Before reading the below, please bear in mind that I am not a licensed veterinarian, dog trainer, or doctor. I am in no way affiliated with any products or vaccinations noted below. All opinions are my own, and all facts and ideas mentioned in the following are due to my own personal research and conversations with professionals. As always, be sure to consult your own veterinarian and/or pet doctor before utilizing any new products on/with/for your pet. ALWAYS do your own research. It’s important to know your pets and to keep a close eye on how they react to certain lifestyle changes, medications, food choices, etc. Since they can’t speak to us, it’s our job to make sure we do right by them.
You know those Disney princess movies where the girl is in the garden twirling around, or getting dressed by woodland animals and birds and is just singing a happy, upbeat tune? That’s how I feel when winter starts turning into spring. When the days start getting longer, the air stays warm well after the sun goes down, and the sunrise creeps up just a little bit earlier every day. I love it! I love spring and I love the warm weather. It puts me in such a good mood!
My dogs love the heat, too. Every weekday afternoon I come home for lunch to make a salad and to let the pups out to stretch their legs. When the weather starts getting nice, I’ll leave the slider open while I prepare my lunch, and the pups will just be basking out on the lawn, soaking in the glorious spring sunshine. There is something about that molten ball of fire that just makes the soul feel GOOD.
The one downfall about spring, though, is that it means bugs. Yuck! Unfortunately with the promise of heat also comes the onslaught of bees, flies, fleas, ticks and – the worst – mosquitos! Insects that we humans can at least wear clothing and repellent to keep away. Our dogs, though.. They don’t have such a luxury.
If it were up to me, I would vaccinate my dogs one time as pups and then never again. But, unfortunately, I do not trust other dog owners, and I board my dogs, so they must be regularly vaccinated in order to protect against diseases that other untreated dogs may possibly carry. Among these preventative measures are the canine versions of bug repellent [aka flea and tick ointment and heart worm prevention]. Unfortunately, these tiny pests bother our pets just as much as they bother people! And, just as they do for humans, they carry nasty diseases that can infect your precious fur baby.
As the majorly forward thinking and research obsessed dog mom that I am, I always want to give my dogs the least dangerous medications as possible. I’ve mentioned before how thankful I am for my vet, and this is yet another reason why I just adore her. She is avidly against giving your pets any unnecessary medications – in her opinion, this includes flea and tick and heart worm preventative. As a professional veterinarian, a breeder, and a woman who shows her dogs, she believes that anything unnatural can be harmful to your pet, which is why she does not administer anything to her dogs outside of regular vaccinations [bordatella (kennel cough), rabies and distemper/parvo]. While I agree with the good doctor, I know her show dogs are not out hiking on the weekends and running around off trail in muddy swamp water and unkempt fields. Places where mosquitos, fleas and ticks love to hang out and breed. Places where my dogs also love to frolic because, as one time wild animals, those sorts of activities speak to their goofy canine souls.
I’ve never used bottom-of-the-barrel flea and tick preventatives. I’ve always used Frontline or K9-Advantix (I or II), in addition to a heart worm preventative available only by prescription from my veterinarian. Recently, during Otis’ last trip to the vet [just for a routine, puppy bordatella vaccine, thank goodness], my veterinarian was educating me on doggy bug repellent. She advised me to stop using Frontline and Advantix, as the fleas are starting to become immune to them and they are toxic to dogs. As I mentioned before, she recommended I use nothing, but I told her I couldn’t due to the activities my dogs are involved in, and that I didn’t feel comfortable exposing them to the elements without some sort of protection. She recommended we stick to Revolution, which is not only a flea and tick preventative, but a heart worm preventative as well. A three-in-one! And not horrible for your pets, either. She gave me a few months worth for each of my dogs and sent me on my way.
If your dogs are active like mine, I highly recommend consulting with your vet about getting your pups on the proper preventatives for the upcoming spring, summer and warmer fall months. The bugs and the diseases they carry are only getting worse, and preventative care is always cheaper than treatment. ALWAYS. Also, always remember to check your dogs for ticks after you take them in a field somewhere. EVERY TIME! Even if you have your pup on a preventative medicine, ticks can still find their way onto your pet [they just won’t last very long if your dog’s been treated]. Especially if your dogs have longer hair, the ticks can get nestled up in all kinds of places – before they’ve broken skin and taken their fill, they are very small and hard to find [be sure to check yourself, too! especially if you’re a male – if you’ve got long hair, ticks can and will grab onto it, just as they do to dogs.. gross, I know!].
All-in-all, as always, treat your pets like equal members of your family. You’ve taken on the responsibility to care for them, therefore you should be okay with the financial backing it takes to keep them healthy [again, preventative care is cheaper than treatment]. If your pets are healthy, annual trips to the vet are all you’ll need! And with the internet, social media, and email, it’s so easy to be in touch with your vet at a moment’s notice if you feel like something isn’t right.