Summer is finally here, along with all of it’s anticipated goodies: radiant heat, buzzing bugs, summer crowds, ice cream and hot dogs! Yes, I mean the hot dogs you walk! I’m sure you know all about the dog days of summer, but in case you need a refresher on keeping your client’s dogs safe, I found an article on a great website that is veterinarian endorsed. Check it out, ten tips how to keep your pet safe in the summer heat.
Remember to ask your client if they are using a tick preventative this year. It is their choice to do so. If they have applied something like Frontline, do your part for the environment and try to keep the dogs out of small streams and ponds, lest you contaminate the water for local wildlife (like fish and frogs). If they have a bug repelling collar or scarf, make sure you don’t leave on your walk without it.
If they have not applied a pesticide on their dog, I think that is admirable! You never know what is causing cancer or seizures in our beloved pets these days. Help these particular clients succeed in preventing tick bites the natural way, by keeping their dog on a leash and staying centered on the trail. Avoid the tall grass along trail and sidewalk borders (because these are popular elimination and sniffing spots for all dogs big and small, the foliage on these sidelines are like bus depots for ticks, where they get dropped off and picked up all season long). Before you deposit the dog back in the house, look him over for any obvious ticks that have not yet penetrated their coats. Check around the face, behind the ears, the neck, the chest, each leg, and between the toes. Brush the dog lightly with your fingers or with a brush if it’s handy. It is very difficult to spot a tick on a black dog, so focus on prevention by avoiding wooded areas and tall grass, and check him carefully upon returning.
Lyme disease (carried by deer ticks) is a real concern. An eye opening documentary that I highly recommend for everyone (and for their dogs, for they contract the disease and experience symptoms just as we humans do) is named, Under Our Skin (2008). Netflix has it streaming. WebVet also has a great article that describes Lyme Disease symptoms.
Before your walk, apply insect repellent to your ankles and tuck your pants in your socks. Ticks are easy to spot on white socks and light colored pants.. After your walk, check yourself for ticks as well. Check your shoes, ankles, legs, and pants. When you get home, check your warm shady spots where ticks quickly head to: armpits, chest, back, neck hairline, and groin. If you find a tick, pick it off with your fingers. If it has bitten you and is attached, pull it off with it’s head intact and save the tick in a jar for identification. Be sure to call your doctor, s/he may want to see you, or the tick for treatment and/or testing. If the bite develops a bulls eye rash around it, take yourself and your tick to see a doctor immediately!