As the temperatures rise, many of us and our canine and feline companions, find ourselves spending more time enjoying the great outdoors. From hikes and runs to playing fetch and exploring the backyard, the dog days of summer are best spent in the sunshine.
Nothing crushes a great day of fun in the sun like an attack of the creepy crawlies, like ticks and fleas. These small but destructive parasites not only cause discomfort for you and your pets, but they also have the potential to carry life-threatening diseases. Keep reading to learn more about these pests and how you can safeguard your pets from fleas and ticks this season.
Fleas and ticks are more than a nuisance. In addition to their painful and itchy bites, they can transmit diseases.
Fleas can cause flea allergy dermatitis (FAD), and even anemia symptoms. They can also carry tapeworms and bartonellosis.
Even though they are well known for Lyme Disease, ticks carry a number of other maladies as well. Ehrlichiosis, Tick Paralysis, and Anaplasmosis have all been attributed to tick bites.
Managing the flea and tick population around your home as well as treating your dog or cat with the appropriate products is truly one of the best ways to keep you and your animals happy and healthy.
There are a wide variety of products that can be applied to your animals topically in order to keep them safe. Many pet owners believe that their animals are only at risk if they spend copious amounts of time outside, but while infestations are more likely for outdoor animals, the truth is, all animals are at risk. The great thing about many of these topical products is that they have been designed to be used in conjunction with one another to give your pet well-rounded protection.
Flea collars are easy to use, and for those living in the Northeast they last for the entire tick season; Seresto Collars are effective for eight months. Simply attach a collar to your dog or cat and allow the low level dosage to repel fleas and ticks while also managing sarcoptic mange (It is important to note that many counterfeit collars are making their way onto the market, so please make sure that you purchase from an authorized dealer such as The Cheshire Horse). For pet owners that prefer an all natural approach, there are also collars like the Earth Animal Nature’s Protection Flea and Tick Collar that utilize cedar oil, peppermint oil, and almond oil to naturally repel these parasites.
Topical treatments are applied to your cat or dog’s skin and provide protection over the course of many days, sometimes even months. Durvet ZoGuard Plus For Dogs – Flea & Tick Preventative stays on your dog even after they have been wet, which makes it a fantastic pick for active dogs that love to swim and splash in the mud (and then need a bath!).
While collars and topical treatments provide long term protection, it never hurts to add a little something extra if you are knowingly entering areas that ticks and fleas thrive. Before heading on a hike or even bringing your dog on a walk around the lake, spray your dog with a repellent such as the Durvet FlyRID Plus Insect Control. Products like these are also great to have around the barn, as they can be used on horses, dogs, goats, sheep, hogs, poultry, beef, and dairy cattle.
Some of the most effective preventive measures for fleas and ticks come from the inside out. These medications are harmless to your dog or cat, but make their blood toxic to fleas and ticks. Many heartworm medications for dogs contain these compounds, but for canines who are heartworm positive and for cats, the Sentry CapGuard Flea Control provides protection. Make sure that you consult with your veterinarian to ensure that your dog or cat is adequately protected.
Treating your pet both internally and externally, is an effective way to manage fleas and ticks. For a well-rounded approach, take a look at your yard and home as well. Treating the environment that your dog or cat spends time in means that you are protecting your pets from every direction.
Keeping a well manicured lawn is key when it comes to controlling the tick populations. Ticks thrive in tall grass and bushes as well as in leaf debris. Mowing your lawn frequently prevents ticks from moving in and calling your yard their home.
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) also recommends that you maintain a three-foot barrier of cedar bark mulch around the perimeter of your lawn, especially if you have any wooded areas. This discourages the ticks from migrating into your homestead. This feature also goes double duty, as fleas are adverse to the potent smell of cedar and make it a point to stay away from it.
Treating your yard with a flea and tick spray after it has been mowed adds additional protection. The Vet’s Best Natural Flea & Tick Yard & Kennel Spray allows you to water your lawn and clean your kennels while coating them in a plant-based formula that eliminates fleas, ticks and mosquitoes on contact.
For year round protection in your yard, consider using tick tubes. These small tubes are filled with permethrin treated cotton balls. Mice gather up these cotton balls and build their nests with them. The powerful insecticide is harmless to the mice but it is lethal to deer ticks. Some people make their own tick tubes (there are many DIY instructions online), however many find it easier and more economical to purchase the Damminix Tick Tubes.
Sometimes, despite our best intentions and preventive measures, parasites can find our pets to be excellent hosts. Removing ticks from your pet should be done as soon as they are spotted, because the longer they feed on your pet, the greater the damage they can cause. There are a number of different life hacks and home remedies when it comes to tick removal, although veterinarians agree that the best way to remove a tick from a cat or dog (or horse or cow!) is to grasp it firmly where it attaches to your cat or dog and gently pull it away from the skin. The Cheshire Horse Tick Key is a handy tool that utilizes forward leverage to detach the tick, including the head, from the host. It is safe to use on every animal as well as humans, so we recommend that pet owners and outdoor enthusiasts pick up a few of these life-saving devices to always have one on hand.
After removing a tick, it is imperative that you monitor the site of the bite. If an infection occurs or if the bite becomes red and irritated, it is recommended that you seek medical attention for your pet.
Dealing with fleas requires a multi-faceted approach to ensure that you have disrupted their life cycle; fortunately, if you are treating your pet with internal medications like Sentry CapGuard Flea Control, a flea infestation is highly unlikely to occur. If you do find your pet is hosting a family of fleas, it is best to work quickly as fleas multiply quickly once they have found a suitable home.
First, remove all the fleas from your cat or dog using a shampoo which as been specifically formulated for this task, like EQyss Flea Bite Shampoo or Espree Flea & Tick Pet Shampoo. Then wash your dog or cat’s bedding and treat it with an insecticide, such as Wondercide Flea & Tick Spray, which is safe to use around pets and humans alike. As a final precaution, spray hard surfaces and your pet with a flea and tick repellent. We are fond of UltraShield EX Flea & Tick Control for Dogs to ensure that these pesky critters keep their distance from your pets and your home! Follow up your flea eradication program with a dewormer, as many fleas carry tapeworms.
Don’t let ticks and fleas ruin your summer fun! With the right tools and a bit of knowledge, you can show the bugs who’s boss. If you have any questions or would like assistance in finding the right products for your situation, we invite you to connect with a member of our friendly sales staff. As dog and cat owners, we can provide you with personalized recommendations as we draw on years of pet ownership experience.