A few weeks ago we covered mosquitoes and the threat they can pose for your dog(s). But we also mentioned that reports have pointed to a higher-than-normal influx of ticks and fleas this spring and summer. While many of us were probably thankful for the mild winter most of us experienced, it is also presenting pest-prevention challenges for pet owners.
Depending on where you live, the type of tick you may encounter would vary. Ticks that are found in the Massachusetts-Rhode Island area would be the American Dog tick, the Blacklegged tick, the Brown Dog tick and the Lone Star tick. Check out the Center for Disease Control's page on tick populations for more information on geographic locations.
Fleas, as we all know, can be found everywhere.
Fleas come with a host of problems -- infestation, allergies and tapeworm.
The most common issue for dogs is flea allergy dermatitis. My dog Gadget experiences this, and it is not pleasant. As fleas as feeding, they inject their saliva into the skin of the dog. Components of the saliva are often allergenic, and many dogs end up suffering from an allergic reaction. They bite and scratch themselves and sometimes lose their hair. Gadget becomes so uncomfortable that she will rub her body against the carpet as she runs to help relieve the itch.
Ticks transmit over a dozen different diseases to dogs (and humans!) -- Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, tularemia, ehrlichiosis, and more. Many of these diseases can be deadly.
So what does this mean for dog owners? Well, for starters, prevention is key! There are a number of preventative medicines on the market for dog owners to repel ticks and fleas. As always, it's always best to talk with your personal veterinarian when making your decision.
Advantage is produced to quickly kill all stages of existing fleas and protect against further infestations. It does not protect against ticks or mosquitoes.
Advantix was developed especially for dogs (not good for homes with cats!) and offers protection against ticks, fleas, mosquitos, flies and lice.
Frontline Plus kills fleas, ticks, flea larvae and lice.
Do your research and determine which product will work best for you and your dog, but don't wait until it's too late to start protecting your beloved pet from the pests that this spring and summer will bring.