Fleas, ticks, and mosquitos carry numerous diseases that can be passed to both dogs and humans. Most dogs only have to deal with these pests during summer months, but depending on where you live, you might need to be vigilant year-round (to fully protect your pup).
Countless types of illnesses can be passed from these pests to dogs. Examples include Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Heartworms, Lyme disease, and numerous other serious health problems.
So, how can you protect your dog from fleas, mosquitos, and ticks? What if your dog has already been bitten by one of these flying pests? Figuring out which treatment options are available can be difficult (especially with so much conflicting information available online). That’s why we’ve made the below guide (to help you protect your dog from common tick/flea/mosquito-borne illnesses).
Dealing With Fleas on Dogs
Fleas are a very common issue among most dog breeds, and many dogs will come into contact with fleas at one point during their life. The most common way that a dog gets infected with fleas is through physical contact with an infected dog/animal (or environment).
An example of this would be kennels and/or dog breeding facilities with lackluster cleanliness standards. These are the types of places that typically suffer from flea infestations. However, fleas can be easily contracted in a variety of environments (especially outside the dog’s home environment).
How to Tell if Your Dog Has Fleas
One of the most obvious signs of a flea infection is if your dog is constantly itching. Another tell-tale sign of fleas is if you can actually see the tiny critters on your dog’s fur/skin. Contrary to mites that dig into the skin of their host, fleas stay on the surface (and can typically be seen flying/jumping from spot to spot).
How to Get Rid of Fleas
Most veterinarians will prescribe an oral or topical medication for your dog’s flea infection. Vectra 3D spot-on treatment for dogs is an example of a topical medication that’s a popular option among vets/dog owners. Most anti-flea medications also fight against ticks and mosquitoes at the same time. With so many options available, the best thing to do is to discuss treatment options with your vet.
Fighting Fleas Without Medication
A lot of owners don’t like using prescription drugs on their dogs, and they opt for natural flea remedies. Examples of this type of treatment include anti-flea shampoo or certain topical solutions. Before using any natural treatment method, it’s recommended to talk with your vet (to ascertain if they will have an effect on your dog’s overall health).
Mosquitos and Dogs
Mosquitos have a bad reputation (for good reason); they harbor numerous diseases that can be fatal to both humans and dogs. Heartworm infections, which are a leading health concern for dogs across the US, is one of the major illnesses that mosquitoes can pass along to dogs.
How to Protect Your Dog From Mosquitoes
Because mosquitoes are so common (across the entire country), protecting your dog from them can seem virtually impossible. However, there are certain steps you can take to minimize the chance of your dog getting bit.
- Remove any stagnant water in your dog’s environment.
- Mosquitoes are attracted to moisture and water, so remove these elements from your dog’s living area if possible.
- Avoid walking your dog when mosquitoes are most active (e.g. sunrise and sunset).
- Use canine insect-repellants.
- Look into natural remedies/repellants.
- Consider consulting your veterinarian for prescription medication.
How to Protect Your Dog From Ticks
Ticks carry many different types of diseases, with one of the most serious being Lyme disease (which can affect both dogs and humans). Because ticks feed directly on the blood of their host, it’s very easy to contract illnesses from them. Below are some of the best ways to protect your dog from tick-borne disease/illness.
- Talk with your vet about using a prescription anti-tick medication.
- Avoid taking your dogs into the woods/areas where ticks are prevalent.
- Actively screen for ticks on your dog after they’ve been outdoors.
Treatment Options for Ticks
If you find a tick on your dog, you need to immediately take it off and save it (to be tested/identified at the vet). After you know which type of tick your dog has been bitten by, your vet will be able to develop a custom treatment plan, and whether or not further testing will be required (for tick-borne illness).