Foster parents and FURever parents alike provide the basics: food, water, love, shelter and exercise.

It’s important to remember the OTHER basic thing, the less fun, less glamorous but incredibly important thing pets need to stay healthy: preventing parasites.

We’re talking about keeping them free from fleas, ticks and heartworms.

two happy dogs

Clementine and her goofy foster sibling!

  • Flea allergy dermatitis is the most common skin disease in pets, causing them scratch and bite at themselves, sometimes losing their hair. And there are more than 2,200 kinds of fleas out there!
  • Fleas can cause puppies or older pets to become anemic from sucking their blood or transmit tapeworms.
  • Ticks can cause Lyme disease, ehrlichiosis, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, tularemia and more diseases, many of which can kill, most of which are difficult to pronounce.
  • Heartworms come from the bite of an infected mosquito. They’re easy to prevent, but difficult and costly to cure – and they’re deadly if untreated.

Applying a topical medicine, giving them a pill hidden in some cheese, keeping track of who gets what stuff on your calendar, buying the meds from your vet or pet supply store – they take extra time and resources, but they’re important. Ask anyone who’s seen what heartworm disease or untreated dermatitis can do to a rescue pet, it’s heartbreaking.

It’s better to do the work (because you love your furry BFF!) and keep them healthy than see them suffer the consequences.

More tips to come from DPA!