Some bugs are good to have around while others are not. Fleas and ticks are just some of those bugs that are a pain and don’t do a whole lot other than cause issues. They not only wreak havoc on humans, but also on dogs. Thankfully, there have been plenty of flea and tick preventions created for dogs. Learn more about flea and tick prevention for dogs below!
Fleas thrive on animal or human blood. Flea eggs are laid at around 40-50 per day with infestation coming a few days later. These small nuisances can bite into any skin surface and cause discomfort, itchiness, and irritation. Fleas can cause a variety of germs and diseases including flea-borne typhus, plague, or cat scratch disease. They can be commonly found in shaded, humid areas such as high grass, sand, sheds and in debris. While it may be hard to keep your dog away from these areas, making sure they are properly treated is the best way to protect them.
Warning Signs of Fleas
According to this article, there are many warning signs of fleas. “Fleas leave droppings which are dark specks in the fur along with white specks which are flea eggs. These can be hidden in fur or in any dark area of a home or yard. If your pet is excessively licking, scratching or has hot spots and scabs on the skin, it could be a sign that fleas are present. If your dog is having trouble with fleas, it’s good to also check for warning signs of Anemia. Since fleas can ‘suck’ up to 15x their own weight in blood,if a dog has a large amount of fleas their blood count can drop dangerously low. Some signs of anemia include pale gums and lack of energy. Be sure to groom your pet regularly to help prevent fleas from turning into a health concern for your pet” Keep an eye out for these pesky bugs!
There are many flea prevention products out in the market. Your pup may need an over the counter prevention or a prescription. Some are applied as a liquid to the skin, a flea collar can be worn, or some are given orally. With so many topical treatments and oral options to choose from, your vet will help you pick a prevention that will work best for your pet.
If your pup happens to contract fleas, take them to the vet immediately. They will likely use a special flea shampoo such as SENTRY PRO. This flea and tick shampoo kills fleas and ticks for up to 14 days. It also kills flea larvae and eggs for 30 days to prevent your dog from becoming reinfested.
A flea comb may also be used to remove the fleas. This type of comb has finely spaced teeth that collect the fleas, flea eggs and flea dirt when brushing your dog. A good comb choice is this groomer’s preferred option by Hartz.
Ticks are a type of parasite that are part of the mite family. They can vary in size and prey on the blood of humans, dogs, and a variety of other animals. Ticks can be more dangerous than fleas because they can carry diseases. They prefer wooded areas with high grass and a lot of gathered leaves. Months they are most active are May, June and July.
According to the AKC, “Lyme disease, also known as Lyme borreliosis, is a bacterial illness that can be transmitted to humans, dogs, and other animals by certain species of ticks. It is caused by the spiral-shaped bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi, which is carried inside a tick and gets into a dog or person’s bloodstream through a tick bite. Once in the bloodstream, the bacteria can travel to different parts of the body and cause problems in specific organs or locations, such as joints, as well as overall illness.”
Lyme disease is very dangerous and can be transmitted by a tick within 24-48 hours of attaching to your dog. Some symptoms of lyme disease in dogs includes:
- Loss of appetite
- Reduced energy
- Stiffness, discomfort, or pain
- Swelling of joints
Learning tick prevention for dogs is the best way to protect them from this disease.
The best way to prevent ticks from infecting your dogs is by following these simple tasks:
- After walking through wooded or high grass areas, be sure to inspect your dog and yourself for ticks. Pay particular attention to the ears, neck, and paws.
- Remove the ticks immediately. Wear gloves and use a pair of fine point tweezers that are made for removing ticks. Grab some tweezers and grab the tick from the side on its head, as close to the skin as possible, then pull straight up. It’s important that you do not twist or squeeze it. Dispose of the tick by flushing it, putting it in a sealed baggie and placing it in the trash, or wrapping the tick tightly with tape. Once disposed, wash the bite area and your hands thoroughly with soap and water.
- Visit your veterinarian to have them do a tick check.
- Use a flea and tick treatment that prevents ticks from jumping on your dog. These flea and tick products can likely be purchased in a grocery store or you can buy them from your vet.
- Avoid walking in areas where ticks are common.
- Vaccinate your dog against Lyme disease.
We know spending time with your dog is important. Keeping them safe and healthy is very important, too! Flea and tick control can be intimidating, but will benefit you and your dog in the long run. You don’t want to run into bigger health problems just from a simple walk outside. Stay safe outdoors and avoid those pesky critters!