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Summertime means sunshine, backyard barbecues, and lots of fun. But for your dog, the season unfortunately comes with a few hitches. Spending more time outdoors increases your pup’s chances of getting burrs, fleas, and even ticks. Read on for the best tips on how to combat the summer’s puppy predicaments.

Getting rid of fleas

  1. For a pet owner, the arrival of warm, humid summer weather also means it’s flea season once again. If you happen to find the annoying little insects on your baby, remember to treat your house at the same time you treat your hound to prevent re-infestation.
  2. Thoroughly wash all of your pet’s bedding with a gentle detergent. You should also wash any sheets or blankets on your bed or sofa, especially if she’s allowed to be on the furniture.
  3. Give your best friend a good bath. Mix a natural insecticide (eucalyptus oil for instance) into her shampoo bottle — about six drops for every 32 ounces should do the trick. After the bath, comb her out with a fine-toothed comb specifically designed to remove any leftover fleas and dirt.  Then talk with your veterinarian about using a topical flea-killing product.
  4. If you see you have a problem in one particular room, buy a dehumidifier for it and keep it set at under 50 percent. Fleas require humidity to be above 50 percent, so this will kill adult fleas and larvae. After two days, vacuum the room to remove all the dead fleas and their eggs.
  5. Use a flea spray that contains an insect growth regulator (IGR) on floors, carpet, and all of your pet’s favorite sleeping spots. Make sure to spray under furniture and especially around baseboards. Make sure all of your pets are outside or in another room when you’re spraying.

Look out! Tiny bits of black dirt on your pet’s bedding are flea poop — an indication that fleas are present.

Removing a tick from your dog

It can take a tick from 24 to 48 hours to transmit an infection to your dog after it has latched on to his skin. If your pup is spending time outdoors, especially in wooded, leafy, or grassy areas, it’s important to check him daily. Slowly run your hands over his entire body. Check between his toes, under his legs, and in and around his ears. If you feel a bump, investigate thoroughly to see if a tick has attached itself.

Found one? Don’t panic! Follow these steps to safely remove the pest from your pet.

  1. You’ll need the following supplies: gloves, tweezers, isopropyl alcohol, and antiseptic.With gloves on — to avoid transmitting disease — grasp the tick as close to your dog’s skin as possible with the tweezers. Pull outward in a straight motion. Check to make sure you got all of the tick, as infections can occur if everything is not removed.
  2. Fill a small container with isopropyl alcohol and store the tick in it. If your dog’s skin becomes irritated or he begins displaying symptoms of a tick-borne illness, having the tick will be helpful in diagnosing his issues. Bring the container with the tick with you to the vet for tests.
  3. Clean the skin with antiseptic and rinse the tweezers with the alcohol. Wash your hands and give your pooch a treat for being a great patient.

Some symptoms of tick diseases… Fever, loss of appetite, difficulty walking, swollen joints, fatigue, vomiting, redness around the affected area, enlarged lymph nodes, and more.

Removing burrs from hair

These prickly seeds can be found on some plants and will stick to your dog’s (or cat’s) fur if he comes into contact with them. It’s important to try to remove burrs as soon as possible. Besides being uncomfortable, they can become embedded in skin, which can lead to an infection.

  1. Begin by removing any loose burrs with a metal comb.
  2. Crush the sandspurs (spines) with a pair of pliers. This will make the burrs easier to remove. Be careful to not pinch yourself or your dog while doing so.
  3. Gently pull mats apart with your fingers, and then brush out burrs with a comb. A little bit of olive or vegetable oil can help you with stubborn areas.
  4. If any burrs are still stuck, you may have to resort to cutting your dog’s fur. Take him to a professional if there’s any potentially dangerous scissor-work involved.

TIP! Wear garden gloves during removal to help keep burrs out of your skin.

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