Are Fleas and Ticks Bugging Your Pet?
More than an annoyance, fleas and ticks present dangerous health risks to furry friends. Learn how to help protect pets.
Dear Valley Vet Supply, I’m ‘Itchy.’ Maybe I was named this in foresight, but I really am itchy. Fleas and ticks bite me all the time, year-round. And I’m not trying to be a weenie dog, but it hurts, and it’s annoying. I’m also afraid their bite could be harmful to my health. How can my humans protect me from these things?
Thank you for writing us, ‘Itchy!’ While a lovable pet name, itchy is anything but endearing when it comes as the result of dangerous fleas and ticks. With answers to common questions on flea and tick control, your humans can prevent the irritation and disease risks posed by these common vectors.
Are fleas and ticks dangerous to pets?
Their bite is more than just uncomfortable. Fleas and ticks can transmit diseases impacting a pet’s well-being. Fleas also are the most common cause of pet allergies and dog itch.
Which diseases do fleas and ticks carry?
Fleas can transmit harmful bacterial pathogens and tapeworms, when ingested during a pet’s self-grooming. Fleas also cause anemia and intense itching in pets. Some dogs may also develop flea allergy dermatitis, which results from an allergic reaction to flea saliva.
Like fleas, ticks also transmit harmful bacterial pathogens. The most dangerous of diseases transmitted include Relapsing Fever, which can cause low blood counts and increased bleeding, Rocky Mountain spotted fever and Lyme disease.
|What are common tick- or flea-born disease symptoms?|
|Fever||Enlarged spleen or lymph nodes|
|Weight Loss||Gum discoloration|
|Joint Pain||Swelling or stiffness of joints|
How long will it take for tick- or flea-born disease symptoms to show?
It could take as long as 21 days for a pet to show signs of disease. In the case of Lyme disease, it can take as many as five months before signs become recognizable. Watch pets closely for changes in behavior or appetite, if there are concerns they have been bitten by a tick.
What are the best flea and tick prevention methods?
Controlling the flea and tick population requires a multi-pronged approach, by protecting the pet and surrounding environment. There are several types of flea and tick control products. Learn about each, below, to determine the best method of protection for pets.
Oral medications: Several trusted oral prescription and over-the-counter medications are available to help protect pets from fleas, ticks and other parasites.
Topical medications: These are easily applied between the pet’s shoulder blades, at the base of the neck, and absorbed into the skin over time. There are prescription and non-prescription topical products available to offer pets protection.
Powders and sprays: Powders and spray treatments can conveniently provide quick-acting control against fleas, ticks, lice and more. While effective and relatively inexpensive options, these products may need to be reapplied more frequently because they can wear off faster on the skin, when compared with topical medications.
Collars: Lasting up to several months, flea and tick collars can offer pets reprieve by repelling annoying, disease carrying fleas and ticks from an animal. Flea and tick collars have been found to be tremendously more effective than they were years ago. This is an ideal addition for outside pets and ranch dogs.
Shampoos: Flea and tick shampoos can help eliminate ticks, fleas, flea eggs and more that may be housed on a pet. Shampoos are an excellent solution to offer immediate relief to flea- or tick-infested pets.
Dips: Dips consist of a very concentrated liquid that can be diluted with water and sponged, or poured over, a flea- or tick- infested pet. Dips will kill and repel a number of pests. Most dip products are not washed off, unlike shampoos.
Make sure to read flea and tick product labels for effective and safe use.
In addition to ensuring your pet is protected, consider treating the home and environment to diminish the overall flea and tick population. Look to premise treatments, flea and tick spray, carpet powder and foggers to help treat the home. Use a yard spray to treat the lawn, kennel and any areas where a pet rests. Give particular attention to warm, moist areas like those under decks, porches or trees. If the pet is a travel companion, a flea and tick spray can be used to treat a car, as well. For outside pets and ranch dogs, ensure they are on a flea, tick and heartworm preventive at all times to offer them the ultimate protection, knowing they are most likely to have exposure to untreated areas, flea and tick populations, and mosquitoes, which transmit heartworm disease.
Help ensure a pet’s safety and comfort. Shop Valley Vet Supply in our catalog or online at ValleyVet.com for all your flea and tick control needs.