While their methods of consumption differ, fleas and ticks are bloodthirsty creatures. At best, fleas can give your dog a gnarly itch, at worst they can cause a bad case of anemia. Ticks aren't able to reproduce as quickly or jump from host to host like their agile flea counterparts. However, they can carry and transmit Lyme Disease along with a number of other illnesses to both you and your pet.
Don't wait until you've got a full-blown infestation on your hands, take care of fleas and ticks as soon as you notice them!
Ticks are Easy to Control…IF Action is Taken Quickly
Although they could make your dog sick, ticks are more likely to drink their fill and drop off. When hiking, camping, or roaming through wooded areas with tall grass, it’s crucial to thoroughly check your pup's fur for these voracious little beasts before entering your home!
Carefully run your fingers along the inside of the ears, gumline, jowls, between toes, and inside the armpits and groin. Use sharp tweezers to pluck them out, or combine equal parts water and vinegar to soak into a cotton ball. Apply pressure to the tick and surrounding area; don't squeeze or twist!
Removing the torso without the head can cause a serious infection. If the tick doesn't drop off on their own after application, their grip should loosen just enough to be plucked out.
Fleas are a Bit More Complicated
Where there's one flea, you can guarantee there will be more. These tiny vampires can drink up to fifteen times their body weight! Unlike ticks, fleas prefer to eat, lay eggs, and defecate all in one cozy spot. When the larvae hatch, they feed on the feces (which contain blood) of the adults.
It’s obvious that being bitten repeatedly would be irritating, but what isn't so obvious is that some dogs are allergic to flea saliva. To soothe the itchy inflammation, your pet will lick and chew at the area.
The wound becomes infected, and your dog swallows larvae.
Now you've got an entirely separate issue to deal with…tapeworm. These parasites use fleas as a conduit to find new hosts. They live in the intestines, sapping your pet's nutrients, and exiting through poop.
How to Terminate These Pests
The three most commonly used methods are topical treatments, oral medications, and home prevention including powders and sprays.
Topical treatments come in the form of gels, flea collars, and shampoos. Collars distribute a powder along the pores, while gels are administered in a straight line from the top of the neck to the tip of the tail. The idea is that your dog's natural oils will distribute the medication across their coat.
Monthly oral prevention is by far the most effective long-term option, depending on what you use. Trifexis and Nexgard are both reputable brands for fleas, ticks, and heartworms.
Once the problems on your pet are remedied, you've got to exterminate the eggs, larvae, ticks, and fleas that could be taking refuge within the fibers of your carpet. For this, you can purchase pest-specific powders; evenly sprinkle it along the floor, allow it to sit, and vacuum it up.
Keep in mind, some pets have adverse, but non-life-threatening reactions to the ingredients in these cleaning agents. Be careful not to leave anything behind, and it’s best to wait an hour or two before allowing your dog back into the room.
Fleas can and will use you as a meal too if they aren't kept in check, so act quickly and don't let them take over your home!