Pesky Pests

574995_10151063442514401_1887803520_n-225x300Don’t let the snow fool you! Spring is quickly approaching bringing with it sunshine, warm air temperatures, and those unfortunate seasonal pests. A little preparation can go a long way in helping your pets stay pest free this spring and summer!

Fleas
Fleas are nearly impossible to avoid for an entire season, even with flea collars, shampoos, and other products meant to protect your pet and reject fleas. The first sign your dog may have brought home fleas is frequent, severe itching and scratching, hair loss, and scabs, particularly towards their hind end.

The best way to check for/repel fleas is to use a flea comb, paired with frequent bathing.

Ticks
A lovely day out in the woods, communing with nature, breathing fresh air is a favorite pastime of pet owners. After all, these are the joys of summer! Unfortunately, ticks enjoy these spots, too, and they don’t mind hanging around to wait for you and your four-legged friend to hitch a ride on.

You know your dog. When petting, ticks may feel like a small, hard bump that is visible when your dog’s fur is parted. Tick can wreak havoc on your pet’s immune and nervous system, with side effects like blood loss anemia, hypersensitivity, and pruritus. More serious diseases like Rocky Mountain spotted fever and Lyme disease, can also be transmitted by ticks.

If you will be spending time in grassy or wooded areas with your pet, be sure to do a tick inspection daily so that the tick can be removed before damage can be done. If you don’t know how to remove a tick the proper way, make sure to become familiar with the proper technique before doing it. Improper removal may do more harm than good!

Some natural ways to remove fleas and ticks include:

Use Citrus
Fleas are known to be repelled by citrus. A freshly squeezed orange or lemon can be rubbed onto your pet’s fur, with no harm to your pet if it is licked off, and fresh smelling fur to boot.

Bathe
Bathing your pet not only makes them look and smell good, but because fleas do not grasp onto the hair shafts, they fall off in water and drown. A thorough bath will wash away most, if not all of the fleas on your pet. We recommend using a gentle shampoo with a citrus base, along with thorough and regular brushing, for ridding your pet’s body of fleas.

Clean Your Home
Around the house, vacuuming, laundering, and disinfecting the floors and your pet’s living spaces will help to control the population of fleas (just make sure you do not use products with volatile organic compounds).

Cover Up
Ticks hang out in tall grass and use the opportunity to grab on to passersby when they feel body warmth. If you are going to be spending time in wooded or grassy areas with your dog, you might want to fashion some cover-up clothing for your dog to avoid ticks. This may not entirely prevent ticks from making their way onto your dog, but it keep most of them off since they have nothing to latch onto.

Essential Oils
Repelling ticks is essential is because they carry dangerous bacteria. Try a natural repellent like rose geranium oil by applying it to your dog’s collar. (Do NOT use this on your cat, though!)