When it comes to fleas and ticks, many pet owners have lot of questions in their mind related to these external parasites. Some try to get information from other pet parents, some share problems of fleas and ticks on their pets with friends and relatives, while others keep wondering what to do about these fleas and ticks. There are many sources available online, where you can easily find answers for all your flea and tick queries, but there is always a doubt whether you are fed with right information or not.
Here we have brought the information right from the desk of a panel of veterinarians. You can find answers for all your queries related to fleas and ticks. Check the most common questions that you always face and want real answers for it.
What are Fleas?
These are tiny wingless external parasites commonly known for biting and blood-sucking abilities. Fleas are copper or blackish pepper in color and about 1/8th inch long. Flea eggs are generally 1/64th of an inch and fall of pets to the floor. These eggs usually get into cracks between boards, along moldings or in leaf litter.
It is easy to kill adult fleas, but quite difficult to find flea eggs and destroy them due to their unreachable hiding places and hard exterior shell protecting them. There are different kinds of fleas such as dog flea, cat flea, human flea, northern rat flea, oriental rat flea and moorhen flea.
It is essential to kill fleas on pets as they spread dangerous disease and even cause Flea Allergy Dermatitis.
What are Ticks?
Ticks are small creatures like fleas that range in size from tiny specks to a swollen watermelon seeds. They have 8 legs and outer surface – soft or hard known as carapace or shell. Same as fleas, ticks are also blood-sucking insects. They suck blood at several stages of their life to grow. Ticks are dangerous as they transmit harmful diseases from one pet to another and from pets to humans.
What are the differences between fleas and ticks?
There are some major differences between these two parasites. Seeing their differences, you can find out that whether they are fleas or ticks on your pet.
- Fleas jump but ticks crawl.
- Flea causes itching, ticks don’t cause itching
- Ticks don’t cause hot spots but fleas cause red inflammation
- Ticks remain in a place while feeding while fleas don’t.
Are fleas and ticks harmful for my pets?
Yes! Fleas and ticks are quite harmful to your pets as they irritate and cause several flea and tick infested diseases in dogs and cats.
What are the dangers of fleas and ticks?
Fleas are responsible to cause several health conditions such as Flea Allergy Dermatitis (FAD), tapeworms, hair loss due to continuous scratching and secondary skin allergies. When a dog or cat is infected badly with fleas, this can cause anemia from blood loss, especially in puppies and kittens.
Ticks transfer severe conditions like Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever and Ehrlichiosis.
How can I know my pet is infested with fleas?
The easy way to find whether your pet is infested with fleas is by finding the flea feces (often called as flea dirt) or adult fleas on the pet. Brush your pet over a white sheet or paper towel and look for small dark specks. Flea feces contain digested blood, which turns in reddish brown color when moistened with a small amount of water.
How can I tell if my pet has ticks?
These tiny creatures are difficult especially on dark furry animals and along the pigmented areas like eyelids and paws. With the help of your fingernails, you can find them on the animal’s body as they make a small hard lump.
To find ticks, look wherever your pet cannot groom. In cats, search at places like head and ears. In dogs, look on the head, shoulder back and ears, but continue searching everywhere over their body.
How can I deal with the problem of fleas and ticks?
When it comes to protect your pet from fleas and ticks, prevention is the best tool. Most pet parents usually recommend preventive measures to fight against fleas and ticks. Controlling and treating an already existing flea and tick problem takes a lot of time and effort. But, taking precautionary measures to prevent fleas and ticks from attacking pets help in greater extent.
Certain flea and tick control products such as Frontline plus, K9 Advantix and Advantage are very useful in both treating and preventing flea and tick infestation.
Should I stop using flea and tick treatment once my pet is free from fleas and ticks?
No, flea and tick eggs are always present in the surrounding environment. Discontinuing flea and tick preventive treatments will make your pet victim of these external parasites again. In order to secure your dogs and cats from these external parasites, continuing monthly dosage of treatment is the best solution.
How should I protect my house from fleas and ticks?
Fleas and ticks along with their different life stages – eggs, larvae, pupae are present all over your house. They hide in the crevices, folds of upholstery, grass and damp areas of house like kitchen. It is important to look into these areas and clean them regularly with flea and tick control home products.
Take care that you also keep your backyards and garden clean with mowing your lawn to remove excess grass. If possible, treat your yard and lawn with flea and tick treatments like foam, spray and powder.
What other safety precautions do I need to take in order to keep my pet free from these external parasites?
The most preventive measures you can carry on are as follows:
- Treat your dog and cat with flea and tick control product once a month.
- Keep your surroundings clean and treat it with preventive products.
- Keep grass and bushes too short in your lawn and backyard.
- Do not stop flea and tick treatment during cold months.
- Check for fleas and ticks on your pets regularly.
- Use products like Frontline Plus and K9 Advantix II to kill all life stages of fleas and ticks. The monthly dosage also protects pets from re-infestation.
Still have queries on fleas and ticks, visit our ‘Ask a vet’ section and find answers.