Having an animal like our dog, Lady, in the family is great, as she provides companionship and a focus for love while introducing the children to responsibility. However, while caring for a pet is joyful most of the time, it can also be a source of woe when it comes to unwanted microscopic intruders. Yes, that means fleas and ticks, and sometimes, it seems that you cannot have a dog without these nasties there for the ride.
A dog in the family
Of course, this should not put anyone off getting a dog, because they make wonderful family pets for many reasons. Our Lady is a faithful companion for every member of our family, not just in times of need but on a daily basis. A dog can also help children who perhaps do not mix with their peers as much as a parent would like. In fact, studies have proven that children who have dogs are more confident, enjoy higher self-esteem and are better at developing empathy as they grow older. A dog may also encourage a child’s reading ability, as some children would rather read to their pets than aloud to their families, perhaps because these furry friends will not offer criticisms or corrections.
Then there are the health benefits of owning a dog. Since dogs naturally need regular exercise, we make walking Lady a family activity, which encourages the children to get moving and thereby become fit. Exposure to pets also improves a young child’s immune system, as studies have shown that babies and children who live with pets often have less chance of becoming asthmatic, catching infections and falling victim to other common childhood illnesses.
Preventing fleas and ticks
This talk of illnesses brings back the problem of parasites, to which every dog can fall victim, even our pampered Lady. The most common parasites are fleas and ticks, which can cause a dog great distress if left untreated and can affect humans too. Fortunately, simple precautions, such as using the Bob Martin flea treatment or tick treatment, can protect a dog against both fleas and ticks and protect the family and home from playing host to them.
But just how bad are fleas and ticks? Well, fleas bite a dog’s skin, making the skin itch and causing the dog to scratch. This can lead to the dog developing bald patches and open wounds. Some dogs are allergic to flea saliva, too, which can lead to sores and scabs and, ultimately, infection. If a dog swallows fleas, then it risks exposure to tapeworms, leading to weight loss, more itchiness around the backside and, in the worst cases, prolapses. Ticks are spider-like parasites that clamp onto a dog, often around the head and neck, and suck its blood. They carry diseases, such as Lyme disease and babesiosis, both of which are extremely unpleasant.
Does your family have a dog, do you have any tips for keep ticks and flea's away?
Mummy B xoxox