Fleas and ticks are a thing we have to deal with, like it or not, and even more so when we have a dog or two. What you do with regards to how to treat fleas and ticks and prevention is especially important to rid yourself of the problem at hand and what could be.
For instance, fleas lay eggs continuously on your dog, and some may fall off of Fifi and end up on your furniture, your rug, or worse — your mattress!
If that happens, be prepared to become the target, just like your dog. These fleas will feed off of you, sucking on your blood too, all the while laying more eggs.
And, ticks and fleas affect people just the same as they do dogs, resulting in tick-borne diseases that can turn your life upside down. The disease itself isn’t contagious, meaning your dog won’t give it to you, but be extra careful when removing ticks from your pet. (Below)
Flea and Tick Prevention
That’s why you have to be proactive and practice flea and tick prevention in the first place.
If your dog does get fleas, you have to resolve the problem quickly and effectively before it becomes disastrous.
Fleas love humid areas and carpets. So if you have fleas in your home, keep your home dry. Try a dehumidifier to remove moisture from the air. And, if need be, replace your carpet. Your goal is to make your home a place fleas can’t thrive in.
How to Protect Your Dog & Your Home From Fleas and Ticks
Fleas and ticks could be in your yard and are usually found in the warmer, grassy areas.
Flea and Tick Prevention in Your Backyard is Best
Take the necessary steps to ensure your yard is not flea and tick-friendly. How?
- Discourage rodents from coming onto your property by keeping garbage covered.
- Keep your yard tidy by regularly mowing the lawn
- Rake the leaves.
Prevention In Your Home
Keep a clean home by vacuuming rugs, furniture, and floors regularly and mop hardwood floors weekly. Wash your dog’s bedding and yours every week, too.
Products to Ward Off and Kill Fleas and Ticks on Dogs
- Skin Treatments
- Flea Combs
- Fogger / Bug Bombs
- Natural Treatments
Oral flea and tick treatments are available for dogs (and cats) that work differently. Some can be taken daily, killing fleas in about half an hour, while others administered monthly stop flea eggs from hatching. In some cases, you’ll need a prescription. The best advice is to ask your vet which approach you should take to protect your dog from fleas and ticks.
These treatments are meant to be applied on your dog’s back to kill fleas and ticks or their eggs, depending on the product. They typically work for about a month. It’s always best to get your vet’s approval and advice. And, always use them as directed because they can be harmful if misused. Never use a dog product on a cat and make sure the dose is right for the size and weight of your dog.
Flea collars can help reduce the risk of your dog getting fleas and ticks. It is imperative to read the manufacturers recommendations and directions because you are dealing with chemicals that could harm you or your dog. After handling the flea collar, wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water. Never let children touch the flea collar.
Shampoos are not really suitable for flea and tick prevention. Instead, they are mostly made to kill any fleas and ticks on your dog. Once applied all over the dog, let it sit for 10 minutes before you rinse it off. Again, pay close attention to the product directions and use it with extreme care.
Flea combs work! They require patience, but they do the job. These are ideal solutions for pet parents that prefer to use “green” solutions rather than harmful chemicals on their dogs. This is also an excellent way to remove fleas from a dog that isn’t able to take medication.
Read also: 5 Things You Need When Hiking with Your Dog
An insect fogger, also known as a bug bomb, is a potent pesticide. It is advised for use in a severe infestation in your home. Given how strong it is, people and their pets must leave the premises for a specified time (according to the manufacturer’s recommendations). These can kill lots of fleas simultaneously. Never return to the home too early after the fogger has been used!
Natural Treatments for Fleas and Ticks
There are different types of natural treatments people use to ward off fleas and ticks, although there isn’t much science to back them. Still, some may work, and you’d have to try for yourself to see what results you get. However, it is essential to understand that sometimes, natural flea and tick remedies might cause a reaction in your dog or any other pet. It’s best to speak with your vet before using any of the following home remedies:
- Pennyroyal oil
- Brewer’s yeast (ts odor is supposed to “ward off” fleas).
Safest Ways To Remove Ticks
If you or your dog have a tick bite, take good care of how you remove the tick. Be careful with methods that may end up forcing fluids that are infected right back into the bite.
