Take the Bite Out of Flea and Tick Season: How to Prepare Your Dog | PetFirst
Pet Care & Health

Take the Bite Out of Flea and Tick Season: How to Prepare Your Dog

by PetFirst Pet Insurance
4 months ago

Spring has sprung!  And after being cooped up during the winter months, pets and their owners alike are welcoming the new season.  However, as nature comes back to life so do two major pet care concerns: fleas and ticks.   

These parasites are more than a nuisance.  They carry diseases that can make your pets (and you) extremely ill at worst, and extremely uncomfortable at best. 

Here are some tips to make sure your dog is prepared for flea and tick season. 

Don’t take these pests lightly 

Fleas can cause excessive itchiness and scratching.  Dogs that are overly sensitive to flea saliva can also fall victim to flea allergy dermatitis

When the flea bites, it injects its saliva into your pet.  Your pet’s body counters this by secreting histamine.  The result is an allergic reaction to the flea saliva that can cause irritation, inflamed skin, scratching, and hair loss. 

Ticks can often go unnoticed because of their size.  However, once they attach themselves to your dog, they are capable of causing many diseases.   

The most common of diseases are: 

  • Lyme Disease – which can cause arthritis, lethargy, and swelling of the joints. 
  • Rocky Mounted spotted fever – which can cause fever, lameness, and other symptoms. 
  • Ehrlichiosis and Anaplasmosis – which are less common diseases also transmitted by ticks. 

How can I prevent fleas and ticks? 

The most effective way to prevent fleas and ticks is to administer a monthly preventative recommended by your veterinarian.  There are several types on the market now, including topical treatmentsoral chews, and collars

Most preventative flea medications are also effective in preventing ticks.  Flea and tick medications are also often combined with heartworm medication, making a preventative regimen easier to maintain and cost-effective.  

PetFirst Pet Insurance offers a variety of options to help you pay for portions of preventative care such as flea and tick prevention for your pet.  Get a quote today. 

Parasite-proof your environment 

Fleas love warm, shady, moist areas.  They will live outdoors in dark patches of mulch and lawn, wood piles, leaf piles, crawl spaces, and other protected spaces. 

They wait there until they find a host – such as you or your dog – on which to hitch a ride indoors. 

Once inside your home, fleas may lay their eggs in carpeting, bedding, and furniture.  Once a flea infestation has made its way into the house, your pet will need year-round flea preventative. 

Steps you can take to prevent indoor infestation 

Whether you are trying to prevent an outbreak or you’ve already experienced one, the following steps will make your home less appealing to fleas and ticks. 

  • Wash your pet’s bedding 
  • Wash your pet’s toys 
  • Vacuum carpets and soft surfaces thoroughly 
  • Throw away the vacuum bag immediately 
  • Regularly vacuum areas where your pet sleeps and spends time 
  • Routinely empty vacuum canisters 
  • Steam clean surfaces 
  • Routinely empty vacuum canisters
  • Steam clean surfaces

Make your property less welcoming to parasites 

Aside from arming your pet against fleas and ticks, your yard is your first line of defense. 

To make your landscape less appealing to fleas and ticks consider the following: 

  • Since fleas and ticks often hitch a ride on wild animals or feral and roaming pets, discourage wild animals and other critters from wandering onto your property. 
  • Keep your garbage bins tightly shut so wild animals cannot easily access them.  Keep the area around your garbage containers clean.
  • Provide a buffer between your lawn and any wooded areas.
    Woodchips, gravel, or pet-safe mulch can be used to help decrease the number of ticks coming into your yard. 
  • You can minimize the risks of fleas and ticks in your yard by spraying an outdoor spray solution.  Make sure you know what chemicals are in the product.  Ask your veterinarian for recommendations. 

Use all flea and tick products as directed 

Fleas and ticks tend to be worse during warm weather months.  However, flea and tick season depends on where you live.  In some climates, it is essential to treat your dog year-round. 

If you are unsure when to begin preventative treatment, ask your vet. 

Since all preventative medication contains some form of chemical, the following is crucial for your pet’s safety and health: 

  • Make sure to tell your vet about any other health conditions your pet may have before starting flea and tick medication.
  • Always check with your vet before starting any flea or tick product.

Observe your pet for changes and report any adverse reactions immediately, particularly if your dog is:

  • A puppy
  • Pregnant or nursing 
  • Taking other medications 
  • Allergic to topical flea products 

The takeaway 

It is virtually impossible to prevent your pets from encountering fleas and ticks.  The best protection remains a monthly preventative flea and tick treatment that is given routinely.   

After all, we want you and your furry best friend to get out and enjoy all the pawsome activities the outdoors has to offer! 

If your pet should suffer from a flea or tick-related illness, you can make sure that he or she is covered with PetFirst Pet Insurance.  We have Dog Insurance Policies and Routine Care Coverage to fit every budget. 

Get a quote today

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