Flea & Ticks
Flea and Tick Season
Even though it may still seem like winter and it may still be cold in parts of the country, days will soon be getting longer, temperatures will rise, and the seasons will change. This means that we and our pets will surely be spending more time outside attracting those pesky fleas and ticks. Flea and Tick prevention is the very best defense against these parasites for both cats and dogs. It is first very important to recognize the symptom of fleas and tick so you can diagnose and treat your pets fast and correctly.
Fleas are the most common external parasite to attack common household animals. Fleas can live for as little as 13 days or as long as 12 months. During that time if in contact with a host (your pet) they can produce literally millions of offspring or eggs. Make sure to keep an eye out for these symptoms of fleas on your cat or dog:
- Dustings of “flea dirt” in their fur
- Itchy, irritated red skin
- Flea eggs (tiny, white grains)
- Hair loss
- Pale gums
The biggest thing to remember with fleas is that you are not always concerned about the adult fleas but what you should be concerned with is breaking the cycle of those individual adult flea and preventing them from creating millions and millions of eggs by attaching or hosting on your pets. If those eggs hatch that’s when you have a flea outbreak. Make sure your treat fleas early and correctly to break the life-cycle.
Although ticks are not as common in the climate that Western Washington natives have grown to love. Tick are becoming more of a common problem especially in the drier Eastern Washington climate. Ticks may not be noticed by the host they are feeding on, but they can transmit diseases to your animal. Fortunately, most ticks are noticeable by the naked eye. they are about the size of a pinhead before they bite, and not noticed until the swell up with blood. Even though they rarely cause discomfort, it is a good idea to check your pets for ticks if you are in an area that tick are more prevalent especially if outside a lot. If you do happen to notice a tick on your pet it is very important to practice safe and correct removal:
- Prepare: Put on latex gloves so you don’t come in contact with the tick or the bitten area of the animal.
- Remove: Using a pair of tweezers, grasp the tick as close to the skin as possible, pull up with straight and even pressure. Make sure you do not twist the tick this could leave the mover hooked into your pet.
- Disinfect and Monitor: Disinfect the bit area, wash your hands with soap and warm water, and sterilize the tweezers alcohol or by running it through a flame. Monitor the bite areas really well for infection over at least 2-3 weeks.
When it comes to flea and tick safety, preparation and prevention is the key. Treat your pets with quality flea and tack treatments like topical drops (Advantage, Pet Lock), flea shampoos, and flea dips. Use a flea comb once a week to help check for fleas especially when they have been outside or around other animals. If you happen to need to treat your house area, make sure to get under areas that the fleas may be like, pet bedding, dressers, and under any furniture. Check out all our flea and tick options to help prevent flea outbreaks and to help treat existing infestations.