Humans and dogs have co-existed together for centuries, and unlike some other pets, the role of the dog has often been as much about them taking care of us as us taking care of them.
Dogs guard us from intruders and work on our farms. Even if they’re not working dogs, they still encourage us to exercise and provide us with love and silent emotional support.
In return, we feed them, give them warmth and shelter, and generally welcome them into our families. It’s this uniquely equal level of give and take that has rightly earned dogs the title of man’s best friend.
Because dogs are our best friends, we naturally want to give them the best. This includes providing them with a balanced diet with a good mixture of nutrients, as well as the occasional tasty treat.
We also want to ensure they enjoy life to the full and keep fit with plenty of long walks and play. There are many other ways in which we can do our bit to keep them healthy so that they can have a long and happy life.
One very important part of your dog’s health routine is to take regular steps to keep them free of common pests like fleas, tics and worms.
Worse than a nuisance
These pests can very quickly become much more than just a nuisance to your dog.
A common sign of fleas is when your dog seems to be scratching a lot, but in fact an irritating itch is the least of their worries. Fleas can produce a serious allergic reaction in dogs, and these and similar pests can carry a range of diseases that in extreme cases can be fatal. Thankfully, it’s very rare for things to reach this stage, and commonplace pest infestations can be easily handled. Nevertheless, it pays to remember that prevention is the best form of cure.
Worms can be spread by fleas, and are one of the most common ailments suffered by a dog. T
hey come in several nasty varieties, including hookworms, tapeworms, roundworms, heartworms and whipworms. These are parasites that feed in your dog’s intestines, and they can be very hard to detect.
Vets recommend worming your dog every 3-6 months using tablets like Bob Martin wormer treatment.
Check for ticks
After you’ve taken your dog for a walk, check its coat and skin for signs of ticks.
These are quite easy to see and move quite slowly compared with fleas, but they are just as dangerous and can spread a range of diseases and infection, so it’s important to carefully remove any you find, using tweezers.
Gently work them free of the skin so that the head is not left behind. Treat the affected area with an antiseptic cream.
Keep your dog’s bedding clean
It’s easy to neglect your dog’s basket or favorite blanket, and it will become thick with shed hair and walked-in dirt if not regularly cleaned.
Your dog may not seem to mind this, but their bedding can also harbour bugs, lice and mites. These dangerous parasites love cozy warm spaces in our homes, but need to be shown the door at once.
So clean / change your dog’s bedding regularly and don’t give them the chance to get comfortable.
Give them a bath
Most dogs love to be bathed, and it’s an important part of keeping them clean and healthy.
The more regularly they have baths, the more they’ll get used to the experience and won’t be so concerned or frightened.
Use a recommended dog shampoo, and while you’re washing them keep an eye out for any signs of parasites, such as irritated skin or bite marks.
Use flea treatment
If your dog shows any signs of having fleas, treat them with a good quality flea treatment as soon as possible.
You should also treat the rest of your home; especially those areas in which your dog likes to spend the most time. As noted above, fleas can be extremely damaging to your dog’s health, so this is a time when it pays to be as thorough as possible.
When we talk about pests in relation to our dogs, we really are understating the matter.
These parasites aren’t just annoying your best friend, they’re actively attacking their health.
Once this is understood, it’s natural that we should want to do everything we can to keep these so-called “pests” off our dogs’ backs.
You know that they’ll do all they can to protect you from threats, so it’s only right that you should do the same for them.