Our companion animals like to spend all the time they can with us, and right now that means spending more time outdoors. It’s important to consider the following and take steps to prevent doing harm to our pets.
Bloodsucking parasites can take the fun out of summer. Skin problems like fleabite dermatitis can cause dogs and cats to suffer painful, itchy rashes, flaking skin, and hair loss. Fleas can also cause anemia and weaken your animal’s immune system, leaving them susceptible to infection and attacks from other parasites. Yikes!
Take a holistic approach to battle these pests. There are many products to choose from. Those that kill fleas and ticks are food grade diatomaceous earth and cedar oil sprays such as Cedarcide and Wondercide.
Products like Alzoo and Whup-A-Bug, use essential oils to deter visits from fleas and ticks as well as other pests. The Whup-A-Bug is also effective on the dreaded oak mite!
Shampoos containing natural substances such as neem, rosemary, mint, lavender, or cedar act as repellents because fleas detest the strong pungent odor.
Feed your companions a healthy diet of natural ingredients to keep your pets’ immune systems strong. Some supplements also aid in the fight against fleas such as oils high in omega 3 fatty acids and garlic and brewer’s yeast supplements. The strong odor of garlic (use a very small amount) acts to deter fleas, while brewer’s yeast makes the animal less tasty to the parasites. You should begin using the supplements very early in the spring so they can begin to work by the time flea season starts. Cinnamon also can be added to your pets’ food or sprinkled on the coat. If you want to add it to your pets’ meals, use about a 1/2 teaspoon per 30 lbs. of weight.
Treat your lawn with Beneficial Nematodes, which are microscopic worms that suck out and feed on flea larvae. Yeah!
Always check your pet with a flea comb and visually inspect them for ticks. While natural products work well with low to moderate pest populations, major infestations and exposure to high-risk areas such as wooded walking trails or dog parks with tall grass can overload even a good flea and tick product. If your pet is exposed to these risks, please seek out your holistic vet for other helpful aids.
If your dog likes to investigate – a euphemism for being nosy – and decides to check out a buzzing sound, they can potentially get stung. If that happens, monitor your pet for any swelling or redness. If this occurs, you should call your vet.
If your pooch decides to check out a hissing noise or something withering on the ground, this could result in a snake bite! Watch out for tall grassy areas or piles of rocks or junk, a snake’s favorite hideout. If your pet gets bitten, immediately seek veterinary care. Be sure to include any description you can about the snake!
Being opportunistic carnivores, dogs love to forage for food. Be mindful of what you use to landscape your home. Rocks can be swallowed and sometimes surgery is needed to remove them. Most dangerous is a product called cocoa mulch, which can be very toxic to dogs! Cocoa mulch contains caffeine and, more deadly, theobromine, the toxic compound found in chocolate. If your pet ingests this mulch, seek out emergency care immediately.
Some outdoor plants are also toxic to our pets, so do your due diligence when planning your landscape. Plants like Azaleas and Daffodils can cause problems. If they are in your yard, take measures to keep Fido from grazing on them.
Backyard BBQ’s are huge for us here in KC. Remember that small amounts of hot dogs and hamburgers are okay for your dog to consume, but be careful if serving up corn on the cob, fruit with pits or grapes, BBQ sauced meats, or items with cooked bones or skewers. If ingested, these can cause major stomach aches or perforations to the gut.
Don’t forget to tackle your doggies’ grooming needs during the summer. Refer to my blog on Summer Fur Dos and Don’ts. If you’re concerned about the effect of heat on your pets, read my blog, Summer Sizzles!
Enjoy your summer!