In most parts of the country, cooler temperatures are finally giving way to warmer days. But this increase in temperature also comes with an increase in the numbers of pests like fleas and ticks.
Why Worry About Fleas and Ticks on Our Dogs and Cats
By Guest Blogger Lorie Huston, DVM
As if that were not bad enough, fleas and ticks can cause a wide variety of other illnesses for our pets.
- Fleas are one of the most common causes of allergies in dogs and cats. A flea infestation can cause itchiness, hair loss, “hot spots” and can generally make your pet uncomfortable and just plain miserable.
- Fleas can also carry diseases, including parasites like tapeworms and diseases like cat scratch fever and even plaque in some parts of the country.
- Ticks can carry a wide variety of diseases, including Lyme disease, ehrlichiosis, anaplasmosis, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and more.
Now that you are convinced that you need to control fleas and ticks for your dog or cat, you may be wondering how to do that effectively.
The best way to keep fleas away from your pets is to prevent them in the first place. There are a number of safe and effective flea and tick products you can use to prevent your pet from getting fleas. Many of these products are topical formulations that need to be applied monthly. Using these products before the fleas appear on your pet is easier than trying to get rid of them once they have made their appearance. When using these products, always follow label directions closely and never use a dog product on your cat.
If your pet already has fleas, you will need to take some precautions inside of your home as well. Vacuum all flooring surfaces regularly and remove the contents of the vacuum bag from the house. Wash all bedding that your pet sleeps on frequently.
Most of the monthly flea products for dogs and cats are safe if used properly. However, if you are concerned about the use of chemicals in your home or on your pet, there are also some natural flea control remedies that can be used as well.
Controlling Ticks on Your Dog or Cat
Many of the monthly topical flea products can help protect your dog or cat against ticks as well. In addition, avoiding tick-infested areas such as woody areas and areas with high grasses is advisable when walking your dog.
Always check your pet over thoroughly, especially after being outdoors. Remove any ticks promptly by grasping the body and pulling back steadily on the tick. Do not handle the tick without gloves and do not allow blood or body fluids from the tick to contact your skin.