Insects have been popping up all over the blogs this week. I guess we’re collectively preparing for “bug season.” shudder
Our worst problem, far and away, is mosquitoes. I’ve counted twenty on me at a time in the park after a rain storm. And that was just my front side. For dogs, mosquitoes mean heart worm. My state is very high up the list of heart-worm prevalence. In the one exception to my general medication paranoia, Silas is on a heart worm preventative year round. We use the cheap and easy HeartGard chewables. Silas adores those things. They’re beef flavored, which can set off an allergic reaction in susceptible dogs, but we’ve been fine so far. Bonus, for us, is that ivermectin also kills hookworms and roundworms. Since Silas is an inveterate snarfer of wildlife poop on the rare occasions that he has access, I like that. (It is not effective against tapeworms, which are especially prevalent in rabbit droppings, so we keep an eye out for those.) We do still have the nuisance of the mosquitoes themselves, so if you know a good, dog-safe deterrent let me know.
I dance a happy jig every summer that Silas has such short white hair. Dog chewing himself? Look around, find the flea, kill the flea. We used Comfortis for a while, before I put two and two together and realized that he didn’t need it. (Please, please, read M.C.’s post about Comfortis dosages if you have a small-medium sized dog.) Silas is not a good candidate for topical flea treatments, because of recurrent skin issues that have been especially bad in the summer.
We had two major tick infestations last summer. Make that, “every time we left our area.” Ticks aren’t a bad problem locally–I suspect that we get too much sun. We very foolishly trotted off to the Ozarks on vacation with our dog who is on no tick prevention of any kind. Silas loves to root around in underbrush. I had to pick baby ticks from between Silas’s toes, among other places. The second one was, we thought, late enough in the year that we didn’t have to worry. I was wrong. The vet took one look at Silas and put him in a tick bath. (We’ve also done a tick-borne disease panel since then, don’t worry.) She then recommended a Preventic collar for the rest of our outings. The ostensible benefit is that it will kill and detach even ticks that are already present. I’m a little on the fence about actually using it, but last year was so horrific that I feel compelled.
What’s the worst creepy-crawly in your area? How do you and your dog cope?