Protect Dogs From Bug Bites This Summer With Repellents and Diligent Care
Nearly everyone looks forward to summer. The sun shines well after dinnertime with beautiful weather for the dogs to explore the outdoors. However, insects of every shape and size will also arise from their resting areas. Many larvae reach their peak development in summer, including fleas, ticks and mosquitos. With this fact in mind, Lakewood residents should be aware of the most common bugs around their home that also bother local pets. Canines across Colorado abhor these pests as much as the pet owners do.
The Famous Flea
The pest that’s probably the most familiar to canine fans is the flea. These tiny insects seem to appear out of nowhere and quickly reproduce. Most dogs pick up fleas from their environment, including parks in and around Golden. They latch onto the dog’s fur and make a quick home on the skin.
Fleas irritate the skin as they feed on the dog. In severe cases, a dog might suffer from anemia with fleas drawing too much blood from the body. Luckily, most flea infestations don’t reach that point. They’re simply an itchy annoyance for the dog and loving family.
Pet owners know the annoyance of mosquito bites on their bodies. The welts are difficult to miss. For canines, however, their bites may not be as easy to spot.
It’s a fact that mosquitos feed on hosts for nourishment. The dog’s fur is a natural barrier. There are exposed skin areas that can be a target. Look for mosquito bites in these areas, such as:
Whether the pet has been in the yard all day or at a dog training session, take a quick look at these areas to pinpoint any welts. Treatment may be necessary if bites are discovered.
When Golden pet owners compare local pests, the tick is often the most frustrating bug. These parasites literally attach to the dog’s skin for feeding purposes. They’re quite difficult to remove too.
Pet owners must be observant when it comes to ticks. They can burrow deep into the fur, especially on pups with dark hues. Prioritize dog care by looking through the fur with a keen eye. Ticks must be removed as soon as possible.
Rare Bugs Around Colorado
Pet owners who’re concerned about dog care might also be interested in some of the rarer insects around Colorado. Two bugs of concern include:
- Kissing bugs
Whether pet owners are new to Lakewood or seasoned residents, concerns over the kissing bug shouldn’t take precedent. They’ve lived in Colorado during historical times, but there are no known populations today. These bugs feed on warm-blooded animals and carry diseases.
Botflies are only a concern around agricultural areas, such as cattle pens. These flying insects lay eggs on their hosts where the larvae eventually climb underneath the skin. Living in an urban area, however, makes these insects rare as an occurrence around a pet.
Bugs as Vectors
Each pest symbolizes more than just a frustrating bite on the dog’s skin. Pests carry diseases that can be transmitted through bodily fluids. As any dog daycare professional knows, each bite can bring on certain ailments, including:
- Lyme disease
Many vaccines cover these ailments, but others are more difficult to treat and prevent. When the pet is outside, traveling with loved ones or participating in dog training, keep up with observations about nearby pests and current vaccines.
Treating Bug Bites
Every bug bite creates a swollen area. It will be itchy and irritating to the pup. There are a few ideas from pet owners that seem to treat the area with itch relief as the goal. Try one of these substances, such as:
- Fresh basil
- Coconut oil
If the pup appears more agitated than what’s normal for a bug bite, consult a veterinarian. An allergic reaction may be in the works. Ignoring an allergy can mean serious problems for the pup.
Safely Removing Ticks
For the best possible results, a vet or dog expert should remove ticks. The entire pest can be taken out without fail. Pet owners can perform this procedure with a pair of tweezers. By grasping the tick as close to the skin as possible, the entire pest is quickly removed.
Preventing Future Bites
Follow these steps to prevent future exposure to any pests, such as:
- Spraying the backyard with an appropriate pesticide
- Avoiding the use of citronella, which dogs don’t like because of its scent
- Keeping up with pest-control treatments, such as liquid or oral applications
- Staying away from known areas that harbor pests
Create a personal spray for dogs that target mosquitos. Mix these ingredients together in a spray bottle, including:
- 2 ounces almond or coconut oil
- 2 ounces astringent
- 24 drops of essential oils, such as lemon eucalyptus
Spray the mixture onto the dog’s fur for a day’s worth of natural repellent.
Asking for Help
If pet owners are ever confused about treatment or prevention concerns, speaking to a breed specialist is a smart choice. Discuss the pet’s environment, habits and ailments that might impact its health. Canine experts can narrow down the right treatment for the pet.
Ideally, don’t administer any synthetic medications without consulting a vet first. Dogs are sensitive to dosing volumes. The medication must be designed for the breed, its weight and medical conditions. It’s important to note that most dogs can get away with natural treatments as the bite slowly fades away.
It’s impossible to ward off every pest from the family dog. After an outdoor adventure, keep an eye on Fido. If it displays any unusual behavior, bring up this fact with a vet or dog daycare professional. Pests hiding within the fur may be difficult to see. With diligent care, the pup will enjoy summer with fewer bites than last year.