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Bug Off: Keep Critters Away From Your Dog

(Tuesday, March 25, 2014)

Spring is finally here and warmer weather and longer days are on their way. Unfortunately, so are pesky bugs. Critters like fleas, ticks and mosquitos are not only irritating for your dog but they can be harmful too. Fleas are itchy and can cause your dog’s skin to become irritated or damaged. Ticks can cause Lyme Disease.  Heartworm, spread by mosquitos can cause major heart damage to your pup. To keep these creepy crawlers away from your dog, use these tips:

  • Prevention:  There are a variety of preventative products that you can use on your dog to ward off ticks and fleas.  Spot-on treatments are a popular choice and typically only require just one application a month between the dog’s shoulders. Be sure to read the product instructions before using. If you are using spot-on treatments on your dog, be sure to bathe him less frequently.  The product spreads through skin oils.  It will be less effective if skin is dried and damaged by shampoo.
  • Coat check: It’s important to check your dog’s coat regularly for ticks and fleas.  You can run your hands through your dog’s coat or use a flea comb.  A flea comb has tightly spaced teeth and is great for trapping and removing fleas from your dog’s coat.  Examine your dog for ticks and fleas including his ears, belly, armpits and tail.  If you find a tick, you can remove it yourself.  It’s best to use tweezers or tick-removal devices to grab the tick then pull out straight and slow to get both the body and head.      
  • Keeping your home bug free: Be sure that your home is dry.  Mosquitoes are attracted to stagnant water that can be found around the house such as in flower pots.  Be sure to routinely wash your dog’s bed.  Vacuuming your carpets often, at least once a week will reduce critters.  If your dog or home does get a flea infestation, you can spray carpets with an insecticide.  Be sure to read the instructions carefully, especially with pets and children in the house.  If the problem persists, hire an exterminator or pest control to come in to your home to get rid of infestations.
  • Outdoor bug control: Minimizing bugs in your yard is very important in helping to keep bugs away from your dog.  Mowing grass and getting rid of weeds in your yard helps minimize fleas and ticks. You may want to consider using insecticide spray for your yard to eliminate bugs.  Be sure you chose a pet-friendly product and you follow the manufacturer’s instructions properly. 
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