New pet owners may wonder what the big deal about fleas and ticks – don’t all dogs and cats get fleas?
Well, the truth is, they do. However, it is important to get rid of them as soon as possible. They are not just a nuisance, they are a health hazard.
Keeping your pet free of fleas and ticks can mean the difference between life and death for your pet.
It could also mean the difference between the health and well-being for your family.
Dangers of Infestation
Fleas and ticks may be small little critters, but they have a huge impact. The biggest part of their impact is their advantage in numbers – big numbers that just won’t stop growing.
Ticks carry illnesses that are dangerous to pets and humans, like Lyme disease. Fleas can transmit tapeworms and heartworms by biting your pet. If left untreated, a simple case of heartworms could prove lethal.
Let’s not forget the impact that fleas can have on your home. They can quickly infest your home and make pets and humans miserable. As your pet sheds, even small amounts of hair on the floor or carpet can become a breeding ground for astronomical numbers of fleas.
Once fleas have moved into your home, it can be very difficult to stop the problem. If your home becomes infested with fleas, it could take multiple visits from a professional to apply powerful, potentially harmful pesticides just to contain the infestation.
Options for Prevention
When it comes to flea and tick treatment, prevention is the most effective approach. The key is preventing your pets from attracting fleas and ticks in the first place. Here are some of the options you have to accomplish this.
- Spot-on treatments can be ordered from your veterinary office. Apply the treatment behind the shoulders for cats, and on the back of the neck for dogs. These treatments can be expensive over time. If you need to save a little bit of money, you can purchase cheaper options over-the-counter. Be careful with these treatments because they can be fatal if they are used wrong. The biggest advantage to these treatments is they repel both fleas and ticks over a 30-day period.
- Flea collars can be purchased over-the-counter, but they should be replaced on a regular basis to ensure they remain effective.
- Flea combs can be purchased in the pet department of your local store. By combing your pet every day, you can prevent an infestation, or a re-infestation between the application of your chosen flea treatment.
There are times it will not matter what preventative methods you use to avoid flea infestation. At some point, your dog or cat will become infested with fleas, or possibly ticks. There are treatment options available for your pet in the case of infestation.
- Oral medications can be prescribed by your vet to kill fleas. These medications get into their blood stream and encourage them to bite your pet. Once the flea bites your pet, they die almost instantly. Of course, this treatment does not prevent fleas from getting back on your dog a few days later when the medication is out of their system. This is why a follow up prevention, like a spot-on treatment, must be used immediately after.
- If your dog has a tick attached to him, using a pair of tweezers, and a topical anesthetic, will help your pet get back to normal. After you remove the tick, place it in a Ziploc bag and put it in the freezer. Freezing it will not only kill the tick, but it will preserve it in case an illness develops later, and your vet needs to identify it.
- Flea powders and sprays are a great way to kill off any flea infestation. They are not 100% effective in preventing recurrence, so measures must be taken to prevent a future infestation.