Summer rings in the season of fleas and ticks.  While it is also calling us and our family pets to spend time in the great outdoors, we must understand why flea & tick prevention is worthwhile for our pups.

It is impossible to keep dogs from contacting ticks and fleas when they go outside.  Unfortunately, these parasites can have a serious effect on your dog’s health.  We encourage you to be consistent when protecting them against these pesky parasites, which will reap big rewards for you and your pup.


The Dangers of A Tick Bite

Tick bites can cause infection, abscesses, paralysis, and even death. In addition, ticks are the host of some debilitating diseases, including Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warns that vaccines are not available for most of the tick-borne diseases that dogs can get. These diseases can be very difficult to recognize due to varied and vague symptoms. To help combat these parasites, use a preventative treatment, and do a daily tick check on your dog. Ticks can transfer diseases in 3-6 hours after a bite. So it’s important to locate and carefully remove ticks from your dog as quickly as possible.


How To Remove A Tick

Using a pair of tweezers is the most common and effective way to remove a tick. If possible, use fine tip tweezers – you want to avoid tearing the tick and spreading infections into the bite area.

Spread your dog’s fur, then grasp the tick as close to the skin as possible. Gently, pull straight upward, in a slow, steady motion. This will prevent the tick’s mouth from breaking off and remaining embedded in the skin. People often believe it’s the head of the tick that embeds in the skin. However, ticks do not have heads, in the conventional sense, so it is mouth parts that get implanted into your dog.


After removing the tick, wash your hands thoroughly, use rubbing alcohol on a cotton ball to clean the bite spot on your pup, and to clean the equipment used.


Flea Dangers

Some of the most common symptoms you will notice if your dog has fleas are itching and scratching, redness, flaky skin, scabs, hot spots and hair loss. The bite of one flea can send your dog into an impetuous rage of scratching, biting and digging at his skin. In addition, fleas are the most common cause of tapeworms. Often, as the dog bites at the spot of the flea bite, she may swallow the flea. Fleas carry the larvae of the tapeworm, and these larvae will mature into adult tapeworms inside your pet’s intestines.


Preventative Measures

To keep your dog protected, as you can see how flea and tick prevention is worthwhile, there is an abundance of products available to help.  These products are safer and more effective than what was on the market 10 years ago.  In taking your dog’s safety into consideration, it is best to talk to your veterinarian about what product is best for your pet based on their age, health, breed and environment.  Choices for flea and tick preventatives now include oral medications, topical drops, and special flea and tick collars for your dog.


Flea & tick prevention is worthwhile to protect your pet and family over these summer months.  Again, we encourage you to take these precautions and enjoy the great outdoors with your furry family member.