Fleas & Ticks
If you notice your dog spending a lot of time scratching himself, there’s a good chance he’s got fleas. To make sure, separate a patch of his fur so you can see his skin. If you notice a lot of tiny black specs (flea excrement), your dog most likely has fleas. Fleas are the most difficult external parasite to get rid of because they reproduce extremely fast and also because they can become resistant to insecticides. Your veterinarian can help you to rid your pup and your home of these annoying critters.
Ticks are more than just a nuisance, as they often carry diseases, such as Lyme disease, ehrlichiosis, and tick paralysis. They feed off their host’s blood by burrowing their mouths into the skin, so a disease can be easily passed from tick to animal. Ticks can easily be spotted on shorthaired dogs, but finding a tick on a dog with a longer coat can be challenging. It’s important to check your dog for ticks often, especially if he spends a lot of time in wooded or grassy places. On dogs, ticks tend to prefer areas near the ears, head, and neck, so check these spots most often.
The best method for removing a tick is using tweezers. Grasp the tick as close to the skin as possible and gently pull it off. Don’t use your fingers to remove a tick because you may inadvertently squeeze it, which will increase the chance of disease transmission to your dog. If you think your dog may have contracted a tick-borne disease, get him to the veterinarian as soon as possible.