Thank God we are finally done with winter here in Saskatchewan. Everyone knows that certain parts of Canada can have some crazy winter weather. By the time March and April roll around we are all ready for the spring to happen. With every changing season, dogs owners face a different challenge. For example in winter, dog owners deal with keeping their pet’s warm. In spring and summer, it’s how to protect your dog from ticks and fleas!
If your are a dog owner it’s the dreaded season of ticks and fleas that everyone hates.
We all know that it is vital for our dog’s health to ensure that we do our very best to eliminate these dreaded issues. Not to mention, nobody wants an infestation of fleas in their home. The decision is just as important for us, as for our dogs.
There are many ways that dog owners can try to tackle this issue. All the options offer a completely different solution, that will be unique to everyone.
To medicate or not
There are lots of reasons to medicate your pet against fleas and ticks, but it isn’t for everyone. With most vet and store bought repellents (which is what we call them) rely on harmful chemicals to either kill the eggs or the adults themselves.
These chemicals, can be harmful to you, to your children, and the other pets in your home. For this reason, some people refuse to use this type of medication and rely on making other decisions.
An outbreak of fleas, can be a real big hassle to deal with. The rate that the lay their eggs and reproduce, can quickly cause an outbreak of fleas in your home.
On the tick side of things, they may not cause as big of a clean up issue, but depending on where your live, a certain percentage of ticks carry lime disease, which your dog and you can get.
The tick clings on with its mouth parts to your pet to pierce the skin to get to the blood. This action is what can cause our dogs to get lime disease, because it gets into their blood stream.
For every dog owner, the decision is a very personal choice. There are negative and positive reasons for both.
There many over the counter chemical style repellents that your can choose from. You can purchase these choices in different forms. Some of these options are:
Now if your decide not to use these type of repellents, there are other choices your can make.
You could opt to go down the non-chemical route of prevention. There are many options now that you can choose from. Some of the choices are:
- an all natural collar diffuser
- Pest defense meal topper
- all natural repellent collar (NO CHEMICALS)
- repellent spray
- essentials oils
These are just some options to choose from. Doing your own personal research, will help your make the decision that’s right for your dog.
There are things that us, as parents, can do to help prevent our dogs from getting ticks and fleas.
For example: In your own backyard, if you have an unmanicured and overgrown yard, this can contribute to a breeding ground for ticks and fleas.
Avoiding walking your dog down by the river, or letting them run through any long grass. Ticks especially love the long grass. Your dog could come out covered in ticks.
Some other spots, that your can try to avoid are : Bushes, or trees around campgrounds or hikes.
If your are going to take your dog to some of these spots, just be aware that your will likely be picking ticks off your dog. Fleas on the other hand are harder to see, and you may not seem them right away. Unfortunately they could still be there. It can take awhile.
What do you do
When you do find a tick on your dog, what do your do?
Personally anytime I am taking my dogs around one of these danger areas where they are most likely to find fleas and ticks, I always have a tick twister with me.
In my own personal experience, taking a tick off of your dog, is easiest with the tick twister. Years ago we tried some well-known home remedies, like Vaseline, tweezers, or nail polish type chemicals. Using any of these methods, more times than not, would leave part of the tick behind. Removing the entire tick is very important. Pulling at the tick and not getting all of it, can cause problems.
The tick twister slides under the tick and allows you to twist the tick twister, pulling the tick off in its entirety.
Tick twisters come in a few different sizes. We always keep at least 2 with us at all times. One of the small ones actually hooked onto our car keys, so that way we would always have one with us,.
For the larger ticks, we purchased one a bit bigger that we would keep with us in the glove box of the vehicle. Most of the time we would be using the vehicle to get the dogs from a to b, so it is always handy.
Deciding what type of tick and flea prevention your are going to choose, can sometimes depend on your dog.
The first few years we had our Cockapoo Boo, we did purchase a repellent type ointment/cream from the vet that we rubbed on the back of his neck and back area. It was kind of greasy substance and the vet said to ensure that your wash your hands after applying it.
This made me think, if it’s not OK for my hands, then how can it be OK for Boo?
Not to mention at the time, we had 2 cats and the vet said to make sure that Boo didn’t rub up against the cat and transfer any of the repellent onto one of them. She said it isn’t good for the other animals.
We did all the things she said and the product did work and Boo was safe from ticks and fleas. A few years later, when the season arose to treat Boo again, we used a similar type product. This time however, he twitched weirdly for 2 or 3 days after we applied it. This was difficult and scary to watch. The vet said that some dogs do have this type of side effect from the treatment.
From that moment on we never treated our dogs with any type of chemical repellent again. This was just a choice for us, that made sense. The thought of applying or giving our dog a chemical, just wasn’t something we were willing to do anymore. I guess it was an out of sight outta mind thing. When we saw how Boo reacted it struck a cord with us, and we couldn’t go back.
How to protect your dog from fleas and ticks, is a decision each dog owner makes on their own. There is no right or wrong answer.
Talk to your vet about all your options, and as always do your own research. Get all the information for yourself, so that your can make the best informed decision that will suit your family.
Spring and summer are such a fun time of year. Nobody wants to deal with an infestation of fleas, or be picking ticks off their dog.
Do your part and hopefully this won’t be something your will have to deal with.
I hope this post has been helpful for your. If you would like to comment of share your story, please comment below.