How to Keep You and Your Dog Safe From Pests
Warm weather is finally which for many, means long luxurious walks and romps in the yard for you and your pup. Keep in mind, it’s these very lovely summer days that invite the teeny tiny terrors that could cause huge problems for you and your beloved pet: fleas and ticks.
While bugs usually aren’t much more than an annoyance, fleas and ticks are carriers of some potentially devastating diseases. And they can affect not only your pooch but the people in your home too.
What You Need to Know About Fleas and Ticks ( To keep You and Your Dog Safe)
The Horrors Called Fleas and Ticks
Fleas are small brown insects that hatch in warm weather: from 65 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit (18 to 27 Celsius). They attach themselves to your dog when outside. They burrow down to your dog’s skin where they consume blood and multiply.
Ticks, on the other hand, aren’t technically insects. They’re more closely related to spiders and even look a lot like them. Ticks may be carriers of Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever, both of which can affect your brain. Even if you don’t get one of those diseases, some smaller dogs can develop a number of other problems, such as anemia, if they’ve been infected for long enough.
Beware the Tiny Biters!
Even though they’re so different, fleas and ticks can cause similar problems. The danger to your pup lies on a spectrum ranging from skin irritation to anemia and even arthritis and lameness. Some dogs may suffer from a worse reaction because they have an existing allergy to flea bites.
Even worse than your furry friend getting a flea infestation or a tick bite is the chance that those nasty insects spread diseases to you or your loved ones. Fleas can carry up to three diseases, while ticks carry those debilitating diseases that at worse can affect your brain.
Treatment Begins with Prevention
There are a number of precautions you can take to keep fleas and ticks off your dog. Flea collars, flea treatments, and dog-friendly insect repellent help prevent fleas from infesting your pup. Making sure that there’s a significant area between your yard and the woods also helps minimize interaction between your pets and the bugs that thrive there.
If you do have a home near the woods or a grassy field, take advantage of treatments available for your home and yard that reduce the number of ticks and fleas. These treatments also prevent them from getting into your house. If you’re worried about fleas and ticks in the house, make sure you vacuum often, clean bedding weekly and invest in a pet-friendly insect control program.
Itchin’ and Scratchin’
Unless your dog has a skin condition that makes him scratch or licks a lot, you may notice if your pup is scratching or licking himself more than normal. Fleas cause a variety of symptoms including:
- Increased scratching or grooming
- Flea dirt, which looks like coarse ground pepper on pet beds or resting spots
- Adult fleas hopping around, especially after you’ve been away
- Flea eggs
- Bites to humans, causing you to itch more than usual
Ticks cause health problems, but usually after a period of time. Even though there are many home tricks for removing a tick from your pup’s skin, the only way to get rid of them is to remove them with tweezers. Some dogs may not even show signs of a tick bite, so it’s your responsibility to check them properly, especially after a walk.
If Your Pet Has Fleas and Ticks…
If the worst happens and your puppy has been infected with fleas or ticks, several options exist to get rid of them. The first step should be to call your vet to ask for details about how to debug your dog. Removing all ticks from your dog and eliminating fleas from your pet, the furniture, the carpet and everywhere has to be your first priority.
Your vet can advise you what the best treatment option is, based on his knowledge of your dog, whether it’s a flea bath, a topical product or oral medication. Your veterinarian knows the bugs and your dog. Exterminators and other bug removal services are another option to make sure you get rid of fleas and ticks.
Let the Good Times Roll ... Over
You don’t have to be afraid of going outside in the summer just because fleas and ticks are out and ready to pounce. Keep your dog and your home critter-free by bug-proofing your home, your backyard and your pet. Sensible precautions now prevent problems later.