TODAY   |  July 29, 2013

Ask the vet: Where to look for ticks

From the best ways to keep your pets pest-free to getting an elderly pooch the right nutrition, TODAY animal advocate Jill Rappaport and veterinarian Brett Levitzke answer viewers’ pet questions.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> well, is your aging pet refusing to eat or does your dog scratch your furniture as you walk out the door?

>> my dad does all of that.

>> i'm sure he appreciated that.

>> whether it's separation anxiety or fleas and ticks it's time to ask the vet. good morning to you both.

>> we like to call him brett the vet now.

>> that's great.

>> we're dealing with three important topics. let's talk about fleas and ticks. you live in the country and your dogs are exposed to fleas and ticks all year round.

>> we can end up becoming exposed. it's a very serious problem and very important problem to treat right away.

>> absolutely.

>> what do we do?

>> anyone that owns a dog or a cat, they know that the scratching and itching is terrible for them and terrible for us and we want to be able to help them with that. the first thing we can do is identify they do have fleas and ticks and stacy has had a problem with murphy in the past. we'll demonstrate how to look for them. fleas like to hang out in the back end of the dog.

>> the tail?

>> the base of the tail.

>> that's where he is straching and biting anyway.

>> absolutely. if you look where he is scratching.

>> i'm going to come around here and stacy's going to demonstrate here. take a look under neither the fur. they're going to be tiny. no bigger than the size of the head of the pen.

>> are fleas and tickers the same size or are ticks bigger.

>> ticks get bigger as they have more blood.

>> good morning.

>> you'll see the flee droppings. let's tack at that.

>> it's easier to find them on light colored dogs.

>> what about using, front line treatment or flea remedy?

>> i do. there's other products fantastic like this. it targets multiple stages of the flea's life. you're not just killing athe adults. you're attacking the babies.

>> what do you do if you see the fleas during the inspection.

>> after applying the solution, why don't we demonstrate how to do that.

>> just click the top.

>> take the top off.

>> with ticks it's different. those you're using the tweeters.

>> if you notice ticks take them off with a set of tweezers and be careful that you don't leave part of the head in there.

>> are you grabbing one right now.

>> no, fortunately he is parasite free.

>> good acting right there.

>> you should probably wear gloves because this is very strong medicine .

>> you can't want your kids to pet him afterward.

>> no. the next thing, this is nutrition for older dogs and molly is here, molly is one of ours from the "today" show along with her dog bailey. bail bailey doesn't seat much anymore.

>> well, dogs stop eating for a number of reason, we want to see if there an underlying medical problem. as is common his kidneys aren't as strong as when he was younger so we treated that and now it's a matter of getting him to eat again.

>> do you try variances of foods.

>> different types of food.

>> make fried rice .

>> fried rice , very bad carson.

>> sorry. all right. trying to plug my friend ming. i'm sorry.

>> there's a number overthe counter diets.

>> you said people foods.

>> if you consult with your nutritionists.

>> you have to eat buddy. look at that.

>> what do you need buddy? a little something. there you go.

>> okay. you can see this is a well balanced meal. it has a protein and starch and vegetables and we put vitamin mineral mix in there.

>> you don't need to give it a lot of flavor because they don't need salt and stuff like that.

>> let's move on to petey.

>> i leave sometimes and she bites the window.

>> separation anxiety but mine also have visitor anxiety.

>> is that something you enabled? how did that happen.

>> the thing we have to remember about separation anxiety is it's not a dog being bad. it's not a disobedience problem it's an anxiety problem. dogs are naturally pack animals and they like to be with their guardians and their family so some dogs will do destructive behaviors.

>> you should see them at home.

>> well, the rule of thumb is take your dog with you to london or --

>> i know. he has been to obedience school and is well trained.

>> thank you guys very much.