Free your pet from fleas and ticks!
Posted on 16 July 2015
Know Thy Enemy
Dogs bring with them untold joys and great happiness. They also bring fleas and ticks.
As a novice pet owner, you may be adequately warned of the dangers of these insects, but chances are you can barely tell the difference between the two. Remember that old adage, ‘keep your friends close but your enemies closer”? Well take it to heart, because you can’t effectively manage the situation until you have identified your enemy. Once you know exactly which unwanted guest your pet has brought home, it’s time to call in the cavalry and get down the serious business of damage control.
Let’s look at the differences between these two pests and how to spot them on a pet.
- The flea is a wingless insect.
- It has 6 legs and is known for its jumping prowess.
- Adult fleas can live up to a 100 days.
- Once they have made themselves a home they will feed on their host and live there until they die. Fleas begin laying eggs as soon as they begin to feed. They can lay between 20 and 40 eggs in a day for up to several weeks. They lay eggs on the host and when the host moves, the eggs move and are deposited on surfaces close by.
- Fleas love warm temperatures which is why they love snuggling in your pet’s fur.
If your pet has fleas you will spot them scurrying across your pet’s skin. Because fleas love warmth and hate the light, check between your pet’s inner thighs and belly. The other thing to look out for is flea dirt. These are black flecks found on a dog’s coat which are mostly flea faeces, you might also spot flea eggs which are like tiny white drops on your pet. If you sport dark colored creatures no bigger than pin heads or flea dirt and eggs, well then, you have an infestation on your hands.
- Ticks are actually not insects but arachnids, and at most stages have 8 legs like spiders.
- Ticks have multiples hosts from dogs and lizards to even birds and humans.
- Their life span ranges from 3 weeks to 3 years!
- Ticks are patient parasites. They lie in wait for years to find the perfect host. Although chances are they will move from host to host during their life cycle.
- Once a tick finds a host it buries itself into its skin.
- They can lay thousands of eggs at a time but once they lay eggs, they die.
- Ticks are harder to kill than fleas and can survive even in near freezing conditions.
Ticks on the other hand are easy to identify. They are small pests that will attach themselves to your pet. Because they are larger than fleas and move rather slowly, they are much easier to spot.
How to Battle an infestation.
Once you spot a flea or tick on your beloved pet, it’s time to strap your self is and prepare for battle. After all they aren’t called pests for nothing. Both of these pests are completely different creatures and actually require completely different approaches to pest control. We strongly recommend that you contact your vet before embarking on pest control plan for your dog. However, here is a look at how to combat an infestation.
Removing ticks is relatively simple. Put on a pair of gloves, and use tweezers to gently extract the tick from your pet. Drop the tick into a solution of isopropyl alcohol to kill it. DO NOT pop the tick as it may be carrying a whole host of illnesses. If you need to, store the dead tick in a jar with the date, so that in case your pet contracts a tick borne illness your vet can test the tick and ascertain the cause. Disinfect the wound with anti-septic solution when you are done. Remember to scour every inch of your pet during a tick removal session. Follow it up with regular tick and flea medication to kill any larvae and to prevent a re-infestation.
If your dogs has Fleas, I am afraid you are in for a tough few days ahead. Give your dog a bath with medicated anti-flea shampoo and follow all instructions that come with it. Comb through your pet’s coat with a fine toothed flea comb to remove any dead fleas. Get your dog on vet recommended anti-flea medication, which can be topical sprays or lotions to even anti flea collars. These prevent eggs from hatching and kill larvae as well. De flea your dog every few days.
However, because fleas jump and reproduce faster than ticks, you need to de flea your entire house. Wash all your bed linen in hot water, de flea all the pets in the house and clean every available surface that is a likely breeding ground for fleas, from the carpets to the drapes. Next you need to fog your house with an anti-flea remedy. Try getting one that will kill adult fleas as well as fleas at various other stages of their life cycle. These are called insect growth regulators. You could also consider calling a pest control company and using their services. Remember that you probably need to exterminate your house every few days till you are absolutely sure that there isn’t a single trace of the infestation left.
Prevention is better than cure
Now that your pet is flea or tick free, why not make sure it stays that way! Use anti flea or tick medication, such and powders or shampoos regularly for your dog or use dog products like anti flea and tick collars to keep the pests away. Check your pet every few days, if not every day for a likely infestation. After all the sooner you detect a problem the less trouble it will be. Make sure you bathe your pet as recommended by the vet; it is easier to spot fleas and ticks on a clean pet. With these few preventive measures, keeping your dog free from these pests will as easy as one two three!