Summer Time – Beware of Fleas and Ticks
Along with hotter temperatures and outdoor activities, the warmer weather brings the peak of flea and tick season. From Spring to early Autumn pet owners must be especially careful and vigilant in order to prevent an infestation.
Fleas are the most common external parasite on domestic pets. They are wingless insects that feed on blood, are persistent in the environment and can jump up to two feet high. They can live from 13 days to 12 months, producing millions of offspring during this time. They are commonly found on the abdomen, the base of the tail and head of your pet. The common symptoms of fleas on dogs and cats are: excessive scratching, allergic dermatitis, licking or biting at skin, hair loss, the presence of tiny, white grains in the coat (flea eggs), presence of “flea dirt” in the coat (small dark grains of sand) and pale gums.
Like fleas, ticks also feed on blood of the host animal. Most ticks are visible to the naked eye, having the size of a pinhead before they bite and not noticed until they swell with blood. After coming from outside, it’s important to check your pet around the ears, head and feet. Ticks can bring complications such as blood loss, anemia, tick paralysis, skin irritation or infection, Lyme Disease – a bacterial infection that can affect humans, dogs, cats and other mammals that causes swelling of the lymph nodes, loss of appetite, fever, painful joint and kidney failure. Not to mention Cytauxzoonosis – a lethal infection that includes high fever, difficulty in breathing, loss of appetite, jaundice, coma and death.
Given that it’s impossible to keep our furry friends indoors all the time and knowing about all the consequences of flea and tick infestation, prevention is the key word. You can start by grooming your dogs and cats at Hollywood Houndz! With our professional staff always at hand, they are ready for any flea problem given! They use appropriate products that prevent fleas while also killing the ones currently on your pet. It’s advised to comb through your friend’s coat and wash their beds and toys once a week. You should also clean your house thoroughly using a vacuum cleaner, paying special attention to rugs, bedding and upholstery. Keep the outside of your house free of organic debris, such as leaves, as fleas like to hide in dark, moist and shady areas. You can also speak to your vet about the best medicated flea preventions for your pet.
So, if all else fails and your furry friend gets some fleas or ticks call Hollywood Houndz! We have special packages to clean, treat the infestation and protect your buddy!
Even if your dog stays close to home, fleas and ticks are canny creatures, and they have ways of making it into your home and onto your pets, even with preventions in place. All it takes is a few fleas to get established in your yard to set up a full-scale infestation of your yard, your pet, and your home.
- Essential Oils
Because ticks carry dangerous bacteria, repelling them is a priority. One of the natural repellents that a lot of people have success with is rose geranium oil, which can be applied to your dog’s collar. Do NOT use rose geranium oil on your cat, though. Cats can have a bad reaction to essential oils, primarily because they spend a lot of time grooming, which means that anything on their skin goes into their mouth. With ticks, the best thing you might do is to check your pet a few times a day when you are in an area that has ticks, and remove them
- Treat regularly
One pipette of flea treatment such as Frontline, only lasts for 4-6 weeks depending on your pet, how often they are bathed etc. To provide year round protection it is advisable to apply treatment regularly as advised by the manufacturer.
Once all signs of fleas have abated many owners choose to stop treatments, why treat something that isn’t there? However, figures show that the cost of preventing a flea infestation is much cheaper than the cost of treating a flea infestation, particularly a severe one.
Fleas can cause a number of problems including, Intense itching and scratching resulting in hair loss, Flea Allergy Dermatitis a very common and unpleasant skin condition caused by an allergy to flea saliva and even Tapeworm infestation. All of these symptoms can leave you with a rather hefty vets bill in addition to causing your pet and yourself pain and discomfort (that’s right – fleas don’t discriminate; they will bite humans!).
- Treat ALL animals in the home
If all susceptible animals (this includes dogs, cats, ferrets and rabbits) in the house are not treated for fleas at the same time, the opportunity arises for a flea infestation to take hold and turn into a vicious cycle. Although Frontline is only available for cats and dogs, other products can be sourced from your vet that are suitable for rabbits and ferrets.
- Understand the Flea Life Cycle
Unfortunately for us pet owners, the flea has evolved to be a rather clever little parasite. Although we are armed with an arsenal of excellent flea fighting products such as Frontline, no one product kills all stages of the flea life cycle. It requires a little more understanding on our behalf to truly eradicate this little critter.
The flea life cycle has four stages:
Adult Flea – Adult fleas live on your pet. The females can lay up to 50 eggs a day. Can be killed by flea treatments such as Frontline
Flea Eggs – The flea eggs fall off your pet and into the surrounding environment (your home). After 2-5 days they will hatch into larvae. Can be killed by some flea treatments and/or household environmental sprays.
Flea Larvae – The flea larvae move away from the light under furniture, between floorboards and deep into the carpet. After 7-14 days the larvae change in to the pupae encased in a protective cocoon. Can be killed by household environmental sprays.
Flea Pupae – Flea pupae can remain dormant for up to a year in the environment. Once the pupae detect trigger factors such as warmth, vibration and carbon dioxide (indicators of a host), the adult flea hatches out and jumps onto your pet. CANNOT be killed by flea treatments or household environmental sprays. The pupae must be encouraged to hatch into adult fleas and be killed by jumping on a treated pet.
- Treat your home
Environmental sprays can be used to kill fleas that may be present in your home. A good quality household spray contains active ingredients that kill adult fleas for up to 2 months and eradicate flea eggs and larvae for up to 12 months.
Wash your pets bedding regularly, preferably on a high wash, 60 degrees Celsius or higher. This will kill any adult fleas, eggs or larvae hiding in your pets bedding.
Vacuum regularly. Not only does this remove dead fleas from the environment, but the vibrations also stimulate the pupae to hatch. Unfortunately, as there is no insecticidal product that kills flea pupae, encouraging them to hatch out into adult fleas is the only option to eradicate these from your home. This is why it’s so important to regularly apply spot-on’s such as Frontline to all cats and dogs in the household to kill new emerging fleas before they get chance to start the life cycle all over again.
Anytime your pet goes out into the world — even if only for short walks around the block; play dates at the local dog park; a visit to the veterinarian; a stint at the boarding kennel; a trip to the groomer; a ride in the car; etc. — she is being exposed to the opportunity for fleas and ticks to hop aboard.
You may be very careful about checking your dog for ticks after a good hike in the woods or a trip down to the lake, but ticks (and fleas) are good at hiding and they will find the furriest spots in the deepest crevices of your pet’s skin. Look especially close in the neck fur, in the abdomen, and in the arm “pits.”
Because fleas and ticks are so good at what they do, you will need to be extra vigilant during the peak flea and tick season — typically the warm weather months from spring through early autumn (in the southern states, flea and tick season can be all year long). If you notice just one or two insects on your dog, treat it seriously, before it becomes a full blown infestation.