Fleas and ticks are much more than a nuisance; they can cause extreme discomfort for your dog. While flea season in Canada usually reaches its peak during late summer, year-round prevention is key. Here’s what you need to know about fleas and ticks.
How Do Dogs Get Fleas and Ticks?
The most common way that dogs get fleas is when another infested animal goes through your neighbourhood. On the other hand, dogs can be affected by ticks at almost any time. Taking your dog for a walk, hike, or other outdoor activity could lead to an infestation.
Spotting Fleas and Ticks on Your Dog
If you’ve noticed black specks on your dog or on your dog’s bed, it may be “flea dirt.” Here are two simple ways to check for fleas:
- Use a flea comb to thoroughly inspect your dog, making sure the comb reaches the dog’s skin. If black specks are present, it may be flea dirt.
- Place a white towel directly under your dog and run your hands through its fur. If black specks appear, your dog may have fleas.
Dogs should be checked for ticks every day, especially during warmer months. Ticks usually feel like a small bump, ranging in size from a pinhead to a grape. If a tick is spotted, contact your veterinarian store for information on proper removal.
How Are Fleas and Ticks Treated?
Treating a flea infestation typically involves four parts:
- Eliminating adult fleas that are already on the dog
- Killing newly-arriving fleas on your dog. This process can take up to four months, depending on the severity of the infestation.
- Preventing a further infestation of the home by using an insect growth regulator, which inhibits the hatching of flea eggs.
- Clear the home and environment of flea eggs, pupae, and larvae that may be already present.
Eliminating ticks from your dog can be a tricky operation – that’s why contacting a veterinarian is often preferred over do-it-yourself methods. When removed improperly, parts of the tick remain in the dog’s body and can lead to infection. Remember – ticks must be removed within 24 hours to avoid complications.
How Can I Prevent Fleas and Ticks?
In addition to using vet-recommended flea prevention products, the following tips can keep your home flea- and tick-free:
- Treat the environment: You may need to enlist the help of a pest control expert if your yard is infested with fleas and ticks.
- Vacuum and clean your home regularly, especially carpeted areas and your dog’s bedding.
- Hang doormats, rugs, and other non-washable items in direct sunlight to kill fleas.
With these tips and help from a veterinarian, you can protect your dog from fleas and ticks. If you suspect an infestation, visit Twin Rivers Animal Hospital for flea and tick treatment and prevention.