As much as we wish our four-legged friends could talk to us and tell us their problems, they can’t. Which is why we need to be able to spot the non-verbal signs our pets are giving us to seek treatment options – or a vet’s second opinion – early. Quit practicing your best dog whisperer impressions (being calm and assertive won’t help you here!) and swot up on our tips to treat the most common pet problems.
Fleas & Ticks
What are fleas and ticks?
Fleas are teeny-tiny parasites that drink blood for a living – lovely! What they lack in wings, they make up for in powerful hind legs that act like springboards. They’ll hitch a ride on anything from dogs and cats to an old t-shirt in your odds and ends cupboard. The bottom line is fleas don’t discriminate.
Ticks, likes fleas, are wingless parasites. And guess what? They also feed off blood. Surprise surprise... The good news is, they’re slightly easier to spot than fleas, given their larger size. Ticks find their hosts by smell, heat, moisture and movement. There’s no wonder our pets pick them up after a wander in the garden.
How do I know if my pet has fleas or ticks?
If you see your pet itching, biting or scratching themselves more than usual, that’s probably a sure sign. In any case, to look for fleas, gently use a flea comb and look out for brown or black specks on your pet’s skin. For ticks, look for reddish black spots. They’re large enough to see with the naked eye, so spotting them should be slightly easier than fleas.
How do I get rid of fleas and ticks?
It’s super simple – over-the-counter flea and tick treatment will do the trick for both pests. Applying it to your pet is even easier, all you need to do is squeeze the tube and apply between the shoulder blades. Different doses are needed depending on the size of your pet, so keep an eye out for the right amount.
How do I know if my pet has an ear infection?
While ear infections are more common in dogs than cats, it can’t hurt to know when your pet may have one. Here are some top signs to look out for:
- Loss of balance
- Ear odour
- Swelling of outer ear
- Scratching, pawing and shaking of head
- Redness in ear canal
- Black, brown or yellow discharge
How do I treat an ear infection?
Unlike fleas, this is one for the pros. Take your pet to the vet if you think it has an ear infection. Most of the time your vet will quite simply clean and medicate the ear, but in some cases surgery is required. As with most things, it’s better safe than sorry.
What are hot spots?
Hot spots (or acute moist dermatitis if you want to be scientific) are red, moist, hot and irritated areas on the skin. They’re usually found on the hip, head, or belly of your pet. Hot spots happen for all sorts of reasons, but most of the time it’s down to poor grooming, allergies, or constant licking.
How do I check for hot spots?
If your pet has hot spots, there are usually lots of telling signs. Be on the lookout for:
- Raised red bumps and lesions
- Unexplained swelling
- Reddish brown colour around the hot spot
- Bad odour
- Pus and oozing
How do I treat hot spots?
Prevention is key, so make sure to regularly groom your dog and trim its coat for the hotter months. But if you think your cat or dog might already have hot spots, it’s always good to take them to a vet. Depending on the cause, treatment can include anything from antibiotics (prescribed by the vet) to dietary tweaks.