While they tend to be more common during the spring and early autumn, fleas and ticks can plague your dog and your home at any time of the year. And there’s nothing more annoying for our pets and us than these pests. Responsible pet parents know that their dog’s soft fur is very appealing for these insects, but once they decide to make a home there, they can cause a huge range of health problems from excessive scratching to infections and even Lyme disease. When it comes to fleas and ticks, prevention is certainly better than a cure. Your vet will be the most up-to-date source when it comes to preventing fleas and ticks and providing you with the information that you need to do so this successfully. We’ve put together some top tips on flea and tick prevention to keep these pesky insects away from your dog and your home.
Use an Appropriate Flea Prevention Product
Fleas and ticks can easily be prevented by giving your dog a preventative treatment every few weeks. These can be applied in the form of a spot-on treatment applied to the skin, or they can be given in tablet form. You can also get a collar designed to keep fleas and ticks at bay or use a specially formulated shampoo when washing your dog. Your vet will be able to help you find the best and most appropriate product for your dog, you can also check out The Pampered Pup. Before giving your dog any preventative treatment, be sure to read the label. Never give a dog a flea and tick treatment designed for cats unless the label specifies that it is safe for both cats and dogs.
Consider Natural Treatments
Along with spot-on treatments and other options that you can get from your vet, you can also find natural supplements to add to your dog’s diet that will help prevent fleas and ticks. The Ticked Off treatment by Bella & Duke is a great solution for preventing ticks on dogs. It causes changes to your dog’s skin’s smell and taste that will make your pet less attractive to these insects. Bella & Duke also provide a lot of helpful information on preventing and treating flea and tick infestation in dogs.
Inspect Your Dog After Walks
Even if you are giving your dog a regular treatment to prevent fleas and ticks, it’s important to bear in mind that no treatments are always going to be 100% effective, and there might be one that slips through the cracks. In fact, it’s worth steering clear of any treatments that claim to be 100% effective at preventing ticks, as this is probably not true at all. It’s important to inspect your dog and yourself for any ticks after walking through grassy environments, such as the woods. Some key places to look on dogs that often attract ticks include under the legs, around the ears and eyes, inside the ears, under the tail, and underneath the collar. Feel your dog all over to find any bumps that could be caused by tick bites.
Check for Fleas
You should regularly check your dog for any fleas sign even if you are using a preventative treatment. Typically, fleas are best found on any areas of your dog where their coat tends to be thinner, such as on their belly, armpits, and the inner sides of their back legs. Fleas are very tiny and appear either black or brown, so they can be difficult to find visually. They tend to move around quickly on the skin or in the fur, and you may also be able to see ‘flea dirt,’ which is usually seen as small dark spots on the fur. It is often easier to find fleas on a light-haired dog due to their color and size.
Even if you cannot visually see any fleas or ticks on your dog, this does not mean that they are not suffering from them. Sometimes it can be difficult to spot fleas or ticks with the naked eye, particularly in dogs with long or dark hair. Look out for any common signs that your dog has been bitten by fleas or ticks, such as excessive scratching, biting at the fur or skin, hair loss, irritated skin, or pale gums. If you notice any of these signs, it’s best to take your dog to a vet for a flea treatment regardless of whether or not you have noticed any actual fleas.
The good news is that the earlier you catch a flea infestation, the easier it is to get rid of it. If you have multiple dogs and only one is showing signs of having fleas, it’s a good idea to assume that all dogs have fleas and treat them at the same time to prevent cross infestation. While your dogs are being treated, you should also treat their beds and any sofas and carpets that they have spent time on. Bedding should be washed at the highest possible temperature, and be sure to empty your vacuum outside after cleaning the carpets. If you suspect fleas in the soft furnishings of your home, you can use a flea spray or fogger to kill both adult fleas and flea larvae.
Removing Ticks from Your Dog
If you have found a tick on your dog after a walk, it’s best to remove it straight away. Ticks have eight legs, and they can vary in size. Even if you cannot visually see the tick, they can often be easy to identify since they can be felt under the fur. The sooner you remove a tick from your dog, the lower your dog’s risk of contracting any illnesses related to tick bites. It’s important to remove the tick carefully and correctly; if you are not sure how to do this, you may want to take your dog to the vet. If you remove the tick yourself, use a pair of fine tweezers and remove the tick by the head. Be sure to wear gloves to protect yourself.
Regular grooming is not only important to keep your dog’s coat in great condition, but also when it comes to detecting, preventing, and treating parasites on your dog. You can use a flea comb when brushing your dog to make it easier to look for any fleas that might have gotten past the preventative barriers you are using. Bathing your dog should be done around once every three months, but this will vary depending on your dog’s health, breed, coat type, and activity levels. Use a shampoo designed to prevent and kill any fleas and ticks each time you bathe your dog. Finally, professional grooming on a regular basis will not only keep your dog looking her best but also give you an additional chance to find any parasites before they lead to serious problems.
Fleas and ticks can be a very common problem for dogs and their humans. Ticks can cause serious diseases in dogs, and fleas can cause itching and irritation for both dogs and people. Using preventative treatments on a regular basis and being vigilant to look out for parasites is crucial for keeping your dog free of fleas and ticks.
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