Summer Flea & Tick TIPS!!
Widespread panic is more or less what the sellers of chemical pest preventives would like to see as a result of an early and heavy flea and tick season this year.
But before you start having nightmares about massive flea infestations or blood-bloated ticks all over your dog — which could easily prompt you to run out and buy every chemical pest agent you can find – take a deep breath.
Everything you need to do to control pests on your pet this year falls into these three easy-to-remember categories:
- Keep your pet pest-free
- Keep your home pest-free
- Keep your yard pest-free
If you live where fleas and ticks are prevalent during the warmer months, vigilance in keeping your pet, your home and your yard pest-free should allow your four-legged companion to enjoy his summer right along with the rest of the family.
f fleas are a problem, comb your pet with a flea comb at least once a day, every day during pest season. Do the combing on a white towel or other light colored cloth so you can see what’s coming off your pet’s coat and skin as you comb.
Flea ‘dirt’ (actually flea feces) looks like real dirt, but when suspended in a little rubbing alcohol or water will dissolve and release a red color (blood) allowing you to discern real dirt from flea dirt.
Drop the combings into a bowl or other container of soapy water and flush it down the toilet when your combing session is over.
Bathe your pet, A soothing bath will kill fleas (via drowning), help heal skin irritation, and make your furry companion feel more comfortable and less itchy. Also, clean animals aren’t as attractive to fleas. Pick a non-grain (no oatmeal) shampoo specifically for pets.
Be aware that some pets have a condition called flea allergy dermatitis (FAD), which is sensitivity to flea saliva. This is actually a very common condition in dogs. It’s not the bite of a flea that causes most of the itching, it’s the saliva. And the saliva can cause irritation way out of proportion to the number of fleas on your pet.
That’s why lots of dog owners assume the terrible itching their pet is enduring can’t be flea related because they don’t see any fleas. In fact, a pet with FAD can be made absolutely miserable from the saliva of just one or two fleas. And it can make her uncomfortable for many weeks – long after the fleas are dead and gone.
If ticks are a problem where you live, the best way to control them is through daily grooming and nose-to-tail body checks of your pet. You should examine your dog or cat closely for ticks whenever he’s been outside, and at least once a day, regardless.
If you should find a tick attached to your pet, it must be removed carefully and safely.
No matter what combination of pest repellent systems you use, including chemical agents, your pet can still attract pests and parasites. In fact, even animals loaded with chemicals to the point of toxicosis can still, for example, acquire heartworm.
My advice is do all you can to avoid pests, relying on natural preventives as much as possible, and then have your vet run a SNAP 4Dx test every six months to check for the presence of heartworm and tick-borne diseases (Lyme, Anaplasmosis, and Ehrlichia).