Summer is almost here, and many of us are venturing out to get some fresh air with our dogs. But did you know that dogs can get Lyme disease just like people? That’s why good tick protection is a must for your dogs too. Fleas, ticks, and mosquitos are awful for our dogs. Here are a few tips to keep them bug-free this summer!
Keep Them Clean
The best way to keep the bugs off your best friend is to make sure you are keeping them clean. Flies are drawn to dirty, smelly dogs and can even lay eggs in their soft tissue. Gross! So giving your dog a cool bath weekly not only makes sure you are keeping your dog clean, but it is a great time to really take a good look at your dog’s coat to make sure they are healthy.
Check inside their ears, along with their belly, and even their backsides where infections can grow.
Most of the time, flies aren’t a health problem. However, for some older dogs or dogs with health risks like Addison's that our dog Riley has, an infection can get out of control fast. So when the weather gets warm, take out the hose and give your dog a bath.
Say No To Lyme Disease!
I live with the horrible symptoms related to having Lyme disease. Pain, sickness, and a lifetime of struggle. I can’t even think of my dog living with it as well. Each year thousands of pets are diagnosed with having Lyme disease, and it can be prevented.
Borrelia burgdorferi is a microorganism that causes Lyme disease in both humans and animals. Lyme is terribly difficult to eradicate because it can hide in tendons, muscle tissue, lymph nodes, organs such as the heart and brain, and other parts of the body. Prevention is the best way to keep your dog from enduring this disease.
There are vaccinations for Lyme disease. But they are controversial. I do vaccinate my healthy dog, but my dog with Addison's I don’t. It’s a hard call that you should speak with your vet about.
Good tick prevention is the best way to go. When we go out my dogs wear a neck wrap, a dog shield that keeps bugs off and keeps them fresh. I also like that if you dampen them and put them in the fridge for an hour, they stay nice and cool in the summer. The reflective strip also helps to see them as it starts to get dark.
Flea and Tick treatments
There are a number of great products out there to keep the bugs off your pets. I personally prefer the natural sprays or drops that don’t have as many harsh chemicals. But that being said, even “natural” sprays often have reactions with your pet’s skin. So be careful and make sure you are checking your pet carefully after testing it in a small place.
We love Tropiclean natural. They have a shampoo and a spray and neither have the harsh chemicals.
Also consider making sure fleas and ticks stay away from your home with regular pest control.
This is the best thing you can do not only for your pets but yourself any time you’ve gone out, full body checks for ticks is a must. Not only are you making sure that the ticks don’t latch on (if caught early) but you are also deeply inspecting your dog for other things you might have missed, like growths and wounds.
If you do find a tick, make sure you remove it quickly and SAVE the tick! You might need to take it to your vet for testing. The easiest way to remove a tick from your dog is with a tick twister or a tick key. Both smoothly get under the tick and twist it away from your dog.
Be Lyme and Tick Aware
Talk with your vet about how you can keep your pet safe from Lyme disease and what's the best option for your dog. Many dogs, like Riley, have sensitive skin or may need special precautions. So talking with your vet is always the best thing.
If you live in a high tick area, being tick aware is a must for both you and your dog. Be safe and have a great summer!