Fleas and ticks are mostly be perceived as nuisance, but they can induce real health complications in pets. These parasites create a significant amount of discomfort, but there are ways to prevent them from conquering your pet. It is necessary to prevent them before they start to crawl on your dog. First, you will need to create a clean environment while treating the pet at the same time. It would be best if you examined all the options available for your pup.
Here are some tips for you and your pet:
1. Treatments for fleas and ticks to be used throughout the year
Although fleas and ticks commonly take over during the Summer months when heat creates a thriving medium for them, some survive indoors throughout the Winter. Specialists recommend the use of preventive measures to shield pets from pesky parasites.
A vet or other pet specialist might recommend you some brands and products to use, such as:
- specialized shampoos
- anti ticks and fleas powders
- oral chew for tick and flea prevention
- oils and balms
- anti fleas sprays
2. Check the products you use
Ensure that the shampoo, spray or any other specific treatment has not passed the use-by date as the effects will diminish in time. Moreover, they could increase the risk of skin issues, leaving an open playground for bacteria and parasites.
Sticking by the same label might seem like a good idea as it is easy to get used to having the same product over the years. However, skin-care technology is constantly developing new ways to treat against parasites that are more effective than traditional products and even known brands.
3. Each pet with its preventive formula
Ensure that you follow the vet’s advice and don’t use flea and tick preventives that are formulated for dogs on cats or vice-versa. Some ingredients contained in dog’s formula might be toxic for cats. Also, severe reactions might appear, ending up with a quick trip to the veterinarian cabinet. Always use recommended shampoo formulas.
4. Regular checks
Remember to check your pet after outdoor outings in areas that are known to be infested with ticks and fleas. Check your pet’s skin, ears and armpits for ticks—any behaviour changes, such as lethargy, limping, or loss of appetite, must be acknowledged as urgent. Contact your vet for further advice.
5. Regular grooming
Grooming is the best way to keep an eye out for any visible parasites that may be lurking under a pet’s haircoat. Bathing, brushing, applying powder or cream on your pet’s skin will ensure a flea-free dog or kitty. Before bringing your dog back outdoors, make sure that you check him thoroughly for any tiny ticks that might have been picked up in the last walk.
6. Be proactive versus a reactive pet owner
Forget about waiting for symptoms to appear. Be aware of the life cycle of parasites and know how they are transmitted. Spray your yard and other areas frequented by your dog with an insecticide approved for use around pets. Check your pets regularly – it is easier to prevent parasitic infections than to treat them.
7. Keep your pet’s living environment clean and well sanitized
Dogs can bring in tiny parasites from their outdoor activities on a daily basis, spreading them around the living place wherever they go. As ticks are capable of climbing curtains or walls, it is essential to consider all surfaces at home as potentially infested with these nasty creatures.
8. When possible, let your pet play outdoors only during the day
During the night, ticks and fleas are most active, so letting a pet out in the morning or in the afternoon will minimize exposure to them.
9. Flea collars can help
Although not as effective as other products, some collars might help reduce ticks and fleas by repelling or killing these parasites when they come into close contact. However, it is essential not to skip prevention measures even when using one of these collars.
10. When going on a trip with your pet
Use special products for ticks and fleas that are designed to protect pets from potentially infected areas and that can be used on animals for several days before and after their stay outdoors.
11. Be wary of ticks in the house
Be alert to signs that your pet might bring a parasite indoors such as ticks hanging onto pets’ hair, tiny blood droplets, or flea dirt (tiny black specks produced when adult fleas feed on blood.
10. Vacuum regularly in floors, carpets and soft furnishings
Use a vacuum cleaner with strong suction power. Remove the bag or container when full to prevent these parasites from escaping and spreading around your house.
12. Sweep steps, porches and decks regularly
Ticks can attach themselves to clothing, so be sure that you regularly brush off coats before entering the doors of your home. Also, consider removing dense vegetation and shrubs from the immediate surroundings of your house to reduce contact with ticks in gardens.
13. Clean any pets’ toys that cannot be washed in water
Ticks can easily survive long periods without feeding, so it is critical to clean and disinfect pet’s toys regularly. After some time, these parasites may start losing their ability to reproduce, preventing them from overrunning your home.
14. Use powder on dogs’ ears to prevent ticks and fleas
Easy to apply, this product will help fight ticks and fleas in two ways: it prevents these parasites from entering the ear canal while killing those that might be trapped inside the ears.
15. Check any potential sources of reinfestation
It is essential to check all areas that might represent a source of ticks for your pet. This means:
- searching for hiding places that might be hosting unwanted creatures such as: stacks of newspapers, baskets, hay piles, woodpiles.
- use a flashlight at night to inspect anywhere pets might have hidden during the day.
- remove any unwanted materials, clean and spray with an insecticide approved for use around animals before replacing them.
16. Keep pet food in sealed containers and feed pets outdoors whenever possible
Ensure that all pets’ food is stored in airtight containers or in the refrigerator to prevent crawling insects from contaminating it.
17. Spray or spread repellents in your pet’s favorite areas
Repellents can be an effective tool against fleas and ticks. When applied to pets regularly and properly, these products will help repel parasites from the animal by disturbing their behavior. However, it is essential to use products that are designed for this purpose as not all repellents designed for humans are safe to use on animals.
When pets are treated regularly or have had a recent treatment, the risk of bringing ticks indoors is reduced significantly. Nonetheless, it is still essential to take preventative measures to make sure no parasite has been left behind unnoticed. Use products specifically designed for this purpose and check with your vet if in doubt.
This article provides useful tips on what to do if your pet has fleas and ticks, but it is only a shortlist of prevention methods. If you wish to go into more detail, consult a professional who will provide you with additional information as these parasites can be very dangerous for pets.