As the weather gets nicer your pet will most likely be spending more time outdoors and become more susceptible to bringing summer pests into the home. It is important to protect pets from fleas and ticks and know the proper steps for treating them.
The best way to avoid fleas and ticks is by taking preventative measures. The most common prevention methods are topical treatments that are generally applied once a month to your pet’s back. Oral and injectable treatment options are also available. Different brands and methods may treat different common pests, like fleas, ticks and other pests, so be sure to note the capabilities of the treatment you’ve selected. Sprays and flea collars can be effective prevention methods if used properly and reapplied per the directions on the product. You can also take preventative measures in your outdoor space. Fleas tend to be in warm, moist, shady areas with organic debris so focus efforts on taking care of leaves, straw, grass clippings, etc.
If you find a flea or tick the problem should be addressed immediately for the health of your pet.
A pet that spends a lot of time outdoors should be checked regularly for ticks so it can’t move from your pet to a person or another pet. This will also help catch a tick before the 24 to 48 hours it takes a tick to transmit an infection. A tick can be removed using a clean pair of tweezers or tick remover. Be sure to pull the tick straight out and remove all of it, including the head. If a part of the tick is left behind it can cause infection. The wound should be treated with a disinfectant and treated with a triple antibiotic ointment.
Flea bites can be painful and itchy and some pets can have an allergy to the flea saliva, which causes red skin, scabs and hair loss from scratching and biting. When the pet bites and grooms it ingests adult fleas that may carry tapeworms, a parasite that lives in the intestines. A large flea infestation may also cause a pet to become anemic from blood loss. Bathing an infected pet with a flea shampoo will help to kill the adult fleas. Flea combs can be used to help pull adult fleas out of the hair. Keeping up with bathing or using an above mentioned prevention treatment is imperative to ridding your pet of fleas because they have multiple stages in their life-cycle.
If your pet brings fleas into the home it will need to be treated while the pet is undergoing treatment. Vacuum high traffic areas every day and the entire home thoroughly once a week. Putting a flea collar in the vacuum will help to kill fleas quicker, but make sure to empty the vacuum and discard bags after each use. Flea foggers, powders and sprays can be used on carpets, furniture and baseboards to kill adult fleas and stop the development of eggs and larvae. The pet’s bedding should be washed weekly until the home and pet are clear of fleas.
Keeping up with flea and tick prevention and treatment will ensure a happy and healthy pest free summer with your pets.