Your pet is always there for you, so it’s only natural that you should want to look out for your pet as well. Your dog guards your home against intruders and will always do its best to make sure that you’re safe. It will comfort you when you’re feeling down and raise your spirits with its unconditional love and enthusiasm. So you’ll want to protect your pet from intruders that can make its life a misery. Many of these pests are so small they can barely be seen, but they can irritate your dog and impact seriously on its health. It pays to know what enemies to look out for, and what to do about them when they become noticeable.
These are the most familiar pests that are found on dogs and cats. Fleas are irritating to the host, and even if your pet tolerates them they’re unhygienic and can cause skin disease. Just a few millimeters in length, fleas are tiny wingless bloodsuckers that are just about visible, and they proliferate quickly by laying eggs in your pet’s blanket or anywhere warm and damp enough for them to hatch. In some cases your pet may develop an allergic reaction to fleas, which can be hazardous. Use a good quality dog flea treatment and vacuum your pets bedding and surrounded areas regularly.
Mites are microscopic cigar-shaped arachnids, and while not life threatening the skin diseases they spread can be very irritating. They often live in the ear and can be very irritating and in some cases highly contagious for both dogs and cats. They can also cause demodectic or sarcoptic mange. Demodecosis mostly affects young or sickly dogs, and is usually passed on from the mother dog to its puppies. This kind of mange isn’t contagious. On the other hand, sarcoptes can be spread from one dog to another and can even be passed on to humans. Dogs sometimes contract it from mixing with foxes. This mange is very itchy and commonly affects the abdomen and the tips of the ears.
You may not think of scorpions in the same category as these other pests, but these eight-legged creatures can certainly be a serious threat to your dog. Their sting generally isn’t lethal but can cause intense pain for your pet and in some cases may inject a neurotoxin that can affect their nervous system. If you live in an area where scorpions are common then it’s wise to sweep your yard regularly in order to keep them away from your pet. If they are bitten, contact a veterinarian, and if this is a common threat in your area it might well be worth keeping some appropriate medication handy.
House spiders are much maligned and are generally benign creatures, keeping your home free of flies. However the larger varieties can attract the interest of your dog, with unwanted results. Spider bites can cause swelling and pain in dogs, and although most varieties in North America are not poisonous, some are. Two types that you should keep a look out for are the notorious black widow and the brown recluse. Their bites can potentially be fatal for an animal, or may cause paralysis; take your dog to the vet if you think this is the case. Check your home regularly for any large spiders that may seem threatening and escort them firmly outside.
Like fleas, ticks are eight-legged bloodsucking parasites that live off our furry friends, especially in the warmer months. Your dog when running through long grass can catch them, as this is where these creatures live. Groom your pet thoroughly after returning from a walk, and keep a look out for these small, dark creatures with hard shells on their back. While not especially harmful in themselves, they can pass on dangerous diseases like Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever or Lyme Disease. Especially check around your dog’s head, neck and ears, or on its feet, and remove the ticks carefully with tweezers, grasping the head firmly and making sure not to leave any part still embedded in the skin.
In all cases, consult your vet for appropriate medication and treatment. Keeping your pet clean and well groomed is the best prevention, and don’t forget to clean out their basket or their favorite chair regularly as well. Keep your home free of dangerous pests and be doubly careful when your dog is out running in long grass or woodland. That way your four-legged friend should keep their interaction with the eight-legged pests to a minimum.