Anyone that owns a dog knows that one of their biggest concerns is fleas, ticks and mosquitoes. If you own a dog, more than likely you’re going to own a few fleas or ticks along the way as well. While you want to keep the dog, you want to get rid of the fleas and ticks. The mosquito presents its own problems, namely heartworm. So you know that you need to do everything possible to prevent these critters from infecting and in some case killing your dog. Some people choose the conventional medications and assorted poisons to get rid of these bothersome pests. Other people look to treat their animals with a more natural approach. But what about other creepy, crawling things and things that go bump in the night? Fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes are not the only things we have to worry about when it comes to our beloved pets.
It always amazes me that something so small can be so deadly. We already know how deadly the above mentioned insects are. But what about their cousins? Spiders, (one of my most hated creatures on this earth) can also cause problems for your dogs and especially puppies. Dogs lie on the floor, in crates, in dog houses, outside, etc. They are easy prey for these little "uglies!" Depending upon where you live, there are some very poisonous spiders like the brown recluse or black widow. And even a spider that isn’t poisonous can cause an allergic reaction in your dog. Many times I hear of people saying that their dog is swollen on some part of their body. Sometimes it’s caused by a spider bite. Little puppies are vulnerable to a spider bite. Rarely is the black widow bite fatal, but if a puppy is bitten by one they may have bigger issues with the venom due to their size. Treat bites with ice and Benadryl (your vet can tell you the correct dosage). If he develops an unusual redness, pain or difficulty breathing or paralysis, get the animal to your vet as soon as possible. The brown recluse spider’s venom destroys tissue surrounding the bite. Clean the wound with hydrogen peroxide, chorhexidine or vovidone iodine. If your dog becomes lethargic, develops a rash, fever, chills, vomiting or diarrhea or if you notice that the wound becomes larger or persistent drainage occurs, get in touch with your Vet immediately.
Another bothersome insect can be of the flying kind like the bee or wasp. My dogs will snap at them and sometimes chase them. Some of these flying insects have a temper! They will actually attack you or the dog if you go after it. Sometimes they will lose their “sorry” little lives if the dog gets it. Other times, your dog will be in danger. Again, like a person, a dog can have an allergic reaction to a bee or wasp sting. Many times if bitten, the dog will paw at his fur trying to remove the insect’s stinger. You can scrape away the stinger with a stiff object like a Popsicle stick or credit card. Now researching this article, I read two conflicting directions. One writer said to pull the stinger out with a tweezers. Another writer said pulling the stinger out with a tweezers or your finger could rupture the poison sac allowing the toxin to enter your dog’s body. The second writer suggested administering 1 mg. of Benadryl per pound of your dog’s body and applying a cold pack to the swollen area. I would recommend calling your vet to find out the correct way of removing the stinger and the correct dosage of any medicine before you use it.
Snakes are another creature that can prove deadly to your dog depending upon what part of the country you live in. Not all snakes are venomous. Knowing which ones are can be a life saver for both you and your dogs. Naturally prevention is the best medicine. If you live in an area that is known to have venomous snakes, don’t let your dog run loose. Walk him on a leash. Don’t let him explore holes or dig under logs or rocks where snakes are known to hide. Keep your dog away from areas that are covered in ivy or wood piles. This is where mice tend to hang out. Where there are mice……there are snakes! Yuck to both of them! If your dog is bitten, even by a non-venomous snake take him to your vet. Why? Because all snakes transmit bacteria simply because they eat rodents which can carry numerous amounts of diseases. And don’t assume if it’s a baby snake and you or your dog gets bit that you don’t have to worry. Baby Snakes can be just as dangerous as their full-grown counterparts. They are born with fangs and venom as well!
First Aid for a snake bite: keep the wound below the level of the heart. Carry the dog if possible. Increasing the dog’s pulse and respiration also increases the absorption of the venom. Make sure you call the Animal Emergency Center to make sure they have anti-venom and let them know you’re on your way. Ask if you should give the dog Benadryl and what dosage you should give him. Identify the snake or describe it, but stay away from it. Do not cut over the marks or try to suck out the poison. Do not move the animal more than needed. Do not place an ice pack over the bite because this can result in the limb having to be amputated. Venom is caustic and immediately breaks down tissue and blood cells, so as much as you don’t want it traveling to the vital organs, you also don’t want the concentration of toxin frozen in one place.
Another concern for the pet owner is rabies. The rabies virus is present in the saliva of a rabid animal. Many wild and domestic animals can be infected with rabies: dogs, foxes coyotes, wolves, and bobcats; also skunks, bats, raccoons, otters, cats, and ferrets. Small rodents, such as rabbits, opossums, squirrels, chipmunks, rats and mice are rarely infected, and their bites rarely, if ever, call for rabies prophylaxis.
I found this surprising to learn……Rabid bats have been documented in all 49 continental states, but Hawaii is rabies free! Bats are increasingly implicated as important wildlife reservoirs for variants of rabies virus transmitted to humans.
If you’ve ever seen an animal that has rabies, it’s not a pretty sight. Many years ago, I saw a cat that had rabies. This poor creature had absolutely no control of the nerves and muscles in her body. She tried so desperately to walk, but all she could do was back flips, shakes and distortions to her body. The authorities came and they shot her. They actually shot her three times because her body was still jerking all over the place. It was horrible.
What about other creatures that can attack our pets? According to the Veterinary Pet Insurance Co., the top ten wild animals that attack our pets in order of frequency are: snakes, coyotes, raccoons, squirrels, scorpions (specific to Arizona), javelina (pig-like creatures specific to the southwestern U.S.)…..I never heard of them……., porcupines, groundhogs, skunks and rats.
Animals like a bear will usually stay away from humans or dogs. In the rare occasion that they don’t it’s usually because it’s a female bear with cubs. However, that said these are tremendously big and strong animals and sometimes they have been known to attack without provocation. They can become very bold around campsites where people cook their food outside. They have been known to tear campsites apart looking of food. They have a tremendous sense of smell can can smell food miles away. With more and more homes being built in what used to be the wilderness and the animal’s domain, it is not uncommon to see the once “camera shy” bear or other large animal like a mountain lion become more brazen and venture closer to the human’s home and property. After all this was once their and their ancestor’s property and they consider us the trespassers!
Most of the times these wild animals stay away from dogs that are large like the German Shepherd. However, when an attack does occur, most of the time it’s because the dog initiated it. So how can we prevent this from happening? You shouldn’t leave your dog unattended outside particularly at night. Keep food indoors, clean out the bird feeders, and don’t keep food scraps in open trash cans outdoors. And ALWAYS make sure you have a fence around your property if you own dogs. Don’t sell your puppies to families that don’t have a fenced in yard!
We don’t want to become paranoid and never leave our house because of the dangers that are out in the wild. We must do what we can to co-exist in a world that is home to many different species of animals and unfortunately (in this writer’s opinion) too many insects. Our dogs don’t stop and think before they charge at something or put their nosy little noses where they don’t belong. So although the German Shepherd is our guardian MOST OF THE TIME, so we too must be their guardians when it comes to the other living things on this planet.
My rating: respecting other living creatures: (4), learning first aid: (4), having a first aid kit: (4)