Summer is quickly approaching here in California and that means more fun in the sun with your favorite four-legged friend!
At My Dog Spot, we know there is nothing as exciting as getting out and about with your dog and exploring the world around you during the summer months.
Along with beach days and camping trips, the warm weather also comes with an increase in dangerous pests like fleas and ticks. But don’t worry, there are a few things you can do to keep your dog safe this summer season.
Let’s talk flea and tick preventatives!
What Are Fleas and Ticks and Why Are They Dangerous for My Pet?
Aside from being annoying and gross, fleas and ticks can be downright dangerous. But what exactly are they?
Fleas are wingless insects that are commonly found on wild animals like rabbits, raccoons, and other mammals that trail around the forest floor.
However, did you know that fleas are also commonly known to infect pets? That’s right, and it doesn’t matter how clean or pampered your fur baby is – they can still be susceptible.
This is because dogs and cats can pick fleas up almost anywhere, from hiking trails to your own backyard.
Fleas like to hang around garbage cans, fallen fruit from fruit trees and are even known to hide in plain old grass. These little wingless vampires like to hop on your pet and enjoy a smorgasbord, leading to incessant itching which can cause infection, blood parasites, and other issues.
Perhaps most alarmingly, and especially in California, fleas have been a source of Typhus.
Ticks are just as nasty. A part of the arachnid family, ticks are close relatives to spiders and scorpions and like fleas, ticks also live off of other animals, including our pets.
These blood-sucking arachnids lurk in gardens, trees, shrubs, and grassy areas. They utilize a behavior known as questing, in which they climb to a perch and wait for the host (your dog, cat, or even you) to walk by so they can grab on and feast.
It is especially difficult to find a tick on your dog or cat since ticks are known to burrow into the fur.
So, how can you help keep your pet safe from ticks?
Try limiting your pet’s access to heavily wooded areas, leaf piles, wood piles, and tall, grassy fields.
If your pet does get out and about in these areas, check him carefully. If you happen to find a tick on your dog or cat, use tweezers to remove it.
Despite a common misconception, tweezers are the most effective way to remove a tick, even if the head remains in the skin.
If the head does remain in the skin, don’t panic. The head will typically fall out on its own and as long as the body is removed, the tick is no longer a threat to the dog as far as transmitting disease is concerned.
And disease is the biggest concern when it comes to ticks.
The most common diseases caused by ticks in the united states include Lyme Disease, anaplasmosis, ehrlichiosis, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, babesiosis, cytauxzoonosis, hepatosomatic, and tularemia.
My Dog Spot wants to remind you that fleas and ticks are common all year long, however, they are more common in the spring and summer months due to the humid and warm weather and the fact that many pet owners are more often out and about during this time.
So, while you’ll want to pay special attention to your pets to keep them safe from fleas and ticks during the summer, it is just as important to use preventative flea and tick methods year-round.
With that in mind, let’s chat about preventative methods for fleas and ticks.
Preventative Maintenance – Keeping Fleas and Ticks Away
There are a ton of flea and tick control remedies available both over the counter and through your veterinarian.
You can opt for collars, pills, liquids, and even topical treatments, and your veterinarian will be able to really guide you as to what remedy is right for your pet.
Luckily, flea and tick remedies come hand in hand and you should be able to control both pests with one medication.
Remember, not all remedies are created equally and the effectiveness of your flea and tick preventative medication will depend on a few different factors, including
- How many pets are in the home
- How often your pet is outside
- The region in which you live
When choosing the right flea and tick medication for your pet, you should also consider your ability to safely administer the medication.
If you have any questions or concerns regarding how you can choose the correct flea and tick medication for your pet, we always recommend contacting your veterinarian.
How Else Can I Keep My Pet Safe from Fleas and Ticks?
As we’ve mentioned above, fleas and ticks are quite common, especially in the summer months.
And while most experts recommend that pets be kept on flea and tick preventative medications throughout the year, there are other ways you can help keep your fur baby safe from these tiny pests.
- Keep trashcans securely closed
- Clean up any fallen fruit around fruit trees
- Mow your lawn regularly
- Avoid piles of brush, leaves, and wood near your home
- Try and keep your pets out of heavily wooded areas
- Check your pets often for fleas and ticks and contact your veterinarian if you see signs of fleas or ticks on your dog or cat.
Remember, summer is a time for fun! Following the above remedies and taking a proactive approach to flea and tick prevention will help keep you and your pet happy and healthy this summer!
Do you have any comments or questions regarding flea and tick prevention? We would love to hear from you! Leave us a note in the comments below!