Spring and Fleas and Ticks, Oh My!
Spring, Fleas and Ticks, Oh My!
Ahhhh… When the snow and ice melt and spring arrives, everyone at Sparky Steps looks forward to sunny days, leafy trees, fresh air and Sparky Steps dog walking! Sparky Steps dog walkers know that the change of seasons brings even more outdoor time for our furry friends. If April showers bring May flowers, June is sure to bring spring and fleas and ticks – Oh my! As soon as green grass grows, and flowers appear, so do fleas and ticks. Sparky Steps wants to make sure that your pet stays healthy and enjoys fun dog walking and play time - without any little hitchhikers!
Fleas and Ticks
Fleas and ticks are an extremely common nuisance affecting dogs and cats. You love that your pet is warm, furry and soft, but unfortunately, so do fleas and ticks. Wingless insects that feed on blood, fleas can jump two feet high (yikes!) and can live for months, producing millions of offspring. Ticks are arachnids, (think spider family), and also love a warm, living host where they can attach themselves and feed on the host’s blood. Ticks and tick-borne diseases vary by geographical location, so it’s always best to check with your vet if you’re concerned about which ones may affect your pet.
It’s important to check your furry friend regularly for fleas and ticks, especially if he has been walking, exploring or playing outdoors. You can do this while you are petting, snuggling or playing with your pet. Check your dog or cat’s abdomen, tail and head. Look for small droppings (dark specks) or tiny, white eggs and watch for scratching, licking or biting at the skin. You may notice hair loss or hot spots. Cats that continually scratch, chew or have irritated skin may be suffering from fleas. In both cats and dogs, you could even see pale gums and tapeworms.
What To Do
While fleas can cause relentless itching and scratching, your pet may have a tick without showing any signs or symptoms. A newly attached tick is small, but once a tick begins to feed on its host, it’s swollen body is easier to recognize. Whenever your pet has been outside, check him carefully. Be sure to inspect the whole body, including in and around the ears, head and feet. If you find fleas or a tick, don’t panic. Flea treatments include special combs, powders and shampoos. Be sure to follow all directions carefully and use the correct product for your type of pet. If you see a tick, carefully remove the entire tick, taking care not to leave behind any parts of the tick or squishing it during removal. Wear gloves and use tweezers to grasp the tick as close to the skin as possible. Pull the tick straight out, place it in a Ziploc bag or jar containing rubbing alcohol, and disinfect the bite site. Ticks can transmit diseases, so watch your pet for any possible reactions or illness. Always contact your vet if you have any concerns about your pet’s health.
Remember that the best protection against fleas and ticks is prevention and regular inspection. Speak to your vet about products that help prevent fleas and ticks. Additionally, to help keep fleas and ticks at bay, make sure you keep grass mowed, clear out any overgrowth of weeds or brush, and keep garbage cans covered.
Written by Cheryl Kane