Not only are fleas and ticks a nuisance that can infest your home, but they’re also very dangerous because they carry a number of serious diseases that can be transmitted to both you and your pet. The number one way to protect yourself and your dog or cat from fleas and ticks is through prevention.
Conditions Caused by Fleas and Ticks
Fleas and ticks are parasites that can infect your pet. Fleas will feed off your dog’s blood, reproduce, and infest your home. They can also live for 100 days without a host, which means that once they’re in your home, you’ll have a tough time getting rid of them. Ticks carry Lyme disease, and they can hold onto your pet’s fur or dig into their skin, and transfer the disease to your animal, as well as you. Fleas and ticks feed off blood - whether it’s yours or your dog it doesn’t matter. In doing so, they can transfer diseases to humans - this is called zoonotic diseases. These include the plague, Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, bartonellosis, among others.
Tick Prevention and Flea Treatment
It’s critically important for you to protect your pet from fleas and ticks for not only their health but for yours. In our area, it doesn’t typically get cold enough for fleas and ticks to die, so it is imperative that you treat and prevent year-round.
- Check your dog and yourself for ticks after being in the woods or grassy areas: Pay special attention to your dog’s feet and between his toes, on his lips, around the eyes, and inside the ears, and under his tail. The quicker you can remove a tick, the less likely it will transmit diseases.
- For fleas, check for them on your pet’s skin where fur is sparse (think underbelly or under the armpits)
- Give your animals a flea and tick preventative. There are many different options on the market for your pet today, including topicals, collars, and oral medication that prevent flea and tick infestation. Talk to one of our veterinary staff about what’s right for your pet
- If you have multiple dogs, they should all be treated at the same time. This is important so that one dog doesn’t infest the other.
- If you do find fleas on your dog, it’s important to treat the environment at the same time that you treat your dog to prevent infestation all over again. Get rid of all bedding, vacuum all carpets and sofas, and don’t forget to empty the canister when you’re done. For extensive infestations, you can use a fogger or you may need to contact a professional exterminator