The summer season means you must be extra careful about ticks and heartworm. Ticks are more active in warmer weather, and the damage they can do is far worse than fleas. In fact, according to the Hopkins Medicines, more than 50% of ticks are infected with Lyme Disease bacteria depending on the location, and your dog can contract it from a single bite.
This post will cover everything you need to know about protecting your pup from ticks and heartworm this season: what symptoms to look for, how to prevent them both, and where they’re most likely to strike. So read on.
Get a Heartworm Test for Your Dog
According to a BioMedCentral study, the prevalence of heartworm in dogs over six months was 40.8%. The heartworm test is a simple blood analysis that checks for the presence of heartworm larvae in your dog’s bloodstream.
The most common way to do this is to get your vet to collect a blood sample from your dog and send it off for testing. Both you and your vet will be given a copy of the results, but only if everything checks out will you receive it.
Should you get a heartworm test for your dog? It depends on where you live, what kind of climate you have at home, how often they go outside, and what type of protection they use. For example, if there are many ticks around where you live, then we would recommend getting one every six months or so just as a precautionary measure since ticks carry other nasty diseases like Lyme disease, which can be transmitted through their saliva when they bite someone or something else like an animal, etc.
Use a Heartworm As Well As Tick and Flea Preventative
The easiest way to keep your dog safe and protected against ticks and heartworm season is by using a strong preventative. Heartgard Plus chewables are a tablet that prevents heartworm larvae. It is recommended for dogs over six weeks old but can be used on a more senior pet also, who hasn’t had their first dose of Heartgard.
As for ticks and fleas, there’s an easy way to prevent these pests from taking up residence on your dog, tick, and flea preventives. These products work by applying a topical medication to your pet’s skin.
This medication is absorbed through the skin into the bloodstream, which remains active for several weeks or months. When flea or tick bites occur, the medication kills parasites before they attach or lay eggs in the host animal’s body.
Be Diligent About At-Home Tick Checks
At-home tick checks are the most effective way to protect your dog from ticks and heartworm. You should check your dog’s ears, belly, and legs regularly with a hand mirror or flashlight, but you can also do it in the dark by feeling around with your fingers.
If you find a tick on your dog, take it off as soon as possible. An anti-tick shampoo or topical solution like Ultrasols may help kill any remaining parasites that would otherwise continue feeding on them.
Check the Weather Before Going Outside With Your Dog
If you’re taking your dog outside, ensuring the weather is safe for them is essential. In particular, check if there are any storm clouds in the sky. If there are, wait to take them out until the storm has passed. Storms can be dangerous for dogs and even cause fires that could burn down homes or kill pets.
If you live in an area with hot temperatures during the summer months, try to keep your dog inside when it gets too hot outside. If this isn’t possible because you have a yard and need to let them relieve themselves at some point during the day or night, try taking them out earlier than usual so their body can cool down before going back inside again later on when it becomes cooler outside.
Know the Symptoms of Tick Bites and Heartworm Disease
It would help if you were looking for several symptoms indicating your dog has a tick bite or heartworm disease.
Tick bites: Tick bites are one of the most common ways dogs contract Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, ehrlichiosis, and other illnesses from ticks. If your dog shows signs of lethargy, loss of appetite, diarrhea, or excessive scratching after being outside where ticks may thrive, they may have been bitten by one or more ticks. If you see any signs like this after spending time outdoors with your furry friend, contact your veterinarian right away to get him checked out.
Heartworm Disease: Heartworms are serious parasites in the heart and lungs and can be transmitted through mosquitoes that feed on infected blood while they’re still in their larval stage. Symptoms include coughing fits similar to those caused by asthma attacks, difficulty breathing, lethargy, weight loss, fainting spells, exercise intolerance, increased thirstiness due to fluid buildup around heart tissue, coughing up blood/foamy saliva, mucus from mouth/nose, etc.
You can keep your dog happy and healthy with the proper steps and precautions. Take the time to learn about ticks and heartworm season so that you can protect your beloved pet from these pesky parasites. Remember that prevention is critical. Start with a tick check every day when walking your dog.