Keeping dogs in desert Southwest USA or other arid areas - Page 1

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by HighDesertGSD on 06 October 2011 - 19:10

These have been my experiences. Let's see if others in the area agree.

1. No fleas. Too dry for fleas to reproduce

2. No need to deworm adults and older pups. Worms are inside a dog and usually in balance. Deworming is needed once or twice for young pups.

3. No ticks. same reason.

4. Poops dry up fast and become easier to pickup.

5 Rattlesnakes a potential danger if you are on the edge of a development. One GSD I know died from snakebite. 

6. No heartworm problems

by Nevada GSD on 07 October 2011 - 14:10

Rabbits, deer and antelope all carry fleas, so they can still be a problem. Same with ticks.
Worming is absolutely necessary unless your dog is kept inside. Rounds and hooks are easily picked up, and if the dog hunts, tape worms are a threat as well.
While rattlesnakes are definitely a threat,  most stay away from the immediate home ranch area.
I am in the high desert, very arid, many GSD's.

by malndobe on 08 October 2011 - 06:10

My friends who live in the SW desert areas have also mentioned a high population of creepy crawlies, not just snakes.  But various nasty spiders and what not that can do some real damage to a dog.  Also valley fever.

by Championl on 08 October 2011 - 12:10

Yes, Valley Fever can be a real danger especially during/after the big dust storms we've been having (AZ) or when tracking in dirt. Rattlesnakes are mostly a problem in the outskirts of towns, by new developments, and in smaller towns. Rattlesnake training is very effective for anyone concerned about their dogs. The spiders tend to appear under the same circumstances as the snakes. If you and your dogs live in a big city in the desert like I do, the creatures you meet aren't your biggest concern. A bigger concern is the general heat of summer and the need to keep the dogs hydrated and cool, especially if they must be outside for any length of time during the summer days. My vet says fleas and ticks are not a big concern for us when living in the cities but it would probably be differnet in the mountains or small towns where wild animals are much closer.


by Bhaugh on 09 October 2011 - 02:10

Ticks love it here. Are common if dogs live outside. Some carry Lyme disease. I dont worry about fleas. Never seen one here unless the dogs came from CA. Heartworms are not big in NV where I am but are growing in other areas or from tourists who bring their pets and LEAVE them behind (yes it actually happens)

Valley Fever is hard to dx and getting more common. I worry most about black widow spiders and scorpions. I had a friend a couple of weeks back that had a dog that was bit by a scorpion. Other than benedryl the dog was ok.

And blow away poop? Your watching too much tv. Poop is just the same as anywhere and we still scoop poop same as anyone else.

by HighDesertGSD on 10 October 2011 - 22:10

What is the agent in Valley fever?

by DAK44 on 11 October 2011 - 01:10

coccidioidomycosis it is a fungus that lives in the dirt. Arizona is riddled with it.

by clc29 on 12 October 2011 - 16:10

I was born in PHX, have lived in the SW all of my life and had dogs in AZ, NM and NV.

I would say the biggest issue with animals in the SW is the heat in certain areas of AZ and NV and the winters in northern and central NM.
Making sure they have plenty of water, both to drink and play in, and a well ventilated shelter to get out of the sun in the hot areas is very important.
We get snow in the Albuquerque area in the winter and even though not much it can get very cold. So good warm shelter or keep them indoors.
  I've never had a problem with ticks or fleas (in the desert and high desert areas) and only use frontline when going camping in the woods.

Never had a problem with worms either. However, I do have their stools tested.

Never had a problem with heart worm and don't personally know anyone who has. But it seems to be more common here in ABQ (according to my vet friend) than in PHX.

Never had a problem with Valley Fever but know people who have lost animals to it. Also, humans are susceptible to Valley Fever.

We do have lots of scorpions, centipedes and black widows. Keeping common areas clean, not keeping cut wood close to the house or dog areas, and using a bug guy once a month takes care of most of that problem. We still get the occasional scorpion or centipede in the house, which gets stomped into the ceramic tile upon site.

I saw lots of rattle snakes in AZ but have never had an animal bitten. New Mexico also has a lot of rattle snakes but I have never seen one here in ABQ (just been lucky I guess). Also because Cisco is in training to be a wilderness search dog, I will be getting him snake proofed at some point.

As for the poop drying out quicker.....Sorry had to laugh at that one......and agree with Bhaugh......adding.....only if you leave it on the ground for weeks, will it dry out and blow away :)

The only other thing I can think of is.......because of the arid condition and high altitude here in ABQ......I am more aware of potential eye problems, pannis specifically, and have both my dogs eyes checked every year.



by Dog Bum on 15 October 2011 - 05:10

Would like to add a couple items learned while living in the high desert, Mojave in California.  We had an Arizona cypress tree that was a tick hotel.  Ticks would leap from the tree onto passing dog, sometimes dropping as many as ten at a time.  Cholla cactus ("jumping cactus") was a hazzard.  Always carry a comb to remove the cactus ball by "combing" it out of the fur. If a dog gets a cactus spine in the eye, don't try to remove it.  Get to a vet ASAP!  Sidewinders were always a potential danger. There is a rattlesnake vaccination available. Far worse than snakes were the coyote packs who would attack lone dogs and tear them to pieces.  Mountain lions were a potential danger.  A fenced yard is a must! 

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