Your pet dog or cat is a yummy target for fleas and ticks. These parasites will suck out your pet’s blood for food. Ticks in particular are notorious for spreading diseases like Rocky Mountain fever and Lyme disease. Severe tick infection can cause anemia and sometimes paralysis.
Symptoms of flea infection:
- Excessive scratching or itching
- Biting or chewing parts of the body
- Skin lesions
- Loss of hair
- Red, raised bumps
- Flea dirt
Symptoms of tick infection
- Fatigue, lethargy or lameness
- Loss of appetite
- Sudden pain in the legs or body
- Swelling in the joints
Keeping your pet flea and tick free
- Remove ticks. If your pet has only a few ticks, use tweezers or a tick remover to pull the parasites off your pet. Put some rubbing alcohol in a container and place this beside you. Alcohol can kill ticks. Wear gloves to protect yourself. Clean the area of the skin where there is a tick with a cotton ball moistened with hydrogen peroxide. Using tweezers or a tick remover, pull the tick off your pet’s skin taking care that you don’t squeeze the tick’s body. Place the tick in the container.
- Remove fleas. Flea combs have fine teeth making these ideal for removing fleas from pets. Before you use a flea comb, prepare a container of soapy water. The soapy water will kill the fleas. Comb your pet’s fur and dip it in the container of soapy water each time you run it though its’ fur. Do this several times during the day.
- Eliminate existing infection. Address your pet’s tick or flea infection immediately. Your pet’s veterinarian can recommend a pet-safe tick or flea powder, spray or shampoo. There are products that can be applied to the whole body or only to specific infected areas.
- Clean and treat your home. Vacuum the whole house including mattresses and upholstered furniture. Throw out the vacuum bag outside. Wash all the beddings, sofa covers, throw pillow covers and other linens as well as clothing that may have come in contact with your pets. Don’t forget to clean your pet’s crate or kennel. Use vet recommended flea and tick control products for your home.
- Prevent tick and flee infection. Ask your pet’s veterinarian which products he recommends to prevent tick and flea infection. There are products that you can apply monthly on the back of your pet’s neck. This type of products enter your pet’s blood stream causing ticks and fleas to die when they suck out your pet’s blood.
- Use tick and flea collars. You can purchase a tick and flea collar for your pet. This prevents tick and flea infection if properly worn. Put the collar around your pet’s neck and check for a snug fit. If two of your fingers can go between your pet’s neck and the collar, then the fit is good. Remember to cut any excess portion so your pet does not chew on it.
Note: If you have more than one pet, make sure all of your pets are treated. Also, choose tick and flea control products specific to the type of pet you have. Never use products meant for cats on dogs and vice versa.
Getting rid of ticks and fleas may take weeks. Constant vigilance is the key. Use products for your pet and for the home that are recommended by the veterinarian. If your pet is free of ticks or fleas, use collars or medications that can prevent a possible re-infection.