After a long winter, parks across North America are again filled with dog owners and their furry four-legged companions. But while dogs enjoy the freedom of running through grassy fields, owners should be aware of lurking, disease-carrying dangers, like fleas and ticks that are more prevalent in warmer months.
Fleas and ticks are not only an irritant to your dog; they’re in fact blood-sucking parasites that can transmit disease when they feed on a dog’s blood. If left unprotected, your dog runs the risk of contracting a number of harmful diseases like Lyme disease.
“While serious, and sometimes deadly, the important thing to remember is that these diseases are preventable,” said Heather Sims, a veterinarian at the Barriefield Animal Hospital in Kingston, Ontario, Canada.
“Talk to your vet about easy-to-apply preventive treatments … which kill most ticks before they can attach, significantly reducing the risk of infection,” Sims said.
Other effective measures to avoid infection include staying clear of wooded, shady or moist areas with your dog and performing regular tick checks on your dog.
In dogs, Lyme disease can cause complications with their heart, kidneys and joints, as well as neurological problems. Although the disease can’t be passed from dog-to-human or from dog-to-dog, people can contract the disease in the same way a dog does – if they’re bitten by a tick carrying the Lyme disease bacteria.
To learn more about flea and tick prevention, click here.