Even if you are the most vigilant pet parent, it is possible for ticks and fleas to find their way onto your pet and from there, find their way into you home. Flea populations can explode from a handful to hundreds in a matter of a few weeks, while ticks can attack themselves to humans, passing on serious conditions such as Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. The earlier you can spot and start dealing with an infestation of ticks or fleas, the more likely it is the situation can be resolved without any such complications.
Identifying and treating fleas
In the case of fleas, don’t jump to conclusions just because you see your dog scratching itself. Food allergies or irritations of other kinds can cause the same behavior. If your dog is scratching its ears a lot, check for the presence of ear mites or another infection.
If you suspect your dog has fleas, check its fur. You may see the creatures themselves, scrambling or jumping for cover as you part the fur around them, or you may see the waste material they leave behind, which will look like tiny specks of dirt against your pet’s skin.
To get rid of fleas, choose a pesticide that will target both adult fleas and their larvae. Ensuring your rid you pet of all larvae as any that survive will simply mature into adults and begin the cycle all over again. For immediate relief, consider using a flea shampoo or giving your dog some specialist medication to eradicate the infestation.
Identifying and treating ticks
Tick bites can sometimes result in dogs suffering from a fever, symptoms of which may include loss of appetite, weakness and unusual panting. Be on the lookout for bumps or unexplained scabs whenever you stroke your dog.
It takes only one tick in your home to start an infestation in your home. These tiny creatures lay their eggs in areas such as baseboards, the edges of rugs and window surrounds. If you find a tick in your home or on a part of your dog’s body, check both yourself, the members of your family and any other pets for the presence of more ticks.
If you find ticks, either on your pet or on a member of your family, they should be removed using tweezers to pull them out slowly and steadily so that the whole creature, including the mouth, is removed. The CDC recommends immersing ticks in rubbing alcohol to kill them. There are also a number of topical products you can apply directly to your dog to kill ticks.
Beyond the dog
Treating your dog is only one part of the solution – you will also need to treat your home to ensure any fleas or ticks are completely eradicated. Failure to do means you risk the infestation returning once more. A professional pest control firm such as www.cheltenhampestcontrol.co.uk can not only treat your home but also provide assistance on measures that can be applied to the immediate surrounding your property to make it less likely for ticks to be able to enter.
Prevention is always better than cure, so you should always try to minimize the chances of getting a flea or tick infestation in your home in the first place by giving your dog a monthly treatment, either orally or topically, as recommended by your veterinarian.