Flea, tick and mosquito bites are just as annoying and painful for dogs as they are for humans. While there is no way to keep a dog 100 percent free from fleas, ticks and mosquitoes, there are some very good products that can help keep your pet safe.
Spot-on treatments are medications that you apply directly to your dog’s skin, usually between the shoulder blades. The treatments last for three weeks to a month at a time, depending on the dog. Your vet can help you decide how often to treat your dog and what dosage to use. You should also make sure you read the packaging of a spot-on treatment before you buy, because not all spot-on treatments treat for mosquitoes. Many of the products only treat for fleas and ticks.
There are a few natural oils that are safe to use on dogs to repel fleas, ticks and mosquitoes. According to the Partnership for Animal Welfare, lavender oil will repel all three types bugs and can be used in the same fashion as a spot-on treatment. Geranium and peppermint oil can be used to repel mosquitoes and ticks, but they don’t really work for fleas. Lemongrass is good for ticks and fleas, but not mosquitoes.
The EPA recommends that pet owners vacuum their homes daily to avoid an indoor flea infestation. For tick control, the EPA suggests providing your dog with a “vegetation free” play area away from bushes and shrubbery. While the Partnership for Animal Welfare recommends keeping dogs in the house at dusk and dawn, which is when mosquitoes are most active. The group also suggests that you try to eliminate standing water from your yard, which is where mosquitoes breed.
Always consult a veterinarian before treating your dog with any product, natural or chemical. Also, make sure you read the label of all products to make sure there are no potentially harmful ingredients. For instance, the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center considers DEET poisonous to cats and dogs. So, any product containing DEET, like yard sprays or human bug sprays, should be kept away from your pets. The Partnership for Animal Welfare reports that oils such as tea tree, pennyroyal and d-limonine can cause weakness, paralysis, seizures and liver issues in dogs.
- dog image by ErgÃ¼n Ã–zsoy from Fotolia.com