By Juliano Oliveira
Dogs and cats also need to be prepared to swelter through the high temperatures smashing Australia. Pets are prone to ticks and fleas that easily multiply in these conditions.
In summer heatwave weather, fleas can mature in just three weeks compared to the normal lifecycle of two months making these insects a real pest to pets and family homes.
Pet stylist and educator, Emily Myatt recommends dogs and cats owners to check their animals for ticks and fleas – from head to tail – on a daily basis. “As they burrow into the fur, ticks are especially difficult to find on the bodies of pets. Fleas are not just a problem for pets, an infestation in favourable conditions can also infiltrate the family home,” she says.
Monitoring the area where the pet is by limiting its access is critical to avoid contact with dense bushland, leaf and wood piles as well as tall, grassy fields especially where native wildlife such as possums, rodents and kangaroos, for example.
“If your pet has been in these areas, even under your supervision, thoroughly check your pet from head to tail – paying special attention to the mouth, head, neck and any moist areas. Dogs presenting with vomiting, unsteadiness, fast heart rate, weakness and partial loss of muscle movements should be immediately and thoroughly inspected for ticks,”, explains Ms Myatt.
“If a tick is found and you can identify it as a paralysis tick either take your dog to a vet immediately for advice and removal OR if you feel confident to remove the tick yourself, do so by twisting the tick off – Don’t just pull as the mouthparts are often dislodged,” she recommends.
- All pets must be kept in cool, shady areas. It is ideal to bring pets indoors on hot days.
- Provide plenty of fresh, cool water in large water containers. Be sure to provide numerous sources of water in case one is spilt.
- Place a clam shell pool in the shade and fill it with water so your dog can wade in the water to keep cool.
- Walking your dog when the ground is too hot can cause serious damage to their paws. Instead, walk your dog in the coolness of the early morning or evening.
- If your pet seems to be in discomfort, try wetting their feet and misting water onto their face.
- Never leave your pet in the car in warm weather.
- Your fair-skinned pet needs a special sunscreen for animals to protect it from the discomfort of sunburn.
- Ensure your pet is kept up to date with treatments to keep the itchiness at bay.
- Shaving double coated dogs can also permanently change their coat, often losing its soft smooth texture. While grooming is important all year round, double coated dogs don’t need to be shaved in any weather.
Wingless insects, fleas can infest even the cleanest of pets – this is because both dogs and cats can pick up fleas almost anywhere from hiking tracks and backyards. Hopping on pets to feast, flea bites can lead to incessant itching causing infection and blood parasites.
“Regularly brush pets with a fine-tooth flea comb to scour entire body for fleas. Daily home and regular salon grooming will ensure fleas are found before they can do too much damage to a pet.”
“Check parasite hideout areas such as paw pads, genital areas and the ears. Pets presenting with fleas will develop red, swollen weals, develop abnormal scratching, licking and biting as well as hair loss and flea ‘dirt’. ”
If fleas are found on your pet, treat the pet using any combination of topical or oral products as recommended for your pet’s size, weight and breed. Not all treatments suit all pets so always refer to instruction information.