If you have a dog or cat in your home, chances are, you may have some unwanted guests as well, mainly fleas and ticks.
Fleas and Your Pet
Fleas, those pesky parasites, make their way from the outside by jumping from the grass and tall plants on to your pets as they pass by. Once your pets come inside, fleas can make their way into the carpet, flooring, and furniture. Fleas can also latch on to other pets, which is how strictly indoor animals can still get fleas.
Even as a diligent pet owner, you may not be aware that your pet has fleas. The parasites are tiny and are difficult to see. Cats are often fastidious about grooming, so they may lick and remove fleas, making it harder to tell that the pests have been there. Check your cat’s stomach, tail, and base of neck for signs that your pet has been bitten. Some cats have an allergy to fleas and will scratch excessively. That scratching or a skin irritation that develops because of scratching can be a sign of fleas. Because fleas survive on the blood of the host, your cat could develop anemia. In addition, fleas may host a particular type of tapeworm, and if your cat ingests those fleas during grooming, tapeworms can develop in your cat.
Dogs, who are not as diligent groomers as cats, can also be allergic to fleas and will scratch. They may also develop anemia or tapeworms.
Fleas have a life cycle, from egg to adult flea, of 14-28 days, but although the adult fleas can be killed with certain insecticides, pre-adult fleas can exist for up to 9 months, and are resistant to insecticides you may spray in the home.
Ticks and Your Pet
Ticks, unlike fleas, are not insects but are in the spider family of arachnids. More often found on dogs than on cats, ticks crawl onto their hosts from grass, shrubs, and wooded trails, and latch on for a sustained feeding. Ticks can spread diseases to your pet or to you, including Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever.
Getting Rid of Fleas and Ticks
Getting rid of fleas and ticks takes several steps: removing the pests from your pet, removing pests (in all stages of development) from your home, and preventing the pests from coming back.
Unfortunately, some treatments for fleas and ticks are not effective long-term, so even though your pet and your home environment appear to be parasite-free, the parasites may show up again—either because the insecticide was ineffective or because your pet came in contact with new parasites.
If your pet has fleas or ticks, and the conventional flea or tick control methods aren’t working, give us a call. We can discuss your pet’s habits and lifestyle and then recommend tried and true methods that will keep your pet and home parasite-free.