Spring has arrived and the weather is now turning in our favour! This means more time spent outdoors for us and our pets. But this also exposes our much loved cats and dogs to increased levels of ticks and parasites.
There are a number of ways you can prepare and protect your pets during tick season which are strongly advisable. There is potential for real damage to be made should symptoms go unnoticed!
Spotting the signs
Ticks and fleas are attracted to the warm weather just as much as we and our pets are which is what leads to the increase in numbers during the warmer months. After every outing with your dog, it is important to check their coat thoroughly for any signs of ticks. Ticks look very similar to spiders with an egg shaped body, they can be large and easy to spot or much harder to locate so be extensive with your search. For pets with long hair, run your fingers through it to check for anything unusual. Pay particular attention to the head, neck and feet where parasites tend to attach themselves the most. Should you locate any, we recommend buying a tick remover tool, as it is the safest and easiest way to remove ticks and prevent a further spreading of disease.
Ticks attach themselves to the skin of animals and feed off of their blood. The areas in which they feed can become red and irritated, in extreme cases enough blood can be consumed to make pets anaemic. Ticks can also be responsible for causing a number of diseases, the most well-known of which is Lyme disease - a condition that can cause arthritis and painful swelling of pet's joints.
Ticks can also infect animals with Babesiosis, a condition that affects the red blood cells of those suffering and can lead to death in dogs in a very short space of time if not treated.
There are supplements available that decrease, or even eliminate the amounts of ticks that attach themselves to cats and dogs, it is best to opt for chemical free repellents. The AniForte Tick Shield, is chemical free as those used in some products can affect the pet's nervous system.
One of the most common complaints amongst pets in the warmer months is that they suffer with itchy skin. There are a number of causes, however in many cases, grass mites are to blame. These types of mites can cause animals real grief by aggravating the skin with their bites.
Again, there are natural repellents available that can be sprayed on pets before going outside that help to prevent these mites from attaching to your pet.
Alongside parasites, fleas are even more popular in the warmer months. There are a few different species of fleas including cat fleas, dog fleas and even human fleas. Cat fleas are the most common however and as well as making pets feel itchy and uncomfortable, flea saliva can also cause allergic reactions and the spread of disease.
Fleas are able to survive without a host for many months so it is important to thoroughly treat both your pets and your home extensively to ensure all traces have been removed.
Dogs are susceptible to ear mites when sending a lot of time outdoors. Some animals can react particularly badly, suffering intense irritation of the external ear.
Dogs infected with ear mites will typically scratch their ears excessively, even pulling out their fur as a result. In extreme circumstances, dogs can do damage to their ear drums and canal with their claws. You will also notice them shaking their head more than usual.
If ear mites are suspected, a really extensive inspection by a veterinary is advisable. Pets can then be treated on an outpatient basis with medication that kills the mites. Due to how contagious the mites are, all animals in the household should be treated and the home should be cleaned thoroughly.
The majority of parasites and mites are very treatable and can be nipped in the bud before any lasting damage is done - it is just a matter of keeping a close eye and being prepared!