Ticks and fleas are out for blood! These irritating parasites thrive in the summer months, and can live on your pets and can cause a range of skin diseases. At times, they even cause systemic illnesses by transmitting bacteria, protozoa, and worms to your cat or dog’s vital organs, leading to conditions that can be extremely risky to your furry family member.
Fortunately, tick and flea-related issues can be remedied — and future outbreaks prevented — with several approaches that involve your home, yard, and pet. But first, it is crucial to understand how ticks and fleas make their way onto your pets.
Once a flea latches itself on your pet, it becomes comfortable, feeds, and lays nearly 40 eggs per day. Meaning, ten adult fleas can produce over 10,000 eggs within a month. Egg larvae can be found in the soil and grass in your yard. Even worse, they (egg larvae) may also settle on the furniture and carpet in your home.
The eggs lie dormant for days before they eventually surface as adults. The unfortunate thing is that the flea life cycle is usually long. An average adult flea can live up to 100 days if it has an adequate food supply.
Ticks resemble spiders. They hide in forested or grassy areas and position themselves to latch onto pets. Ticks will partly bury their head under your dog or cat’s skin, usually around the neck and ear, where they feed on blood. It is worth noting that an adult tick can remain inactive for months and then produce thousands of eggs.
Besides the irritation, some tick species transmit diseases that affect both pets, and human beings, including Rocky Mountain spotted fever, Ehrlichiosis, and Lyme disease.
By following these tick and flea prevention tips, you will reduce the chances of your pet becoming infested:
Regularly inspect your pets for ticks and fleas after walks through the grassy or woody areas. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advises pet owners to take a keen look in the following areas:
The earlier you remove an embedded tick, the less likely your pet will contract a secondary infection related to tick bites. Take time to learn the appropriate method of tick removal. Purchase a pair of fine tweezers for this purpose. Advisably, wear gloves and always pull out the tick by the head. Don’t hesitate to call a veterinarian if you are unable to get rid of the tick.
Keep the grass in your compound mowed as short as possible. Ticks and fleas love to hide in tall grasses and shady, moist areas; thus, keeping your yard and patio clean is crucial to keeping them away. The CBD further suggests removing leaf litter and brush from your yard or garden.
Next, you would want to prevent feral animals from accessing your property. You may feel that it’s good to leave some food out for hungry strays. However, inviting strays also means inviting fleas and ticks they are carrying around.
Get rid of any food or edible material that is in your yard. If you still wish to help the strays, direct them to an animal shelter near you.
Ticks and fleas are prevalent throughout the country, and year-round prevention is advisable, but the seasons they are most problematic differ from region to state. Consult your veterinarian when tick and flea season occurs in your region. This will be the period to be on your guard with flea and tick control measures.
Prevention is best managed with the various veterinary-approved tick and flea products available on the market today. Consult your veterinarian to find the most appropriate product for your pet. There are tick and flea-topic treatments, ointments, shampoos, and collars, each intended to address specific needs.
This is the most obvious approach to keeping your dog or cat pest-free. Removing ticks with tweezers and combing their fur regularly to get rid of fleas is crucial. However, baths are a perfect way to drown insects that have embedded themselves on your pet and soothe any skin irritations.
Also, don’t forget to clean where they sleep or spend most of their time. Wash all the beddings with hot water and soap and heat dry them. What’s more, vacuum your carpets, sofas, or anywhere else in the house they visit frequently.
Like a wildfire, a tick or flea infestation is bad news that often spreads fast. It is not only vital to kill ticks and fleas, but you would wish to prevent them from returning too. We hope the above seven tips will help protect your beloved pets to the fullest extent possible.