31 Aug Flea and tick control for dogs and cats
Spring is a great time for our pets to explore outdoors, but leaping through grassy areas or wrestling with dogs at the park are prime ways that fleas and ticks can latch on. These tiny parasites can become major nuisances if not managed promptly. Learn how by following these tips.
What’s the difference between fleas and ticks?
Fleas and ticks, though often mentioned in the same breath, are quite different from each other.
Fleas are small, wingless insects that can:
- jump long distances relative to their size
- feed on pet blood, causing itching and irritation
- lead to infections, allergies, and even transmit tapeworms.
Ticks are arachnids, which are related to spiders, that can:
- attach to the host by burrowing their head into the skin
- stay attached for days, feeding on the host’s blood
- transmit various diseases including Lyme disease and ehrlichiosis
- potentially cause paralysis.
Paralysis ticks are the ones to be most concerned about – these kinds of ticks are prevalent in northern parts of Australia but are increasingly moving south. Speak to your vet to best understand how you can keep your pet safe from these pests.
How do dogs get fleas and ticks?
Dogs often pick up fleas from environments where other animals with fleas and ticks have been. This could be your backyard, parks, kennels, or even your home. Flea larvae can hide in carpets, furniture, and other nooks waiting for a suitable host. A simple playdate with a friend’s dog or a visit to a park can introduce fleas to your pet.
Ticks thrive in bushy, wooded or grassy areas. Dogs become hosts when they wander through these habitats, especially during warmer months. Ticks wait on grass blades or leaves, stretching out their legs, and latch onto passing hosts.
Can cats get fleas and ticks?
Absolutely! Cats are just as susceptible to fleas and ticks as dogs. In fact, cats who love exploring outdoors or mingle with other animals are at high risk. Indoor cats aren’t completely safe either as fleas can hitch a ride indoors on humans or other pets.
How can pet parents keep fleas and ticks under control?
Regular vet check-ups: Talk to your vet about appropriate parasite control – prevention is key!
Routine skin and coat checks: A routine check, especially post-walk, can help spot ticks or fleas early. Focus on areas like ears, paws, and underbelly.
Housekeeping: Regularly vacuum your home, especially carpets and pet bedding to minimise flea populations indoors.
Regular bathing and grooming: A bath with mild, natural pet shampoo can help dislodge ticks and fleas.
Limit exposure: Familiarise yourself with common areas where ticks might be found in your locality and avoid walking dogs in bushy or wooded areas during tick season.
While you’re getting your pet’s health in check, speak to a vet for free about how plant-based therapies may be able to help boost your pet’s overall health and wellbeing.