A Guide to Dog-Hungry Pests

Summer is a great time for you and your dog.

He can play outside in the park, roll in the sand at the beach, and go for hikes on the trails—but it’s also the time of year that bugs will pester your pet. There are many bothersome bugs that can make life miserable, but here’s how you can help prevent bites and infestation.

Fleas

fleas

Fleas | ©istockphoto/ThamKC

These horrible little pests can make life unbearable for your family as well. There are more than 2,000 known species and subspecies of fleas, and you can be sure that if your dog has fleas, you’ll be itching too. While fleas primarily make you itch, they can cause dermatitis, transfer tapeworms, and in rare cases, transmit bubonic plague if they’ve fed on an infected rodent. There are plenty of products out there to keep these tiny critters at bay, and sometimes you will have to try more than one remedy before you find the one that works for your pet.

Ticks

Tick |
©istockphoto/ErikKarits

Ticks love dogs. The American dog tick is the most common pest you will find burrowing into your dog’s skin. Ticks are known to carry serious diseases such as Lyme disease and cause “tick paralysis” in animals, so it’s important to check your dog thoroughly when he comes in from playing in the brush. You can use shampoos weekly and monthly topicals.

Skunks

Skunk

Skunk
| ©istockphoto/mirceax

You can smell your dog well before he comes in the house after going head-to-head with a skunk. You’ll want to keep your pet outside following the encounter, and try washing him in a recipe of hydrogen peroxide, baking soda, and liquid dishwashing soap to de-skunk your dog.

Botfly

Botfly

Botfly | https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Botfly

The Botfly is also known as “warbles.” Dogs are most commonly infected when they’re hunting rabbits and encounter the botfly larvae near the entryway to a rodent’s burrow; so if you know you have rabbits in the area, be on the watch for warbles in your dog. You might not notice anything is wrong until after your pup is infected and an abscess develops in the skin. Antibiotics are usually prescribed to combat any secondary bacterial infection, but if you don’t catch it in time, surgery may be required.

Sarcoptes Scabiei Mite

mange

Mange | https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mange

This ugly condition called scabies or mange usually occurs in the summer and is caused by a mite. It’s not really a danger to your dog’s health in the long run, but it will make his summer less than enjoyable unless you help him out. The most common risk of exposure comes from contact with other animals and outdoor activities. Treatment is the same as treating for fleas, but more aggressive, with quarantine and thorough baths. You’ll have to clip his hair very short and treat him with a medicated shampoo to get rid of the pesky mites.

Meet the Author: Holly Zynda

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