As the weather warms up people and pets start to head outdoors more often. There’s seemingly nothing better than feeling the warmth of the sunshine and a nice breeze hit your skin after a cold winter indoors. Even our pets are happier when Spring rolls around!
Playing outside is a great way for your pet to burn energy and explore their curiosity, however, there are pesky fleas and ticks roaming around just waiting to latch onto your furry friend. As a pet owner, it is imperative that you keep a close eye on your pet to make sure they are safe from fleas and ticks. Read on for some ways to keep your pet safe this year.
Most of the pharmaceutical brands that pet owners are familiar with are loaded with toxins. Flea and tick medications contain insecticides to eliminate pests on contact. When using these medications, there is potential for serious health problems for your pet. If not applied correctly, applied in larger doses than recommended, or if they are accidentally ingested, your pet could suffer from poisoning. Even when applied correctly, the toxic components that create the strong pest-repellent effects can work against your pet’s health to create unfortunate effects. When used around young children, the toxins can be transferred onto the child’s hand by means of petting and can have a poisonous effect that may require a doctor’s visit.
The pesticides used in these products can cause varying degrees of toxicity1. If your pet exhibits vomiting, tremors, difficulty breathing, drooling, weakness, diarrhea, fever, disorientation, or any other unusual symptom following pharmaceutical flea or tick prevention application, please consult with your veterinarian as soon as possible.
To stray away from the toxic pharmaceutical options, pet owners can look into essential oil blends to help keep the bugs away. As we discussed in our previous post (LINK), not all essential oils are safe for pets, so be sure to do your research ahead of time. Brands like Earth Animal and Only Natural pet provide already made options that have been shown to be safe for pets.
Keep Them Healthy
A little-known fact among pet owners is that fleas, ticks, and other parasites are attracted to animals with weaker immune systems. By keeping your pet healthy year-round, you are protecting them against potentially attracting a parasite. Be sure to feed your pet a healthy diet, supplement when needed, exercise daily and see your veterinarian regularly.
Along with a healthy diet and ample exercise, there are some supplements your pet can take to internally keep fleas and ticks away. Mixing certain supplements with your pets food can help strengthen their immune system and fight off potentially harmful pests. A popular option is garlic that has been formulated into a powder form safe for dogs. Another option is brewer’s yeast2, which has been shown to have flea and tick repelling effects when mixed with garlic or oils. Brewer’s yeast has not been shown to repeal ticks and fleas on its own, but can work with other components to provide a repelling effect.
If you plan to take your pet outdoors, it is crucial that you are performing diligent flea and tick checks immediately after returning home. Get into the habit of immediately checking your pet after being in flea and tick populated areas to prevent pests from latching on. If a suspected tick has attached, use tweezers to remove the tick from the head and keep an eye on the area. After about six weeks, bring your pet to their veterinarian for a blood draw to assess for the presence of Lyme disease.
Lyme disease(3) is a bacterial illness that can be transmitted to humans, dogs, and other animals by ticks. Ticks can transmit diseases to pets once it has been attached for 24 to 48 hours, and Lyme disease is most often found in ticks that are found in tall grasses, thick brush, marshes and woods. Symptoms that could indicate the presence of Lyme disease in dogs are fever, loss of appetite, reduced energy, general stiffness, discomfort or pain, and swelling of joints. In severe cases, symptoms can progress to kidney failure and cardiac or neurological effects.
Always remember to take precautions against fleas and ticks when venturing outdoors with your pets. Keeping them healthy, checking them diligently, and utilizing essential oils and diet supplements are just some of the holistic ways to prevent pest infestations this summer. Ask your veterinarian for other ways to keep you and your pet safe!