Monday, 30 June 2014

Summer Series Part 5: Pests and other pesky things!

In the final post of this Summer Series, I want to discuss pests and other pesky things!  Creepy crawlies come out in force in the summer months, plus there can be other dangers abound.  Don't worry, I haven't included squirm inducing pictures!

Fleas, ticks and mites
I am sure we are all aware of fleas, and a responsible pet owner will take steps to protect their pet with a suitable treatment.   A good program should include both a worming treatment, and a flea / tick / mite remedy.  This could be anything from spot on treatments, collars, sprays or natural remedies - my Hooman uses Frontline Combo once a month (once every two months between October and April), plus Milbemax worming tablets once a quarter.

Ticks can still be picked up, particularly in the longer grass this time of year, and even more so where deer and sheep are prevalent.  A lot of spot on treatments will kill them after they bite, but it is worth removing the little blighters if you spot them, as they can carry Lymes disease.   DON'T SQUASH THEM OR PULL THEM OUT!  You risk them regurgitating their stomach contents into your pet, or separating the mouthparts from the body so they stay embedded in the skin which can cause a nasty infection.

My Hooman has only had to remove one tick off me, but she swears by the O Tom Tick Remover, which allows you to twist the tick gently from the skin.  She then spent a worrying amount of time looking at it in a fascinated kind of way.  Strange Hooman....

The O Tom Tick Remover

Grass Seeds
Though not strictly a pest, these barbed seeds can be very unpleasant if they get embedded into your pet -  they are formed in such a way, so they can only travel one way, and if left undetected, can work themselves further and further into your pet, leading to a nasty infection, or worse.  Look out for your pet licking a paw, shaking their head or an eye watering, and get a vet to check it out.  We have heard of a dog losing an eye because of a grass seed....  Check your dog regularly, particularly after a walk through long grass, try and avoid long grass if possible, and keep the coat shorter especially around armpits, paws and ears,

Slugs & Snails
Unfortunately, certainly here in the UK, although it is summer, it still rains.  A lot.  And when it does, those slugs and snails come out in full force!  I am partial to bringing my Hooman a snail or two, but luckily I don't eat them.  However, eating them increases the risk of a nasty disease, Lungworm.  Signs to look out for include coughing, reluctance to exercise, depression, weight loss, fits, vomiting, diarrhoea, weakness, paralysis and persistent bleeding from even small cuts - see your vet immediately.

Wasps & Bee Stings
I do love to try and play with flying critters, but they aren't always friendly!  Wasp and bee stings are not usually dangerous (though you will need to carefully remove a bee sting with tweezers, as they lodge in the skin), but some dogs can react badly, especially if they suffer multiple stings.  If your dog has difficulty breathing, becomes weak or has a large amount of swelling, seek veterinary attention.  Otherwise you can help ease the pain by bathing the sting area in a water / baking soda or bicarbonate  of soda mix.

Garden hazards
Lastly, be aware of what is going on in your garden.  You Hoomans get a bit gardening crazy (well Hooman doesn't, she detests it), but be careful of what you put down.  Most of you know about the dangers of chocolate - a lot of mulches can contain cocoa bean shells so make sure you read the contents!  The shed door is going to be open more - make sure dangerous chemicals like antifreeze are kept safely out of the way - they taste sweet to us animals, but are deadly toxic.  Lastly, make sure that any pest treatments (slug pellets, greenfly sprays etc) you use the garden are not toxic to animals.

Just a few things to look out for, to keep us safe during the summer months!

Lottie x

Summer Series Part 1:  Recognising and treating heatstroke
Summer Series Part 2:  Keeping dogs cool
Summer Series Part 3:  Open water and dog safety
Summer Series Part 4:  Does your dog have hay fever? 

1 comment:

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