Preventing And Eliminating Fleas And Ticks On Pets
Fleas and ticks are troublesome external parasites that thrive in your dog's fur, latching onto the skin for sustenance. Dogs exposed to outdoor environments, particularly high grass or wooded areas, face a higher risk. However, these pests can also be present in shorter grass and around shrubs within your yard.
While fleas and ticks are often associated with warmer months, some can endure freezing temperatures. They can easily transfer from one pet to another, even if your dog primarily stays indoors. These parasites may harbour various diseases and other parasites, posing a threat to your dog's health and, in some cases, leading to fatality. Humans are also at risk, as these parasites seek blood from animals or humans and can reside in homes in search of their next host.
Understanding proper flea and tick removal and prevention is crucial to thwart disease transmission, ensuring the well-being of both you and your pet.
How to Eliminate Ticks and Fleas on Dogs
To eliminate ticks and fleas from your dog, it's essential to know how to identify and locate them.
Ticks, larger than fleas, tend to gravitate towards warm, dark, moist areas on the body. Regularly inspect your dog, including between the toes, ears, armpits, groin, and facial folds. Daily checks are recommended for outdoor pets, while a few times a week is sufficient for those primarily going out for walks.
Early detection and removal are vital, as it takes several hours (up to 36) for disease transmission to occur once a tick attaches. Use small tweezers to grasp the tick at its base, lifting with steady, upward pressure. After removal, place the tick in a container, contact your veterinarian, and apply a small amount of alcohol or antiseptic to the affected skin.
Fleas, smaller and more numerous, infest various areas of the body, causing itching, hair loss, and skin issues. Start by inspecting the base of your dog's tail or neck for small, dark, jumping bugs or flea eggs. A flea comb is effective in locating these pests, and thorough removal involves medicated baths, flea medications, and preventatives.
Medications for Fleas and Ticks on Dogs
While there are no medications that kill ticks on contact, some target adult fleas and flea larvae. Capstar and Advantus are short-term solutions, recommended for severe infestations requiring swift eradication. Follow with a bath using unscented Dawn dish soap and a thorough combing to eliminate dead fleas, larvae, and eggs.
Shampoos and sprays should be used cautiously, as over-the-counter products can be toxic. Frontline and Advantage offer effective options but require continued use.
How to Eradicate Fleas and Ticks in Your Home
Treating your yard and home is crucial for preventing infestations. Keep grass mowed, trim shrubbery, and seal open spaces to discourage outdoor animals. Effective flea and tick yard sprays should be discussed with your veterinarian. Frequent vacuuming, washing bedding, and consulting an exterminator for severe home infestations are essential steps.
Preventing Fleas and Ticks on Dogs
Prevention is safer and simpler than treating an infection. Various options, such as pills, topicals, and collars, can be discussed with your veterinarian based on your pet's lifestyle. Isoxazoline products like Bravecto, NexGard, Credelio, and Simparica Trio, as well as Spinosad products like Comfortis, offer monthly protection.
Topical preventatives include Frontline, Revolution, and Advantage Plus, while prescribed flea and tick collars have proven effective. Regular body checks and home cleaning remain crucial, as no preventative measure is 100% foolproof. Collaborate with your veterinarian to determine the most suitable approach for your pet's unique circumstances.