It’s always such a relief when summer rolls around. The beautiful sunny days, the summer flowers, long days at the pool or beach, long summer nights. Of course, that also comes with unbearable heat, sweat, and the bugs. Oh, the bugs. The absolute worst part of summer for everyone.
It’s not just us they’re “bugging”. Summer is a horrible time of year for insects and the infestations and diseases they can cause in our dogs. Even shutting yourself and your dog away in the air conditioning isn’t enough to avoid the misery bugs can cause.
The most important part of bug defense is knowing what you’re up against. Let’s talk about summer bugs and what we can do to keep them off our dogs and out of our houses!
Common Summer Pests
Buckle up! We’re going to be talking about some common and gross pests that you need to be concerned about when it comes to your dog’s wellbeing.
Fleas- Let’s start with public enemy number one: the flea. All it takes is one sneaky hitchhiker to get into your house to cause an infestation that is expensive and frustrating to bring to an end. If your dog likes to lay in shady areas, they could be picking up flea eggs in addition to adult fleas which can then fall into your carpet or furniture.
Fleas aren’t just a biting inconvenience, these unwelcome visitors can cause skin infections due to your dog constantly scratching at bites, and they spread other parasites. Tapeworms are commonly acquired through flea bites. In a small dog, an uncontrolled infestation can lead to anemia.
Mosquitos- These tiny monsters are more than just annoying. In addition to the itching bites they inflict, they are responsible for transmitting one of the most dangerous dog parasites: heartworms. Heartworm infections can cause severe cough, lung infections, heart failure, and eventually, death.
Ticks- If you are in a wooded area, an avid camper or hiker, or live near tall grass, your dog is in danger of picking up ticks. These little bloodsuckers can go mostly unnoticed because of their small size until they get bloated with your dog’s blood. Ticks are one of the main disease spreaders. The saliva in their bites can transmit Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Ehrlichiosis, Anaplasmosis, Babesiosis, and Bartonellosis. These diseases can all have devastating health consequences for your dog.
Botflies- These are some of the most grotesque insects on this list. Botfly (Cuterebra) maggots find their way to your dog by hanging out in the grass. All it takes is your dog to step on it or brush against it, and the maggot will hop on and find a way to get inside your dog so it can develop. The botfly will typically try and find an opening in the skin but will also go in through its ears or nose.
This usually results in nasty skin abscesses known as warbles where the maggot has decided it wants to live and grow. Sometimes this can lead to skin infections, and depending on the port of entry, neurological symptoms like seizures, sudden aggression, or blindness.
Sarcoptes Mites- These nasty little spiderish creatures are responsible for many of the scraggly-looking animals you see out in the wild. The Sarcoptes mite, properly known as Sarcoptes scabiei, burrows into the skin causing horribly intense itching. This infestation of mites is known as Sarcoptic Mange. This leads to hair loss, skin infections, and eventual thickening and darkening of the skin. This won’t be confined to your dog. Sarcoptes mites will also happily infect you with mange as well and make you itch until they finally die off.
Preventing Bugs On Your Dog
Bugs are more than just annoying, some of the critters described above are a literal horror show. While most of the conditions they cause can be treated, it’s easier to make every attempt to prevent them in the first place. There are a few ways you can lower your dog’s risk of attracting any of these creatures, and stop them in their tracks if they do.
- Heartworm preventative- This is the number one most important thing you need to do for your dog and not just in the summer; dogs need to be on a heartworm preventative year-round. Thankfully, there are preventative options that also contain flea and tick preventatives to cut down on the number of products you need. These are available only through a veterinarian after a heartworm test, which is typically part of a yearly exam.
- Flea and Tick Prevention- These are available as a topical liquid or a pill. Some kill fleas on contact, and others interrupt the lifecycle. While not always 100% effective, they can help prevent an infestation from starting.
- Groom them frequently- Keeping your dog clean means that your dog is less likely to accumulate pests, and if they do have unwanted visitors, you will be aware of it early and can stop problems before they start.
- Check your dog for ticks after a hike- Go over your dog thoroughly after a walk through the woods or a grassy area. If you find any cling-ons, remove them carefully so you do not leave the head in the skin, and be sure to save the tick to take to your dog’s veterinarian so it can be tested for any dangerous diseases.
- Use an insect repellent- Take twofold action and combine a bath and repellent with a product made to clean your dog while treating their skin with bug-repelling botanicals. The I Hate Bugs bath bomb from Fido Fizzies is infused with bug-repelling natural ingredients like lemongrass, geranium oil, and cedarwood oil. These ingredients are effective insect repellents and are safe and non-toxic for use on dogs.
Keep your dog, your house (and you!) bug-free. Use a combination of methods to keep your dog safe, so you can enjoy an itch-free summer together.
Check out Fido Fizzies to see more of our dog bath products. Our products are small batch and handmade with high-quality dog-safe ingredients.