by Heather Redmon, DVM


As the weather warms up, we tend to spend more time outdoors.  This includes taking walks with our dogs to the park or hiking with them in the desert.  Wherever we take them, there is always a risk of them pickidownload (2)ng up a stray hitchhiker or two: fleas or ticks.  Although both types of parasites live in Arizona, ticks tend to be more prevalent and more difficult to control once there is an infestation.

Unlike fleas, which live their entire adult life on the pet, ticks only spend a portion of the time attached to the animal and feeding.  The rest of the time is spent off the animal under shrubs, doghouses, kennels, grass, and even indoors.  To control an infestation, in addition to treating the pet, the environment must be repeatedly treated as well.

There are many flea and tick products available in both topical and oral forms.  Some may be more effective in certain regions depending on the prevalent types of ticks.  Also, since some chemicals are extremely toxic to cats, only products made for cats may be used on them.  No produdownload
ct is 100% effective against ticks.  Close observation and examination of dogs after walks and hikes is still very important.  Any tick found should be immediately removed with tweezers or a tick removal tool.  Do not apply anything to the tick.  Just grasp it near where the mouth is attached to the dog and gently pull it off.  Kill the tick before disposing of it.  Ticks can carry diseases such as Tick Fever and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, and the longer a tick is attached, the greater the chance of the tick injecting a disease-causing organism.

Year- round flea and tick prevention and regular inspection of your dog after excursions are key measures in keeping him comfortable and healthy and in preventing parasite infestations.

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