…. and what they mean for our beloved dogs!
As frequently happens, recently I was sent an email from someone I hadn’t previously been in contact with. It was Sienna Penfold and this is what she wrote:
My name is Sienna, and I’m a full-time mom and a regular contributor to highstylife.com. Proud owner of two beautiful dogs (Coco & Hulk) and beautiful cat adopted from a shelter.
Since I’m equally passionate about my pets and my job I’ve decided to share my knowledge and experiences. I love the combination of sharing information and learning from others. Stories I like to write are mostly connected to pets and lifestyle.
You all know me well enough to know what my response was!!
So here is Sienna’s guest post.
Be Prepared! Tips to Protect Your Dog and Your Family from Dangerous Parasites
by Sienna Penfold, August 21st., 2018
Every year during spring, summer, and most of fall, every pet parent becomes painfully aware of all the crawlies that enjoy the nice weather as much as our furry buddies do. From annoying fleas, which can also carry various diseases, all the way to worms, and ticks, the sunny days of the warm season come with a slew of responsibilities for every family – because, unfortunately, all these insects also pose a risk for us and our kids as well, not just for our pets.
Even if you do your best to prevent any type of an infection, you should also stay alert for any early signs of a flea infestation, and any presence of ticks and other parasites that can wreak havoc on your pooch’s as well as your own health. Let’s go through some of the key symptoms, preventative measures, and possible treatments to make your summers all the more comfortable and worry-free!
Keep an eye on your furball
Fleas and ticks are the most common external parasites that your pooch may have, and while it’s always best to focus on prevention, some dogs are more prone to having these pests and thus need more attention from you. Keep in mind that there are almost 2,000 species of fleas out there, and you may find some to be more resilient than others. The following are some of the simplest symptoms your dog will exhibit in case they have fleas:
- Frequent scratching and skin irritations such as psoriasis, redness, and hair loss
- Flea droppings in your dog’s coat (which you can check when grooming them and examining their hair against a contrasting surface such as a white piece of paper)
- Excessive licking and biting
- Pale gums
On the other hand, ticks are the next most common parasite found in nature, and its many species carry a wide range of diseases that can endanger your dog’s health or even life. These are the symptoms to keep an eye on:
- Skin irritation and itchiness
- Loss of appetite
- Lack of energy
A potential internal parasite infection, coming from a wide range of worms, heartworm included, may cause all of the above symptoms as well as the following issues:
- Scooting, or dragging their rears against the floor
- A rounded belly
- Visible parasites in fecal matter
The most effective preventative measures
Depending on your furry friend’s health and specific conditions (if any are present), you can mix and match several useful solutions to prevent any parasite issues. For example, regular grooming, including twice-a-day combing, regular baths with suitable shampoos, and even natural remedies as a part of their diet, such as a smidgen of garlic, and spraying apple cider vinegar mixed with water, can help.
Topical solutions come in various forms, from repellant collars to topicals, and are applied once a month, mostly on a dog’s back. However, you should keep in mind that not every form of protection is all-encompassing, meaning that they sometimes don’t include heartworm protection, which are transferred through mosquito bites.
A great option is a monthly spot-on topical such as Advocate dog flea treatment which also keeps your pooch safe against heartworms, and worms. Remember to weigh your pooch beforehand, because all of these treatments are used in different doses depending on how heavy your dog is.
Protecting your environment
Even though you cannot possibly keep your dog away from all risky spots, especially if you take them to natural spots such as rivers, mountains, and meadows, you can still decrease their risk with the right hygiene rules.
If your pooch lives indoors, make sure you vacuum and clean your home every day, or at least every other day, to remove any potential flea eggs. Removing carpets is one of the best ways to prevent an infestation, although your furniture still leaves plenty of room for them to bask in.
Using flea and tick-repellent substances such as apple cider vinegar in your homemade cleaning supplies, can also help you protect your rooms. Make sure to wash your own linens as well as your dog’s bedding on a regular basis, with items such as the Seventh Generation detergent with predominantly plant ingredients, which are perfectly pet and kids-safe. If you dress your dog, you can use the same detergent to wash their sweaters, and make sure they don’t harbor any unwanted pests!
Since all of these parasites transmit many diseases that can also come with all of the listed as well as with more severe symptoms, it’s best to check your dogs from head to toe, especially in those hidden nooks such as between their toes, behind and inside their ears and around their tails. However, it’s always a good idea to have your vet check with you on a regular basis, and make sure that whatever may be causing those symptoms is not a parasite, but a harmless issue, such as an upset stomach.
Don’t know about you but we found that a very informative guest post!
Want some more?? Please let me know!
As always, I have no commercial interest in or knowledge of any the products and companies mentioned by Sienna.