A dogs soft, warm fur provides a great environment for fleas and ticks. These insects feed off of your dogs blood and can cause health problems ranging from allergic reactions to serious illnesses. Both fleas and ticks are common during the warmer months which are upon us very soon.
Some warning signs of fleas are:
- Dark specks (flea droppings) in the fur
- White specks (flea eggs) in the fur
- Excessive licking or scratching
- Scabs or hots spots on their skin
Dogs can easily pick up fleas when outdoors. Female fleas can lay 40 to 50 eggs a day. That can lead to an infestation in days.
When your dog has a tick you can feel and see them. They most often attach near the head, neck, ears, or paws. Ticks can carry many diseases including Lyme disease. If you find a tick on your pet, try to remove it as soon as possible or take your dog to the vet to do so. Beware not to touch the tick directly; use a tissue or gloves. There is a great tool called a tick twister you can purchase at most vets, pet or hardware stores which allows for safe removal. Once the tick has been removed, clean the bite area and wash your hands. When in doubt or if you have questions call your vet.
Ticks like to crawl onto tall grass and shrubs and wait for a host, like your dog, to walk by. These pests can go an entire year without feeding. As you and your dog are walking through forests or fields this is a likely time they could pick up a tick.
We know daily grooming is imperative to keeping your dog looking great but it is also a perfect time to check for these creatures. There are many preventives that can be used to protect your dog, and this is a good time to talk to your vet about what option is best for your dog.