Ticks and Tick Repellents for Dogs

Spring is in the air, and with the warming weather, ticks are starting to come out for the summer. If you are responsible for walking dogs at the park or any other outdoor area, even in the city, you need to be aware of the areas where ticks are most active, and you should remind clients of the steps that dog owners can take to protect their pets from these troublesome pests.

Ticks become active outdoors when the temperature exceeds 40 degrees. At this time, they come out and begin searching for mammals on which to feed. Ticks prefer areas with long grass, where they “quest,” searching for signs of body heat and carbon dioxide from passing animals. When they sense these indicators, they let go of the grass, drop onto the animal, bite, and feed on the animal’s blood. Once they finish feeding, usually after a few days, they fall off.

Ticks transmit many illnesses to both dogs and humans, including rocky mountain spotted fever, Lyme disease, Anaplasmosis, and Ehrlichiosis. It can be tough to see a small, brown tick buried deep in a dog’s thick coat, so it’s easy for the ticks to go undetected as they feed and transmit illnesses. Most veterinarians recommend that dogs that visit areas that may be infested with ticks be treated with a topical tick repellent such as Frontline or Advantix for 6 to 12 months out of the year.

Check with your clients to make sure their pets are protected. While the best approach is to treat dogs with tick repellents during the warm months when ticks are active, some owners may choose not to take this step for whatever reason. Some people prefer not to use chemical pesticides, while others feel their dogs do not tolerate the repellents. If your clients choose not to use tick repellents, you should take steps to ensure that those dogs are not exposed to ticks.

Ticks can be found even in urban areas and back yards, so you can never completely avoid exposure. However, walking unprotected dogs in paved areas away from long grass and woodland landscaping can be helpful. Good communication between dog walkers and their clients can help dogs lead happier, tick-free lives.

Photo: Flickr

Use the Diaper Genie for Dog Poop Bags

One of the downsides to having a dog is picking up dog poop and throwing it away. When we walk our dog (Lucy, a 6 year old puggle), we pick up her waste with a standard dog poop bag, and we throw it in the garbage can after tying it up. No matter how good the poop bags are, the dog waste inevitably smells by the time the garbage truck comes to take away our trash.

I want to share an idea with you that I had because of our 13 month old daughter. For Hailey’s dirty diapers, we use something called the Diaper Genie, which is made by Playtex and available everywhere from baby stores to Target and Walmart. According to the Playtex webpage describing the Diaper Genie, “This pail has a convenient hands-free design and is the only diaper pail with antimicrobial protection to inhibit odor causing bacteria.”

We keep the Diaper Genie in our daughter’s bedroom, empty it about once a week, and it hardly ever smells. It’s one of the best things we bought after having the baby, and I would recommend it without hesitation. I also think it could work for your dog poop bags.

What I recommend, and what I will be doing, is putting a Diaper Genie in the garage, right next to your garbage cans. When you bring in your dog poop bags, throw them right into the Diaper Genie. The poop bag prevent some of the foul smell from escaping, and the Diaper Genie will do the rest. Because poop bags are generally much smaller than dirty diapers, you probably won’t have to empty the Diaper Genie more than a couple times a month, and even if you choose to empty it more frequently, you won’t use that many refill inserts.

Although the Diaper Genie was made for baby diapers, I think it will be great to use for dog waste bags, too!