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Flea and Tick Protection for Your Pets

November 11, 2016


fleas and ticks on your pet

Fleas and Ticks

Fleas and ticks are some of the most annoying pests to deal with and can cause some serious problems for you and your best friend. Cats and dogs are especially susceptible to these little monsters due to the amount of time they spend outside. Fleas and ticks can cause itching, inflammation, hair loss and secondary skin infections. In this article, I’ll tell you a little bit about fleas and ticks and then about ways of protecting your furry friends from these pests.

Before you can fight the enemy, you must first know your enemy. Fleas are little parasites that live off the blood of their host, which is either a mammal or bird. Fleas do not have wings so they must jump, by using their super strong hind legs, from host to host in order to survive. Fleas are most common during the summer months because they like warm and wet places.

So how do you know if your pet has fleas? The first sign will be more scratching and itching than normal. You can also look for fleas on your pet. Unlike other burrowing pests, fleas crawl around on the surface of their host, so you can visibly see them and check for them on your pet. Fleas do not like the light so check in especially furry places on their belly and inner thighs. You can also look for “flea dirt”. “Flea dirt” is actually flea feces, which is just digested blood. “Flea dirt” will look like little dark specks on the surface of their skin. To test to see if these specks are actually “flea dirt”, pick some of the specks off the pet and put in a bowl of water. If in a couple minutes the speck creates a bloodstain in the water then your pet most likely has fleas.

Our next pest is the dreaded tick. Ticks can cause all sorts of problems for their host. Ticks find their hosts by detecting animals’ breath and body odors or by sensing body heat, moisture, and vibrations. Ticks can’t fly or jump so they must wait for their host to walk by to grab on in a process called “questing”. Some ticks bite down right away while others move around looking for softer tissue to bite. Once a tick bites down, they emit a cement-like substance that keeps them attached to the host. Ticks can also secrete saliva which contains anesthetic properties so the host can’t feel the tick attach itself. Ticks can be very dangerous due to the fact that they can transmit diseases to their host. Some of the diseases transmitted by ticks include Lyme disease, Powassan disease, Southern tick-associated rash illness and many more. All potentially harmful to you and your pets. The best way to find ticks is to first shower as soon as you can after being outdoors. This will allow you to more easily spot ticks. Next, do a full body check using a hand-held mirror or a full body mirror. Parents need to check kids, especially in their armpits, around their ears, behind their legs, in their hair, and around their waist. Ticks can also grab onto clothes and gear, so that must be checked as well. You should put your clothes in the dryer on high for at least 10 minutes in order to kill any ticks.

How to Prevent Fleas and Ticks on Your Pet

Outdoor cats and dogs are especially vulnerable to fleas and ticks because they spend so much time outside. The best method for preventing fleas and ticks on your pet is to use a flea and/or tick preventive. These preventatives can be administered orally, as a pill, or topically onto the animal. Most of the pill preventatives require a prescription from your veterinarian. Oral medications are pills given once per month. On the other hand, there are topical preventatives. Most topical preventatives are available over the counter and are available as shampoos, collars, sprays and spot-on products. Spot-on treatments are available from your veterinarian, online or at a pet store and can be effective for up to a month. Shampoos are an inexpensive option and can kill the fleas and ticks on contact. However, the process will need to be repeated every two weeks to ensure the shampoo is effective. Collars are additional protection for your pet, but only useful for protecting the head and neck from fleas and ticks. A talk with your veterinarian will allow them to explain the best options for prevention for your pet. If you think your pet might have fleas or ticks check by using a flea and tick comb. Look for the actual insects or the tell-tale signs of the pests as outlined above. Whichever treatment you decide to use, make sure to monitor your pet for any adverse reactions and contact your veterinarian for other options.

For more information on treating fleas and ticks in Palm Beach, Boca Raton or elsewhere in South Florida, contact Nozzle Nolen.  Our Platinum Package is a complete home pest control program that controls ants, roaches, and other household pests in addition to fleas and ticks!

References

Pet MD “The 10 Best Ways to Get Rid of & Prevent Ticks on Dogs”
http://www.petmd.com/dog/ parasites/evr_dg_10_ways_to_ stop_ticks_from_biting_your_ dog?page=2#

Pest World for Kids “Fleas”
http://pestworldforkids.org/ pest-guide/fleas/

Environmental Protection Agency “Controlling Fleas and Ticks on Your Pet”
https://www.epa.gov/pets/ controlling-fleas-and-ticks- your-pet

Center for Disease Control and Prevention “Preventing ticks on your pet”
http://www.cdc.gov/ticks/ avoid/on_pets.html




 

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