Knowing Your Dog’s Ultimate Enemies

Dogs need to spend an ample amount of time outdoors for activities that would make them healthy and lively, and would keep them from being bored. However, the outdoor is also a good place where dog pests inhabit and multiply. Be it a heavy trek across the woods or just a short walk around the block, the outdoors can make dogs vulnerable to pests that can be extremely annoying, sometimes even dangerous.

Regardless of the time of the year, the warm, soft fur of dogs is a perfect environment for pesky pests to dwell in and reproduce. As such, it is important to get to know these pests that feed on your dogs and the dangers they might pose when left unmanaged:

Fleas

Fleas are ultimate blood suckers. According to research, a female flee can suck blood as much as 15 times her own weight within just a day. With an astounding hatch rate of 600 offspring per female flea in one month, fleas can be tremendously irritating for dogs, and can be extremely dangerous when left uncontrolled. 

When flea bites, its saliva causes itching and scratching, which may lead to hair loss and infection-causing scabs. Because flea can take it an enormous amount of blood, a flea-infested dog are at risk of more serious health conditions, such as anemia. Flea-infested dogs that look lethargic or weak, and have pale or whitish gums would require blood tests for prompt anemia diagnosis and treatment.

Fleas are oftentimes found on shady, humid and damp part of the yard, where they would most likely breed.

Ticks

Ticks are bugs that can mostly be felt and seen on your dog’s paws, neck, ears and head. After being hatched, ticks develop into three blood-feeding stages: larvae (the size of a sand grain), nymphs (the size of a poppy seed), and adults (the size of an apple seed).

Ticks are infamous for carrying microbes that can pose serious harm not just among pet dogs but also among humans. Ticks are known vectors of Lyme disease, anaplasmosis, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and ehrlichiosis that may all cause dog paralysis and death. There is no immediate way to tell if a tick carries infection, but a single bite from a disease-carrying tick is enough to leave health problems in dogs.

Ticks can be found mostly on forests and on areas with high grass, woodpiles, leaf litters, and overgrown shrubs. Stonewalls and paths can also be home for ticks.

Botfly

Also called warbles, botfly larvae live and develop within the tissues of certain animals, such as rodents and rabbits. However, dogs can sometimes be its accidental host. An adult botfly lays its eggs near the burrows of bush animals, such as rodents and rabbits. Botfly eggs find their way into the host’s tissue through openings (mouth, nose) and skin wounds.  The larvae migrate and find its way to tissues beneath the skin, where they will complete their development.

Early signs of warbles among dogs are hardly noticeable. As the larvae become larger, swelling can be felt in the skin. A small hole can also be noticed over the botfly larvae. As the botfly empties the skin, it would leave a hollow cyst where deep skin abscess might develop, making the dog more prone to skin infection. Botflies can become extremely dangerous if they travel through or grow near a nerve or sensitive organ, such as the eyes.

Burrows of animals, tall grass and overgrown bushes are among the places where dogs might likely come in contact with botfly larvae.

As part of dog grooming, knowing the pests that feed on your dog and the dangers they might possibly bring would equip you with the needed awareness whenever you and your dog decide to spend a lovely day outside. With proper caution and vigilance, you and your buddy would surely make the most out of the outdoors without fearing much about pesky pets!