Fleas are not Just a Nuisance, they are Harmful to your Dog

Fleas are one of, if not the most common pest to plague dogs. Especially in warmer weather, these bugs can prove quite the nuisance, especially if nothing has been done to defend your dog against them. However, what might seem like little more than pesky nuisances can actually prove detrimental to your dog’s health. If you are visiting your veterinarian soon in Logan Square and you plan on bringing up your dog’s flea problem, expect these health risks to come up in response.

#1. Skin allergies
This is a very common allergy to dogs: allergy to flea saliva. When fleas bite down, like all animals, they secrete saliva onto the dog’s skin. This can cause an allergic reaction in your dog’s skin, resulting in severe pain and itchiness. The dog will, of course, scratch and bite and the bite wound, causing it to spread out into a web of welts and blemishes, compounding the problem. Luckily, there are preventative medications that can combat this, so ask your vet which one would be best for your dog.

#2. Hot spots
Another skin problem that arises as a result of your dog constantly scratching and biting at the bite mark is “hot spots”. These are unnaturally warmer spots randomly spread across your dog’s skin and are usually sign of a larger illness. Regular washing with specialized shampoo is your best bet to rid your dog of this problem.

#3. Tapeworms
The above two are problems that arise from your dog getting fleas on his skin, but should he eat a flea, he’s now vulnerable to a whole new problem: tapeworms. A tapeworm is a parasite that latches onto your dog’s intestinal tract and feeds on nutrients that would otherwise have gone to the dog. Left unchecked, tapeworms can actually kill your dog in a slow, grueling way. This is not a problem you want to wait on, consult your vet for any kind of prescription tapeworm medicine.

#4. Anemia
Fleas suck blood, thus if left untreated too long, your dog can become anemic from the blood loss. It’s unlikely for one flea to do this, but five or six can definitely do some damage. As soon as you notice one flea, comb your dog to check for more.

Fleas aren’t just a nuisance, they can pose a real active threat to your dog’s health. From skin allergies to tapeworms, a flea is nothing to underestimate when it comes to the damage it can do. So talk to your vet, and see what method of treatment is right for your dog. For more detail contact Portage Park Animal Hospital & Dental Clinic or visit www.portagepark.com.

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