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How to protect your pets against fleas, ticks and other pests?

The hot season is here and now it is the perfect time to go outside with your furry companion, but there is one thing you need to take into consideration when going out with your dog or cat. While the mild temperatures and early spring weather have been great for getting outside with your pets, it also means an earlier flea and tick season.

FLEAS– Wildlife, including opossums, coyotes, raccoons, and skunks, and even untreated cats and dogs can deposit flea eggs into a yard. It may be possible to reduce flea infestations by limiting the access these animals have around your house and yard. Your local nursery or garden professional may have some advice on what to plant or other strategies to discourage animal trespassers.

TICKS It can be helpful for pet owners to alter the landscape around their homes to make it unsuitable for ticks and their hosts. For example, keep the lawn mowed, remove leaf litter accumulations and prune shrubs and trees. Contact a professional pest specialist if you have any questions regarding environmental treatments for ticks.

HOW TO AVOID OR LIMIT THE INFESTATION WITH TICKS AND FLEAS?

#Use flea and tick control product all year-round

Despite your efforts to reduce the fleas and ticks in your yards, our pets may still be exposed to these parasites, so you should take measures to help protect them. Treat all dogs and cats in the household with a flea and tick control product. One untreated pet can lead to a flea infestation in the household. Topical products can help protect your dog from unexpected flea and tick sources by killing adult fleas, eggs and larvae, and all stages of ticks.

Consistency is the key. Even one missed dose of your monthly flea and tick control can set the stage for a flea infestation that takes months to resolve, or put your pet at greater risk of exposure to a tick borne disease. 

#Do not use a canine product on cats and viceversa

Why? Because Some flea and tick preventives that are formulated for dogs contain an ingredient that is toxic to cats. It can cause very severe reactions in cats, which require immediate veterinary care. The product label will clearly indicate the species for which it has been approved. Be sure to use products only as intended.

# Groom your pet regularly

Grooming is a great way to spend quality time with your pet. It also helps you keep an eye out for any external parasites that may be hiding under your pet’s haircoat.

#Don’t use old flea and tick products

If you’re a longtime pet owner, you might have old flea collars or tick products buried in a drawer somewhere. It might be tempting to use older products when flea season kicks into high gear. However, when it comes to protecting your pet, it’s better to trade in old products for something new. Old products, especially ones that have hit their expiration date, are usually ineffective. You should always check with our vet for newer brands that work better than older, more traditional methods.

#Clean up your yard

Along with keeping a well-maintained house, be sure to clean up your yard, too. Mow your lawn regularly, as ticks tend to like high grasses. Fleas prefer warm, moist, shady areas with organic debris. Raking leaves, brush and clippings from your yard will give fleas fewer places to hide and breed.

#Take your pet for regular checkups

The routine wellness checkups are the best way to find a parasite prevention program that works, as well as monitor the efficacy of your pet’s current prevention program, if they are already on medication. If your pet is showing symptoms of parasites, like itching from fleas, or if you’re routinely finding ticks on your pet, we recommend scheduling an appointment with our veterinarian right away

CONDITIONS CAUSED BY TICKS AND FLEAS

Fleas and ticks can cause a number of health problems in pets. Keeping your pet flea- and tick-free not only makes him comfortable, but it also helps him stay healthy, by avoiding these problems:

  • Flea allergy dermatitis is an allergic reaction to flea saliva. It can cause itching, inflammation and hair loss.
  • In very young or very small pets with extreme flea infestations, significant blood loss from flea bites can lead to anemia, the signs of which include pale gums, weakness and fatigue. Readily apparent fleas and scratching should alert you to contact your veterinarian.
  • Lyme disease is one of the biggest tick-transmitted threats in certain areas of the country and can cause swollen joints, lameness, poor appetite and fever in pets.
  • Rocky Mountain spotted fever is a serious infection that can cause fever, decreased appetite and painful joints and muscles in pets. Despite its name, Rocky Mountain spotted fever can be transmitted by infected ticks in other areas of the country.
  • Ehrlichiosis can be a mild or serious infection. Your pet may experience depression, appetite loss, a high fever, or bleeding problems.
  • Although they are not transmitted directly by flea bites, fleas commonly cause tapeworms. This occurs during grooming if a pet ingests a flea that is carrying tapeworm larva. Contact your veterinarian if you notice your pet itching around his anus, or if you spot what looks like rice around his anus or in his feces.

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