With spring weather we know flea and tick season is just around the corner. Now that the warmer weather is upon us, the insects are coming out in full force (ugh). But we’re not the only ones who are bothered by creepy crawlys. Green Dog Dental knows how important it is during the warmer months to keep our dogs safe from fleas and ticks, especially if you live in or near a wooded area, are in an area with tall grass, or even if your pet just goes to the park.
Fleas and ticks aren’t just a nuisance, they can carry a whole host of diseases that can be very expensive to treat or outright deadly. The most worrisome is one that affects human beings as well: Lyme disease. Lyme disease is caused by the bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi. If an infected tick bites your dog, they transmit the bacteria via your dog’s bloodstream. Lyme disease is particularly tricky because it often goes unnoticed for a long period of time and is also frequently misdiagnosed.
Dogs infected with Lyme disease can become feverish and limp due to lameness in one or more of their joints. They also may seem sluggish and have swollen lymph nodes. If left untreated, Lyme disease can be fatal. And don’t think that only country dogs get Lyme- ticks are hardy little critters and can live in any sort of vegetation…even in a city!
Thankfully, science has given us a variety of flea and tick prevention products to help keep our dogs bug free. While some people are reluctant to use chemicals on their pet, the truth is that flea and tick medication is tested, safe, reliable, and well tolerated by the vast majority of dogs and cats.
Topical flea and tick preventative have long been a favorite, but oral preventatives are beginning to eclipse them as a cleaner and more convenient alternative. Unlike the oily and strong-smelling topical medication, the oral flea and tick preventative is given once a month and works from the inside out. Nexgard (afoxolaner) is one of our favorites - it’s effective, is readily accepted by dogs (it tastes like beef, so it’s no wonder) and prevents ticks from biting rather than simply killing them after the fact. This is crucial in preventing Lyme disease, which is transmitted quickly as soon as the dog is bitten!
If you have any questions, please call your vet. For more tips on pet health, visit the Green Dog Gazette and learn how to do the Heimlich on your pet.