Tips to Keep Fleas and Ticks At Bay
If you are a pet owner you’ve probably already thought about flea and tick control. Whether your pet has already suffered from bites from these pests or you are concerned about making sure they never do, here are some helpful tips on how to protect your pet from fleas and ticks.
Why It’s Important to Protect Your Pets
Ticks and fleas are more than just nuisances. Along with causing your pet itchiness, fleas and ticks can cause allergic reactions and hair loss . If that isn’t bad enough, they can transmit tapeworms and a whole host of potentially deadly diseases. If a flea infestation grows too severe your pet could also suffer from anemia from blood loss. Fleas multiply and spread quickly. It’s important to take action immediately if you detect them on your pet. It is also important to take preventative steps in order to avoid an infestation altogether.
Prevention is truly the best medicine when it comes to ticks and fleas because it’s hard to keep your pet isolated from exposure to these pests. Even if your pet doesn’t come into contact with another animal with fleas, wildlife passing through your yard could drop fleas that later jump onto your pet. Ticks can survive up to a year without a host and will wait in long grass or brush for a new host. Depending on where you live, there are very few times of year when ticks and fleas will die off and stop being a threat. That’s why prevention is important all year round.
Use tick and flea preventative shampoo on your pets, especially during the summer months when ticks and fleas are most active. Consult your pet’s veterinarian for the most effective oral or topical treatment. Regularly wash your pet’s bedding and keep your home clean and dry. All pets should be treated if one pet has fleas or could be exposed to them. Treating your yard and home for fleas is important if fleas are a concern.
Detecting Fleas and Ticks
Regular trips to the vet are important to test and treat your pet for pests as well as any illnesses those pests could have transmitted. However, it’s a good idea to regularly inspect your pet between vet visits by feeling behind ears and between toes or warm places a tick might like to hide. Checking them regularly for fleas by investigating their skin underneath their fur is also important. Using a flea comb on your pet over a white sheet is another good way to see if any fleas are shaken off. If your pet has been in a wooded area where ticks are common, check them thoroughly afterward to make sure no ticks latched onto them.
If you detect fleas or ticks on your pet, it’s important to take the necessary steps to fully remove the pests from your pet and home. Ticks can be removed individually with tweezers, but be sure to grab them near the head and pull them off carefully so that the head doesn’t remain in your pet’s skin. Clean the affected area with antiseptic and kill the tick with alcohol.
Fleas are more difficult to remove. Submerge your pet in water up to their neck to drown the fleas and wash them thoroughly with flea shampoo. You can comb petroleum jelly through their fur to remove any lingering fleas and rinse them down the drain. It’s important that even after your pet is cleaned, all bedding and towels used or exposed to the pet are cleaned and possibly even treated with flea powder to kill and dispose of all eggs. Clean regularly after the initial treatment to vacuum up any remaining eggs.
When it comes to fleas and ticks, it is important to be mindful and proactive to prevent them from harming your pets. Along with regular flea treatments, keep cats indoors if possible and make sure your yard is well maintained since ticks and fleas thrive in tall grass and shrubs.
Mikkie Mills, is a freelance writer who often writes about family, home improvements and the occasional DIY project.