Fleas and ticks are part of our habitat and to say they are a nuisance is an understatement. Both fleas and tick result from the female laying eggs within the environment. Once the eggs hatch and the insects are full grown, their sole purpose and intent is to find a nice, warm home where they can feed.
The average size of a flea is the top of a pin and an adult flea can jump as many as 100 times its own height. Spring is the time when female fleas begin their reproductive cycle and they need blood in order to reproduce. Likewise, baby fleas need blood to grow into strong adult fleas; your canine makes for the perfect breeding ground and meal.
Fleas can cause allergic reactions for your dog and a condition known as flea allergy dermatitis which when left untreated will cause your dog to scratch incessantly and lose its hair as well as leaving open sores and wounds that could become infected.
Ticks are ancestors of spiders and are much more harmful to your pet than fleas; thankfully, they are larger than and move much slower than the flea so they are more easily spotted and thus can be removed a bit easier. Ticks present immanent dangers to your dog because they carry a host of diseases, some of which can be life threatening. Common diseases ticks carry are Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain Spotty Fever, tularemia and tick paralysis, all of which are dangerous if not caught early and treated with medications.
Treating fleas is a fairly simple and virtually painless procedure. Flea collars are popular and may do a decent job at keeping fleas at bay. Products such as shampoos and powders are also available to rid of and repel these pesky insects. Groom your pet often to get rid of excess hair and pet dander.
Tick treatments can be more involved if they are not spotted right away and removed. To remove a tick use a pair of tweezers and gently rock the tweezers back and forth until you can pry the tick free from your pet’s skin. Examine the area well to ensure that the head of the tick is not left behind. Apply an antiseptic cream to the area once the tick is removed to prevent infection. Ticks that have become embedded in your dog’s skin will be harder to remove and at times needs to be done by a veterinarian. Embedded ticks means your dog is at higher risk for disease so it is recommended that you have your dog looked at should this occur. Watch your pet for a few days following the removal of the tick for signs of sluggishness, nausea and swelling in the area where the tick was spotted.
Other measures can also help in the prevention of ticks. Maintain your lawn surrounding the areas where your pooch plays. Pet’s should be kept away from highly wooded areas and shrubs and weeds should be kept controlled and at a minimum. If you have carpets in your home clean them often and consider spreading a flea prevention product on them when vacuuming as carpets also make for a great home for them.