Fleas and ticks are not only annoying and harmful to your pets but also potentially harmful to people. Fleas and ticks can drink human blood, cause bites that intensely itch and transmit parasites and diseases through their bites. Keeping fleas and ticks off your pets requires a multilevel approach, which includes treating the pet, the home and even the yard, if the pet is allowed to go outside.
- Pet's stool sample
- Topical flea prevention product or preventive tablets
- Washing machine
- Outdoor spray or granule insecticide
Take pets to a veterinarian for annual checkups. Bring a stool sample from the pet so it can be checked for parasites under a microscope.
Apply topical pest prevention products that are absorbed through the pet's skin. These are available through your veterinarian, who can make sure the active ingredient is best suited for your pet. If your vet does not recommend topical treatments for your pet, then the pet may need a daily or monthly tablet.
Brush or comb the pet every day, especially during warm months when fleas and ticks are most active. Fleas may be hard to see, but flea feces are easier to detect while combing. The feces look like specks of pepper. If these specks are placed on wet paper towel, they turn blood red.
Always check your pet for ticks after it has romped in the yard, woods or fields full of long grasses. Check in between toes, around the neck and in any folds of the skin.
Vacuum the house frequently to prevent flea infestation. Flea larvae can live in pet bedding, carpeting and anywhere the pet sleeps. Immediately after vacuuming, remove the vacuum bag and place it in the outdoor garbage.
Launder all washable pet toys, bedding or pillows in a washing machine set to hot. The hot water kills fleas and ticks.
Mow the lawn regularly, and keep plants short. Overgrown plants and weeds make better launching pads for ticks.
Treat areas of the yard that the pet frequents with insecticide sprays or granules specifically designed for outdoor use. Keep pets and children away from these insecticide products for the length of time suggested by the manufacturer.
- "Dog Owner's Home Veterinary Handbook"; Debra M. Eldredge, DVM, et al.; 2007
- Pet Education: Common Flea and Tick Control Products; Holly Nash, DVM, MS
- Littlehampton Veterinary Clinic: Dogs and Fleas
- The Marin Humane Society: Check for Fleas, Ticks and Foxtails
- Photo Credit Ryan McVay/Stockbyte/Getty Images
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