Fleas, Ticks, and Mosquitos
As every pet owner knows, warm weather means fleas, ticks, and mosquitos. These nasty little parasites feed off the blood of animals and humans. They spread diseases (like Lyme disease and heartworm), make everyone uncomfortable, hang around your house or yard, and quickly latch on to unsuspecting passersby for a meal. Fleas can be seen as dark spots or white spots (flea droppings and flea eggs) in the pet’s fur. They can also bring about scratching, licking, and scabs. Ticks can often be felt as a bump through the fur. There are prevention and treatment options for dealing with fleas, ticks, and mosquitos.
Given that fleas can lay 40-50 eggs each day on carpets or furniture, it is easier to prevent an infestation than try to clean one up. Common types of prevention are skin treatments. These often last for one month and can perform a variety of tasks. Some kill fleas and ticks living on your pet, some will kill the eggs also. Some can even help prevent mosquitos. With the topical skin treatments, it is important to watch what you are giving your pet. Some medications for dogs can kill cats and may adversely effect pets that are too young. A similar medication can be bought in tablet form. Both of these are effective when used as directed. Flea and tick collars vary in quality and effectiveness. If you choose to use them, it is best to be very careful about where you get your flea and tick collar. The ones bought from the gas station probably are not very high quality. Another thing to be concerned with is the chemicals on the collars. These chemicals are exposed and can transfer to you or your children when petting or playing with the pets. Do not use bug sprays with DEET on your pets. This chemical compound works for humans but can be dangerous for your pets.
Make the environment around your home as difficult for the pests as possible. Mow the yard, trim the bushes, remove any stagnant water, and cover the garbage outside tightly. Take care of the inside of the house, too. Vacuum carpets, mop the floors, and wash all bedding often. These steps can prevent a few fleas or a stray tick from growing to a full infestation.
Treatments for Pests
Flea and tick prevention was the last thing on your mind and now your pet is itching all the time and you can feel multiple ticks. It happens to the best of us at one time or another. But all is not lost, there are ways to treat your pets and your home, killing off all the fleas and ticks.Flea and tick shampoos do a good job at killing most bugs on your pet quickly. They usually take about ten minutes to work. After you get a lot of the fleas and ticks off with the shampoo, follow up with a tablets or skin treatments to get them on a preventative treatment and kill off any little buggers that the shampoo missed. If you don’t want to give a flea bath or maybe are not set up to do it easily, consider taking the pet to a professional groomer. They can usually do a flea bath and then recommend a preventative treatment. Now that your pet is flea and tick free, you need to work on the home. Consider foggers and insecticides for the house and the yard. These will kill all the pests living in your space, so you don’t have to deal with another infestation. Clean the home thoroughly before you bring your pet back into it.
Ignore old advice on how to get rid of ticks. Pulling the tick out with tweezers as close to the head of the tick as possible is the pest non-chemical treatment. Beware of “green” treatments for fleas and ticks as many don’t work and can harm your pet. If you don’t want to use chemicals to treat your pet for fleas, add a flea brush to your daily brushing routine.
Fleas and ticks are out year-round but are definitely more common with warmer weather. Remember that no treatment will kill everything all the time. There is always a chance for something to slip through the high effective rates, so keep an eye on your pet and remember to keep up the preventative measures. These can help keep your pets healthy in all seasons. And always remember to read the label and follow the directions carefully.