We all love the warmer weather with our dogs—more walks, hikes, and lake time!
But unfortunately, the summer pests also love the warmer weather. Bugs can pose a threat to your furry friend, and it’s important to know what to watch out for and how to keep your dog safe this summer.
Read on to find out the top pests to watch out for and how to protect your dog.
Fleas are one of the most common problematic summertime pests. If you’ve never experienced them you are lucky.
There is an idea that fleas only occur in unclean situations, but unfortunately avoiding them can be difficult. They can be found in most areas that are popular with pets, such as parks, hiking trails, or even most neighborhoods and apartment complexes.
Fleas not only bite and irritate your pet’s skin—they multiply quickly and can become an infestation. They can also lead to even bigger problems, like anemia and tapeworms.
Even with flea treatments, powders, shampoos, and collars, it can be difficult to completely avoid them. The best prevention is to make sure you check your pet’s fur regularly. Look for itching and “flea dirt”, which are small black spots found in their fur, on bedding, or anywhere your pet spends a lot of time.
If you find evidence of fleas, wash your pet with treated shampoo. Make sure to also wash all bedding and toys. If the infestation is bad there are also treatments for your home and oral supplements your vet can provide to instantly kill the pests.
Most flea treatments also help prevent ticks. If you spend any time outdoors ticks can be pretty prevalent. Ticks are usually found in areas near water or tall grass, but depending on your climate they may be found in local parks as well.
If you need to remove ticks, make sure to remove the entire bug with tweezers. Often, the tick will bury their head in when you try to pull them out. Improperly removed ticks can lead to infections or even Lyme disease. There are a fair amount of homeopathic and household tricks that you can use to help get the bug to let go, such as peroxide or essential oils.
Everyone hates mosquitos during the summer! Unfortunately there aren’t many safe repellents for your dog. Mosquitos aren’t typically as drawn to dogs as they are to humans, but that doesn’t mean that dogs are immune.
It’s best to avoid infested areas completely with your pet. If they do get bit, they’ll likely deal with some itching and pain. Luckily they won’t get many of the diseases humans can contract such as Zika virus or West Nile.
If your dog does get bites, a soothing bath can help. If the itching is too bad, they can also have a small dose of antihistamines, like Benadryl, with their vet’s approval.
Most ants are relatively harmless and don’t bite. Fire ants however, aren’t as kind. If you live in a region where there are fire ants, be wary and treat areas early.
Your pet may stumble over ant hills or, even worse, ingest some of the ants if there is something interesting they are investigating.
Most ant bites can be treated with soothing baths and antihistamines. If your pet begins to swell or have trouble breathing they could be allergic and may need emergency care.
Fortunately, most breeds of dogs leave bees and wasps alone and vice versa. Some eager dog breeds, however, like to chase flying bugs around.
If your dog does happen to get stung, most of the time it’s not a serious issue. Just make sure you pull the stinger all the way out and keep the area clean.
You will need to watch for signs of an allergic reaction, which should come on immediately. If your pet has swelling that doesn’t go down within a day or doubles in size, call your vet. You may have left part of the stinger in there, or the bite could be infected.
Spiders pose a common problem for pets. Dogs will often eat them, which typically isn’t harmful. However, your dog can get bit byg a spider as well.
Treat spider bites on your pet similarly to the way you would on yourself. Pay attention to the bite and check it frequently.
If you notice any major swelling or color change, take your pet to your vet. If you are able to, save the spider in a bag or jar so you can make sure it isn’t poisonous.
When In Doubt Always Call An Expert
Most summer bugs create minor issues for your pets instead of severe harm. But it’s always important to monitor your dog after any unusual bug encounter.
If you aren’t sure what bit your dog, then keep an even closer eye out. When in doubt, call your vet and get in for an evaluation. It’s better to be safe than sorry.