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The Dangers of Fleas and Ticks

Lyme Disease, Infections and Serious Skin Problems

As temperatures quickly rise, so does your pet’s chances of becoming infested with fleas and ticks. Summer is the season when these little pests become a real problem for both pets and pet owners. Fleas that affect your dog

Although it is crucial that you take the proper steps to protect your cat or dog from fleas and ticks, it is just as important to keep a watchful eye on your pet. Otherwise, you could be facing more than just a nuisance this summer – your pet could be facing a serious health issue!

Fleas can be extremely bothersome for both your canine and feline pets. These tiny bugs can be picked up just about anywhere during the warmer months, but they pose the biggest problem for pet owners who live in rural areas, where pets may spend a lot of time outside or in wooded areas. Although fleas are small in size, their sheer numbers make up for it. In a very short time span, your pet can go from having one or two fleas, to dozens, to hundreds!

The primary issue with these tiny pests isn’t that they are living on your pet, it’s the minuscule bites they leave. These bites are very irritating for your dog or cat, and can be extremely itchy. If your pet is scratching more frequently than usual, it is a good idea to check them for fleas. The scratching can become a significant problem, especially in pets with sensitive skin. Over time, itchy spots can turn into open sores from the constant scratching, and this often leads to infection and serious skin problems.

Ticks are a similar seasonal problem, and they also tend to be more prevalent in pets that spend a significant amount of time outside. A tick actually lives off the blood of your pet; it bites into the skin and stays attached to your pet as long as it can. Tick bites are commonly just as irritating as flea bites, and similarly they can cause excessive scratching which often leads to more serious infections.

The best way to avoid both the hassle and dangers associated with fleas and ticks all year, and especially during summer, is to take proper preventative measures. Buying your pet a flea collar or administering a monthly dose of a popular flea and tick treatment can often help; however these methods of prevention often come with risks of their own as they are actually topical insecticides. While we normally propose a natural method of prevention, in the case of fleas and ticks we have not found an effective natural alternative. However, there are herbal treatments to address many of the aftereffects.

There are many great natural methods to help your pets cope with fleas and ticks, and the resulting irritation. Herbal remedies can be much safer than the steroid ointments often prescribed to fight off skin infections. Steroid medications are proven to ultimately have negative long-term effects on your pet’s health that can result in shortened life spans. A herbal anti-itch cream can be very effective at soothing the irritation of flea and tick bites, healing them and helping to fight off infection.

But there is a larger danger associated with fleas and ticks that is significant for both you and your pet! These pests can sometimes bring with them more than just annoying itchy bites; they can actually infect you and your pets with a serious disease! The most common of disease spread by ticks in particular is Lyme disease.

Many pet owners are under the impression that only humans can catch Lyme disease, but the truth is that pets suffer from it just as much as we do. This lack of awareness often results in the disease going undiagnosed until its more serious symptoms develop. In fact, some experts believe that almost 10% of pets are infected with the disease today!

Lyme disease is a bacterial infection that results in severe muscle and joint pain that intensifies as time goes on. Ultimately this can lead to crippling arthritis and even lameness, and in some cases it can even be fatal.

Traditionally, Lyme disease is treated with antibiotics. While this treatment can be effective in the short-term, over time it can actually weaken your pet’s immune system and result in recurrences of the disease. Again, as a method of prevention, certain topical insecticides are often prescribed, and can be very effective and helpful. The downside however is that these treatments are toxic, and can cause a buildup of negative toxins in the animals system. Sometimes, the animal may ingest some of the toxins as well, and this can lead to harmful complications.

If your pet does have Lyme disease, there are natural remedies available to help fight it and other flea and tick borne illnesses. These herbal remedies actually strengthen your pet’s immune system, and ultimately increase their natural ability to fight off infection. As an alternative to the dangerous side effects of prescription medications, these natural products can be very effective in helping keep your pet’s system clean and to boost their natural immune functioning in cases where prescription medications may be necessary.

Avoiding the multiple problems associated with fleas and ticks is primarily about being a conscientious pet owner. You should frequently check your canine or feline’s skin and coat for pests; and also know how to read the warning signs of an unhealthy animal. Early prevention and deciphering that something may be wrong are the keys to providing good health support for the dog or cat you love. Fleas and ticks don’t have to ruin your pet’s summer, or yours!