I have pulled ticks off our horses at times, as well as off myself. It seems we can only keep our fingers crossed that no one (horse or person) contracts Lyme disease, as there are no vaccinations against it that I’ve heard of to date, except for in dogs.
It is a daunting challenge to protect a horse from ticks. Personally I think insect/fly sprays used on horses are virtually ineffective and don’t last longer than a few minutes. I have no idea how you would go about stopping ticks, OR how you could ever seriously inspect an animal the size of a horse. The ticks I have found on horses have been mostly by chance; they can be felt, and often cause a swelling or thickened area. But then, so do the biting black flies.
Sadly, New England states are epicenters for Lyme-disease-bearing ticks… although I have been in areas of Tennessee and North Carolina which had TONS MORE ticks (based on personal observations). Thank goodness there don’t seem to be so MANY ticks in south/central New Hampshire! It seems that Lyme has now spread as far south as Virginia, if not further.
Also sadly, poor horses are simply magnets for biting insects of all sorts. What a huge target they make! I HAVE found that “Swat” fly-repellent ointment (I use clear, NOT pink) is a great deterrent to black flies. I apply it inside my horses’ ears, on their sheath areas and inside thighs, and to chest and armpits if they get bite irritations there. Applying every few days seems to work because Swat is like vaseline and just stays in place. One of our boys has skin more sensitive than the other to fly bites, and he gets more bumps/itchy places.
Like buying candy for kids, we often think snacks that have been specially packaged for pets are the best treats in the world. Why would they want anything other than a tasty treat? But a lot of those packaged pet snacks and treats are the equivalent of candy. They are not a big deal, as long as you don’t do too much of it, since they are mostly devoid of nutritional value.
And just as we encourage kids to eat their veggies rather than another candy, we can also encourage a love for veggies in our pets. These low calorie, low fat, vitamin and mineral-packed “treats” are a great alternative to the packaged dog biscuits and kitty chews.
Which Vegetables Are Best and Which Vegetable Are Not Safe for Pets?
There are some plant foods that are toxic to pets, so you will want to be familiar with what to avoid and even prevent access to. If you are unsure, check with your veterinarian to make sure that your planned treats are not going to be harmful to your pet. Also keep in mind that while dogs are omnivorous and thus more open to trying different kinds of foods. Cats, on the other hand, are carnivorous. They are not just picky about what they eat — they are constitutionally incapable of digesting some types of foods.
Apples – without seeds or core (apple seeds contain chemical compounds that are poisonous to animals)
Watermelon – without seeds
Carrots – raw or cooked
Sweet potato – cooked, cubed or mashed without butter or seasoning; regular potatoes are also good, but in limited amounts since they are high in sugar and can increase weight
Popcorn – unsalted and unbuttered
Catnip or cat grass
Grapes and raisins – contain chemical compounds that are toxic to dogs
Garlic and onions – both have chemical properties that can be toxic and even life threatening to dogs and cats
Mushrooms – particularly wild mushrooms
Fruits with pits, such as peaches, cherries, and plums – in some cases the pit can be toxic or can simply present a choking hazard
Nuts – particularly macadamia nuts, which are toxic to pets
What is the Best Way To Feed These Types of Treats?
The foods should be baked or steamed, cut up into smallish pieces, and only given in small amounts at a time. This will prevent both choking and an overload of carbohydrate- and calorie-rich foods. You can give the vegetables and fruits by themselves, or you might mash or puree them and mix them up with the prepared food and given at meal times.
Replacing your pet’s dense, high fat packaged treats with healthy treats like fruits and vegetables will be one of the most beneficial things you do for your pet. Over the long term, your pet’s health and immune system will be stronger, aging will not be as severe, its weight will stay steadier, and if weight is already an issue, you may even see your pet’s weight become more manageable — if you stick to it and include moderate exercise.
With any change in diet, it is important to observe your pet for issues that can arise in response to the change. If your pet begins to show digestive or behavioral changes, stop feeding the new foodstuff and consult with a veterinarian if the problem does not go away in the absence of the added food.