train to not pursue cats.

The Alaskan Malamute and Australian Cattle Dog both have a high prey drive, along with Whippets, Greyhounds, Saluki and the German Pinscher.

Both the Fox Terrier and Manchester Terrier were bred to hunt rats and have a high stamina for pursuit.

The Afghan Hound has a strong interest in chasing small animals like cats.

Weimaraners are also know to be extremely aggressive towards cats.

Remember, the initial visits must be supervised, and with time the pets will slowly come to know each others scent and behaviors.

Of course there will still be days where they chase each other – like cats and dogs!

 

 

Your Pet Might Have Ringworm If….

Little dog and cat at the veterinary checkup

You find a circle of hair loss (ring) and the skin is red, scabbing over/puffy. They are frequently scratching at one spot. Also, their nails may be cracked and brittle.

This fungal infection CAN be transferred to humans, with children being more susceptible, by direct contact or touching a contaminated object/surface. Incubation time is 7-14 days.

What is ring worm? First, it is NOT a worm. Ringworm is a fungi that thrives on hair (hence animals are great hosts). Its spores can exist for months without direct contact. Ringworm lives in soil, bathrooms, basically anywhere moist and warm. It is a similar fungus to Athlete’s foot. It feeds on the keratin that is found in the outer layers of skin, hair, and nails.

“Although mild cases resolve spontaneously in three to four months, all cases of ringworm should be treated to prevent progression and spread to other pets and people in the household.” -PetMD

In Humans
Acquired: By contact with the infected hair of dogs and cats, typically found on carpets, brushes, combs, toys, and furniture.

Symptoms:
Ringworm can invade the nails. This results in nails that are dry, cracked, brittle, and deformed. Another sign are skin lesions such as small patches of skin thickening and reddening with raised scaly edges. Frequently found in the beard, scalp, groin area or feet. If on your scalp, you may develop bald patches.

Children are especially susceptible.

Treatment:
1. antifungal shampoo containing miconazole. Apply over-the-counter antifungal or drying powders, lotions, or creams that contain miconazole, clotrimazole to affected areas.

2. Also, wash everything where hair may be found (brushes, bed, bathroom, sofas) with bleach/hot water.

3. antifungal tablets, the two main types of antifungal tablet being terbinafine or griseofulvin

In Dogs
Acquired: Microsporum canis Ringworm in dogs is primarily a disease of puppies and young adults. Contact with another dog, cats claws, infected soil or surface.

Symptoms:
A spreading circle of hair loss with scaly skin at the center and a red ring at the periphery. Typical areas of involvement are the face, ears, paws, and tail. The nails may show signs of being brittle and breaking off. Frequent licking and scratching.

Treatment:
1. BATHE
You will need the following items: a disposable sponge, 2 buckets, a plastic cup, a disposable towel, miconazole shampoo, vinegar and Betadine. Fill one bucket with lukewarm water to use for your pet’s wash. Fill the other bucket with a mixture of white vinegar and lukewarm water, 4 parts water to every part vinegar, for your pet’s rinse. White vinegar is a natural antiseptic. Wash and suds pet from toes to tail. Use fresh vinegar rinse water to avoid re-infecting.

2. MEDICATION
Tablets of Griseofulvin taken orally are the most common drug prescribed by vets, although newer drugs such as itraconazole or terbinafine (Lamasil) are often preferred since they have fewer side effects.

3. Apply a topical antifungal agent containing miconazole 2 percent cream or 1 percent lotion twice a dayFinally, on a nightly basis, coat your pet with Lamisil or any over the counter Athlete’s Foot infection cream for two weeks. The key ingredient in each product is the same – Miconazole.

In Cats
Acquired: Kittens and Seniors are most likely to contract it from contact with spores found in soil or contaminated surface. Can also get it from being scratched by another cat that is infected.

Symptoms:
A spreading circle of hair loss with scaly skin at the center and a red ring at the periphery. What looks like “ashes” on the cats chin. Many times there are few visible symptoms, just the constant itching caused the secondary infection.

Treatment:
1. Bathe (see above BATHE section, same as for dogs). Contain your pet to one place: a crate, single entrance room, while you are disinfecting the home.

2. Disinfect everything from floors to bedding to sofas. Anywhere your pet has shed fur needs to be treated.

Soak all fabric bedding in a mixture of Chlorox infused soap and water. Make sure to measure five cups hot water to one cup Chlorox. Cats skin can be sensitive so air dry completely before letting them lay on it.

3. Apply a topical treatment like Clotrimazole, PetsBestRx Ringworm or any other medication with Miconazole.

4. Administer oral treatment from the pet store: Ketoconazole tablets work well

****If your pet is not responding to the anti-fungal treatments, than perhaps your pet is suffering from something other than ringworms. Consult your vet.***

Poisonous Bugs in North Carolina

Brown Recluse Spider Building Its Web
“Seeing a spider is nothing. It becomes a problem when it disappears.”

BEWARE: some creepy crawlies that come into your home and yard are poisonous to your pet. Three of the most common and dangerous insect pests found in the Triangle area are:
black widows, brown recluse and fire ants. The two spiders will not bite unless provoked. The fire ants, however, will travel up your leg if you stand near their ant mound and are aggressive.

1. The Black Widow spider is one of the more infamous spiders, recognized by the shiny black body with a red hourglass shape on the abdomen. She is also known for eating the male after mating. The bite of an adult female black widow spider can be fatal, and they are most aggressive when they are protecting an egg sac. The male black widow spider is much smaller and not dangerous.

“The first sign is sharp pain at the site of the bite. Later the dog develops intense excitability, fever, weakness, and muscle and joint pains. Seizures, shock, and death can occur, especially with the bite of the black widow spider. An antivenin is available to treat these bites.” Pet Web MD.

2. The Recluse spider – Brown recluses are small, with evenly colored legs void of stripes or spines. A few species have a marking shaped like a violin on them. They are nocturnal and prefer to hide in crawl spaces, wood piles, or under house porches/decks. Bites occur when an animal rolls over in its sleep on top of a prowling recluse, or unintentionally disturbs the spiders resting place.

“Reaction typically occurs at the site of the bite, with an ulcerated necrotic wound that results in the death of the surrounding soft tissue. The wound is slow to heal, leaving an open wound that is at risk of further infection.” – Pet MD

3. Fire Ants – Are aggressive and have an intensely painful and burning sting. If you accidently walk on their mound, they will swarm. “The stings cause a painful wound that turns into a pustule, which can become infected and tends to itch while it heals.” -Virginia State.

To treat their bite, you can pick up an antihistamine from the vet or pet store to help. Calamine lotion applied right to the bites can also soothe your pet.

Another bug you don’t want to handle is the Millipede with bright yellow color patterns. It secretes a compound containing cyanide. It is found in parks and on trails in wooded areas. The sting causes a local reaction at site, and depending on the size of your dog, can be a minor irritation or more serious. A paste made of baking soda and water can be applied right to the site.

Some websites list insects alphabetically, with a close-up photo to aide with identification. There are brief summaries attached, or you can click on the insect name for an in-depth report that includes their habitat, life cycle, and if they are poisonous. Click this link to try it out:

http://www.insectidentification.org/insects-by-state.asp?thisState=North+Carolina

Another good guide that has both thumbnail and larger photos to reference identification:
http://bugguide.net/node/view/28627