Pesky Parasites Are No Longer Just a Country Dog’s Problem

Lea Jaratz

bugs-infographic

Veterinarians warned us back in the winter months that fleas and ticks would be especially bad this summer because of the mild temps during cooler months. Boy were they right. My husband and I tried to enjoy a quick cup of coffee on a porch in the hills of West Virginia and ended up with 3 ticks on us in a matter of minutes. They’re creeping into more urban areas as well, popping up in city parks and residential backyards. If you were like me, ignoring a lot of the warnings that used to apply only to rural pet parents, it might be time to pay attention. It’s not just a problem for those who live in the country anymore.

Take action to protect your pet with these quick tips:

  1. Talk to your vet about preventative medication for parasites like fleas and ticks. There are topical and oral medications available with prescription, as well as homeopathic collars and sprays that can be used. In years past, I’ve had success with collars like that from Alzoo, but with the spike in ticks, I’m not taking any chances.
  2. Check your pet after they’ve gone outside, especially near tall grasses or in wooded areas. (It wouldn’t hurt to check yourself as well!) Pay close attention to the groin, ears, and skin folds. Ticks like to hide in warm, cozy spots.
  3. If you find a parasite on your pet, you can safely remove it yourself. Use a clean pair of tweezers and pinch it as close to the skin as possible, then pull it straight out. (Don’t twist.) Put it in alcohol to drown it and then freeze it in a sealed bag in case you need it for identification (or take a quick phone pic of the gross little bugger).
  4. Remember to keep any preventative meds or insect removal chemicals, sprays, or bombs away from pets and kids. They’re toxic to bugs, but can also be toxic to pets in the wrong amounts.

Overall, if you do the preventative meds on time, you shouldn’t need to worry about flea and tick season. But an ounce of prevention is definitely worth a pound of cure in this case!

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