Spring really feels like it has sprung already doesn’t it? But spring and into summer brings additional risk for our furry loved ones as fleas and ticks become a bigger issue. Although a problem year-round, without effective preparation and prevention they can become a real problem for our pets whilst the weather is warm.
VisioCare myBuddy has brought together some top tips to help you to prevent issues with the pesky pests, split between our dogs and cats to make sure your furry friends stay tick and flea free this year.
Top 5 tips to manage fleas and ticks in dogs
Prevention: All vets will remind you that you must treat your woofs regularly to prevent fleas and ticks. Your vet will have an array of approved products that are on the market. As well as the ‘awkward to get down their throat’ pills and ‘spot-on’ treatments for prevention, you can also use topical treatments, and collars add additional protection for your beloved pooch.
Observation: If you receive multiple treatments from the vet at one time – to last two to four doses for instance – don’t be complacent; always read the label. Check that the treatment is still in date and is the correct one for a dog, especially if you have a cat. The two animal treatments should NEVER be mistaken for one another as it could prove fatal.
Inspection: Just because your pooch has had preventative treatment, it doesn’t mean it isn’t essential to regularly inspect your dog. Especially when it comes to ticks. Regular walks leave them (and you) vulnerable to ticks. On your dog, check their feet between the toes, under the legs, lips, around eyes, around and inside ears, near their bottom, and especially under the tail for the pesky bugs. With fleas, first noticing them will prevent severe infestation. Fleas can usually be found on the belly, inner sides, back limbs, and armpits. You may find ‘flea dirt’ or feces that turn red from blood when pushed with a tissue or paper towel.
Speed: The quicker you remove a tick, the less likely your dog is to become unwell from the blood sucking mites. Once they have managed to extract blood, the danger from secondary illness becomes larger. Ensure you understand how to remove a tick correctly. Invest in a fine pair of tweezers or the VisioCare myBuddy app would suggest a tick removal tool which will allow you to remove the tick by the head as required. Check out TickTwister and always wear gloves. We have a very useful video on our social media.
Environment: If your dog is infested with fleas and you have treated them, it is also vital to treat their environment too – as 95% of the life cycle of a flea is not actually on the animal. This must include their bedding – wash in hot, soapy water and heat dry where possible. Wash any outdoor clothing your dog may wear. Treat your home and vacuum all areas – carpets, sofas, and soft furnishings – and make sure you empty the containers outside. It is advisable to speak to your vet about home flea sprays and treatments to ensure a complete de-infestation. Don’t forget your car – eggs that have dropped from your dog may hatch and restart the lifecycle once again. To prevent ticks, ensure your garden is free from long grasses, regularly mowed and any areas of long grasses should be restricted access by your dog. If you are concerned about returning flea infestation, or if you are struggling to remove a tick from your pooch, please consult your vet to get their expert advice.
Top 3 additional tips to manage fleas and ticks in cats
Many of the tips for dogs are the same for cats, but these additional points relate to your cat’s different lifestyle.
Prevention: Prevention in cats can be managed with many vet approved products, but always check with the vet for the recommended one for your loving kitty. Cats have different lifestyles – perhaps they are a house cat who enjoys the warmth of home, or adventurers who go off at night to hunt and prey – either way choosing the right treatment should be on vet advice.
Inspection: We do not tend to groom our kitties as much as we do our dogs, so ticks and fleas can go unnoticed for some time. Encourage your cat to come for some fuss and make inspection part of this routine. Find a nice brush that makes them purr and use this time to check for ticks and flea infestation. Armpits, under the tail, around the mouth and under the chin will help you find ticks, and fleas will also show on the belly.
Environment: Keep your garden clear, tidy and any grasses should be regularly cut to help keep ticks at bay. You should keep any beds and blankets freshly washed in hot, soapy water and hot dried to clear any infestations. Cats have a tendency to sleep in warm, dark places in the home, so extra care should be taken in areas that you wouldn’t vacuum or clean as part of a normal routine.
For more information about tick and flea prevention you should always consult your vet – especially if you have any concerns.