Beyond The Monthly Preventives: Flea, Tick and Heartworm Prevention Away From Home
Spring is getting ready to, well, spring, in our neck of the woods! And although we believe that year round parasite prevention is important to good health for pets, we know that warmer weather brings about more thoughts of the creepy crawlies and how to prevent them from attacking our best friends.
Monthly flea, tick, and heartworm prevention is an important part of the process, but there are further precautions we can take to make sure our pets have an extra layer of protection.
Flea, Tick and Heartworm Prevention When Far Afield
With the advent of better weather, we’re getting outdoors with our pets more often. This means hiking, dog parks, and travel are on the agenda! Here are some tips for flea, tick, and heartworm prevention when you’re traveling away from home.
Know before you go – whether you’re crossing the country in your RV or going for a local hike, scope out the area for tick prevalence. Knowing which ticks are present and what to look for can help you be more aware of the risks.
Fleas are prolific in every area, year round. Parks, nature areas, and even your neighbor’s backyard can all give fleas ample opportunity to hitch a ride on your pet.
Over 30 species of mosquitoes can transmit heartworm disease. Once just a southern state issue, heartworm is now found in all 50 states and Canada. Be aware that even northern states like Maine have new cases of heartworm reported every month, and be aware of this risk when traveling.
Stay in the sun – ticks need to stay in moist environments in order to live. They tend to hang out in shady, leafy, and woodsey areas. Sticking to sunny areas may help prevent them from crawling onto your dog – or you.
Standing water alert – mosquitos breed and congregate near standing water and as a result, keeping away from these areas is a good way to prevent mosquito bites that can transmit heartworm disease.
Keep it light – ticks are so small that they are very difficult to see at times. Providing your pet with a light colored jacket can help you identify and remove ticks quickly, as their dark color will be more easily noticed than it might be on your dog’s fur.
Quick dry – if you’re out and about but have access to a dryer, giving your own clothes a 5 minutes spin on high heat after hiking will kill any ticks that have hitched their way into your home. They can survive the wash, so a quick pre-wash quick dry is your best bet.
Tick check – always check your pet for ticks when they are coming inside from being outdoors. Run your hands over your dog and give them a good inspection. Remove any ticks you see. Ticks take 36 – 48 hours to transmit disease after biting, so make sure you remove ticks the same day you’re out and about.
Popular But Ineffective
A quick internet search on flea, tick, and heartworm prevention pulls up hundreds of links to “natural” flea, tick and heartworm prevention. Although none of us cares for the idea of loading up our pets with chemicals and pesticides, many of the natural methods – such as garlic, essential oils, and dish soap – don’t work and can even be toxic to our pets. Safe FDA – approved preventives are widely available. Schedule an appointment to talk through your options if you’re worried.
Give us a call if you’ll be out and about this spring and have questions about prevention. We can tailor a flea, tick and heartworm prevention plan that works for you and your individual pet. As always, your team at Blue Valley Animal Hospital is here to help.