Flea & Ticks
It’s flea and tick season, there are many natural and safe alternatives to the chemical monthly flea treatments promoted by vets. Fipronil (used in Frontline) and Isoxazoline (used in Nexgard) have been proven to cause adverse reactions in dogs including seizures. Vita Canis produces some great natural sprays to deter fleas and ticks.
Check your dog after walks in long grasses, wetlands and woodlands areas. Ensure you have a tick fork in your canine first aid kit. When removing a tick, it’s important to use tick fork or pair of tweezers and unscrew the tick from the skin to avoid mouthparts becoming detached, remaining in your dog’s skin and potentially causing an infection. Some ticks carry Lyme disease and this can be transmitted to your dog.
Use a flea comb to regularly check your dog for fleas. Fleas reside in long grasses and sense potential hosts through vibrations. Don’t assume that a flea will only jump from another dog or animal onto your dog. Tip when combing for fleas: Have a roll of sellotape handy so that you can trap a flea in the sticky tape as they can quickly and easily jump from the comb. Fleas can jump surprising high!
If you find that your dog has fleas, don't panic. Give your dog a bath in a good quality flea shampoo or natural shampoo containing Neem, a natural herb known for its pesticidal and insecticidal properties. Make sure the shampoo is able to work effectively by leaving it on for a few minutes before rinsing off thoroughly. Your dog my not have any reaction to flea bites so don't assume that just because they are not itching, that they don't have fleas.
Fleas can also give your dog's worms so if there is a flea infestation, check your dog for worms too. A common misconception is that if your dog had worms you’d be able to see them in your dogs faeces but worm eggs are not visible to the naked eye. You can use wormcount.com to test your dogs faeces for worms. Pumpkin seeds are a great alternative to the chemical wormers which strip your dogs gut of all the good bacteria, leading to gut dysbiosis.
Dead hair can easily become impacted and stop your dog being able to regulate their own temperature. In high temperatures this can be fatal.
For double coated breeds, it is important to brush out all of the dead hair that sits in your dog's coat. Invest in a good brush specifically designed for double coated breeds as well as a rake or de-shedding tool.
With wool coated breeds, it is important to keep the coat knot and tangle free. When coats are not brushed regularly, the wool hairs can quickly become felted, acting as a thermal layer on top of your dog’s skin. Not only does this prevent airflow to your dog’s skin, thereby restricting your dog’s ability to regulate its own temperature, but sores can develop underneath the hair. This layer also provides a good hiding place for fleas and ticks.
For terriers and spaniels, after brushing, you can use a fine comb such as a flea come to remove any dead hair from your dog’s coat.
On days when the pollen count is high or if you dogs suffers with hay fever, after each trip outdoors, wipe your dog’s nose and muzzle to remove any pollen particles which can cause irritation.
Similarly after a walk, rinse your dog’s paws to remove any potential allergens from the skin and pads.
Check your dog’s pads and between the paw digits regularly for grass seeds which can pierce the skin and cause pain and inflammation.
In warm weather, your dog may be tempted to enter stagnant pools of water and ponds. Make sure you rinse your dog thoroughly as soon as you get home as water is a breeding ground for bacteria and disease.
The sun can cause pavements to become hot and, unlike us, your dog doesn’t have any protection from this heat. Feel the pavement before walking you dog on sunny streets, stick to the shade or use dog socks on your dog’s paws to protect them. Grippers Non Slip Dog Socks by Dog Quality are great for sunny days as lightweight. They are also great for elderly dogs when indoors trying to walk on shiny floors. Dog socks and boots also provide protection against chemical burns from the chemicals use to grit pavements and walkways in the Winter.
Vita Canis produces a great paw butter which can help sooth dry and cracked pads as well as dry and cracked noses.
Another natural remedy for dry and cracked pads and noses is pure organic coconut oil which you can buy from the supermarket.
Pale skin dogs and white short haired dogs can suffer from sun burn so keep them in the shade or use a good quality doggy sunscreen on sunny days. Don’t be tempted to have your dog shaved really short at the groomers in the summer as dogs can get sun burn if their coat is too short.
Serena offers a Holistic Approach to dog grooming - For more information on how to book her services visit the LEAD THE WALK website here or check out her work on instagram
Main Image by Sophie Gamand from her Wet Dog Series