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  1. Something has been bothering me lately. No, not the US election or the impact of Brexit but those pesky little critters called fleas. Even the cleanest of households can’t escape the odd visitor hitching a ride and as they can thrive all year round I want to tell you my top tips for prevention of fleas.

    First, check to see if your pet has fleas by standing him on a light towel or piece of paper and combing him. Pay special attention to the base of the tail where fleas particularly like to hang out.

    If you find fleas you can use various treatments to kill them. Ask your vet or local pet shop for advice and remember to treat the home as well as fleas will spend most of their life in your carpet or cracks in floorboards only hopping on your pet for dinner!

    Even if you don’t find fleas a natural preventive can help you keep them at bay. Look for products that contain neem oil, and always follow the instructions.

    Ticks are also a problem and can be picked up from walks in long grass. If you find a tick use a specialise tool to remove it to ensure the whole tick is removed. Most flea treatments will kill ticks too.

    Finally, do remember to use the right product for the right pet. Some flea and tick products formulated for dogs are highly toxic to cats so always check.

  2. Spring is in the air which can only mean one thing, actually make that 2 or 3. Lots of new sights and smells, longer walks in the day light and plenty of family time over Easter when the kids and the grownups take some well-earned time off.
    There are lots of tempting goodies around at Easter but much of it, unfortunately, is not designed for dogs or cats. Chocolate is the biggest culprit as this contains two substances that are toxic: caffeine and theobromine. Because caffeine is a stimulant, when your pet ingests it, his heart could race or he could have a seizure. Theobromine, an alkaloid present in cocoa beans, acts as a diuretic, stimulant and even a relaxant for people, but is highly toxic to most animals.

    If you discover or suspect your pet has eaten chocolate always take him to the vets. Symptoms can include extreme thirst, vomiting, diarrhoea, muscle rigidity, agitation, hyperactivity, excessive panting, pacing and seizures. As a rule of thumb, the darker the chocolate the more theobromine it contains and the more dangerous it could be.

    So, always keep those chocolate eggs out of temptation and if you want to treat your pet grab a bone, chew, toy or some treats from your local pet shop. The Pet Shed has an amazing range of natural treats, food and accessories and will be open over Easter, only shutting on the bank holidays.