So, one of the safest ways to remove ticks is with tweezers or a product specifically designed for this purpose, Tick Ease. Here is a step-by-step guide in how to do it correctly:
- Wear gloves
- Use the tweezers to grab the tick by its head, as close to the skin as possible.
- Pull the tick straight out.
- Wash your hands and the bite area thoroughly.
Never do the following when remove ticks from dogs (or people)
- Never use bare hands to remove a tick, as in the video above
- Never twist a tick
- Never squeeze the tick’s belly
Incorrect removal of a tick could lead to serious health problems.
Symptoms and Signs of Tick-Borne Diseases in Dogs
There are different tick-borne diseases your dog could end up with, including Rocky Mountain spotted fever and Lyme disease.
Look out for these signs:
- Loss of appetite
- Joint swelling
- Joint pain
- Swollen lymph nodes
If you notice these signs in your dog, see your vet immediately as these diseases come with health complications ranging from allergic reactions to very serious problems.
Ask your vet if your dog should be vaccinated against Lyme disease as a vaccine does exist.
Fleas and ticks are prevalent during the warmer months, but as a pet parent, you should be vigilant throughout the year.
Allergy to Fleas
An allergic reaction to a flea bite is common because the flea injects its saliva into your dog’s skin. This results in extreme itching and hair loss, as well as irritated skin and scabbing — all of which could end up causing a skin infection.
One other problem with fleas is that they feed on your dog’s blood, which could lead to so much blood loss that your dog can develop anemia. Anemia in puppies can be especially dangerous as there is a considerable drop in red blood cells.
Look out for a change in your dog’s energy level, as a lack of energy could indicate anemia. Another sign is pale gums.
Did you know that each female flea can lay up to 50 eggs a day?
How Do Dogs Get Fleas Exactly?
Fleas can be picked up easily when dogs are outside. And, fleas can jump right off your dog and onto you, your cat, or your bed!
If you find even 1 flea on your dog, then you can bet that there are about 100 or so in your home, and that’s where it becomes a vicious cycle unless you do what’s necessary to nip it in the bud right away.
Ticks on Your Dog
Ticks are usually found attached around your dog’s ears, neck, head, or paws. In fact, you may even feel ticks while petting your dog. Remove the tick immediately, following the instructions above.
How Dogs Get Ticks
Ticks are generally found in warm, humid climates, like wooded areas. They typically hide on tall grass or shrubs, patiently awaiting their next host. Dogs usually get ticks walking in areas like these in the warmer months.
Did you know that ticks can go for a whole year without feeding?
Ticks can cause dogs many health problems that include:
- Skin irritation
- Skin infection
- Tick Paralysis (caused by the toxin made by ticks that causes muscle weakness)
Deer ticks are widespread, from the Northeast to the Midwest in North America, and can also be found in other parts of the continent, in wooded areas. The reddish-brown ticks are dangerous to people and dogs because they can potentially transmit Lyme disease.
Lyme disease is very dangerous, especially if it is not caught and treated quickly. In dogs, it causes joint pain accompanied by fever and may even lead to kidney failure. You can’t be too careful about flea and tick prevention.
American Dog Tick
This is another common tick found in North America. In Canada, it lives anywhere from Saskatchewan to the Atlantic Provinces and in the U.S., almost everywhere east of the Rocky Mountains.
The American dog tick can transmit Tularemia, as well as Rocky Mountain Spotted fever, if attached to its host for a minimum of 5 hours. This could result in serious health issues in people, and in dogs, it could be fatal. When they feed, they can swell up to the size of a grape!
Just like deer ticks, this tick feeds on dogs and people. Females have a silver marking on the back of their heads. When they feed, they can swell up to the size of a grape!
The Kennel Tick (Brown Dog Tick)
The reddish-brown kennel tick is very common in North America, and it stands out for its ability to thrive, or at least do well, indoors. The brown dog tick is usually found attached to your dog’s ears as well as in between its toes.
This tick doesn’t typically affect people, so pet parents are generally safe. However, for dogs, it can be dangerous because it carries diseases like ehrlichiosis.
It’s crucial to be careful and practice flea and tick prevention to have peace of mind and ensure the health of your dog and your family.