Photo by Michael Oxendine
As a pet owner, it’s your duty to keep your animal friend safe from fleas and ticks, which not only afflict pets, but also can transfer to humans. Here are four essential tactics to keep your pet safe from these pests.
Flea collars are valuable to prevent a pest problem but aren’t effective if your pet is already infested. The collars use chemicals to kill or repel fleas and ticks. More useful against ticks, collars can remain effective for months but can leave body parts far from the neck unprotected.
Combing a pet’s fur with a flea comb removes fleas and ticks. The comb’s teeth are close together so that ticks and fleas and their eggs cannot escape. Be sure to brush your pet’s entire coat, moving from the head to the tail. Place live fleas in a bowl of soapy water, which will kill them. A significant advantage of a flea comb is that it costs very little.
Flea and tick medications come in two forms: topical and oral. Topical medicines are applied to your pet’s skin, while oral medications are ingested. Both use chemicals to kill fleas and ticks and are effective for up to a month. Oral medications work by transferring chemicals when fleas and ticks bite a pet. Topical medications are usually applied between the shoulder blades so pets cannot lick them off.
Clean Your Home
Freeing a pet from fleas and ticks is not enough to resolve the problem. Fleas can infest beds, couches, rugs and the like, then reinfest a pet. Any area where your pet spends a lot of time is a likely hotspot. The solution is a thorough cleaning. Vacuum everywhere you can, and wash everything else, including bedding, clothing and any other fabric, to kill off fleas.
Besides causing misery, ticks and fleas are dangerous to humans as well as dogs and cats. Pets and humans can get skin infections from flea and tick bites. Fleas can transfer tapeworms to pets. Tick bites can spread Lyme disease or Rocky Mountain spotted fever.
The great risk of these conditions means that keeping your pet protected from fleas and ticks is a must.