Ticks and fleas are a big problem for our four legged friends. So often I hear “Oh but my dog doesn’t have fleas, so no, I don’t use anything”. That’s just pure silly. The fact that a pet is flea or tick free today doesn’t mean it will be like this tomorrow. And believe me it is much easier to prevent the infestation than later trying to cure it.
I found a brilliant table on Cesar’s Way website, which shows the main differences between ticks and fleas – have a look.
Ticks crawl onto tall grass and shrubs and wait for a host to walk by. They can wait for a year without feeding. Dogs are most likely to pick up ticks while walking in the woods or high grass from spring through fall. Outdoor cats can pick up ticks the same way. Ticks are more common in warm climates. Ticks are much more dangerous for us and our pets. You can feel ticks while petting your cat or dog, and you can see them. They most often attach near the head, neck, ears, or paws. On cats, they’re typically found around the ears and eyes. Ticks can carry dangerous diseases, and it doesn’t take long for a pet to pick up the disease while a tick is feeding. If you find a tick on your pet, try to remove it as soon as possible. There is a lot of “magical” ways to remove ticks, but skip gasoline, nail polish, petroleum jelly, alcohol, or a hot match. These methods can force infected fluids back into the bite. Instead:
- Use gloves or tissue to cover your hands.
- Grasp the tick with tweezers from the side, by its head, close to the skin.
- Pull straight up. Don’t twist.
- Don’t squeeze (or pop!) the bloated belly.
Wash the bite area and your hands. Mouth parts that remain rarely cause serious problems. But if you’re worried, call your vet.
Ticks can transmit many potentially deadly diseases, including Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and ehrlichiosis; they cause similar symptoms in dogs, which include:
- Loss of appetite
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Joint swelling or pain
These diseases can have serious complications, so prompt treatment is essential. Tick-borne diseases are uncommon in cats, but they can get a tick infection called cytauxzoonosis, which is often fatal – so do your best to keep pests off your cat and out of your home.
In addition to spreading diseases, ticks can cause other health problems in dogs, including: anemia, skin irritation or infection or tick paralysis.
Fleas are much more common problem. Fleas rarely jump from one pet to another, as is often thought. Instead cats and dogs pick them up from infested environments. This could be your garden, the local park, a friend’s house – any place where an animal that has fleas, such as a rabbit, hedgehog, fox or another cat or dog, may be found.
Most people think of fleas as a nuisance but they are much more than this. In addition to creating itchy spots they can carry diseases; the most popular being tapeworms. The worst part is that this doesn’t stop at pets; they can be transmitted into humans too.
The most obvious sign of fleas is scratching or when it comes to some cats over grooming. Fleas can jump and once in your home, you might need to treat more than just your pet 🙁
So, how to protect ourselves and our pets?
The answer is simple: use a good quality preventive product to avoid the tick and fleas in the first place.
We use Frontline Spot On; it kills fleas and ticks and controls biting lice on both cats and dogs. Frontline Spot On is Fast Acting: kills fleas within 24 hours and ticks within 48 hours; it is long lasting: kills fleas for up to 5 weeks in cats and up to 2 months in dogs as well as kills ticks for up to months in both cats and dogs; it is water resistant, which means that your pet can swim or be bathed as usual from 48 hours after application.
Thing to remember: there is a lot of different products on the market but please whatever you choose always consult with your vet before picking any tick or flea treatment. Never use your dog treatment on your cat as this can be fatal. Never think your pet is safe from ticks or fleas because it simply isn’t true.
Be a responsible pet owner and protect your furry babies!