Protect Your Dog From Nasty Fleas & Ticks!
If you’re like me the mild winter and hot summer we’ve been facing this year are celebrated –there’s nothing worse than hibernating for months on end from the biting cold and wind. Guess what? I’m not the only one celebrating this recent heat streak.
Fleas and ticks thrive in hot weather, and the mild winter much of the country faced has only served to shorten their dormant life cycle, making them active far earlier in the year than the norm. In fact, many veterinarians are predicting that this years’ flea and tick season to be the worst in a good decade. Ouch!
Dangerous to humans and pets alike, these little blood sucking parasites are carriers of a host of nasty pathogens and skin diseases that read like a medical book. Ticks carry Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever –a serious infection- while flea infestation can lead to tapeworms, skin irritation and itchiness, and even anemia. Luckily, proper, proactive prevention will help ensure humans and pets alike are free of these nasty little creatures.
For one, there are a host of branded and generic tick and flea medications that are usually applied once a month. Serving to kill these little blood suckers, some veterinarians even recommend using them year round, but be sure to contact your vet before starting and/or changing any treatment.
Additionally, there are a host of more homeopathic solutions. If fleas are a problem in your area comb your dog with a flea comb at least daily, and even more during peak season which is now. A bath will also help as it serves multiple purposes: it’ll help cool your dog down, kill fleas via drowning, and help alleviate itching (flea saliva, and not the actual flea bite, causes most of the irritation and itching). There are also a number of over the counter pest repellants that can be used on both people and dogs.
Like going through the woods, or just have a general tick problem in your area? Experts recommend a snout to tail body check. If a tick is found don’t squeeze, pull on it, or break out the lighter. Rather, the safest way to remove it is by twisting it off your dog with a set of tweezers (the same goes if you happen to find one burrowing on you).
Summer is the time to get out and have fun with your dog, not be holed up in your house! Though fleas and ticks can throw a bit of a curveball your way, there are a number of solutions to take the worry away. Again, check with your vet to see which treatments are best for you and your dog.