Fleas and ticks - two of the peskiest problems to plague pet owners, as well as the most common.
Fleas and ticks absolutely love to make comfy, cozy environments out of your pet’s soft, warm, clean fur. Because of this, it’s important to understand, as the responsible pet owner you are, what exactly ticks and fleas are, what they do, and how you can finally pinpoint these parasites.
Fleas are wingless insects that feed on the blood of your unsuspecting pet. They’re known to be high-hopping little creatures that, according to FleaScience, can jump a height of about 5.2 inches and a distance of 8 inches, making it so much easier for them to reach your companion.
Just like fleas, ticks also feed on blood, but come in a form similar to that of mites and spiders. More active during warmer weather, these are typically visible to the eye. However, it’s always a good idea to do routine checks on your cat, dog, or other animal by simply running your hands over their ears, head and feet, checking for any bumps or abnormalities.
Aside from just feeling for these parasites, it’s helpful to be aware of the other symptoms that are clear giveaways that your pup or kitten may be suffering from fleas and ticks. Common symptoms include hair loss, irritated skin, excessive scratching or licking, flea droppings in the fur, tapeworms, and pale gums.
It’s especially important to perform regular checkups and be aware of symptoms in the NJ Tri-State Area, a place with exactly the right temperatures and wooded areas for both fleas and ticks to thrive. Tick season usually begins at the end of spring and beginning of summer due to the warmer temperature. However, it’s still very much possible for them to survive during the winter months with the amount of trees and forestry there is. Not only that, but the greenery holds many deer ticks, which are known for carrying Lyme Disease. This disease can cause issues with painful joints, kidney failure, loss of appetite, and more.
Unfortunately, the effects and complications don’t stop there. Fleas and ticks transmit diseases by biting into your pet’s skin and leaving behind saliva, increasing the chance of developing an allergic skin reaction known as flea allergy dermatitis. Another disease is called typhus. Typhus occurs when fleas defecate while biting an animal, thus allowing the feces to enter the bloodstream. This sets off a number of problems, such as muscle aches, rashes, and fever. Not only can your pet suffer from this disease, but they can actually transmit it to you as well. Other flea and tick diseases that can affect pets and pet owners include Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, tick paralysis, and tularemia - all of which present bothersome side effects, but moreover, can be deadly if not treated properly or in time.
The best way to stop instances like this from occurring are to take active steps to prevent and eradicate fleas and ticks from coming into contact with you and your pet at all.
One of the first ways that pets contract these parasites is through the outdoors. Maintaining short grass and trimmed shrubs is key since these are places that hold moisture and provide shade, which is exactly what fleas and ticks look for in a hiding spot. By setting up flea and tick traps in your yard, many of which are non-poisonous and odorless, you can safely attract the parasites using heat and light and safely handle them from there. Yard and kennel sprays are another great option! Sprays are easy to use, and typically use plant based ingredients that naturally avert and kill fleas, ticks, their eggs, and even mosquitoes. Safeguard your home from wildlife and intruder animals that may bring the ticks and fleas in with them through the use of safe repellent sprays and liquids. Products that use diatomaceous earth are available too, killing a wide range of insects aside from just fleas and ticks. Ants, cockroaches, any other crawling insects - they’re all on the list! The great thing about this product is that it’s multi-purpose. It can be used not just outdoors, but indoors, too!
Once fleas and ticks are brought into the home by your pet, the best thing you can do is try to create an environment that is less favorable to the insects. That’s where more sprays and powders come in, especially ones that are suitable for use on carpets and upholstery so as not to disrupt the ambiance of your home by leaving behind unpleasant stains, odors, or sticky messes.
Last but not least, do what you can to directly protect your pet. There are a number of products designed specifically to treat ticks and fleas that may have already taken shelter in your pet’s fur and skin. Medicated wipes, shampoos, combs, and brushes are effective ways of eradicating ticks and fleas while also helping your pet to feel and smell the freshest they can! Some cat and dog collars are even rising in popularity since they are able to provide months of continuous protection against the pests. Topicals, ointments, and oral medication have been used for similar purposes, too.
While ticks and fleas are unwelcomed, bothersome pests, they seem to love sticking to our pets as much as we do. That’s why it’s best to start early. Take the necessary steps to prevent ticks and fleas today so you and your pet can enjoy a tick and flea-free zone for the summer!