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Prevention of Ticks and Fleas

With summer finally here people and their pets will spend a lot more time enjoying the outdoors, but ticks and fleas could be a serious problem for pets, so in this article we are going to try and keep your pets safe from getting infested.

What are ticks and fleas?

They are parasites that cause discomfort and sometimes serious diseases.

Ticks

Ticks are closely related to mites, spiders, and scorpions, unlike popular belief, ticks are not insects. In the United States there are around 80 different species. Most ticks aren’t a real threat to humans or pets, but there are a few to definitely look out for. The brown dog tick (rhipicephalus sanguineus), the American dog tick (dermacentor variabilis), and the deer tick (ixodes scapularis). The brown dog tick is the most concerning to dogs because it’s the only kind of tick that can live its entire lifetime on a dog and they can infest the home and the kennel.

Tick bites can be irritating and painful, but the real concern are the serious diseases they can transmit, such as Lyme disease, ehrlichiosis, tick paralysis, babesiosis, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and anaplasmosis. These diseases can cause significant illness and even death in both pets and people.

In general, ticks prefer dark, moist, brushy places in which to lay their eggs. Ticks are most problematic during early spring and late fall but some have adapted to extreme climate and can be found year round.

Fleas

Fleas are insects and can be found almost everywhere regardless of climate. They prefer moist, warm conditions, so infestations are typically at its worst during mid to late summer and early fall. There are over 2000 species of fleas. The most common to affect the life of cats and dogs is the cat flea (Ctenocephalides felis).

A disease of real concern by fleas is Flea Allergy Dermatitis (FAD). FAD is an allergic reaction to a flea bite, it can cause severe inflammation and itching, if left untreated, it can lead to excessive chewing and scratching that can damage the skin, and fungal or bacterial infections can develop as a result.

Fleas are also capable of transmitting parasites to pets like tapeworms and bacterial diseases that can be passed onto humans like cat fever (bartonellosis).

Fleas can be found throughout the United States. They prefer humid, warm conditions, so infestations are typically at its worst during mid to late summer and early fall, but can survive indoors even in cooler months once infestation has been established.

Preventative Treatments

There are many tick and flea control products on the market that can be administered easily and effectively on your pets. Generally these products are liquid form that is administered in between the shoulder blades or on the back of the neck, some flea products can be giving orally in tablet or liquid form. Some products are for adult fleas and ticks and some target the larvaes or eggs, so vets may recommend treating pets with two products.

If an infestation has been established you may need to treat the pet’s environment, if you have more than one pet you must treat them as well. Throwing out old beddings, vacuuming all rugs and carpets in the home may be necessary.

If you have a backyard where your pets spends time in you should keep your grass as short as possible and trim bushes back. You may have to treat your yard with pesticides to reduce tick population. Since fleas and ticks prefer moist places you should remove leaf litter.

Always check on your pet! If he or she is constantly scratching or is uncomfortable, especially after an outing, take the time to check their fur. It can take some time with a furry dog or cat, but it will help relieve their pain and cost you a lot less for your time. If you find a pest on your pet, use a pair of tweezers to pick them out. A flea comb can be used to remove fleas. If your cat is grooming itself more than usual, they may be trying to remove the fleas on their own. Wash your hands after dealing with any pests to keep them from attempting to reattach themselves to you or your pet.

We hope this article can help you and your pets have a fun and safe summer. From your family at The Pet Bodega, go and enjoy the great outdoors with your favorite friends!

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