We love our dogs but we don’t love the little critters that might be sharing them. Since our dogs tend to be outside more often, and in many different locations, they tend to pick up a wider variety of parasites just by, well, being dogs.
Not only are parasites unappealing but they can also cause health problems for our pets and their people. This is why it’s important to try and keep our pets free from parasites.
As the weather gets warmer, parasite populations begin to increase in number. Fleas can be a year-round issue, depending on where you live. However, in Ontario the summer tends to be our typical flea season. Dog fleas are tiny brown insects that live on your pets and feed on their blood. To make matters worse, they may even choose to snack on you – disgusting, I know. Not only are fleas an obvious nuisance, they can also pose threats to your pet’s health. Some animals may develop flea allergy dermatitis, characterized by intense itching and scratching. Furthermore, fleas can transmit other parasites, such as tapeworm, if accidentally ingested.
Ticks are more active in the spring and fall from March-June and September-November. However, with milder winters they can be active as early as February and as late as December, basically anytime its around 4 degrees Celsius. Ticks can carry blood borne diseases, including Lyme disease (transmitted by the Deer Tick). Tick populations are on the rise in both numbers and geographic distribution meaning the risk of tick borne diseases is increasing. Ticks prefer damp humid environments and especially wooded or grassy areas. Precaution should be used when walking on trails, though leaf litter or near shrubs.
So what can you do to deal with all these annoying creepy crawlies?
We recommend that you speak with your vet about the best option for your dog regarding flea and tick prevention. There are many oral and topical tick and flea preventatives that kill tick and fleas quickly. Your vet can direct you to the best one available for your pet.