July 11, 2023
The first question that comes to a pet owner’s mind is how their dog picks up ticks and fleas. Ticks and fleas are potential health threats and sources of annoyance to anyone. Though seasons affect the activities of these insects, they can be picked up at any time of the year. This is true when they can have such insects thriving in the homes. Cats and dogs who spend time outdoors are also at risk of picking up ticks and fleas. Dogs, however, spend more time outdoors than cats, and they are at a higher risk of catching ticks and fleas. Their source from where ticks and lease can enter one’s home is through visiting pets and from clothes worn by people when coming from outside.
How do my home and dog get infested by fleas?
A pet owner should know that a dog is the source of food for ticks and fleas and a place to stay. Once a flea gets on to a dog., it stays there till it is removed by a flea medicine or dies a natural death. A tick, like a flea, will also remain on the dog, feeding on it and producing eggs. Ticks go through different stages of life and will leave the host and mount from one stage to another. Ticks are known to transmit the maximum disease to dogs and humans.
The risk of the home getting severely infested with ticks and fleas within a few weeks is high if the dog is not on adulticide or a preventative. If the ticks and fleas are not treated or prevented, they could lead to various health issues for the dog, such as
- Skin infection and irritation
- Inflamed skin and rashes
- Scales and scabs
- Transmission of disease to the skin and dog and pet owner
- Constant scratching leads to psychological issues.
Pet owners can transmit diseases from ticks and fleas if they share the living space with the dog and from petting.
These are why one must be aware of the health dangers that ticks and fleas can pose and important to reduce the infestation risk. Tick and fleas infestation is preventable, and one can take the help of veterinarians to find the right product and plans.
What to avoid OTC flea treatment?
There are hundreds of ticks and flea prevention products available Over The Counter (OTC) market. These remedies have grown over the years, many unapproved, leading to toxic reactions. Many dog fatalities have been attributed to inappropriate flea product usage.
Even approved medications have side effects when used for tick and flea treatment, though they are minor. If there are symptoms or changes in the dog’s behavior, the pet owner should call on a veterinarian.
How to identify ticks and fleas on dogs
Ticks and fleas are common in dogs for the simple reason that they spend much time outdoors. Ticks are a big nuisance for both the owner and the dog because they will have a health problem if it is left untreated. Ticks feed on their host’s blood, and their harp teeth dig themselves in the dog’s tissue and skin. They penetrate the bloodstream a can cause blood-borne diseases. While the larva ticks are very small and difficult to identify, the adult ones, about 3 mm, can be easily visible.
Ticks cause bruises and welts on the bite locations on dogs. They can be treated by oral medications, topical treatments, and tick collars.
Fleas are itching and cause much annoyance to the dog, making them scratch. The itch can be impossible to control if the dog is allergic to flea saliva. The excess scratching leads to skin infections and can lead to the spread of various diseases.
Fleas are difficult to detect as they are only 1-2 mm in size. They are many ways to look out for them, such as:
- Sore red skin on the dog’s belly, neck, and hindquarters
- Combing the dog’s hair from behind to front to look at the skin. Flea combs are available from pet stores.
- Red par dark color on the dog’s skin indicates fleas
- If any speck is moving on dog hair, it is probably flea.
Fleas can be identified at home, but if there is an infestation, veterinary staff can handle them better.
Types of ticks and flea treatments for dogs
Powders, sprays, shampoos, and flea collars were mainly used for flea control in earlier days, and these products were less effective and more toxic. Medicated shampoos help treat secondary skin infections that a dog develops due to an infestation of fleas.
Recommended tick and flea treatment includes
- Oral tablets –These chewable tablets are safe and are excellent for preventing and treating ticks and fleas. They can only be obtained from the veterinarian.
- Tick Collarsare used depending on the dog’s lifestyle.
- Topical Treatments – Various types of the spot-on flea treatment have different spectrums of use and varying degree of effectiveness.
Treatments for specific ticks and flea should be done only after consultation with the veterinary.
The ten most effective ways to prevent ticks and fleas from dogs
There is no point in removing the ticks and fleas during the summer and spring months. The ticks will be filled with blood sucked from the dog, and they will be nasty to look at. They are also extremely difficult to dislodge. Therefore, one must get up, personal and close to remove them successfully. If left untreated for too long, they will cause serious diseases.
