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Fleas And Ticks Prevention For Your Pets: How To Avoid And Treat

 July 31, 2014  /  Comments Off on Fleas And Ticks Prevention For Your Pets: How To Avoid And Treat

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Fleas and ticks can cause lots of distress to pets. Unfortunately, the hot summer months are preferred by fleas, and there is normally an increase in infestations over the summer period.

Only 5 per cent of the flea population actually live on an animal. The rest will be thriving in beds, fabrics and carpets, in an immature state. Waiting to hatch to adults.

Read on to find out more about these tricky pests, how to identify them and how to eliminate them from your home.

Fleas And Ticks Prevention For Your Pets How To Avoid And Treat

What is the difference between fleas and ticks?

Although often grouped together, fleas and ticks are actually quite different.

Fleas are small insects, dark red in colour.  Although they cannot fly, they can jump over 160 times their own height. This is the equivalent of a person jumping over the Eiffel Tower!

Fleas feed on blood, but an adult flea can go for over two months without a blood meal. This makes them notoriously difficult to eradicate. A single flea can bite its host over four hundred times in one day. Each bite will be another blood meal, and some pets may become anaemic. Puppies and kittens are especially at risk.

Ticks are part of the arachnid family, so are related to spiders. They are tougher to kill than fleas, and can live for up to three years. A tick can wait a long time for a host to come along. Unlike fleas, where only the adults feed on a host, ticks will feed on a host from the very first stage of development.

Ticks are able to identify a host by detecting pet breath and body odour. There are some species of tick that can even recognise shadows!

Identifying an infestation

It’s normally fairly easy to tell if your pet has fleas or ticks. They will be in obvious discomfort, constantly scratching and fur twitching. You might actually see fleas jumping around on your pet too. Fleas and ticks are normally found around the head area on cats and around the back legs and across the back on dogs.

Look out for flea pellets, sometime known as ‘flea dirt’. These will look like fine black pepper. You’re most likely to find flea dirt on your pet’s bedding.

You may be able to see ticks on your pet. In some cases, you can pull these out with tweezers. Be careful not to twist the tick or pop it though.

Treatment

There are special shampoos that you can purchase to kills fleas and ticks. Be careful which shampoos you buy though, as some of the dog shampoo ingredients are very harmful to cats. Typically, your pet needs to be shampooed for at least ten minutes before being rinsed.

Once you have identified a problem, you need to treat both your home and your pet. As well as keeping on top of normal household chores, you should also change your bedding and wash towels more regularly too.

Wash your pets bedding and blankets in hot water using a strong cleaning fluid. This needs to be a thorough wash to ensure the waxy coats on fleas will break down. The bedding should be dried outside in the sunshine.

Ticks can carry Lyme disease which causes loss of appetite and fever amongst dogs. Cats can catch cytauxzoonosis from ticks, which can be fatal.

Vet advice

Speak to your vet about regular treatment you pet can take to help prevent fleas and ticks. Ask for recommendations from friends and family, but be aware that what works for one animal, may not work for yours.

Flea collars can be used for cats and dogs, and collars with a lower dosage can be issued for kittens and puppies. There are two types of flea collar, for prevention and treatment. Make sure you buy from a vet, as shop bought ones are not as effective.

Prevention in the home

Don’t encourage pets to sleep or jump on sofas. Sofas are a perfect breeding ground for fleas, and they will be able to live there quite happily without food.

Vacuum regularly to keep bugs at bay. Consider slipping a treatment style flea collar in your vacuum bag. Any fleas you do vacuum up will die inside the bag.

Ticks live in grassy areas and can wait for months until the right host comes along. Make sure you keep your garden trimmed and tidy, reducing the risk of ticks residing there.

Regularly comb your pet when it comes in from the outdoors. Cats and dogs can pick up fleas from other wildlife and can easily transmit them to other pets in the home.

Fleas can be a real nuisance, not just for pets but for humans too. Flea eggs are tiny and impossible to see with the human eye, so it can be difficult to know of you have truly eliminated them from your property.

If you want to be absolutely sure they have gone, get in touch with a reputable pest agency who will be able to use professional techniques to get rid of them.

Barry Walker is the Director of TDC Pest Control based in Southend, Essex. Barry has extensive knowledge of the pest control industry and likes to offer any advice that may help households across the UK avoid pest problems in the future.

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  • Published: 3 years ago on July 31, 2014
  • Last Modified: July 31, 2014 @ 6:12 am
  • Filed Under: Pets

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