Summer time and the living is easy – maybe so for us humans but it’s not always the same case for your pets, who are more likely to catch ticks when the weather is warmer.
Spotting the signs of ticks
“Ticks and fleas are attracted to the warm weather just as much as we and our pets are, which is what leads to the increase in numbers during the warmer months,” says Katrin Scholz, head nutritionist at AniForte.
She recommends that after every outing with your dog, you check their coat thoroughly for any signs of ticks.
Ticks look very similar to spiders, with an egg-shaped body, and they vary in size - they can be large and easy to spot or much harder to locate. If your pet has long hair, run your fingers through it to check for anything unusual. Pay particular attention to the head, neck and feet, as this is where parasites are most likely to attach themselves.
Katrin explains that ticks attach themselves to the skin of animals and feed off of their blood. The areas in which they feed can become red and irritated - in extreme cases enough blood can be consumed to make pets anaemic.
“Ticks can also be responsible for causing a number of diseases, the most well-known of which is Lyme disease – a condition that can cause arthritis and painful swelling of pets’ joints.
“Ticks can also infect animals with babesiosis, a condition that affects the red blood cells of those suffering and can lead to death in dogs in a very short space of time if not treated.”
If you spot any signs of ticks, there are many tick remover tools available. This is the easiest and safest way to remove them and to prevent disease from spreading.
As well as ticks, your pet could be suffering from one of the following:
A common complaint among pet owners is that their animal has itchy skin in the summer. One reason for this could be grass mites, which can aggravate an animal’s skin with their bites.
Dogs are susceptible to ear mites after spending a lot of time outdoors. Some animals can react particularly badly, suffering intense irritation of the external ear.
Dogs infected with ear mites will typically scratch their ears excessively, even pulling out their fur as a result, Katrin explains.
“In extreme circumstances, dogs can do damage to their ear drums and canal with their claws. You will also notice them shaking their head more than usual,” says Katrin.
If ear mites are suspected, take your pet to the vet who can do an extensive search. If ear mites are found, the pet can be treated with a medication to kill the mites.
Due to how contagious the mites are, though, it’s advised that any animals that share a house with the animal infected are treated, plus the home is cleaned thoroughly.