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Ticks and fleas in dogs

Flea attacks and tick bites in dogs are annoying and sometimes even dangerous. Do you know which remedies help against these parasites?

Flea attacks and tick bites in dogs are not just annoying for the dog and owner, but also pose health risks. Therefore, good protection against ticks as well as prevention against fleas is your responsibility. But what can be transmitted by these small parasites? And which tick remedies will help your dog – do they always have to be chemical? In the following article, you’ll find everything you need to know about protection against these parasites:

Ticks in dogs

Ticks lurk in high grass or hedges awaiting their victims. They’re active in the spring months, usually from March onwards when temperatures climb to above 10 degrees. They cling to the dog’s coat and bite into the skin. They are considered parasites because they can only survive through other living things - e.g. a tick bite in a dog. This blood-sucking behaviour alone would be unpleasant and annoying enough, but unfortunately ticks also transmit infectious diseases. In the worst cases, these could be deadly for your dog.

Ticks transmit the following diseases:

Hepatozoonosis

This infectious disease frequently occurs after a holiday in the south. Your dog probably ate a so-called “brown dog tick” there. This parasite causes hepatozoonosis, which can lead to inflammation in the bone marrow, muscles or tissue of the spleen, liver and lungs.

Babesiosis

This infection is caused by the alluvial tick. The single-cell babesias, the corresponding parasites, attack the red blood cells of your dog. The result is serious weakness in the dog, combined with an inability to eat and a fever. If the disease remains untreated, internal organs are attacked and the result can be fatal.

Early summer meningoencephalitis

This is a viral illness that’s thankfully quite rare. Following the tick bite, the virus attacks the body and can lead to a reduced state of consciousness, paralysis and failure of the nervous system. However, most cases remain asymptomatic.

Lyme disease

Transmitted by borrelia, this infectious disease is typically caused by a common wood tick bite. The tick transmits the pathogen, which in dogs usually initially leads to rather unspecific symptoms such as fever, loss of appetite, and exhaustion, but also increased skin pigmentation. As a result, worse damage, especially to the heart, can become dangerous to dogs.

Ehrlichiosis

This infection is also largely caused by a bite from the brown dog tick from the Mediterranean area. Puppies are often affected. The recognisable signs of this disease range from fever to vomiting, from shortness of breath to disorders of the central nervous system.

Anaplasmosis

Anaplasms are bacteria that enter the dog’s blood with the tick bite. Infected animals have a tendency to bleed, but the anaplasms also attack internal organs and joints.

Fleas in dogs

Fleas are not quite as dangerous as ticks, but these parasites are true herd animals. Each flea bites the dog’s skin up to ten times a day and drinks your dog’s blood. These bites itch and thus lead to open wounds which can become infected. The flea infestation usually becomes obvious when you find residue from the parasites in the coat while brushing. The flea droppings are brownish to reddish when you rub them on a white cloth. Also bear in mind that fleas infest all textiles in the vicinity of the host. For dogs, these little critters are real pests. But not only that:

Fleas cause the following illnesses: ‍

Allergic skin reactions

Some dogs are allergic to flea saliva. Accordingly, itching in the area the dog has been bitten increases. This allergic reaction is usually a consequence of so-called flea saliva allergy dermatitis (FAD).

Inflammation of the skin

Also known as hot spots, these are places where bacteria have penetrated the open wounds. They often weep and fester.

Anaemia

A horde of fleas can be dangerous for puppies as they drink up to 10% of their blood.

Tapeworm

One parasite isn’t enough? Unfortunately, fleas are carriers of cucumber tapeworm larvae. If they get into your dog’s circulation via the blood, he’s confronted with a new problem.

Prevention is everything: protection against ticks and fleas for dogs

Tick repellents for dogs, similar to flea repellents, are the best prevention against diseases. There’s a lively discussion among dog lovers about the extent to which chemical agents are preferable to natural ones, or vice versa. No antiparasitic drug offers 100% protection against infestation, even if it’s administered regularly. However, tick repellents for dogs reduce the risk of being bitten - often demonstrably. Here we distinguish between:

Conventional tick repellents

Spot-ons

These preparations against ticks or fleas work externally. You apply it to your dog’s skin, for example, between the shoulder blades, where your dog can’t lick it off. The tick repellent is then effective for several weeks.

Anti-tick/flea collars

Numerous suppliers make special collars that contain chemical agents against fleas or ticks. These must be worn close to the neck.

Sprays

These preparations are also effective for several weeks. They are usually intended to keep all kinds of parasites away.

Natural tick repellents

Spot-ons

In the natural version, these antiparasitics usually contain ingredients such as margosa extract, coconut or black cumin oil.

Natural products

Some dog owners swear by pure nature in the form of beer yeast or garlic granules.

Collar or tag

Although the effect of amber collars or microorganism tags is very controversial, some dogs seem to remain tick-free in this way.

There are often universal products that act both as tick protection for dogs and as prevention against fleas. Basically, deciding which product to use is up to the dog owner. You know your dog best and can judge what’s best for him. Always remember that prevention is better than the administration of chewable tablets against ticks after the infestation, or even after being infected by one of the above-mentioned diseases.

Herbal or chemical – it’s at your discretion. If you decide on the latter, be careful. Many tick repellents have dangerous side effects for invertebrates such as tarantulas or scorpions. If you have a terrarium with these animals, then avoid chemical tick repellents for dogs.

Side effects of not having tick protection for dogs

Your dog brought fleas to a kennel? Your puppy has infected half a zoo with Lyme disease? The financial consequences of a tick bite in dogs or a flea attack are incalculable. To prevent your lack of tick protection from turning into a catastrophe, dog liability insurance will step in to cover any corresponding claims. You can take out this insurance before you buy a dog. Contact Coya now to find out what other advantages you can enjoy with dog liability insurance.

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