Summer is approaching, and in many parts of the U.S. the season has already arrived, with highs in the 90s and above. Spring and summer warmth can impact our pets, in big and small ways, including tiny, pesky pests.
Fleas and ticks can cause significant irritation and great harm to our dogs and cats. According to Web MD, fleas, though tiny, can eat 15 times their own weight in blood, causing anemia in a dog or cat. Fleas cause itching and are known to be the most common cause of skin disease in dogs and cats. Ticks can bring Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever not only to humans, but to our pets as well.
During the nicer weather of spring and summer, many of our animals spend more time outside. Running through grass, exploring woodlands, and encountering other pets while outdoors can bring your dog or cat into contact with fleas and ticks. And your pets can bring these pesky critters into your home. But, you can restrain that exposure.
A myriad of preventive programs can curb these pests, and therefore, decrease a pet parent's worry. Talk with your veterinarian about how to prevent fleas and ticks from infecting and affecting your dog or cat. You can purchase preventive measures from your vet directly or from a local pet supply store and even online. You may also want to consult the Pet MD website for more information on fleas and ticks, which includes a Flea and Tick Survival Guide: http://www.petmd.com/flea-tick-survival-guide#.
Learn more about fleas and ticks and their impact on pets at http://pets.webmd.com/ss/slideshow-flea-and-tick-overview.
These aren’t the only minute pests to be concerned about. Biting flies and gnats can be obnoxious to humans and their animals and may sometimes carry disease. Mosquitoes also pester people and animals. Fur provides some protection, but ears and noses are vulnerable. Living and spending time near a water source makes you and your furry friend more susceptible to swarms of mosquitoes; therefore, protect yourself and your pets from these blood-suckers. Mosquitoes can carry West Nile Virus as well as heartworm, a major disease affecting dogs; cats can get heartworm, too. This disease is now in every state, not just the southern part of the U.S. as it once was. View heartworm incident maps at https://www.heartwormsociety.org/pet-owner-resources/incidence-maps, and learn more about heartworm prevention at this website: http://www.drsfostersmith.com/pic/article.cfm?articleid=580.
Dogs and cats can be allergic to tiny problematic creatures like ticks and mosquitoes. My springer/cocker mix, Mary, for example is allergic to many environmental objects, including grass, some trees, and mosquitoes. The only way my husband and I knew what allergies she has was to get her tested. Yes, it's an outlay of money, but we now know how best to help her and we know to protect her from mosquitoes. So, when we plan to travel to a lake or river, my husband and I make sure Mary is protected from mosquitoes, biting flies, and other tiny, potential disease-carrying pests.
Being outdoors is fun for us and for our pets, particularly our dogs. But remember there are tiny creatures out there just waiting for a warm body, ours and our animals, on which to inhabit. Therefore, take the needed precautions and purchase those preventative remedies to keep your pet from being infected by fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes. Talk with your veterinarian about how to keep your furry friend safe and healthy.