Veterinarian Dr. Jeff Werber says beautiful Florida weather sadly creates a summer threat for your pet.
“Prevention is the best cure — keeping your pet on flea and tick medication year round,” said Werber.
Flea season starts in April and lasts through August and can cause more than itching.
“Of course they transmit the tapeworm. Many dogs are allergic to flea saliva. The dog is scratching and then they’ll get a secondary infection,” Werber said.
After flea season, it’s time for ticks, which are problematic from September through May. “Most of the disease that can affect a dog from a tick bite, also affects us,” said Werber.
He says Lyme is not as much of a problem as most people think, but disease from American and Pacific dog ticks are an issue. Watch your pet for signs of illness. “If a dog is showing signs of disease, lethargy, maybe some anemia, any kind of malaise,” said Werber.
Keeping your pet on flea and tick control medicine year round helps. He reminds us some medications that have been out for years might not be as efficacious so check with your vet.
And yes, mosquitoes can be a challenge too.They can transfer heartworm disease, which can be a killer. Like humans, pets should steer clear of moist or wet areas at certain times of day.
Werber says where your dog itches is a good indicator of what type of challenge he or she may have. If it’s in the low back to tail, think fleas. If it’s in the belly area, between the thighs, think pollens, If they’re rubbing their face or chewing their feet, think food.
Finally, watch the heat. Exercise in the morning or evening, keep the pet hydrated, maybe tie a wet frozen bandanna around their neck. And a warning about hot pavement: “If you don’t want to walk barefoot on it, your pet doesn’t want to walk barefoot on it,” Werber said.