For some, summer is the season for fleas, ticks and mosquitoes, while for others its all year round. As the weather warms and humidity abounds, your dog becomes a target for these bothersome and sometimes fatal insects. Always consult your veterinarian before implementing any remedy. By properly medicating, grooming and taking preemptive measures, your best friend can be flea, tick and mosquito free and can enjoy the summer doing what dogs do best.
Diseases Spread by Fleas, Ticks and Mosquitoes
To understand the importance of protection, you must understand the consequences of not protecting. Heartworm larvae penetrate the skin through the puncture wound left by an infected female mosquito. Within 200 days, the heartworms, which can be fatal, mate and take residence in the bloodstream, lungs and heart of the animal. Found throughout the Unites States, ticks transport parasitic diseases such as Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. Fleas carry tapeworms and also may cause skin irritations, hair loss and anemia.
Commonly Used Chemical Products
Effectively killing ticks and fleas, once-a-month medications help protect dogs against parasites and mosquitoes. Bathing your dogs in flea and tick shampoo is a temporary fix. Dips kill ticks as well as both adult fleas and larvae on the dog at that time. Sprays, powders and collars have more long-term effects such as repelling insects. Dogs are more sensitive than we are, so owners should not use products such as spray repellents made for humans.
Certain essential oils, such as lavender, citronella, eucalyptus and peppermint may be applied to your dog’s coat or collar in order to deter against fleas, ticks and mosquitoes. Taken internally, small amounts of garlic, powdered kelp or seaweed, organic apple-cider vinegar and dietary supplements — nutritional dietary yeast, B-complex, omega 3 and 6 — boost your dog’s immunity, while helping to fend off insects. For repelling fleas, ticks and mosquitoes outdoors grow lemon balm, fleabane, pennyroyal and catnip. By sprinkling borax, mineral salts and food-grade diatomaceous earth around the house, both inside and out can stop recurring flea infestations.
Monthly medications are just one method of control. Yearly Lyme vaccinations and heartworm tests keep your pet one step ahead of potential infection. Defensive control include clean bedding, carpets and furniture to kill eggs and larvae; change vacuum cleaner bag or canister often; inspect and flea comb daily, especially after being outdoors; spray outside areas and use bug zappers; eliminate standing water; use indoor foggers, bombs and flea traps. Above all keep your dog healthy so these parasites cannot affect his or her quality of life.