The Attack Of Parasites

How to protect your dog from fleas and ticks?

#fleas #dogcare #parasites
The Attack Of Parasites

 Unfortunately, as the good weather approaches, the number of harmful parasites has also increased. Ticks and fleas are creatures that often make life a misery for dogs and pet parents. In this article, you will read about ticks and fleas, and the dangers they impose on your furbabies.

All you need to know about ticks

These bloodsuckers are lurk in the grass and undergrowth (contrary to popular belief, they don’t „jump” from above). The main problem with ticks is that they can carry diseases like Lyme disease and babesiosis, which a serious and often life-threatening health condition. The treatment is a long procedure and very stressful for your dog’s immune system. Therefore the earlier a tick is detected, the better. Check and brush your dog after every walk and every time you visit a forest or meadow. Pay particular attention to the head area, the tummy and thighs, because ticks prefer areas with less hair. The best practice is to search the whole body thoroughly.

Ticks are usually easy to spot, but their size varies depending on the amount of blood in their body. If you find a tick, you should be extra careful when removing it. Do not squeeze the ticks! When squeezed, ticks’ stomach contents and thus the pathogens can be easily transfered into the dog’s blood stream. Try to remove the whole tick because a stucked-in head can lead to inflammation. Do not pour any oil or soap or chemical onto the tick, because it could trigger the same effect as of squeezing.

The most common diseases spread by ticks and ways of prevention

There are several diseases that ticks spread (and remember, humans are in danger too). The most common are the following:

  • Lyme disease is a life-threatening disease caused by a bacterium called Borrelia burgdorferi. The main symptoms are loss of appetite, lameness, swollen joints and fatigue.
  • Tick-borne encephalitis is a viral disease that spreads by the infected ticks’ bite, but fortunately it usually attacks dogs with weakened immune system.
  • Another contagious disease is anaplasmosis that is triggered by anaplasma bacteria. The clinical signs are joint pain, fever, lack of appetite and lethargy.

If you see any of the symptoms or your dog acts strangely, call the vet immediately and discuss the necessary treatment steps to avoid further damage.

Prevention is always better than treatment, so protect your dog from ticks and diseases. There are many sprays, spot-ons and collars available on the market. Make sure to choose the one that is suitable for your dog’s age, size and lifestyle.

Natural tick repellents (like coconut oil, lavender, lemon balm) can provide excellent additional protection. Furthermore, several vaccines are available against Lyme-disease, but the effectiveness is controversial. Always ask your vet for an opinion first.

Tiny enemies: the fleas

Intense scratching is one of the most obvious symptoms of flea infestation. These tiny creatures are among the most common parasites of pets, but the main problem is that they can also spread serious diseases. The good news is that only flea-infested animals and items can spread fleas, so it’s easier to avoid contact than for example ticks. Keep in mind that fleas often form their nests in carpets, soft blankets and sofas, so try to maintain a clean environment to avoid fleas in and around your home.

Did you know that fleas can barely be seen with the naked eye. This means they are not easy to detect, but if you dog is scratch or lick vigorously, you should look for fleas. Vigorous scratching can lead to injuries, skin issues and inflammation of the skin. If you suspect the presence of fleas, check your dog’s skin thoroughly, and brush the coat with a fine-tooth flea comb.

Besides scratching and licking, fleas can spread serious diseases that can often lead to life-threatening health conditions. One of the most common health concerns is anaemia. Fleas are consuming the dog’s blood, and that is why serious flea-infestation can lead to anaemia on the long run if left untreated. Another disease spread by fleas is called flea allergy dermatitis, which is mainly triggered by the contact of fleas’ saliva with the dog’s skin and blood.

This can cause itching. The third common flea-induced disease is tapeworm infestation. If dogs eat fleas, tapeworm eggs can get inside the body and intestines where they continue to grow.

How to prevent flea infestation?

Similarly to ticks, prevention is of key importance when it comes fleas. If you detect fleas on your dog, it’s important to treat everything around the dog, including the toys, pillows and other animals. This is the only way to make sure that not only adult fleas but eggs are also eliminated.

There are several „anti-flea” products on the market like spray, spot-ons but you can also fight against fleas with the power of nature. For instance, vinegar bath is very effective if fleas have appeared on your dog. Lemonbalm and lavender are also great natural flea repellents.

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