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Fleas be tickin’ us off!

DOG FLEA AND TICK PREVENTION

Let’s have a conversation about fleas and ticks. Flea and tick prevention is imperative when bringing a pup into your home. These nasty critters can transmit lyme disease, bacterial infections, and several other serious illnesses. Treatment can help prevent infestation with your pet, yourself, and in your home. 

                                               Image courtesy of  domyown.com

When are fleas and ticks for dogs a threat?

Fleas and ticks pose a threat to your pup all year long. However, the pesky parasites are most active during the summer months because they reproduce and thrive in warm weather and increased humidity. Although colder regions and winter months have lower flea and tick infestation rates, they can still survive in the cold. Fleas have life cycle stages that enable flea larvae, pupae, and adult fleas to remain inactive outside and in unheated areas during winter months. So remember to treat your precious pup all year long!

Where do fleas and ticks come from?

Maybe you’re wondering where in the heck these fleas and ticks come from? There is nothing more frustrating than finding these critters on your dog and in your home without knowing the source to avoid and get rid of them.

Fleas and ticks can be found in:

  • Your backyard, especially in grass
  • Shaded areas like garden sheds or under porches
  • Around trees
  • Wooded areas 
  • Beaches
  • Your home (fleas invade your home more than ticks, although ticks will still hang out inside at times)

Unfortunately, they live at all the fun spots to bring your pup. So make sure your fur baby is protected before that morning hike!

What’s the difference between fleas and ticks?

“Fleas and ticks” is a common phrase you’ll hear mentioned together most of the time, but it’s important to note that fleas and ticks are their own entity of trouble. Let’s discuss the difference.

Fleas and tick distinctions include:

  • Fleas are wingless, have six legs, and are able to jump. Ticks have eight legs, cannot jump and are related to spiders (eek!)
  • Fleas are smaller than ticks, though ticks can be difficult to spot if not in a cluster.
  • Ticks can survive between 3 weeks to 3 years. Fleas have an approximate lifespan of 100 days. 
  • Ticks are stationary and burrow their head into your pet to feed off of it. Fleas live their adult life feeding and reproducing off of your pet’s skin.

Both critters appear to be small dark specks on fur and clothing and cause irritating bites that leave behind red marks, feed on blood, and can affect both people and animals. And most importantly, they transmit diseases that can be life-threatening if not treated (fleas transmit tapeworms; ticks transmit Lyme disease). Be sure to check ALL of your animals, even if you only take one outdoors.

There are so many flea treatment options out there, how do I choose?!

Flea and tick treatment plans typically fall under the same umbrella, but not always. The different methods of treatment include:

(1) TOPICAL

Topical treatment is medication placed directly on the skin such as shampoos, spot-treatments, and powders. These are most successful when used in combination with another method, such as pills. Not all topical treatments are effective against ticks. 

(2) COLLARS

Flea and tick collars are more of local prevention to the infestation site, around the neck and ears. Collars most frequently work to eliminate pests through chemical blends that are released into your dog’s skin and last up to eight months. Collars work best when used in conjunction with other methods.

(3) PILLS

Parasite pills are sometimes referred to as the most successful method in preventing flea and tick infestation in your dog, but sometimes require a prescription and can include unwanted side effects. Certain prescriptions only fight adult fleas or flea eggs, so it’s important to chat with your vet about establishing a comprehensive prevention plan. 

Flea and Tick Prevention Costs

If you choose not to protect against fleas and ticks, the cost could be much higher to eradicate the problem or treat a more serious illness. It’s better just to prevent it in the first place!

Here is a breakdown of approximate treatment costs:

(1) TOPICAL

Spot treatments can range from $10.00 to $120.00 for a 3 month supply. Brands like Advantage and Frontline are more pricey, but are also recommended by most veterinarians. Shampoos and powders average $11. 

(2) COLLARS

Collars range from $6.00 to $60.00. 

Always check with your vet before beginning any parasite prevention program, to ensure the safety and health of your pup.

Conclusion

Regardless of the method you choose to prevent fleas and ticks from harming your pet, consistency is key. At your next visit, make sure to discuss the various methods so that you can find the one that will best fit your dog’s lifestyle and needs. Every pup is different and as a big, happy part of your family make sure you protect them so they can continue to bring joy into your lives for years to come!

References:

https://www.adamspetcare.com/expert-care-tips/flea-and-tick-pest-education/flea-and-tick-season-101

https://thepetvet.com/2019/03/11/flea-and-tick-prevention-for-dogs-and-cats/

https://www.domyown.com/fleas-vs-ticks-a-446.html

https://www.petbasics.com/parasites/fleas/difference-between-fleas-and-ticks/#:~:text=Flea%20vs.&text=There%20are%20many%20differences%20between,they’re%20related%20to%20spiders.

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