Help Your Pets Avoid Summer Bugs, Pests

FOCUS ON PETS

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The bugs this year are terrible. It is unpleasant to go outside. For a while, they seemed to be better, but they are back with a vengeance and will probably be here until we get some rain. Combined with the dryness, it is hard on people and animals. There have been an unusual number of elk wandering around our neighborhoods. They are in search of something good to eat and a drink of water, both of which are in short supply. They are finding our fruit trees.

The bugs are very annoying to us. I sit here at my computer, inside my house, and bugs are flying around my head and attacking me. Since my dogs come in and out every four-and-a-half minutes, the bugs sneak in through the open door. Some people are more bothered with them than others.

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During these hot dry days, dogs, like children, enjoy splashing in any bit of water they can find.

Our pets are also suffering. My dogs go out for a while and come crawling in for some relief. I treated my dogs with Frontline for ticks and they seem to be staying away. But the treatment does not appear to do much for these pesky no-see-ums.

Dogs that spend most of their day outside can really go crazy with these bugs. Imagine having no escape from them. My dogs have made it very clear that they do not want to spend any time in their huge kennel in the back, and they had never acted that way before. A friend said her dog also did not want to go into the kennel. These bugs are bothering our pets and it is up to us to provide relief for them. Raking up all the dead brush and dog piles will help with the bugs. There are bug bombs for the yard that might help, but read the directions carefully for precautions for pets.

Beyond the bugs, our pets are encountering all sorts of pesky things from the dried grasses and weeds. Some coats attract like Velcro. It is important to check their ears and between the pads of their feet for stickers. Particularly with a heavily coated dog, the stickers can get embedded and be very difficult to find and remove. A fine-toothed comb works well for removing these stickers.

My one little girl, with a very short coat, has had a rash on her tummy. I am sure it is from the irritating dry grasses and weeds. Check your dogs regularly for these problems.

This is a good time to do a thorough brushing. The coat of your dog will determine which type of brush is best, but soft-bristled brushes are pretty useless for getting rid of all that dead hair from a thick undercoat. A deep brushing gets rid of that dead hair and allows air to circulate around the skin, keeping your pet cool. While brushing your pet, check for lumps, sores, rashes and any abnormality. Check the mouth for gum soreness and problem teeth, which could be causing discomfort.

The amount of water our pets can drink this time of year is amazing. Water dishes get tipped over and filled with bugs. Be sure to rinse and refill them daily. Have water available inside and out.

Be sure that your pet's vaccinations are up to date. There has been some parvo around, which can be deadly. And with the dryness, wild animals are coming closer looking for food and water. Check the expiration dates of rabies vaccines.

Don't miss out on a great opportunity to get your dogs and cats spayed and neutered at a reduced cost. The Payson Humane Society, always working to reduce the overwhelming, unwanted pet population, is sponsoring the clinic. The Mobile Spay/Neuter and Animal Wellness Center, provided by the Arizona Humane Society, will be in Bashas' parking lot on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, June 19, 20 and 21. All surgeries will be on a first come, first served basis. Check in begins at 7 a.m. All dogs must be on leash and all cats must be in carriers or pillowcases. No food for the prior 12 hours. Pets must be at least two months old and under five years and weigh a minimum of 2.5 pounds. The limit is two pets per household per day. Owners will pick up their pets the day of the surgery. Vaccinations and other services will be available to surgery patients at additional low cost.

A year or so ago, there was a program on Public Television called "Best Friend Forgotten." It is a documentary on the terrible problem of pet overpopulation.

I ordered the program on DVD and watch it every so often, even though it is painful.

Everyone who has an un-neutered cat or dog should be required to watch this amazing program.

The reasons people have for refusing to neuter their pets are based on fallacy and not fact. The facts prove that pets are healthier, happier and better family pets if they are neutered. There are no adverse health problems with neutering and male dogs are just as manly after the surgery. Think about it. Talk about it.

Please get your pets neutered. All of us need to be part of the solution to this crisis of pet overpopulation.

Thanks for considering it. If you have doubts, discuss it with your veterinarian. Take a step to help.

-- Christy Powers can be reached by e-mail at cpwrather@earthlink.net or by snail mail at HC1 Box 210, Strawberry, AZ 85544.

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