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Pests on Pets: How to Control Ticks and Fleas

Posted on Jul 28, 2017
If you have a pet, you want to protect them from pests and keep them healthy. If you have a cat or dog, this means waging an ongoing battle with ticks and fleas. Not only are these insects annoying and often painful for your pet and family, but they can also carry dangerous diseases, such as Lyme disease. Learning more about these pests can help you recognize their bites, determine if you have an infestation, and hopefully win your war against them.

About Fleas

Fleas are tiny, wingless insects measuring from 1.5 to 3 millimeters. They can actually jump up to eight inches in the air. Fleas survive on the blood of their host, commonly dogs, cats, and humans. Pets typically get fleas through interaction with other pets who have fleas. Your pet will never have just one flea, as fleas breed at alarming speed. Not only is this a problem for your pet, but if your dog or cat comes inside, you can quickly have a flea infestation which could take some time and hard work to eliminate. As mentioned above, fleas live on the blood of their hosts. Flea bites on both pets and humans — yes, they bite you, too — typically appear in bunches of itchy, red bumps. You might not realize you’ve been bit initially, but within 30 minutes or so, you and your pet will certainly feel the itchy impact of the bite. In fact, one of the primary ways you will be aware of fleas on your pet is continuous, intense scratching. What’s more, dogs can have flea allergies, which make the bites even more irritating.

About Ticks

Ticks are actually arachnids, meaning they are related to spiders. They have small round bodies and four pairs of legs. They are common in wooded areas and brush, and typically jump on your pet when the pet walks by. Ticks are more often found on dogs than cats. Once they latch onto your pet — or you — they can hang around as long as three days feasting on your blood. In many cases, you realize your pet has a tick bite when you actually discover the tick on the pet. If this happens, pull the tick out with tweezers, taking care to remove the entire tick. If the tick isn’t present, the bite will be sore and potentially swelling, with a slight rash or blisters. Many tick bites are annoying, but harmless, and will heal on their own. However, it’s possible for bites to get infected, and this could require antibiotic treatment. But that’s not the worse risk of tick bites. Not all, but some ticks in the United States can transmit dangerous — even life-threatening — diseases like Lyme Disease and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. Symptoms of these disease will appear several days after the bite and include fever, rash, chills, nausea, joint swelling, and muscle pain. If you experience any of these symptoms, seek medical care promptly. In your pet, symptoms of these diseases can include lack of energy, fever, and swollen lymph notes. The good news is most pets respond well to antibiotic treatment. There are certain outdoor areas with extensive concentrations of ticks, but unlike fleas, it’s uncommon for you to have a tick infestation indoors.

Controlling Ticks and Fleas

There are a variety of edible and topical treatments for your pets that can be very effective. Consult your veterinarian about what treatment is best for your pet. As far as humans go, some topical insect repellents can protect you against flea bites, but none are specifically formulated to deter ticks. Both ticks and fleas prefer shade to sunlight, and are sensitive to humidity. Keep your yard clear of brush and excess foliage, and keep grass closely cut. There are some EPA approved sprays for your yard, and they can be somewhat effective if sprayed on shrubs and bushes. As mentioned previously, indoor flea infestations are unfortunately quite common and can be challenging to eliminate. Ticks, not so much. They are primarily outside pests. There’s no such thing as controlling a flea infestation in your home. Because of their rapid rate of reproduction, they need to be eliminated completely. Fleas love carpets, so that’s often the best place to start. There are also a wide variety of products available — from powders, to sprays, to “bombs” — that can help you successfully eliminate a flea infestation. It might take numerous applications, but they can work. If, however, you are unsuccessful in eliminating fleas in your home, Alabama Pest Control can help.
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