So how does one keep their dog tick-free for the whole season? There are various ways to prevent and eliminate them, as each method works differently.
Here are ten effective methods to consider:
Spot -on – Treatment
Using over-the-counter medication from the veterinarian, online, or pet stores effectively keepsng ticks and fleas under control. These medications are effective for about a month. Though they are great, one must be careful in using them. It is essential to use only those prescribed by veterinarians and check the labels carefully about the use. If there is any doubt, one should take expert consultation before applying.
Oral pills given to dogs once a month are readily available. These medications are effective as they kill immature fleas, disrupt their life cycle, and kill ticks. The use of pills is easy and safe, and one should not be concerned, unlike the spot-on treatment where there is a risk of children coming in contact with them or cats coming in contact with dogs.
One must use this method carefully, for tick dips are concentrated chemicals requiring water dilution. They are applied to the dog’s fur with a sponge, or the diluted solution is poured over the back. This type of treatment does not require rinsing after application. The precaution to take is that the dip is strong chemicals, and the label for use must be carefully read. The dip should not be used over young, pregnant, or nursing dogs. It is recommended to take a veterinarian’s advice before using this type of treatment.
Tick collars repel ticks, which can be used as an additional measure because they can protect only the head and neck. The tick collar has to be used properly for it to be effective. When pitting it around the neck of the dog, one must make sure that the collar touches the skin and fur of the dog to transfer the chemical onto it.
One needs to ensure that there is only enough room for putting two fingers under the collar when the dog wears it. The collar should be cut off if there is excess length to prevent the dog from chewing it. There could be allergic reactions to the collar, so one must look for signs of discomfort by the dog, such as excessive scratching. Before using the collar, the label for instruction should be read carefully.
This inexpensive method of protecting the dog during the peak season of tick attack, though it can be labor-intensive. Bathing with shampoo that contains medicants helps to kill the ticks. This process must be repeated every two weeks as the effective medicines in the shampoo don’t last longer than that and compare to spot-on oral treatment.
Tick powders are topical medications that work to repel ticks and kill them. These powders are effective though they must be used with care when applying. The powder label must be checked before use, mentioning the use on dogs and the specific age. The label must also be checked to see that the powder kills fleas and ticks.
The powder is very fine and, if inhaled, can irritate the lungs and mouth. Therefore, they must be used while keeping the face Nd eyes away. The product must be applied to the dog weekly during peak season. Powders can also be sprayed in those parts of the house where the dog sleeps and moves around.
Tick sprays are another topical application that kills the ticks quickly and provides protection beyond that. The sprays can be used between dips and shampoos, especially outdoors with the dog in wooded areas where ticks are found most. This product must be carefully handled and used around the dog’s face, and the spray must not be used on any other home pet.
House and Lawn treatment
If bushes, trees, and lawns are trimmed, fleas and ticks can be controlled and reduced in the backyard. Fewer such areas will reduce the breeding ground; If there is still a problem, then granular or yard sprays can be purchased from the pet store, veterinarian, or garden center. These products should be used carefully and kept away from other animals, humans, and fishes. A better way to handle the product and cleaning exercise is to hire an exterminator to spray the yard to control fleas and ticks.
Check the Dog
After an outdoor visit, dogs must be checked for ticks lurking around on the dogs’ bodies. Check for the area between the toes and legs, inside the ears, and deep inside the fur. If ticks are discovered, they should be removed from the skin before they attach and gorge on the dog and prevent the dog from a serious illness.
Keep Dogs indoor
While one has to take the dog outside once in a while or daily, it is not a good idea to allow them to stay outside for an extended period, especially during the peak of tick season. Another precaution is to prevent the dog from moving around in wooded areas where ticks are waiting and prevent them from getting infected. However, even after a few short walks in the bushes and yards, one should check the dog for any tick attachment.
All the precautions and treatment notwithstanding, it is possible that your dog could be suffering from fleas and ticks. If you suspect anything, immediately making an appointment with a veterinarian can be the best option. Flea infestations can be bothersome and overwhelming, but they are treatable. A veterinarian will examine and assess the dog and make recommendations. They will recommend topical treatment in areas where ticks are present and, in other cases, prescribe oral medications such as chews that can last for three months.