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The Truth About Ticks, Fleas, and Mosquitoes

cocker spaniel

Diligent dog moms and dads know that there are at least three hidden danger that bite our pets, particularly during the spring, summer, and fall seasons. Ticks, fleas, and mosquitoes are three of the most upsetting causes of stress to pet parents in general. There are a whole host of ailments that can results as a result of the three pains in the %$#.

While at a session hosted by one of the top pet journalists in the entire country, Steve Dale, recently, yours truly received more than an earful of info to pass on to our readers. We also keep it real at Fidose of REALITY, so this info is jam packed, info heavy, but oh so important to how you care for your dogs and the prevention of fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes.

Consider this:

  • Mosquitoes transmit heartworm in all 50 states.
  • Ticks carry anaplasmosis, a serious threat to a dog’s health and endemic in the Northeast and northern Plains states. Our very own dog has been affected by this problem.
  • Fleas can produce iron-deficiency anemia due to their blood consumption and even death.
  • “Just one flea bite can result in an allergic response in some pets, and even a handful of bites may lead to major issues,” Steve Dale says. “Those bites also itch and become an annoyance for the pet. Their scratching impacts their quality of life.”

Dale recently edited the book, Decoding Your Dog, which Fidose of Reality will be giving away a copy in June. If your pet has fleas and sleeps with you, then those parasites are in your bed, too.

Carol Bryant Steve Dale
Me with pet journalist, Steve Dale, recently

How to Reduce a Pet’s Exposure to Parasites

  • No matter what method(s) you use to repel fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes, always do so under the supervision of your dog’s veterinarian to ensure there is no chance for side effects or toxicity. There are things, however, we all need to be doing to reduce the likelihood of parasites biting their dogs:
  • Since smaller animals like mice, chipmunks, and rabbits need moisture, a place to hide, and a spot out of direct sunlight, the cleaner you keep the area around your house, the less likely your dog will be bitten by a tick.
  • Use plantings that do not attract deer in tick-prone area.
  • Keep standing water off your property since this is a prime place for mosquitoes to breed. Even simple things like old barrels or tires can be breeding grounds.
  • Cover outdoor sandboxes and screen outdoor kennels.
  • Since ticks like to climb up on vegetation that is 10 to 12 inches off the ground, keeping the grass cut low where the dog runs, is helpful.

New Test Forthcoming

Our friends at Good News for Pets recently shared news that University of Florida veterinary researchers say a simple DNA-based test could help identify strains of a debilitating tickborne disease that infects an increasing number of people. The research marks the first time scientists have demonstrated the ability to distinguish human from animal strains in ticks carrying the organism that causes anaplasmosis, the researchers said. This information could help them pinpoint areas where ticks that carry these strains are present in large numbers.

You can read the complete report on this new DNA testing and anaplasmosis here.

lyme disease

What to Use for Prevention

In terms of prevention, this is of utmost importance. Fidose of Reality has written extensively on this topic, and we encourage you to discuss preventative care with your dog’s veterinarian. We also recommend you look outside the norm of traditional preventatives and consider alternative treatments. Here are a few articles we’ve penned:

 How to Safely Prevent Fleas and Ticks on Dogs

Three Chemical Free Ways to Prevent Fleas and Ticks

A Letter from the Family Dog About Ticks

For more from pet journalist, Steve Dale, check out ChicagoNow.com/stevedale.

QUESTION: What are you using to prevent fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes?

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6 Comments

  1. Ticks are so awful. What purpose do they serve anyway? We have our protection, but being low to the ground and shaggy, we are tick magnets and Mom finds them crawling along after a walk and takes them away, but regardless, every summer I seem to have 1 or 2 that manage to live on me for a bit. We do our best, but those buggers are tough and tricky!

  2. I found a tick on my daughter right before leaving for Las Vegas and have been very cautious ever since for the kids and pets since we live in such a woodsy area. Great informative post and I was also so happy to finally meet you!

  3. Thanks for spreading the word Carol. Even though I grew up on Long Island where ticks are a common nuisance and the spread of Lyme disease is a frighteningly common occurrence, I wasn’t aware of all the new information until I started working with Steve and others on the subject. Dr. Byron Blagburn is an internationally known parasitologist who adds to the conversation. We’ve posted an interview with him and more information here http://goodnewsforpets.com/why-wait-for-the-bite-2/.

  4. Once when i went lake fishing at Busch Wildlife in St. Charles, Missouri with my husband i could feel a tightness on my entire back. we had no chairs but we had a blanket and we ate on the blanket and went to it when we were waiting for a fish to bite When we got home i looked in the bathroom mirror and there was about 50 or so, tiny black dots on my back where i could still feel the tightness i had most of the afternoon while fishing. i showed my husband. He got sort of dumbfounded yet nervous & he said you need to go to
    the ER, your back is covered in ticks. As it turned out Doctor said a tick had laid eggs on my back and they hatched while i was lying down… the heat of my body with the blanket under me hatched them. Boy ! It was something i didn’t like at all. I never had that happen to me again.

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