Headache? Take an Advil. Stomach ache? Take Pepto. Not sure what is wrong? Talk to a doctor. Being sick is a hassle but our voice allows us to communicate exactly what we need during those moments. As soon as I feel a migraine coming I am able to tell my family that I need Advil and a cold cloth, but what about your canine companion? I don’t speak in barks so figuring out when they are feeling ill is a little more challenging. This is especially true if their sickness leaves no physical evidence behind.
Instead of playing the guessing game, I make sure to stay up-to-date on all of my dog’s shots and prevention medications. Spring is here, so it is time to make sure you are taking all the precautions this season to ensure your pup stays happy and healthy. With the flowers blooming, Lyme disease is a big factor to consider this season.
Our canine companions are itching to enjoy the sunshine just as much as we are. Whether it is rolling in the grass or walking down to the park your dog is encountering the great outdoors. These sunny moments bring the risk of being exposed to ticks. Make sure you are checking your dog daily, especially during warmer months. To check your dog for ticks run your hands through their fur being mindful of any small bumps along the way. These bumps could potentially be ticks hiding. It is in good practice to check any of your pets that venture outdoors for ticks. Ticks like cool, wet places so make sure you are checking the following areas thoroughly, in addition to the rest of their coat:
- Between the toes
- Behind the ears
- Around the tail
- Around the head
- Under the legs
Keep in mind that ticks vary in size. When you are checking your dog, a tick could feel as small as a pinhead or as large as a grape depending on how long it has been attached. Make sure you remove the tick within 48 hours or less. According to peteducation.com, a tick will not transmit disease to your dog if detached in under 48 hours.
If your dog has been bitten by a tick watch for the following:
- Your dog’s normal temperature ranges from 99.5-102.5F.
- Loss of appetite
- Reduced energy
- Swelling of joints
- Discomfort or pain
These are all signs that your dog may have contracted Lyme disease. Symptoms of Lyme disease in dogs versus humans is much different. Lyme disease symptoms will not occur until much later after a tick bite in dogs. Dogs will also not develop a rash or a circular area of redness around the bite like humans who have been affected.
If you think your pet has contracted Lyme disease consult with your veterinarian for testing and treatment plans.
To reduce the risk of Lyme disease in your dog consider the following:
- Flea/tick topical medication that is applied periodically, as instructed.
- Cut back any shrubbery around the house and clear the area of any fallen leaves or debris that could serve as hiding spots for ticks.
- Since the common deer is an essential part of the lifecycle of a tick, try to stay away from planting any plants/flowers that deer are fond of in the vicinity of your pets play areas.
For questions about Lyme disease consult your veterinarian. For more information consult the following websites: