“Your dog has ticks”. A phrase that reflects every pet parent’s worst springtime fear. Although most of us hope our dog has an invisible shield overtop of his fur, the reality is that ticks are becoming an increasingly pervasive issue. So, let’s talk ticks.
Although we celebrate the emergence of spring for many reasons, warm weather results in an abundance of ticks found within long grass and bushes. Unfortunately, the dogs we know love to romp and play in these bushy areas, putting them at risk for catching a tick. Attaching to a host to feast on its blood, ticks can transmit illnesses and diseases picked up from other animals. Fortunately, there are precautions pet parents can take to help prevent the dangers associated with ticks
I found a tick! What do I do now?
Once playtime is over, thoroughly check your pet for odd bumps or lumps, especially if they were outside. If you find a tick, remove the tick as soon as possible using tweezers (not leaving any part of the tick behind) or a tick remover. Be sure to check other members of your family for ticks as well, as humans are not immune!You can always bring the tick to your nearest vet to have it checked for disease.
To prevent transmission of disease and illness, fleas must be identified and managed as quickly as possible. Fleas can typically be tracked from other animals to your own, where they take advantage of their new habitat to grow in number.
The adult fleas are easiest to identify, as this is the most active stage of their lifecycle. Their activity often causes discomfort in pets, leading to excessive scratching and grooming. Adult flea feces, resembling coarse ground black pepper, is also a sign of flea activity.
Adult fleas will reproduce if untreated. These developmental stages are much more difficult to identify. They nestle into crevices on a host or throughout one’s home, where they can further populate and infest. As such, contact a pest control professional immediately if you believe fleas may be beginning to infest your household.
Prevention is the best form of treatment
A variety of prevention methods are available. They range from chemical treatment to environmental control. Discuss with your veterinarian first about which options are recommended. And always remember, prevention is the cheapest and easiest way to manage these insects!
For first-time or novice pet parents alike, dealing with ticks and fleas can be overwhelming. PetMD’s 2017 Flea & Tick Survival Guide is essential reading to make sure you are well equipped to handle these insects! But if you suspect your pet has ticks or fleas, contact your veterinarian immediately.
Has your pet experienced ticks or fleas? Let us know!