While you may have plenty of reasons to look forward to summer after a long spell of cold, your canine buddy has at least one good reason to not want to look forward to the spring and summer months – fleas and ticks. These blood-sucking parasites are not just a great source of annoyance to your pet, they can pose a real health hazard. Some of the problems untreated fleas and ticks can commonly cause are:
- Skin irritation and constant itching
- Rashes and inflamed skin.
- Scales and scabs
- Serious illnesses such as Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and Ehrlichiosis.
Here are 10 useful tips for tick and flea prevention:
- Inspect your dog thoroughly after walks through “tick habitats” such as grassy areas and forest-like settings. Take a good look especially at your dog’s feet, around the eyes and ears, under the tail, and near the anus.
- Take year-round preventive measures to protect your furry friend from these tiny buggers. Though a range of products are available – shampoos, powders, and oral medication – it is best to consult your vet to choose one that fits your pet’s requirements.
- Groom your pet on a regular basis. Not only will grooming help you spot any parasites that may be hiding under your dog’s soft fur, it is a great way to bond with your canine companion.
- Keep your house’s outdoor area clean. If you have a garden, make sure to mow the grass regularly as ticks thrive in grassy habitats. If there is a yard, keep it free of leaves and other types of litter.
- Prevent cross infestation if you own more than one dog. During flea season, it is better to keep your dogs away from one another to minimize the risk of getting and transferring fleas.
- Keep your indoors clean. Fleas can easily take shelter inside your home. Wash all pet bedding, regularly vacuum clean carpets, sofas, and rugs, and launder other items using soap and hot water to keep your home environment free of ticks and fleas. You could also take the help of a professional cleaner.
- Avoid old preventive products. Old flea and tick products, especially those past their expiration date, are not effective and should not be relied on. Do check with your vet regarding latest products that are available on the market.
- Put tick collars on your dog. Tick collars are a useful preventive even if they only help in protecting the neck and head from ticks. The tick collar needs to come into contact with your pet’s skin in order to transfer the chemicals onto her fur and skin.
- Get regular check-ups done. Routine health check-ups are essential for parasite prevention, as vets typically examine your pet for any signs or symptoms of fleas and ticks.
- Keep your pet indoors. Though your canine companion needs to get her daily quota of fresh air a few times a day, it’s best to not allow her to venture out too often during the peak tick and flea season.
These ten handy tips should help you make sure your pet doesn’t fall victim to flea and tick infestation. All the same, if any rogue ticks do manage to attach themselves to your dog, you could consider any of the following in consultation with your vet:
Shampoos: Medicated shampoos commonly kill ticks on contact. This is an inexpensive and fairly effective method of protecting your pet.
Oral medication: Monthly pills that kill ticks and immature fleas are also an easy and safe way to get rid of fleas and ticks.
Spot-on medication: Over-the-counter medication to be applied to your dog’s skin is another effective method for keeping fleas and ticks away for up to a month.
There’s nothing a true-blue dog lover wants more than keeping his or her pet healthy and happy at all times of the year. We hope you find our recommendations useful in keeping your four-legged friend safe from ticks and fleas. Happy petting!